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Russia’s only aircraft carrier participates in Barents Sea drills

October 19, 2015, 13:25 UTC+3 MURMANSK
The Northern Fleet press service previously rejected reports alleging that the aircraft carrier would be sent to conduct operations near the Syrian coast
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© ITAR-TASS/Lev Fedoseev

MURMANSK, October 19. /TASS/.The flagship of the Russian Navy - the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft carrying cruiser has started planned combat drills in the Barents Sea, spokesman for the Northern Fleet Vadim Serga said on Monday.

"During fulfilling the planned combat training tasks in the Barents Sea, the Command of the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft carrier prioritises integration drills for the crew that has not been out at sea for several months. The work of the mechanisms and equipment that have been renovated during the warship’s dock repairs will be checked particularly thoroughly," he said.

The Northern Fleet press service said that over the past weekend the aircraft carrying cruiser left her Murmansk base remain off the harbour in the northern sea. The crew drilled preparations for sailing to the combat training areas and conducted test check of the weapons and equipment for operations on the high seas.

Serga said that during the voyage in the Barents Sea the aircraft carrier’s personnel will also drill certain elements of the program for combat training of surface ships.

The Northern Fleet press service previously rejected reports alleging that the aircraft carrier would be sent to conduct operations near the Syrian coast. "No long march or some other combat and operational training measures are planned for the heavy aircraft carrier in the near future," the fleet’s press service said on Wednesday, October 14. "The ship will shortly go to the Barents Sea to practice planned combat training missions and provide support for the flights of pilots from the shipborne fighter wing of the Northern Fleet’s naval aviation."

The Project 1143.5 aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is designed to gain sea and air supremacy in the fleet’s area of operation to ensure its staying power, deliver air strikes against the enemy’s targets and support amphibious landing operations. The aircraft carrier entered service in 1990. The ship has a full displacement of 58,000 tonnes, a length of 304.5 meters, a full power of 200,000 hp and a speed of about 30 knots. In addition to its air group, comprising 24 or 26 fighters and 12 helicopters, the Admiral Kuznetsov is armed with anti-ship and air defence missile systems. The ship also has a ski-jump ramp and two aircraft elevators to support aircraft operations. The ship’s crew totals 1,300 and the number of personnel of its air wing is 660.

Russia launched its operation against gunmen of the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria on September 30 at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian aviation grouping comprises more than 50 aircraft. The Russian Navy is also involved in the effort.

Overnight to October 7, the Caspian Flotilla ships delivered a massive strike on the IS objects in Syria, using Kalibr NK shipborne cruise missiles.

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