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Plans to modernise the Admiral Kuznetsov have been downscaled due severe cuts to the Russian defence budget, according to Russian media reports.

A source told the Interfax news website that the budget will likely be reduced by fifty percent from the proposed $800 million.

“Instead of previously planned approximately 50 billion rubles for the work, it is planned to allocate about half of the previously announced amount” the source said.

The budget cuts will primary affect the modernisation of the carrier, whereas repairs will be carried out in full, according to the source.

The remaining funds will be used to upgrade the carrier’s propulsion systems including replacing four out of the Admiral Kuznetsov’s eight turbo-pressurised boilers while overhauling the remaining four.

In November last year, a MiG-29K crashed in to the sea before trying to land on the carrier, according to Russian officials the crash was a result of technical malfunction but it was later revealed that the jet had run out of fuel waiting to land while the crew was attempting to repair an arresting wire that broke. In early December an Su-33 crashed into the sea after attempting to land on the carrier.

According to a Russian report, the jet crashed at its second attempt to land on the aircraft carrier in good weather conditions. Initially it was suspected that the jet missed the wires and failed to go around, falling short of the bow of the warship, but later it was revealed that the arresting cable failed to hold the aircraft, and was damaged in the attempt.

Following the two incidents, the Kuznetsovs air wing was transferred to shore at Khmeimim Air Base near Latakia to continue military operations.

The Admiral Kuznetsov serves as the flagship of the Russian Navy and is their only aircraft carrier. The initial name of the ship was Riga; she was launched as Leonid Brezhnev in 1985.

She was originally commissioned in the Soviet Navy and was intended to be the lead ship of her class but the only other ship of her class, Varyag, was never completed or commissioned by the Soviet, Russian or Ukrainian navy. This second hull was eventually sold to the People’s Republic of China by Ukraine, completed in Dalian and launched as Liaoning.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Wise move.

    The carrier is very limited.
    The aircraft carried are so-so.
    It was never where the RuN’s strength lay.

    They would be wiser to focus on more SSNs & SSKs & continued modernisation of their land and air forces.

      • Incorrect. The Russian Navy is built around the principle of denial of access. This is due to the acknowledgement in the Cold War and after that it’s adversaries are maritime powers and it is not. This strategy is shown by the emphasis placed on SSNs and guided missile ships for power projection/raiding and SSKs and missile corvettes for defense of the coast. Russian/Soviet strategy was to try to shutdown the entrances to the Baltic and Black Seas not land flanking forces.

        American Naval strategy is the exact opposite, it is meant to hold sea lanes open. This is because unless the US has decided to revoke Canada or Mexico’s breathing license. Any war will necessitate moving the Army overseas. Mandating large carriers, anti submarine assets, anti air assets and massive Amphibious capability from the USMC. The US Navy is not built around numbers it is built around the understanding of Strategic Realities.

        The RN is built around programs that looked good on paper. Then were either half or poorly executed. As for a guiding strategy I don’t believe the RN has had a consistent one since around 65.

  2. The aircraft are pretty decent but in the end not able to reach their full potential due to the short flight deck and no catapult. The Montreux Convention pretty much doomed the design by making it half cruiser. The one sold to China is a little more capable but not much because it ditched the missiles.

  3. I am actually quite glad that Russia has not got the money to spend on defence as we would be in some increased trouble if the Russian economy was not struggling with sanctions.
    Russia remains a threat for 3 reasons
    1) size of its armed forces, even though using obsolete weapons in the majority, they have at least retained those weapons rather then scrapping them like the West did at the end of the cold wat
    2) submarine warfare, Russia retains a large fleet of subs capable of delivering significant problems to NATO
    3) asynchronous warfare and being prepared to use force…men in green uniforms in Crimea remember? Who were they and where did they come from?…. dooh Russia obviously.

  4. I think it’s very sad seeing Russia’s self imposed decline, Putin won’t be happy until he’s personally overseen Russian cultural, democratic and economic collapse.

