The sinking of Russia’s only drydock has scuppered plans to refit and repair their only aircraft carrier, leaving the country with the potential loss of the carrier Kuznetsov.

Russian officials earlier said that the accident wouldn’t delay efforts to repair the aircraft carrier, however officials have now admitted that Russia has found viable alternatives to the sunken dry dock for nearly all naval vessels, except for the Kuznetsov.

A crane from the dry-dock impacted the deck of the carrier and is still there.

“We have alternatives actually for all the ships except for [the aircraft carrier] Admiral Kuznetsov,” Head of the United Ship-Building Corporation Alexei Rakhmanov told the state-run TASS news agency Wednesday.

“As for the ships of the first rank, … the Admiral Kuznetsov, [the loss of the PD-50 floating dock] creates certain inconveniences.”

The accident happened as the Admiral Kuznetsov was to be taken out of the dry dock. The ship has now been towed to the nearby Sevmorput Yard No 35, yard press spokesman Yevgeny Gladyshev told Interfax. He makes clear that a power outage was what caused the sinking of the dry-dock.

The carrier has a history of trouble. In November and December 2017, the carrier lost one Su-33 and one MiG-29KR, when both jets reportedly ditched into the sea. Problems with arresting gear were cited as the cause. In 2009, the aircraft carrier also lost a sailor when a fire broke out due to a short circuit.

The carrier started an overhaul and modernisation in the first quarter of 2017. This is expected to extend its service life by 25 years.

The loss of the dry dock and the damage to the Kuznetsov begs the question, is repair even worth it at this stage?

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For the way Russia have openly mocked us of recent, I would love to see our government offer to take their carrier into one of our yards and put it out of its misery once and for all. These rare opportunities cannot be missed for a bit of point scoring. Childish? Yes, but go on do it!

Steve W

Yes I’d very much like to see us offer to scrap the carrier for free


I can’t honestly see Russia lasting much longer. Putin has set his country on a course of fanancial bankruptcy. When they openly spout nonsense about them being friends with Iran and North Korea, you just know how desparate they are.

patrick c

When your only allies are belarus, syria, iran and north korea, you’re not exactly setting yourself up for long term success lol.

andy reeves

excellent the rest of the russian fleet is barely seaworthy.


This just gets better and better lol! It wouldnt surprise me if russia in future tries to take the ukraine dockyard in which Kuznetsov was built.


They may just be doing that today after capturing 3 Ukraine vessels and closing of the strait pass LoL


Bless them.

I am sure, like the 5th gen fighter they recently decided not to take to production, the revamped soviet-era carrier was going to be too good for the rest of us anyway so they didn’t want to humiliate everyone too heavily.


Personally, I hope they keep it. Keeps me laughing when I see their tug.

Patrick C

Yeah, when I saw this news my first reaction was this is actually a blessing for the russian armed forces. The thing was a floating garbage heap costing untold millions to ‘operate’ over the years and hundreds of millions to outfit with newish migs that can only fly for a half an hour or so with any useful load when taking off on that ski ramp. It was a national embarrassment, but Putin seemed proud to show Russia was part of the carrier club and I think he believed it made people think they still had a blue water navy… Read more »

David Steeper

David, Patrick couldn’t agree more.


You would have to have a heart of stone not too laugh!! (Excepting the poor buggers who died because of the mess…..) take away high oil prices and they basically have nothing….

Jerry Kocijowsky

Russia cannot even build a refrigrrator

Levi Goldsteinberg

Dead power, no ability to project power and what credible military tech they do have is spread painfully thin as a veneer over a mountain of rusting cold war crap

andy reeves

i’d love to see an overfly picture of their post cold war ship graveyards, i’d imagine they’re full.

Mr Bell

Not so sure Levi about a dead power unable to project power. They rapidly propped up the Syrian regimen and turned the tide in Assad’s favour. Then deployed enough air, land and sea power to push back ISIS.
That level of intervention shows considerable reach.
I think up against NATO they would not last ten days in a conventional war (no Nucs) but as a military power against 2nd or 3rd world opposition they are effective enough.


I don’t remember ruSSia we’re fighting against ISIS in Sirya. What they did, it was just bombing civilians, especially hospitals, exactly the same they did in Chechnya. And assaults against rebels and did it in collaboration and at the same times WITH ISIS.


It will all come down to their relationship with China. A vulnerable Russia (to the west) or one that aligns itself to NATO in the future (post Putin) would be a huge strategic threat to China, with the potential of having USA or NATO on its border. I think we will see a growing strategic alliance between these two as USA ramps up pressure on both. China has the money to support Russia economically and could prop Russia up with trade significantly. They may also choose to help arm Russia in areas where they are now struggling. I fully expect… Read more »

andy reeves

chinas position as a potential threat is overstated, peoples fears are born from a jealousy of the china expansion plans, the west could easily end the chinese ambitions in the same way as the russians lost the cold war. the west spent more, gained a vastly superior technological superiority, china can be outspent, no matter what people say. the reputation of the chinese military is built on sand, there is no real reason why anybody should fear them, be impressed by their numbers yes, but look deeper and, well they’re not much different than russia.


I would say they appear to be working very hard on reaching parity with the west and are now beginning to show a lead in some areas. Forward 10 years and I strongly believe we will be watching them pulling away. They have a military industry now innovating not just trying to copy.
To just disregard them as you have is dangerous. one thing you can also guarantee is that they will be working very hard behind the scenes on tactics and training to utilise the new kit to the best of their ability.


