The floating dry-dock where Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was being upgraded has ‘sunk completely’, damaging the vessel and potentially killing workers according to Russian media.

“The floating dock has already sunk completely,” a source told TASS. It was earlier reported that the floating dock sank partially.

According to latest reports, four people were seriously injured in the incident and another is reportedly missing.

The accident reportedly 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 accident.

United Shipbuilding Corporation’s chief, Alexei Rakhmanov, said to state media:

“Obviously when a 70-ton crane crashes on the deck there could be damage, but preliminary reports show that the damage that the ship has suffered is not significant.”

There has been several cases of power outages all over the region recently, including in the cities of Severomorsk and Murmansk.

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.

63 COMMENTS

    • Only way he made it will be if he hadn’t showed up to work but still considered missing because his supervisor still had him on the count.

        • Not necessarily. If his in a watertight compart meant, air pocket or simply in an area trapped of by water. Since it is in shallow water and is in a dock he has a relatively high chance of survival.

  1. On her last deployment Kuznetsov lost two fighters to accidents. Carrier aviation is a dangerous business and the Russians must be thinking it’s beyond them now.

  2. Wow a submarine aircraft carrier. The Russians really are at the forefront on naval technology advancements.
    Seriously through, I hope everyone involved in the accident turns out ok.

  3. This is the issue when putin starts dragging out Cold War relics for propaganda purposes. Worse yet the Russians can’t even build anything new, they lack the Budget, technology and productions facilities. Very much a shadow of the late USSR capability.

    Once his soviet era nuclear Arsenal expires they will increasingly look like the paper tiger they are.

    • Large surface combatants may be beyond Russia, but nuclear weapons and missiles certainly aren’t. Remember they’re building new SSBNs and are supposedly developing nuclear cruise missiles (which Trump has used to get the US out of treaty banning such weapons)

  4. This is what happens when you try to run a supposedly ‘superpower’ military from an economy the size of Italy’s. Well at least it’s good news that they’re carrying on with the refit. If they weren’t spending the cash on this pile of junk they’d be spending it on something we’d need to worry about. Thanks uncle Vlad !

  5. I think Russia are very smart with how they spend their money on defence and the UK could learn a thing or 2 from them.

    Russia has always benefitted from its land mass, which has proven impossible for any foe to consume fully and its ability to fight back (similar to the UK in that respect).

    It does however pride itself on its secret services and ability to keep its enemies off balance and sees this as a form of soft power. It is also innovative in its military doctrine (take a look at how it executed urban warfare in WW2).

    The UK also makes a lot out of its soft power and intelligence services, but like Russia of old has become very set in its ways militarily and is not a modern forward thinking organisation, whilst Russia is (little green men and all that).

    The UK has a compact military that should be delivering greater value than it is – this I believe is down to poor leadership. The RN are leading the way in renewing (something Russia had to do itself post its own foray into Afghanistan), but we need to take a leaf out of Russia’s book and innovate far more and to the core.

    As for this ship – its not really that strategic Russia sees its subs, nukes and land force through Europe as its key strategic capabilities.

    • I am not sure I agree. Russias main innovation is spending money on its military while leaving its people in poverty. Even then it spends it on things that are designed to make Putin look good rather than actually adding benefit. They have spent large amounts on a stealth fighter that will likely never be properly built and seems to be generations behind those in the west. As for their intelligence services… There seems to be a increasing understanding that they are not anywhere near as good as they used to be and that they are not properly lead. They also have a big benefit in that Putin largely controls Russian media so propaganda can be tightly controlled. This means it is far more difficult to hit Russia with the same sort of fake news that Russia can hit the west with. This is not innovative it is simply a byproduct of being an effective dictatorship.

      • The easiest way to stay in power is to present your people with a threat and pretend you are the saviour. Putin has been doing this for years and its highlighted by the absolute ridiculous comments which come from the Putin bots and fanboys. We are that threat and he needs to keep that threat alive to stay relevant.

  6. Just scrap the piece of junk or sell it to India… They like old junk. But seriously this is a Cold War relic built in Ukraine! Russia really needs to build a new modern carrier, but Russia’s not a true blue water navy, they are more of a land army millitary so I wouldn’t be surprised if they scrap it and don’t build any new carrier. Or they might just patch it up and make do with this tug assisted wreck….

    • India has had enough trouble with the ex Admiral Gorshkov INS Vikramaditya to ever want the Admiral Kuznetsov! They have their own indigenous carrier program albeit that has been riddled with delays and problems.

      • India is also having problems with their Russian carrier aircraft. That is true of China as well. A real mess for all of them.

