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MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. Modernization of Russia’s heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is planned to be launched in the first quarter of 2017, the corresponding contract will be signed in the short run, a source in the defense industry complex told TASS on Wednesday.
"The works on the vessel will begin after she returns from a long-distance voyage in the Mediterranean in the first quarter of 2017 and will last for two-three years," the source said.
"The Defense Ministry’s contract with the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) on the aircraft carrier’s repair with modernization worth several billion rubles under the technical design of the Nevskoye Design Bureau is ready, it will be signed in June," he added. The source said that the service contract on the Admiral Kuznetsov with the Northern Fleet command has already been concluded.
It is unknown where the upgrade will be carried out. According to the source, the Sevmash shipyard and Zvezdochka Ship Repair Center are among the bidders. "The modernization will focus on the aircraft carrier’s flight deck, including replacement of the deck covering, tailhooks, aircraft arresting gear and other elements of the take-off system," he said.
The Admiral Kuznetsov composite air wing will include the Sukhoi Su-33 and MiG-29K/KUB fighters, Kamov Ka-27, Ka-31 and Ka-52K helicopters (destined for the Mistral class helicopter carriers). The Su-25UTG aircraft will no longer be based on the aircraft carrier, the source said.
No official confirmation to this information is available to TASS.
The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier is now at the 35th shipyard in Murmansk. In summer, the trials of a renewed air group are to be carried out at the vessel, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. A military-diplomatic source told TASS that the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier with new aircraft may depart for the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea this autumn.