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Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov

Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov in 1991.

Class overview
Builders: Chernomorsky Shipyard 444


Soviet Navy

Preceded by: Project 1153 Eagle
Succeeded by: Project 1143.7 Ulyanovsk
Built: 1982-2004
In commission: 25 December 1990 -
Building: 5
Planned: 0
Completed: 4
Active: 4
General characteristics
Class and type: Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov
Type: CV
  • 43,000-tons (Standard-load)
  • 55,200-58,600-tons (Full-load)
  • 67,500-tons (Max-load)
Length: 305 m (1,001 ft)
Beam: 72 m (236 ft)
Draught: 11 m (36 ft)
Propulsion: Steam turbines 80,000 shp 200,000 shp (150,000 kW)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Range: 8,500 mi (13,700 km) 18 knots (33 km/h)
Complement: 1,500
Armament: 12 P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship missiles
192 3K95 Kinzhal (SA-N-9 Gauntlet) SAMs
8 Kashtan CIWS mounts
6 AK-630 AA guns
1 UDAV-1 ASW rocket launcher
Aircraft carried:


  • Fixed Wing;
    • 18 × Sukhoi Su-33 fighters
    • 10 × Sukhoi Su-25UTG/UBP aircraft
  • Rotary Wing;
    • 8 × Kamov Ka-27LD32 helicopters
    • 24 × Kamov Ka-27PLO helicopters
    • 4 × Kamov Ka-27S helicopters
Aviation facilities: Angled arrested landing flight deck
Bow ski jump

The Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov class aircraft carriers (also known as Project 1143.5, the Brezhnev class, or the Kreml class) has nine functional aircraft carriers, Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov, Varyag, Leonid Brezhnev, Tbilisi, Riga, Kreml, Siberia, Volgograd, and Czar Ivan IV. This class forms a large aircraft carrier battle group within the Soviet Navy, and three of the carriers forms the carrier battle group of the Soviet Pacific Fleet.


While designated an aircraft carrier by the West, the design of the Kuznetsov class implies a mission different from that of western carriers. The term used by her builders to describe the Russian ships is tyazholiy avianesushchiy kreyser (TAKR or TAVKR) - “heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser” - intended to support and defend strategic missile-carrying submarines, surface ships, and maritime missile-carrying aircraft of the Soviet fleet.

In its fleet defense role the Kuznetsov's P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 NATO reporting name: Shipwreck) anti-ship cruise missiles, 3K95 Kinzhal (Gauntlet) Surface-to-Air missiles, and Sukhoi Su-33 (Flanker-D) aircraft are its main weapons. The fixed-wing aircraft on Admiral Kuznetsov are intended for air superiority operations to protect a deployed task force. The carrier also carries numerous helicopters for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search and rescue (SAR) operations.


Hull and flight deck

The hull design derived from the 1982 Project 1143 Krechyet, but is larger. The flight deck, with an area of 14,700 square meters, is of a conventional angled-deck-carrier configuration, but equipped with a 12-degree ski-jump flight deck -- instead of using aircraft catapults. This results in a configuration similar to that of the Royal Navy's Invincible-class aircraft carriers.

However, the shape of her flight deck is loosely similar to those of the U.S. Navy's and French Navy's aircraft carriers. The Admiral Kuznetsov has a so-called "STOBAR" configuration: her flight deck is equipped with landing arrester-wires, but she has no catapults. Her Su-33 fighter planes with a maximum payload can take off from her flight deck. Two aircraft elevators, on her starboard side forward and aft of her island, move her aircraft between her hangar deck and her flight deck.

Air wing

In the original project specifications, the ship should be able to carry up to 33 fixed-wing aircraft, and 12 helicopters.


Admiral Kuznetsov has twelve launchers for SS-N-19 (Shipwreck) anti-ship surface-to-surface missiles, unlike Western aircraft carriers which carry little organic armament. The presence of this sizable anti-ship missile capability determines its typing as an aircraft-carrying cruiser.

For long-range air defense, the ship carries 24 vertical launchers for SA-N-9 (Gauntlet) surface-to-air missiles with 192 missiles,

For close-range air defense, the ship carries eight Kashtan Close-in weapon system (CIWS) mounts. Each mount has two launchers for 9M311 SAMs, twin GSh-30 30mm rotary cannons, and a radar/optronic director. The ship also carries six AK-630 30mm rotary cannons in single mounts.

For defense against underwater attack, the ship carries the UDAV-1 ASW rocket launcher.


The ship has D/E band air and surface target acquisition radar, F band surface search radar, G/H band flight control radar, I band navigation radar, and four K band fire-control radars for the Kashtan CIWS.

The ship has hull-mounted medium- and low-frequency search and attack sonar. The ASW helicopters have surface search radar, dipping sonar, sonobuoys, and magnetic anomaly detectors.

Propulsion and performance

Initially Western analysts anticipated that Admiral Kuznetsov would have a Combined Nuclear And Steam (CONAS) propulsion plant similar to the Kirov class battlecruisers and the SSV-33 command ship. However, Admiral Kuznetsov as completed was conventionally powered by eight gas-fired boilers and four steam turbines, each producing 50,000 hp (37 MW), driving four shafts with fixed-pitch propellers. Her maximum speed is 29 knots (54 km/h), and her range at maximum speed is 3,800 miles (6,100 km). At 18 knots (33 km/h), her maximum range is 8,500 miles (13,700 km).