  7. Pacman27 ‘It does however pride itself on it’s secret services and its ability to keep it’s enemies off alance etc etc’ Are you talking about Litvinenko and the Skripals ? The cold blooded murder of british citizens on british soil with polonium and novichok.

    • @David

      Not really, more a general comment on what it believes its strengths are. I do think their willingness to deploy these is another strength ultimately. They are pushing boundaries all over the place, first Ukraine, perhaps the hacks that hit the NHS a couple of years back and Salisbury.

      Not saying I agree with what they are doing David.

  8. As far as I am aware every single major deployment for the Admiral Kuznetsov has required dry dock time on her return not that she is deployed that often.

    The material state of the vessel is dire with many systems and sub systems no-longer or barely working. By all accounts she is one of the most unpopular postings in the Russian navy with the main water main in such a bad state that the crew have to share a small number of toilets and showers. She is dangerous to crew with fire, flooding and explosions being a real risk along with Asbestos and a general lack of regular training in flight operations or her systems as a whole. The P-700 Granit anti ship missiles have long been stripped from her launch tubes.

    When she does sortie she is in constant company of a large Ocean going tug and NATO navies were more worried about her being a hazard to shipping in the event of breaking down than any real military threat.

    Whilst there is regular talk of deep refits and upgrades from the Russians so far she has received the bare minimal work to keep her going. She is mainly for show than any serious platform for force projection.

    Maybe the Russian Matelots forced to serve on her will get lucky this time and the damage will be too much to repair!

  9. Apparently the crane caused a 5m gash in the hull. A Russian dockyard manager is quoted as saying this will take his welders 10 days to fix as they are used to doing this type of work
    Used to doing this type of work…OMG!
    A 5m hull breach in 10 days… I would not trust that repair. Cutting out the damaged steel and doing the basic fit up inspection would take that long. Then to weld it and do the basic NDT inspections would take a minimum of another 2-3 weeks.

  10. Many weapons and weapons platforms have become obsolete, in as short a period, as a single conflict alone!
    Look how the Carrier made the Battleship obsolete! What’s not to say that the Hypersonic Missile platform/Destroyer/Submarine would make the Carrier obsolete?
    Maybe Russia is thinking ahead of the game?

  11. Russian has never been a major naval power at least surface wise at least since the Japanese defeated them in 1905. For their own good they should just focus on defensive surface combatants, and pot the emphasis on their submarine, airborne force and bomber force for their offensive capabilities.

  12. You still need air cover for your battle fleet ,Hypersonic missiles being a better option is a excuse for a nation with out carriers.

    • I’d still like to know how useful hypersonic missiles are. How do you manoeuvre a missile travelling at Mach 5? And if it can’t manoeuvre, then surely it must be relatively easy to evade?

    • Russia has had near hypersonic , mach 3.5+ missiles since the late 60s early 70s they are nothing new.
      The old adage that its a big ass ocean still holds true. You have to find the target first before firing at it. If you cannot see it…you cannot hit it.
      To find something you need Surface, Sub Surface or Air radar search platforms and something to launch the things. All those would make nice juicy targets for Carrier Aircraft

  13. Russian military and intelligence strengths are two fold, ability to generate Youtube clips of weapons only seen in Stanley Kubrick films and a western press willing to believe the hype.

    Beyond that an entire Arsenal of 1980’s weapons many of which never worked when they were new and a president who is increasingly getting high on his own supply.

    Just look at the cost to the UK of replacing just 4 SSBN’s and 160 warheads, now imagine the cost to Russia of replacing even a fraction of its 6,000 weapons.

  14. The average life expectancy of a Russian man is 64 years… The country is headed for the worst demographic bomb among “developed countries” (loosely applies Russia). By 2030 they will have slipped from 9th to 12th place population wise. Not conducive to super power status or economy to say the least.

    http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/drunken-nation-russia%E2%80%99s-depopulation-bomb

    Russia is just a side show. The PRC is the threat (to both the West AND Russia).

    Cheers.

    • Indeed. China is also not only a threat to the West but also a threat to Russia. They have been silently invading Russia for a number of years. India has also found Chinese military buildings within its borders.

  15. Whilst I can’t help but have a chuckle at the misfortune surrounding the carrier in this event, I hope the missing individual is found safe and well.

    • Unfortunately despite in general having a much weaker force than in the soviet days, they are still potentially unpredictable and still are willing to assert their authority. Putin needs to in order to appear strong and in control. They still have nukes and they still have subs.

      Look at Ukraine…

      However we do need to keep a bigger eye on China as we are in danger of watching Russia too closely and therefore ignoring China.

    • Russia are more desperate ,I think they are more of threat as I keep saying using novichoks on our soil and ditching the remains of it in a public park says it all.

