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MOSCOW, September 29 (Itar-Tass) — The heavy air-capable cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov at the head of a squadron of Northern Fleet ships will set out on a long-distance voyage in November this year to accomplish combat duty missions in the Mediterranean Sea and the North-Eastern Atlantic, anofficer at the Main Naval Headquarters (MNH) of Russia told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
"The Admiral Kuznetsov will go to the Barents Sea on November 13 and moor up there to take on board an air wing -- eight jetfighters Su-33, several MiG-29K, as well as two ASW helicopters Ka-27. The air wing will be drilling the tasks of takeoff and landing onto the deck of the carrier for a week.
"On November 19, the Admiral Kuznetsov will set out on a three-month cruise to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The large anti-submarine ship Admiral Chabanenko will be together with the cruiser among the the carrier group of ships for screening and combat support purposes," the MNH officer said.
Verification is under way of a list of foreign ports to be visited by the Russian ships, including an update in view of the developments in the Middle East and North Africa. The question of the Russian ships' participation in joint exercises together with the navies of countries in the region is being worked out as well, the MNH officer pointed out.
As of now, the Design 1143.5 cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov -- a fifth Soviet-built heavy air-capable cruiser -- is the only operational one in the Russian Navy. The cruiser made four long-distance voyages to the Mediterranean and the North Eastern Atlantic. The cruiser can carry 26 shipboard fighter planes Su-33 and MiG-29 K and 24 ASW helicopters -- eighteen Ka-27 and Ka-29, two Ka-27PS, and four Ka-31.
The cruiser's full-load displacement is 60,000 tonnes and maximum speed is 29 knots; cruising range is 8,400 miles; crew membership is over 1,900, including over 600 air pilots and technicians of the air wing.
The ship's armament includes twelve launchers of anti-ship missile Granite, four six-tube launchers of anti-aircraft missile Kinzhal (dagger), eight launchers of the anti-aircraft system Kortik (dirk), six six-tube 30-mm artillery mounts AK-630M, and two rocket-assisted bomb-throwers RBU-12000 Udav (python).
The Admiral Kuznetsov joined the Northern Fleet in January 1991. By now the cruiser has gone through at least three periods of repairs with an aggregate duration of six years.