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Russia’s sole aircraft carrier may get latest radio-technical equipment

A source in the domestic defense industry told TASS that the new equipment integrates Russian electronics and has not undergone full-scale trials yet
Heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov Andrei Luzik/Russian Navy Northern Fleet Press Office/TASS
Heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov
© Andrei Luzik/Russian Navy Northern Fleet Press Office/TASS

​​​​​​MOSCOW, May 11. /TASS/. The heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov may get the latest partially-tested automated system of short-range navigation and control of deck-based aircraft’s flights, approaching and landing operations while it undergoes repairs, a source in the domestic defense industry told TASS on Tuesday.

"In the course of repairs, there are plans to replace the old Rezistor-K42 system with a new complex similar to Rezistor-E that proved its worth in the Indian Navy The new equipment integrates Russian electronics and has not undergone full-scale trials yet at one of the two NITKA [ground-based aircraft training] facilities available in Russia," the source explained.

TASS has no official confirmation of this information yet.

As open sources suggest, some parts of the latest system whose name is unfamiliar to TASS, were delivered to the NITKA pilot training facility in Yeisk in southern Russia. In particular, the facility received the system’s secondary radar. However, the combined equipment has not been tested in full due to the facility’s unpreparedness. As was reported earlier, the NITKA ground-based aircraft training facility in Yeisk may be put into operation only in 2023 instead of 2016.

Experts believe that the best option is to test the domestic Rezistor technology during training flights at the NITKA compound in the town of Saki on the Crimean Peninsula, which has been forgotten for some reason and is a full-scale ground-based replica of Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. The training facility was reintegrated into Russia after Crimea’s reunification with the country in 2014.

The companies engaged in experimental design work on developing aircraft equipment and materials for the existing and future flattops have already relocated to Crimea, the source said.

Rezistor-E system

The Rezistor-E system has been developed and produced by the Chelyabinsk Research Institute of Measuring and Radio-Technical Equipment. By now, two Rezistor-E systems have been delivered to India. In particular, the Indian Navy’s flagship, the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya (the Russian Navy’s former carrier Admiral Gorshkov) upgraded at the Sevmash Shipyard in Russia’s northwest and delivered to the Indian side is outfitted with this system.

According to the data of the Chelyabinsk Research Institute of Measuring and Radio-Technical Equipment, Indian Navy pilots have already conducted over 1,500 landings on the carrier’s deck and the Rezistor-E system "performed splendidly."

The Rezistor-E system features a digital channel of data exchange with deck-based MiG-29K/MiG-29KUB fighter aircraft operating in the Indian and Russian Navies.

"The Rezistor-E equipment for the aircraft carrier Vikrant under construction in India was delivered on schedule," the Chelyabinsk Research Institute said.

Russian aircraft carrier, its ground-based versions and aircraft

The NITKA ground-based naval pilot training facility in Saki rejoined Russia along with Crimea’s reunification. Its assembly of metal structures was designed to provide for future upgrades, as experts say, this is its basic advantage compared to the similar compound in Yeisk made of concrete.

Today the NITKA aircraft training facility in Saki is slated for its repairs and upgrade, which will enable pilots of deck-based aircraft to practice flights on ‘the Crimean carrier’ already in the summer of 2021, according to experts.

In February 2017, a Northern Fleet carrier strike group returned to its home naval base of Severomorsk from its Mediterranean deployment. The carrier group, in particular, included the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky. The carrier Admiral Kuznetsov’s deck-based aircraft took part in a military operation in Syria for the first time in the Russian Navy’s modern history.

Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov is currently under repairs at the 35th Ship Repair Plant (a subsidiary of the Zvyozdochka Ship Repair Center within Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation). The Russian Northern Fleet operates two separate shipborne fighter aviation regiments: the 279th formation that flies Su-33 and Su-25UTG aircraft and the 100th unit that integrates MiG-29K/MiG-29KUB fighters.

In its deployment in distant waters, the Admiral Kuznetsov carried the 279th regiment and only a few aircraft of the 100th formation whose pilots had been trained at the NITKA facility in Crimea.

According to available information, at the time of the carrier’s long-distance deployment, most of the aircraft of the 100th separate fighter aviation regiment remained in Yeisk where the new NITKA was expected to go on stream. Its construction was launched over the lack of opportunity to use the NITKA compound in Crimea that was part of Ukraine at that time.

Aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

The Project 11435 heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov is designated to gain superiority at sea and in the air in the areas of the fleet’s operation to ensure the Navy’s combat sustainability, deliver airstrikes against enemy targets and support troop landing operations.

The warship entered service in 1990. It displaces 58,000 tonnes and has a length of 304.5 meters. The aircraft carrier has a full-speed capacity of 200,000 horsepower and develops a speed of up to 30 knots. Apart from the air taskforce of 24-26 fighter jets and 12 helicopters, the Admiral Kuznetsov is armed with anti-ship and air defense missile systems.

The warship is equipped with a ski-jump and two aircraft elevators. It has a crew of 1,300 while the air group’s personnel numbers 660 men.