    • Yep western democracies have been so enamoured of capitalism as a path to liberal freedoms that they have forget that we were capitalists before we were free liberal democracies. They had also refused to acknowledge the threat of good old fashioned mercantilism as a way of defeating your enemies.

      China has been following a modern version of mercantilism since they realised communism could not compete with capitalism.

  16. While their surface navy is a joke, Russian land forces would lay waste to anything Europe has to offer. Should not underestimate them

  17. I actually feel embarrassed for Russia when I see pictures of that thing deployed. They really just need to do away with it. I read the planes taking off from the ramp can only fly for something like 30 minutes when they have a small weapons load on them. Seems totally pointless… and they wasted hundreds of millions buying specialized naval versions of planes for it and on “upgrades”.

  18. The Kutvnetsov is all about subterfuge. Present a hulking, physically large vessel that is practically a scrap piece of metal as a functioning fleet carrier and all eyes are focussed on this and the Kirov class battle cruisers whilst in reality the Russian Navy’s real threat comes from proliferation of Corvettes and frigates capable of cruise missile strikes using kalibre. Sub surface they are dangerous with one of the largest fleets of nuclear powered and relatively quiet conventionally powered submarines. The Improved Kilo, Yansen classes as examples.
    In reality I think NATO currently would be hard pressed facing this threat in any conflict.
    China is the greater worry though. Russia is in decline.
    The US department of defence analysis indicates China would be militarily capable of opposing NATO and supremacy of USN in Western Pacific by 2035 onwards.
    By which time they are likely to have 6+ nuclear carriers, 400+ surface warships and dozens of nuclear attack and ballistic submarines.
    The US alone cannot match the PLAN for numerical build. China simply can out manufacture the US building vessels and arnaments cheaper although qualitatively inferior. Inferior for now but quality is improving.
    The RN needs to up arm. Further astute class subs needed. More than 8 type 26s. At least 10 type 31s.
    We are in danger in any conflict of being blown away by attrition and lack of numbers.

    • I actually think we would be well placed to build some diesel electric subs. They would be lots cheaper and give us an increased capability to work alongside our Nuclear ones.

  19. I agree that China is the one to watch. The massive growth in both Naval quantity and rapidly evolving quality is a concern.

    A future globally trading Britain could we’ll find itself going head to head with China, not just in the Pacific, but increasingly all over the world, as China steadily expands its world influence.

    The Russians are also dangerous, no doubt. Mainly because they are unfortunately in self imposed terminal decline and increasingly behaving like a lashing out wounded animal.

    The RN needs to be explanded to meet the future threats and support and secure our much anticipated future world trade.

    • Self-imposed decline? Russia did not sanction themselves. That was done by countries thousands of miles away with absolutely zero direct stake. Countries whose populations do not in general give a single solitary damn about the Ukraine or in general be able to point out Sevastopol or Debalsteve on a map or spell the cities names. Simple rule if most of your country can’t pronounce the name or find it on the map mind your own buisness.
      Scenario: Say that the US had a major period of economic and political turmoil during which either Alaska or Hawaii tried to break off or join another country like Canada or China. American law does not recognize secession in any form from the Federal Government. So the odds are that best case those States governments would be violently suppressed and worse case that China or Canada would be finding out whether it is really possible to glow in the dark.
      So looking at it from that perspective is Russia doing anything that the US wouldn’t be doing in the exact same circumstances? No, if anything the US would be more violent in the pursuit of it’s goal of unification. The ghosts of Antietam and Shiloh certainly give credence to this belief.

      • Russian brought the sanctions down on its self.
        The Crimea is part of Ukraine not Russia.
        The Russian ethnic population in Crimea , with plenty of “help” from external Russian agencies sowed the seeds of disinformation and civil unrest. They then held a referendum that nobody in the international community recognized as being legit and used it as the pretext to secede. Funnily enough the next thing that happened is a number of well armed, well equipped and well trained “Crimean separatists” turn up and took over the area.
        The Russian internal meddling inside another countries borders and its blatant backing of the Separatists with Russian military units and equipment has led to the sanctions.

        By the way Sevastopol is a very nice city to visit. I enjoyed my stop there. Kiev isn’t bad either.

  20. I remember the Russians boasting about the QE being just a big target they could sink. Seems they are even more apt at sinking their own.

  21. Apart from a couple of modern destroyers and frigates, an SSBN aand two SSN’s every submarine and surface vessel in the Baltic and the North Sea Fleets are between 20 and 35 years old with very little chance of ever being replaced. Most of the Corvettes are in the Black Sea. Almost every new submarine is earmarked for the Pacific. I wonder where the Russians see the threat coming from. Mr Bell, Lee and John. Your all bang on. NATO is perfectly capable of bottling up the North Sea but the Pacific and the Indian Ocean??

