Skip to comments.Russia's Sad, Smokey Carrier Doesn't Seem to Be Doing Much of Anything
Posted on 12/08/2016 5:32:45 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
Russia's only and therefore mightiest carrier by default, the Admiral Kuznetsov, transited the Mediterranean last month to great controversy. The ship was accusedrightly soof moving into position to support the bombing of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Aircraft from the carrier were spotted over Aleppo the first day it began air operations over Syria.
Since then Kuznetsov has lost two of fifteen fighters of its assigned air wing to accidents, and flight operations have been suspended at least once. A Russian television news report shot on the carrier itself attempts to portray the ship as a hive of activity but raises more questions than it answers.
Let's look at Kuznetsov's flight deck. There are only a handful of aircraft on deck in any particular shot, and in some shots there are no planes at all. Many of the airplanes are completely unarmed, their wings devoid of missiles and bombs. In still other shots the Kuznetsov's helicoptersKamov Ka-27 anti-submarine helicoptersare tied down on the middle of the flight deck in broad daylight, making fixed-wing air operations impossible.
Almost all of the footage is of the carrier's nine remaining Su-33 Flanker air superiority fighters. The Flankers were recently upgraded with a navigation and targeting system designed to deliver unguided bombs with precision. Regardless, no actual air-to-ground weapons are shown on any of the Flankers. The Flankers are instead shown equipped with R-27 "Alamo" air-to-air missiles that are useless in a bombing campaign. The actual workhorses of Kuznetsov's air campaign, the remaining three MiG-29Ks, are only seen a handful of times.
Bombs or any sort of air-to-ground ordnance at all are shown just three times. In the first instance, what appear to be 500 kilogram unguided bombs are being wheeled across the flight deck. Where those bombs are really going is anyone's guess, since the news report doesn't show them being attached to an airplane. In the second and third instances, MiG-29K fighters are seen equipped with a KAB-500Kr-F electro-optical bomb. The MiGs are shown in the air but there's no sign of any air-to-ground ordnance.
What does all this mean? Kuznetsov just doesn't look very busy. Contrary to what the news report meant to show, there's very little evidence the carrier is actually involved in a bombing campaign. Late last month, the bulk of the carrier's air wing was sighted at Humaymim Air Base in Syria. As one senior military officer told Jane's, "We don't think the Russians are flying as many sorties off their carrier as they would want the world to think." This video makes that seem all the more likely.
The US has 10 active aircraft carriers in service.
Considering Russia’s sole CSG only carries 20 fixed-wing fighters I never really considered the deployment a game changer.
The US has 10 active aircraft NUCLEAR carriers in service. Plus another eight LHD/MEU carrier groups. 18 carrier task forces is more than the rest of the developed world combined.
And has been developing carrier tactics and operations for over 100 years. The USSR and others are newbies to this.
more than the undeveloped world, too!
However, academic exercises result in experience that cal be valuable for planning.
A negative result can be informative.
Unfortunately performing the exercise in the Medditeranean Sea for all to see, is embarassing
All part of putin’s “Make Russia Pretend to be Great Again” plan
I wonder how loud of a wail would be heard from liberals if somebody offered the suggestion of allowing Russian aircraft to use a US carrier, to let Russia use an older but operational carrier.
Its planes struggle also since the lack of a CAT launch system makes it impossible for them to carry extra fuel thus limiting their range; further, the same limitation makes carrying anything other than a very light bomb load impossible; CAG seems to be limited also as a retuning MiG was allowed to circle until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea. And so on.
Russia’s military is still a shadow of what it was during the Soviet Era (and it was vastly overrated even then). Although they did go through a period of modernization in the mid to late 2000’s when Russia was awash in oil revenue, they are still way too reliant on obsolete Soviet era equipment
Highway to the Danger Zone!
I agree and carry it one step further.
The exercise is being conducted using stock pile of who knows how old explosives. Having many times more than what they actually need allows the exercise to go forward cheap. I feel certain that various military attaches from military customers have been drug out to actually the stuff in action. The war is a sales event
Then the carrier came on the scene and screwed all the sales pitches up
They lost a Sukhoi a few days back, too. Read somewhere that the pilots were picked contractors. Another reason perhaps for the small airwing embarked.
I believe in the design he has 12 VLS with SSN-19 SHIPWRECK SSMs. Whether they are still there and operational i do not know. I think in GW1 some carrier launched a/c landed at ground bases so they could load up more munitions and fuel before a strike.
Russia (like China) has little in the way of a naval tradition. An Office Corp and Senior Enlisted without experience does not spell success...
Right. But even so we need to update, upgrade and expand the navy as one of the nation’s most pressing priorities.
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