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MOSCOW, November 24 (Itar-Tass) — Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky departed for a three-day working visit to the Northern Fleet, during which he will checks the readiness of the naval aircraft carrier group, led by heavy aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov for a voyage and actions in the far ocean area.
A Russian Navy spokesman said that the “technical condition of the ships and preparedness of commanders will be checked.” “The aircraft carrier group is expected to leave the main base of the Northern Fleet in Severomorsk in December,” he said.
“The plan of the working visit by the Navy Commander-in-Chief also envisages the checking of the progress of testing of the nuclear-powered submarines built for the Navy,” the official said.
On Wednesday, a squadron of ships of the Northern Fleet, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft carrying cruiser completed preparations for a long-distance cruise.
The Northern Fleet’s information support department said that “the crews of the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser and the Admiral Chabanenko large anti-submarine warfare ship (ASW) performed exercises at military training ranges in the Barents Sea.”
“The heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser has taken on board an air group comprising the Su-33 deck fighters, Su-25UTG strike fighters and the Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopters,” the Northern Fleet headquarters reported. “These events ended the preparation for the upcoming long voyage.”
According to the RF Navy release, acting within carrier strike group headed by NF Deputy Commander Vice Admiral Alexander Vitko, the crews conducted joint navigation, carried out 4 gun firing and 10 missile firing drills. Joint manoeuvring, search/tracing/attacking of a submarine, and air defence activities were practiced during the exercise. Personnel had numerous onboard drills at sea. Aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov took aboard an air wing consisting of deck-based fighters Su-33, attack airplanes Su-25UTG, and ASW helicopters Ka-27. These activities were the closing phase of preparations for coming long-range cruise. In December 2011 aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov and large ASW ship Admiral Chabanenko will be deployed in distant zones of the World Ocean.
Admiral Flota Sovetskovo Soyuza Kuznetsov (originally named Riga, renamed Leonid Brezhnev then Tbilisi) is an aircraft cruiser (heavy aircraft carrying missile cruiser) serving as the flagship of the Russian Navy. 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 commissioned and was sold to the People’s Republic of China by Ukraine under the condition she would never be refitted for combat. Kuznetsov was named after the Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov.
The Red Banner Northern Fleet is a unit of the Russian Navy that has access to the Barents and Norwegian Seas, the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, and is responsible for the defence of north-western Russia. It was established in 1937 as part of the Soviet Navy. The fleet's headquarters, including its main base and administrative centre, is in Severomorsk; secondary bases are located throughout the Kola Gulf. During the Soviet Era it operated more than 200 submarines ranging from diesel-electric attack (SS) to nuclear-powered ballistic missile (SSBN) classes.
The 57th Mixed Ship Aviation Division transferred from the Baltic Fleet to the Northern Fleet in December 1991, having been previously the 57th Maritime Missile Aviation Division and supervising regiments of Tu-22s and electronic warfare Tu-16s from a headquarters at Bykhov, Mogilev Oblast, in the Belorussian SSR. As the 57th Mixed Ship Aviation Division, the division commanded the 830th and 38th Shipborne Anti-Submarine Helicopter Regiments and the 279th Shipborne Fighter Aviation Regiment from Severomorsk-3 in Murmansk Oblast until 1 May 1998, when it was disbanded. The 5th Maritime Missile Aviation Division was also active within the Fleet for a long period, commanding the 524th and 574th Maritime Missile Aviation Regiments among other units. The 574th Regiment was based at Lakhta air base (Katunino) for a long period until disbanding in 2002.
The Oscar class submarine Kursk was destroyed in a torpedo accident during Fleet exercises in 2000. The submarine was previously based at Ara Bay. The Northern Fleet staged another series of major exercises in January 2004 involving thirteen ships and seven submarines in the Barents Sea.
The flagship of the Northern Fleet, the heavy nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky, is named after Peter I of Russia (or Peter the Great). The Northern Fleet is perhaps best known for its many nuclear-powered vessels. In fact, about two thirds of all the Russian Navy's nuclear force is based there.
In addition to the main base at Severomorsk, the Northern Fleet has six more naval bases and several shipyards and spent fuel storage sites, according to the Bellona Foundation. Bases include Severomorsk, Polyarnyy, Olenya Bay, Gadzhiyevo (Yagelnaya/Sayda), Vidyayevo (Ura Bay and ARa Bay), Bolshaya Lopatka (Litsa Guba), and Gremikha - also a spent fuel storage site. The spent fuel storage sites include Murmansk, which is also a shipyard and base for Arktika nuclear-powered icebreakers, Andreyeva Bay, and Severodvinsk, also a shipyard. Shipyards include Roslyakovo, Polyarnyy, Nerpa, and Malaya Lopatka.