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Project 1143.5 - Kuznetsov Modernization

At the end of 1997 the aircraft carrier remained immobilized in a Northern Fleet shipyard, awaiting funding for major repairs that were halted when only 20% complete. In July 1998 the Admiral Kuznetsov emerged from a two-year overhaul and was declared active in the Northern Fleet on 03 November 1998.

In 2003 150 million rubles were allocated from the budget to repair the ship. The floating dock PD-50 was used in 2003 for repairs on the Kuznetsov; however, the aircraft carrier did not finish the repair program. Murmansk Shipyard received a military order from the Russian Navy on 26 April 2004 to repair eight gas pipes on the Kuznetsov. These pipes, which were several tens meters long, serviced the steam making stations of the aircraft carrier. The civil shipyard undertook to fulfill the order in the shortest possible time - before 30 June 2004. The ship was therefore planned to finish its repairs by September 2004.

In late 2008, during the repair of air conditioning systems have been updated, the main power plant, the mechanisms for lifting the aircraft flight deck, repaired boilers. Also, the individual blocks of weapons systems have been restored, and there was a replacement of cable lines.

The Admiral Kuznetsov, went into the dock of a shipyard in north Russia for repairs, the Northern Fleets press office reported on 14 May 2015, giving no timeframe for the repairs. "The repair workers will first make the ships inspection in the dock, after which a decision will be made on the scope of the repairs," the fleets press office said, adding the repairs would be carried out by specialists of the 82nd shipyard at Roslyakovo in the Murmansk Region.

The carrier within three months - May to August 2015 - passed dock repair 82 Shipyard Roslyakovo in the Murmansk region. During his stay in the dock to the "Admiral Kuznetsov" held a large amount of technical work, including underwater hull - it cleared the marine sediments and painted. They also repaired the various systems of electromechanical parts, responsible for driving performance of the vehicle. Then, on a regular docked in Murmansk, he walked up to the restoration of full combat readiness.

Modernization of Russia's only aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" would start as expected at the end of 2016. This is the radio "Russian news service," said the head of the Russian Navy ship captain Vladimir Trapichnikov. "Today, the ship has to pass the restoration of technical readiness, and during 2016 it will solve the problem on its mission. At the end of 2016 it will be subjected to some modernization works, and after upgrading it in the structure will get a new wing and new opportunities will be in two - and three times the amount of their tasks, "- said the rag-pickers, without specifying the time and place of work. He explained that the updated wing of the ship will include new MiG-29K 'and other aircraft."

Modernization of Russias heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was planned to be launched in the first quarter of 2017, the corresponding contract will be signed in the short run, a source in the defense industry complex told TASS on 25 May 2016. "The works on the vessel will begin after she returns from a long-distance voyage in the Mediterranean in the first quarter of 2017 and will last for two-three years," the source said.

"The Defense Ministrys contract with the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) on the aircraft carriers repair with modernization worth several billion rubles under the technical design of the Nevskoye Design Bureau is ready, it will be signed in June," he added. The source said that the service contract on the Admiral Kuznetsov with the Northern Fleet command has already been concluded. It was unknown where the upgrade would be carried out. According to the source, the Sevmash shipyard and Zvezdochka Ship Repair Center were among the bidders.

After it completed its mission in Syria it would undergo a major refit, which could involve replacing its troubled engines and sorting out the various problems in its systems which have dogged the carrier throughout its life. On top of some of the known problems with the carrier's systems - for example with its heating and water systems - the Russians are now aware of further problems with its arrestor cables (which have caused at least two accidents) and no doubt of other problems.

Once the refit is done there is a strong possibility that the Admiral Kuznetsov will be redeployed to the Mediterranean on a semi-permanent basis. The Admiral Kuznetsov as a medium sized conventional carrier appears better adapted to Mediterranean conditions than it does to those of the north Atlantic. In the Mediterranean it is a powerful symbol of Russian political resolve and naval strength, whereas in the north Atlantic, where it is dwarfed and outnumbered by the far more powerful and numerous nuclear supercarriers of the US navy, its role is less obvious.

