No More Aircraft Carrier for Russia? It Might Not Be a Bad Idea.

David Axe
By Not stated. - http://www.defense.gov/photos/newsphoto.aspx?newsphotoid=87, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=869202

David Axe

Security, Europe

We lay it all out.

No More Aircraft Carrier for Russia? It Might Not Be a Bad Idea.

Now Moscow might no longer have that option. But that doesn’t mean Russia can’t deploy naval power. The Russian fleet’s newer corvettes, which are a fraction of the size of a Cold War cruiser, lack range and must remain close to home.

The Russian navy might decommission its only aircraft without directly replacing the vessel, leaving Moscow’s fleet without any prospect of at-sea air cover for the first time in decades.

(This first appeared several weeks ago.)

Admiral Kuznetsov, the Russian navy’s sole flattop, in October 2018 suffered serious damage at the 82nd Repair Shipyard in Roslyakovo, a northern port city, when the PD-50 dry-dock sank while Kuznetsov was aboard for repairs.

Dry-docks lift ships out of the water, allowing workers to access their lower hulls for deep maintenance.

Swedish-built PD-50 was the only large dry-dock capable of supporting the Russian northern fleet’s largest warships. Russia's other large dry-docks are thousands of miles from the fleet's main northern bases.

Moving the docks, or the ships needing repair, could be prohibitively difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Beside the cost, foreign sanctions complicate the acquisition of a dock similar to PD-50.

Now, according to the newspaper Izvestia, the Kremlin might just decommission Kuznetsov rather than spend the money to acquire a new dry-dock, move an existing dock or the carrier or find some other way of repairing the aging, unreliable and accident-prone flattop.

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