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Russia’s sole aircraft carrier to be upgraded to carry generation 4++ fighter jets

MiG-29K/MiG-29KUB, Su-33 planes and some types of helicopters will be based on the warship

MOSCOW, August 6. /TASS/. Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov will be upgraded to carry deck-based generation 4++ MiG-29K/MiG-29KUB fighter jets, Head of the Nevskoye Design Bureau (the developer of the warship’s modernization project) Sergei Orlov told TASS on Monday.

"MiG-29K/MiG-29KUB, Su-33 planes and some types of helicopters will be based on the warship. Some adjustments will be made precisely to accommodate MiG-29K/MiG-29KUB aircraft. Pilots want something new, something better and more reliable. Actually, the entire aircraft and technical compound of shipborne systems will be modernized," he said.

The Project 11435 heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov entered service in 1991. It displaces about 59,000 tonnes and has a length of 306 meters. The aircraft carrier develops a speed of up to 30 knots.

Apart from the air task force of 24-26 fighter jets and 12 helicopters, the Admiral Kuznetsov is armed with anti-ship and air defense missile systems, artillery guns and carries anti-submarine warfare weapons. It has a crew of 1,300 while the air group’s personnel numbers 660 men.

.The aircraft carrier is designed to gain superiority at sea and in the air in the areas of the fleet’s operation to ensure the fleet’s combat sustainability, deliver air strikes against enemy targets and support troops’ landing operations.

The trials of new generation 4++ MiG-29K/MiG-29KUB fighter jets aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov began in the summer of 2016. These planes were part of the warship’s air group during its voyage to Syria in 2016-2017.

In April 2018, a contract was signed for the aircraft carrier’s repairs and upgrade.

The Nevskoye Design Bureau is Russia’s sole institute designing aircraft-carrying and amphibious assault ships of various classes.

The repairs and upgrade of the aircraft carrier will last two years and a half, Head of the Nevskoye Design Bureau Orlov said.

After that, the carrier’s delivery/acceptance is planned, which envisages "an impressive set of trials likely to last seven months," he said.

Russian Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief Viktor Bursuk earlier said that repairs on Russia’s sole aircraft carrier had started in May this year and the Fleet expected to get the upgraded warship back in 2021.

During its upgrade, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is expected to be armed with the latest seaborne Pantsyr air defense missile systems.