Admiral Kuznetsov's electrical machinery and entire engine will be overhauled. "The take-off and landing systems will also be modernized in order to enable fighter planes to take off and land in full safety," TASS news agency reported, citing an anonymous source. Thus, the carrier group will continue to carry MiG-29K/KUB and Su-33 ship-based fighter planes. At the end of 2016, the Admiral Kuznetsov lost two fighter planes that crashed on landing following combat flights over Syria. On both occasions the accidents were caused by broken arresting cables that deck-based fighter planes hook onto when making a carrier landing.

Plans to upgrade the aircraft carrier called for obsolete Granit missile systems to be replaced with 3S14 universal launch systems. At the discretion of the military, these can be outfitted with Kalibr-NK class cruise missiles, Onyx supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, or the Zircon advanced hypersonic missiles. Experts applauded the decision to equip the Admiral Kuznetsov with the 3S14 universal launchers that can accommodate Kalibr cruise missiles, Onyx supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, and the Zircon advanced hypersonic missiles. "Compared with the U.S., Russia has a fraction of the ships needed to form a carrier escort group and provide appropriate protection for the carrier," said TASS military analyst, Viktor Litovkin. "For this reason, it was decided to deploy these strike weapons on the aircraft carrier itself."

The aircraft carrier's outdated engine presents a headache for the military. "God only knows what ship repair crews will find during the diagnostic process. The question is what to do with the engine - refurbish it so that it has a few extra years of life before it dies completely; or replace it with a completely new one, something that will require the entire ship to undergo major repairs," said Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of the magazine, Arsenal Otechestva. If the second option was chosen, then the ship will disappear into dry dock for many years, and the work will cost the state vast sums.

The aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov did not receive serious damage at the 82nd ship repair yard when the crane fell onto the deck at the time the ship left the floating dock. This was announced 13 November 2018 by Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko. According to him, Admiral Kuznetsovs measures for restoring technical readiness are proceeding in a planned manner, the necessary adjustments have been made to the work schedule, which will not affect the completion time of the contract.

Krivoruchko noted that all the necessary work on the aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov in the floating dock was completed in full. "In the framework of the fulfillment of the state defense order in 2018, the Russian Ministry of Defense signed a state contract with the joint stock company Zvezdochka on ship repair to restore technical readiness with separate modernization works of the Admiral of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov heavy aircraft carrying cruise with a fourth contract quarter of 2022. In the period from September 17 to October 30, 2018, the planned dock operations at the 82nd shipyard in Murmansk were fully completed," he said. According to him, during the work on the ship, it is planned to replace and repair elements of the main power plant, upgrade the electric power system, radio engineering weapons and air defense equipment, install and upgrade the means ensuring the operation of the aircraft wing of a cruiser. According to him, Admiral Kuznetsovs measures for restoring technical readiness are proceeding in a planned manner, the necessary adjustments have been made to the work schedule, which will not affect the completion time of the contract.

The head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), Alexei Rakhmanov, promised the Defense Ministry that the restoration of damage on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, obtained during a float accident and a crane falling onto the deck, would not significantly affect the repair time of the ship. "We have a firm belief that this incident will not affect the combat readiness, the timing?" - Ruslan Tsalikov asked Rakhmanov a question. "Anything related to damage resulting from abnormal diving of the dock and related to the fall of mechanisms on the deck of an aircraft carrier will not have a significant impact," said the head of the USC, adding that the aircraft carrier did not receive serious damage. He stressed that "the restoration of damage will not bring a significant deviation from the timing of the repair."

A special commission created by the Russian government to investigate the sinking of the floating dry dock PD-50 at a shipbuilding plant near Murmansk where it was servicing Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier has managed to fully assess the extent of the damage sustained by the ship, United Shipbuilding Corporation head Alexei Rakhmanov said 22 November 2018. "Our commission has identified 52 instances of damage, with the estimated total cost of repairs being about 70 million rubles (about $1 million). All this damage will be fixed during repairs which wont affect the refitting overhaul timetable for the ship," Rakhmanov said, pointing out that the cost of repairs is merely "a fraction of a percent" as compared to the cost of the overhaul.




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