  22. Russian weapons don’t work or just fake news in development stage . The Indians are not happy with that joint fighter .. Isreal air force regularly defeat the s 3/400 flying in to Iran and Syria .

  23. Unfortunaly Russia is in a bit of a nightmare catch 22, create. By both its own historic hang ups and poor western foreign policy. Russians sees the rest of the world as an intrinsic threat to mother Russia, history has after all renforced this with more blood spilt than an any other nation on earth. It’s an inbuilt part of their culture, very much like politeness is an inbuilt way of controlling violence in British and Japanese cultures. Russians (as a corporate group) only feel safe if surrounded by a buffer of at least semi controlled nations between it and other powers. Europe and NATO new this but pushed in anyway, almost forcing Russia back into a near abroad policy and conflict with the west. Putins authoritative government with a mix of Neo facist and Marist dogma is expression of this.

    Russia In the meduim term although presently expressing agressive foreign policy and a military build up is fundamentally doomed if it keeps on its preset path ( but it was doomed before this by NATO and European foreign policy that treated it as a defeated enemy). It’s. Birth rate and life expectancy rates have been plummeting over two decades with productivity and wealth generation plummeting. The money it needs to invest in healthcare, education and infracture, all of which are needed for increased productivity and wealth generation are instead going into military projects. This inevitably will lead to a spiral of poverty and lowering productivity (look at North Korea and the Soviet Union).

    If Russia was not a nuclear power with the ability to take down the human race it would not be our problem, as it is they are so it is. The west better find a way to solve the problem before Russia is faced with a set of choices that all seem to lead to its own end.

    With Russia we are not dealing with a peer, we are dealing with the desperate holding a deadmans handle conected to a dooms day device, we need to make sure there is always another way out for Russia.

  24. I think Russia will soon retire its carrier which it frankly doesnt need. Far better fpr then to develop/maintain there sub fleet, missiles and land forces. Historically Russia has never really a sea power as it’s never had to be.

    • With China building carriers I don’t see Russia abandoning them. Since WW2 Soviet Russia built a very decent navy that was of real concern to NATO & although reduced since the 1990s, it is much larger than many & being systematically upgraded & renewed. So I’d disagree I say Russia is a sea power. They have developed weapons that have driven the west to develop countermeasures & their anti-ship missile technology appears to be more advanced than ours. Do we have supersonic ASMs?-No & we even have seriously considered having no ASMs at all(MADNESS!!!) on any of our frigates or destroyers for a decade until we hopefully finish developing our next generation ASMs to replace Harpoon. None of our surface warships can launch cruise missiles, but many of the Russian ones can. They also have a lot more AA/CIWS than our ships have. Maybe that’s because their systems aren’t very reliable, but many of our much hyped systems have failed at times in combat too & many are untried in combat.
      Russia has many problems, but they’ve not allowed their navy to become a shadow of its former(even just 40 years ago) strength as we have disgracefully done.

      • I have been on Russian Warships, Sovremmeny and Udaloy class destroyers.

        They had 1960s china graph plotting boards and no centralised command and control system for passing data between operators that RN warships had ( This was in the mid 90s by the way so things may have improved a tad)
        The number of Radars and weapons on the upper deck was down to one thing. Reliability.
        The equipment they had was only up for 50% max of the time so they needed fall back options.
        The upper deck equipment was well preserved with paint…so much in fact that the valves for the fire hoses where seized shut.
        The crew was poorly trained and paid crap wages. They where swapping anything and everything for Mars bars and food!
        The actual major Northern fleet units that can currently go to sea and fight are probably no more than a dozen including the much vaunted submarines.
        When the cold war ended and the west got to see the Russian naval forces close up an awful lot of us looked at the then Red Banner Fleet and said WTF? Why have we been panicking during the cold war? Its a hollow shell and a sham .

        The current upgrades to Naval units are years behind schedule and by years I mean 5-10 years. (Even BAe isn’t that bad ;)). Yes they are building new units but they are small units and very slow on delivery and many are likely to not come to fruition due to budget cuts.

        Dont get hung up on ASMs.
        Firing them is the easy part.
        All of the target acquisition , launch platforms( air and sea) shore side support and maintenance needs to be in place as well. The issues with the Dry Dock are indicative of Russian Infrastructure issues and performance. How many of these missiles would work when the big red button is pressed if a simple power failure sank a dry dock.

  25. so sad for the guys that are hurt or missing for just doing their job on appalling wages and conditions

    but at least now the carrier is literally a “convenient target”

    maybe they left our troll friend in charge of the dock pumps??

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