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Project 1143.5 Kreml class
Aircraft Carrier Cruiser

The 67,500-ton Kreml class aircraft carrier supports strategic missile carrying submarines, surface ships and maritime missile-carrying aircraft of the Russian fleet. The ship is capable of engaging surface, subsurface and airborne targets. Superficially similar to American carriers, the design is in fact "defensive" in support of SSBN bastions. The lack of catapults precludes launching aircraft with heavy strike loads, and the air superiority orientation of the air wing is apparent.

In 1978, immediately after the termination of work on the 1153 project, the Nevsky PKB Leningrad Design Bureau was once again charged with developing an "aircraft carrier equipped with catapults, air-assisters, helicopters and aircraft with both vertical and horizontal take-off and landing". The project received the number 1143.5, emphasizing that the ship represented a further evolution of TAVRK, the fifth ship in the series. This myth is still roaming about numerous monographs devoted to the Soviet carrier fleet. The designers of "the Five" themselves argue that the creation of the project 1143.5 was not the result of the evolutionary development of ships of the type "Kiev", but the third attempt to implement the design of the 1160 aircraft carrier, begun in 1971.

Changes in the project 1143.5 were underway to the project aircraft armament, worked out according to the decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. In the late 1980s CRI military shipbuilding corrected the tactical and technical requirements on the ship project 1143.5. At the same time the decision on the construction of the second ship project 1143.4 (1143A) instead of ship project 1143.5. Later, however, the project was again modified, to the technical design of 1143.42. The Nevsky Design Bureau developed five variants of the new ship, including one with an atomic power plant. The first option was an advanced preliminary design of aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser 1143. Designing was conducted according to the research work entitled "Order", which is a military-economic substantiation of the aircraft carrier with a nuclear reactor under project 1160.

Design was based on the following projects:

  • Project 1160 - preliminary design of an aircraft carrier with a displacement of 80,000 tons;
  • Project 1153 - a great cruiser with air armament (50 aircraft), with a displacement of 60,000 to 70,000 tons. No ships were built;
  • Project carrier recommended Minsudproma, displacement of 80,000 tons, aircraft and helicopters up to 70 units;
  • Project 1143M - an aircraft carrier, having armed with supersonic aircraft Yak-41. It was the third-carrier ship of the project 1143 - 1143.3. It was laid down in 1975, adopted in 1982, removed from plans in 1993;
  • Project 1143A - Project 1143M aircraft carrier with a larger displacement. Fourth-built aircraft carrier. It was laid down in 1978, adopted in 1982. Since 2004, the ship was held for the modernization of the Indian Navy. Adopted into the Indian Navy in 2012.
  • Project 1143.5 Heavy aircraft carrying cruiser - the next fifth modification of the project in 1143 and the fifth built aircraft carrier.

As a result, the minimum version was approved with a boiler turbine power plant, a pair of steam catapults and a total displacement of 72,000 tons. The refusal of the nuclear plant is explained by Ustinov's fear of the negative reaction of neighboring countries along the Black Sea. And Turkey could easily block the passage of an atomic aircraft carrier through its straits. And what to do with an aircraft carrier in the "paddling pool" of the Black Sea?

In October 1978, by the Council of Ministers decision the Ministry of Defence was tasked to develop tactical and technical requirements on the ship project 1143.5. The Ministry of the shipbuilding industry was to give preliminary design and technical project by 1980. Estimated start of serial construction of the project 1143.5 ships was 1981 year end through 1990. Bookmark and construction of ships was a Slipway "O" Nikolaev shipyard.

Draft project was prepared in 1979, the same year it was approved by Chief of the Navy S.Gorshkov. A few months later, in 1980, the head of the military department D.Ustinov signed the directive of the General Staff, which said about the need to change the project 1143.5. Now the period of technical readiness of the project moved on 1982, building on the 1986-91 years. In April 1980, the Chief of the Navy approves S.Gorshkov tactical and technical requirements as amended by the draft amendments. Summer of 1980 all the parties involved - the Ministry of Shipbuilding Industry, the Ministry of Aviation Industry, Air Force and Navy recognize the development of ship project 1143.5 is fully implemented.

Originally designated in the West the 'Black-Com-2' class (Black Sea Combatant 2), then subsequently the 'Kremlin' class, and finally redesignated 'Kuznetsov' class, these ships were sometimes also referred to as the 'Brezhnev' class. Initially Western analysts anticipated that the ships would have a Combined Nuclear And Steam (CONAS) propulsion plant similar to the Kirov battle cruiser and the SSV-33 support/command ship. However the class was in fact conventionally propelled with oil-fired boilers.

Western intelligence first detected preparations for the construction of the first ship in late 1979. The first public view of this ship came with the leak of the "Morrison Photos," which were the first real public look at overhead satellite imagery. [Another leak over a decade later was a bookend to the first, showing the dismantlement of the sister ship to the carrier in the Morrison photo].

In the early spring of 1981 from GAM at the Navy Shipyard Nicholas entered a contract for production. The cruiser was different from its predecessors the possibility of landing and take-off of aircraft of traditional design, such as updated versions of the MiG-29 , Su-27 and Su-25. To do this, they have been equipped with a springboard for takeoff, and increased flight deck. In the fall of 1981 in ship design have made changes - increased displacement of 10,000 tons. Further, the design was amended as follows:

  • installation on board the ship ASM "Granite";
  • increase aircraft armament to 50 units;
  • a springboard takeoff aircraft without the use of catapults,

The final technical design of 1143.5 was ready by March 1982, and adopted by the Council of Ministers #392-10 of 07.05.1982r.

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