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Project 1143.5 Kreml class
Aircraft Carrier Cruiser

Class Listing

#numberName Laid Down Launched Comm. Stricken
1113Kuznetsov SY 444NOR02/22/198312/05/1985 01/21/1991(ex-Tbilisi; numbered 111)
1991-94 in overhaul
12/95 deployed to Mediterranean
1997-1998 immobilized; major repairs
11/98 declared active, Northern Fleet
12/98 docked for propulsion repairs
2001 scheduled repairs; power plant
04/04 repairs; gas pipes and steam making stations
2007 upgrades; SRZ-35
2VaryagSY 44412/**/19851992 abandoned
1997 sold for display
2012 : commssioned as PLAN Liaoning

Admiral Kuznetsov

On September 1, 1982 the ship project 1143.5 laid on the slipway modernized "O" Nikolaev shipyard, and was given the name of "Riga" with serial number 105. Two months later, the ship was renamed "Leonid Brezhnev." In December 1982, began the installation of the 1st unit case design. By the way, it was the first modular ship, consisting of 24 units. Blocks body length were 32 meters, a height of 13 meters and weighing up to 1,700 tons. Add-ins were also installed in the ship as a unit. All propulsion and power systems were ordered in 1983-84. Their assembly and installation was carried out on an already partly assembled body, leading to the opening of several decks and bulkheads, whichstrongly slowed down the whole process of construction.

The first pictures of the new ship, made from the satellite, appeared in the French press in 1984, the aircraft carrier readiness at that time was 20 percent. The ship was launched from the slipway at the end of 1985, the weight of the ship did not exceed 32,000 tons, the readiness of the ship is estimated at 35.8 percent. In 1986, P.Sokolova chief designer of the project 1143.5. In mid-1987, the ship was renamed again - now he was called aircraft carrier "Tbilisi", at which time the readiness of the ship was estimated at 57 percent. The ship was built in delay (approximately 15 percent) due to the failure of the supply of various equipment. At the end of 1988 the readiess of the TAKR was estimated at 70 percent. The estimated cost of the ship to 1989 amounted to about 720 million rubles, of which nearly 200 million were delayed deliveries of equipment and systems. In the same year L.Belov was appointed as the new chief designer, and the readiness of the ship is estimated at 80 percent. On the ship, about 50 percent of electronic equipment and systems were found, and most of the equipment had arrived on the ship in 1989.

The ship first made out to sea 20 October 1989. The cruiser was understaffed and in an unfinished state when it was put into the sea. From ready-made solutions on the ship he was ready to use air group. Out of the ship was completed on 25 November 1989. Tests Air Group started 01 Nvember 1989 - the Su-27K was first landed on deck. Immediately after the landing, the MiG-29K took off from the deck of the aircraft carrier.

Staffing ship armament and avionics was completed by 1990, by which time the total readiness of the ship is estimated at 87 percent. Running production tests were conducted in the spring and summer of 1990. In October 1990, the last time the ship changes its name, which it kept to this day - aircraft carrier "Admiral of the Soviet Union Fleet Kuznetsov". During the 1st phase of the test vehicle has successfully passed more than 16,000 miles, over 450 times the plane takes off from the deck of the ship. State tests of the first aircraft carrier project 1143.5 finished 25.12.1990, after which it is taken in the Navy. Further testing of the ship took place prior to 1992 in the Black Sea, after which he went to the Northern Fleet.

The carrier "Tbilisi" was launched in 1985, but was subsequently renamed "Admiral Kuznetsov" (Admiral Flota Svetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov) in the mid-1990s. A variety of aircraft were tested on the carrier's deck following its completion. The first specially configured Su-25UT Frogfoot B, Su-27 Flanker, and MiG-29 Fulcrum conventional jets landed on the deck of the Tbilisi in November 1989, aided by arresting gear. In addition, the Mig-29K passed its test flights from the deck of the aircraft carrier, but was ultimately not selected for production. Political turmoil delayed the ship's formal commissioning until 1991, and it did not become fully operational until 1995.


Construction of the Varyag started in December 1985 at Nikolayev, and the ship was launched in November 1988. The Varyag was intended to be the second ship of the class, but in late 1991 the Defense Ministry halted financing, and construction work was halted in January 1992. In 1994 Russia declined to resume the Varyag's construction, which was 70 percent complete. The total estimated cost of the ship was about US$ 2.4 billion, and more than US $500 million was needed to complete her construction. Further complicating matters was the fact that many of the ship's equipment systems reached their planned operational life limits by the end of 1997. The government of Ukraine decided in June 1994 to scrap the vessel, after unsuccessful attempts to sell it of Russia, China or India.

Ukraine began trying to sell the ship, and talks with Chinese and British companies were held in 1995. However, it was hard to find a customer. The sale of Varyag for US$20 million was announced on 17 March 1998 for conversion to an entertainment complex and casino. The Chinese company -- Agencia Turistica e Diversoes Chong Lot Limitada, a small company registered in Macau -- agreed that the ship would not be used for military purposes, which reflected the fact that much of its equipment had either never been installed or had been already been removed.

However, since July 2000 Turkey rejected repeated requests to let the Varyag pass through Istanbul's crowded Bosphorus strait. The coastguard was on alert, citizens were told, lest it try to "slip through". For Varyag to pass with escort tugs, the strait separating Asia and Europe might have to be closed to other traffic. In early December 2000 Turkey barred the Varyag from passing through the Bosphorus straits, saying its passage would breach the 1936 Montreux Convention, which regulates use of the waterway. As of early 2001 the Varyag was off the coast of Bulgaria, under tow by a tug manned by a Chinese crew. It remained anchored in the Black Sea for months awaiting a go-ahead. Turkey allowed the Varyag to pass through the Bosphorus in October 2001, after China pledged to pay for any damages that might result. The Varyag reached the Chinese port of Dalian in February 2001 for a refit into a floating casino and hotel, before being towed to Macau. Or so it said.

In the most publicized PLA Navy modernization event of 2012, after a year of extensive sea trials, China commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in September 2012. On 25 September 2012, it was reported that the aircraft carrier formerly known as the Varyag had entered operational service, primarily as a training platform with no assigned aircraft.

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