Step aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s aircraft carrier that’s considered one of the worst in the world

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov off the northern coast of Norway in October 2016.

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The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov off the northern coast of Norway in October 2016.
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Thomson Reuters

Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is one of the five worst carriers in the world, according to The National Interest.

In October 2016, the Kuznetsov was sailing to Syria through the English Channel on a combat deployment when it was spotted belching thick clouds of black smoke.

“The main problem with the ship is that is has a very problematic propulsion system,” Dmitry Gorenburg, a senior research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, previously told Business Insider. “It’s just unreliable.”

Before it was sent back to the yards for repairs, the Kuznetsov was always accompanied by a special tugboat in case it broke down, and the plumbing was said to be so bad that most of its toilets didn’t work.

It’s being refitted at Russia’s 35th Ship Repairing Yard in Murmansk and won’t be ready to return until 2021.

Check it out below.


The Kuznetsov was laid down in 1983 but not commissioned until 1990.

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Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

Source: The National Interest


Kuznetsov-class carriers are about 930 feet long, 235 feet wide, and 210 feet high. They also have a maximum displacement of about 59,000 tons.

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The Admiral Kuznetsov
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Wikimedia Commons

Source: Naval-Technology.com, TASS


Kuznetsov-class carriers are powered by eight turbo-pressurized boilers, four steam turbines, and six diesel generators, bringing the carrier to a maximum speed of about 33 mph.

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The Kuznetsov belching black smoke through the English Channel in October 2016.
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Getty Images

It also has a sea endurance of 45 days and an operating range of 3,850 to 8,500 miles, depending on the speed.

Source: Naval-Technology.com


Kuznetsov-class carriers have a crew of 1,600 sailors.

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Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov.
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WorldwideAircraftCarriers

Source: The National Interest, Naval-Technology.com


But unlike US carriers, the Kuznetsov was built as a defense carrier.

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Some of the Kinzhal launchers.
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Screenshot/YouTube via New Update Defence

It’s armed with 12 P-700 Granit anti-ship cruise missiles (housed in silos underneath its flight deck), a Kinzhal air defense missile system armed with about 200 anti-air missiles, one Udav-1 anti-torpedo multiple launch rocket system, and eight Kashtan air defense gun/missile systems.

Source: Business Insider, TASS


The Kuznetsov will also be fitted with a Pantsir-M/EM air defense system with eight 57E6-E surface-to-air missile launchers — as well as two GSh-6-30K/AO-18KD 30mm six-barrel rotary cannons — upon its return from the shipyard.

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Rostec

Source: The Diplomat


It can also carry up to 41 aircraft, including Su-27s, Su-33s, MiG-29s, as well as Ka-27, Ka-31, and Ka-52K helicopters.

Source: The Diplomat


The flight deck has a built-in ski jump, angled at 12 degrees, to help with takeoffs.

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Reuters

Source: Naval-Technology.com


Here’s a shot from the flight deck with the control tower in the background.

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Reuters

And the control tower from another angle.

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Reuters

The aircraft are brought up from the hangar bay using an elevator.

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Screenshot/YouTube via Russian Defense Ministry

Here’s a shot of Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking in the Kuznetsov’s hangar bay in 2014.


The Kuznetsov is set to return to service in 2021, but it may take longer.

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Flickr/Christopher Michel

The Diplomat reported in 2016: “All Soviet carriers were constructed in Ukraine and Russia has lost valuable expertise and technology – particularly surface ship propulsion technology – due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.”