MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser has conducted live firing drills in the Barents Sea using the Kinzhal (Dagger) anti-aircraft missile system to hit a sea target, spokesman for the Russian Northern Fleet Vadim Serga said on Monday.
"The cruiser conducted the firing exercise in the Barents Sea. The vessel successfully hit the sea target," he said.
Serga said that the ship continued to perform the planned tasks under the combat training program. The cruiser’s crew checked her on-board radio systems and equipment on Sunday. As part of the check, the Sukhoi Su-33 and Su-25 fighters of the Northern Fleet naval fighter regiment overflew the ship taking off from Severomorsk-3 airfield.
The previous combat readiness check of Russian troops in the Arctic was conducted in March - it involved the Northern Fleet, units of the Western Military District and airborne troops. The drills involved more than 80,000 troops and 12,000 equipment units, including 65 warships and 15 submarines, more than 220 warplanes and helicopters. The first Arctic motorised rifle brigade also took part in the drills that centred on delivering a massive missile and air strike.
The Northern Fleet press service previously disproved 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 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 Admiral Kuznetsov is the sole aircraft carrier in the Russian Navy. It was laid down on September 1, 1982 and launched on December 4, 1985. In navigation the ship bases Su-25UTG and Su-33 planes and Ka-27 and Ka-29 helicopters.
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’s armed forces have conducted a total 45 exercises this year, including nine international drills. The Russian Navy also conducted manoeuvres in the Baltic Sea, in the Pacific (Sea of Japan), as well as in the Black and Caspian Seas.