I think it is overstated as it needs to be. Until Trump turned up the rhetoric it felt like e everyone had their head in the sand. With no driver to outspend china, no one will outspend them. They have been in a silent sneaky, no hopes barred competition with the west which has only recently been woken up to this fact.

Tim uk

Issue we have is the dying bear is fully aware it’s over being a strategic power other than as a nuclear one. GDP not much more than Italy, population falling off a cliff , life expectancy appalling and a resource economy still reliant on western customers and technology meanwhile they are being left in the dust when it comes to big ticket high end military weapons. If Putin feels an end game coming internally for his oligarch regime don’t discount some type of invasion or false flag event to save the day. Corbyn gets in he will make a move… Read more »


Typos , Newyork cab ride ! Apologies.

andy reeves

the reasons the russians lost the cold war are still the same, they’re skint, years behind technology wise. and everything they have is worthless junk.

Phil Langham

… which proves quite succinctly what tactical nous you possess, ie, nil

Gavin Gordon

A stab at fake news: it was Italian miget submariners


Don’t laugh, the Italians really did a number on half of the biggest units of K.u.K Kriegsmarine in WWI.


Gavin Gordon

Or rather ‘midget’ – said it was fake!


The only reason Russia even has an aircraft carrier at this point is prestige. The Russians never have and never will be a sea power, no matter how much their past, present and future goverment wish it were otherwise.

And at the rate it’s going, it won’t even be prestigious, just a grade A embarrassment. Two planes lost, one sailor dead, tug boats following it around in case it breaks down, now this. Common sense dictates they scrap it and concentrate on land power where they shine but common sense isn’t in abundant supply in Moscow at the moment.

Phil Langham

Wow, ignorance, arrogance and naivete all in one spittle-flecked rant. Well done, you


Thanks for the link. It got me thinking, imagine if this sunk as a result of a UK cyber attack. I bet that’s what happened!


Or at least that’s what the Russian’s will claim!


John Hampson

Is that a Laser CISW at the left edde of the photo?


Radar guided gun mount?
… Googly-fu is on point today. Kastan CIWS. Looking further I think Kuznetsov has (had?) eight of the mounts!

Mr Bell

Nagh. Radar dome for navigation and surface search radar. No laser visible on Kutvnetsov.

John Hampson

I don’t think it is a radome. It has a lousy field of view deck and would wash microwave radiation right across the flight deck.


If I remember my Recognition Training correctly a number of Russian naval units had a Nato Reporting named outfit called TIN MAN fitted. Its a laser dazzler/laser warner outfit. That may be the thing directly above the flat plate phased array Sky Watch antenna / concrete slabs.


Replied yesterday but I’ll try again anyway.
Looks to be a radar guided gun. Going with Kastan CIWS as it appears Admiral Kuznetsov is supposed to have eight of them mounted.

Robert Blay

And yet people still cry at the lack of missiles on the QE’s

Mr Bell

Looks like the crane has cracked the flight deck and dented the superstructure. This is not what will have removed the ship from active service. When the dry dock sank it put a 45-60 foot gash in the hull below the waterline. This is what the Russian’s admit too so in reality the hill tear is probably double that. She is not going anywhere unless by dry dock heavy haulage ship. Reckon she will end up in China as a “floating casino” really soon. Although I would much prefer the Russian’s keep on pumping money into this wreck of a… Read more »


Perhaps China needs another floating casino ?

We should seriously be mocking Putin and his junk Navy just now, time to with the propaganda war #somesuperpower


Propaganda wars don’t really work against countries that almost totally control their media…


Chances are Putin is already blaming the West for this somehow. He controls their media so he can say what he wants and they’ll believe him.

George Amery

Hi folks, maybe Russia’s new Spanish friends may be able to help if they have the resources to handle the engineering mechanics of a refit and dry dock. Or offer Russia a new permanent port for her warships. Apart from supplying fuel for en-route return, it may work well for both of them. Makes life for us much easier as we will all learn who are our real allies are in Europe.

Phil Langham

And you think the trumpster has our best interests at heart? Poor poor deluded you.

George Amery

Hi folks,
Maybe Russia’s new Spanish friends can offer to help as they appear to be offering to refuelling Russian warships returning back from Syria. Spain may have a dry dock and engineering mechanics to handle a refit for an aging aircraft carrier.


Hi folks,
Thinking about current issues. Maybe Russia can ask their Spanish friends to help out. As they appear to be cosying-up by fuelling the Russian frigate on it’s way back from Syria. Spain may have a large enough capacity for a dry dock refurbishment and modernisation of a carrier. After all, Spain does not like to meet and greet UK/US naval craft when approaching Gibraltar. Is Spain a real ally, and we must question of their value in NATO.

P tattersall

My last visit to Moscow about 18 months ago everything falling apart . The only new stand out thing in Moscow is the new huge mosque putin opened about 3 years ago .My girlfriend russian her brother ex army he didn’t like the fact the Russian armed forces are now just about Muslim majority of very close …No white russian will join the forces it stems back to the Soviet days

Silly Billies Sibling

They will think twice before deploying nerve agents on UK soil again


Someone mentioned the idea of Russia taking over the dock in Ukraine where the Kuznetsov was built…. coincidently 3 Ukraine vessels were captured and a vital sea passage has been cut off for Ukraine navy in the past 24hours. the Russians might have taken the idea onboard and crazy enough to execute it LoL