    • In time as always the sanctions will not last. Democratic collapse? Blame Yeltsin for being incompetent that or the decision to hang nearly all the Soviet Unions debt on Russia despite it containing roughly half the precollapse population.That or Yeltsin not vigorously responding soon enough to territorial loss an terrorism. He only grew a backbone when the west started use the language they used before intervening in Yugoslavia about Chechnya. Economic collapse? Still doing better than when Putin took over. Again as Iran shows Euros can’t and won’t maintain sanctions forever. Cultural collapse how so? United Russia is populist Conservative party in action and policy. Has Russia ever bent the knee to Brussels or Merkel?

      I don’t like Putin but at least he doesn’t backdown to the EU. He also made no secret of what he wanted and that is the restoration if Russian dominance of Eastern Europe.

      • 4) ther ussian leadership are unpredictable, paranoid, and not too bright(like the americans really,). if we had sufficient hunter killer submarines to protect us, the threat to the u.k would be far less of a worry

  5. Well Ethan, in my opinion all the key area’s, economic, democracy and cultural, Russia is going down the toilet.

    Poverty is grinding, wealth concentrated with a tiny minority.

    Democracy .. Well Putin has no love for it and only pays lip service to the Democratic process.

    Cultural, The Russian Orthodox Church has been effectively weaponised by Putin, minority groups live in increasing fear because of the new religious zelots.

    Agreed, Yeltsin was a bit of a buffoon, Putin inherited many problems, but Putin is in my opinion a very dangerous individual, who is seeking to construct a very dangerous, aggressive and increasingly isolationist Russia.

    Its another North Korea in the making.

  6. China is more the one to watch with a naval shipbuilding plan to challenge the US & neo-colonial annexing of the international & disputed waters of the south China sea.

    Yet cutting our defense in the face of Russian aggression in eastern Europe is foolish. I wouldn’t put it past Putin to broadcast stories of financial limitations whilst in fact growing the actual budgets.

    • Yes China is the greater threat by far. What people also have a tendency to forget is China and Russia are allies/partners by circumstance. Long term they vastly different goals and historical antipathy that last threatened to boil over in the 60s and early 70s.

      Also Russia is a much more firm ally against Islamic terrorists than many EU and some NATO countries. Russian aggression in Eastern Europe is highly predictable however. They have been the Hegemon of Eastern Europe since before Peter the Great. Russia was NEVER going to react well to the EU and NATO expanding to their borders.

  7. I disagree. China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea are a major concern, but their economy is almost totally dependent on the West for buying its goods.

    China and the Western powers are twins connected by a trade based umbilical cord, they are both utterly dependent on each other.

    Russia, not so much, the sanctions ironically cause further separation and make Russia even more volatile.

    Certainly not saying drop the sanctions though!

    • the way to deter the russians is to outspend them, build up our numbers right across the board. the u.k should swallow its pride and where able buy second hand. a few of the mothballed olver hazzard perry frigates the yanks have in mothballs and being considered for reactivation. , would be a good stopgap while jock mcsporran builds us a few 26’s the u.k.could double the size of the R.A.F for peanuts.(google amarg facility inventory). to see what the americans have in storage for possible reactivation. couple of squadrons of f 15’s would please the flyboys.as for the army, go back to iraq and bring back OUR kit that was left behind.

      • It certainly looks like we are shaping up to be sharply focused on Carrier Strike and Helicopter deployed RM’s at Commando strength.

        If the stories are right regarding the Amphibious
        capability cuts, then it would seem we are about to give up the presence of a well rounded capability and concentrate on multi national operations and small scale national interventions, i.e, no more than 3000 troops on the ground and three months tops.

        We will be placing huge store and faith in the aircraft carrier “big stick” to make potential aggressors back down and think twice.

        A properly equipped QE class cerca 2025, with 24 + Block 4 F35B’s on board, with the advanced ordnance they will unleash (Spear3, Meteor, Storm shadow) will be quite the big stick to park off someone’s shore too.

        Will it be enough ? …. Time will tell.

      • Reeves if the MOD took the attitude you do ie “the Americans are paranoid and not bright.” Well they would probably not even get their calls returned anymore.
        OHP frigates were wonderful but the reason the Navy is dithering is each one would require massive overhauling to bring to service. They haven’t been uprgaded since 95 and their last refit at the earliest was 03. In addition their old as hell.
        Many aircraft are stored at AMARG however F15s wouldn’t exactly be on the for sale list.

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