Home » Aviation » Russia Pulling Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov from Mediterranean


Russia Pulling Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov from Mediterranean

Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov in transit to the Mediterranean Sea on Oct. 18, 2016. UK MoD Photo

Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov in transit to the Mediterranean Sea on Oct. 18, 2016. UK MoD Photo

Russia is recalling the Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov from the Eastern Mediterranean and sending the ship back to its homeport in northern Russia.

The strike group consisting of the carrier, guided missile cruiser Peter the Great, two Udaloy-class guided missile destroyers and auxiliaries will begin the voyage to Severomorsk.

“In accordance with the decision of Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces Vladimir Putin, the Defense Ministry is beginning to reduce the Armed Forces grouping in Syria,” the military head of the Russia’s armed forces Gen. Valery Gerasimov told reporters on Friday, according to Russian state-controlled media.
“The Russian Armed Forces’ carrier group led by the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy carrier will embark from the Mediterranean to Northern Fleet’s base later in the day.”

The flotilla entered the Mediterranean in early November as part of Russian efforts to provide military support to Syrian forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad. While Kuznetsov’s aviation complement likely did little to change the outcome of the fight for Aleppo from the sea, Su-33 fighters that traveled with the strike group were involved with the assault on Aleppo operating from ground bases, defense officials told USNI News.

Russian forces in Syria claimed naval aviation conducted more than 400 sorties in the two months but did not specify if the assets were based on land or came from the carrier.

During the weeks Kuznetsov was operating off of Syria, the air detachment lost two fighters due to a chain of failures that began with malfunctions in the carrier’s arresting gear.

The loss of the fighters and the lack of any real military effect from the carrier highlighted problems with Russia’s sole carrier and gaps in its naval aviation abilities.

A planned Russian naval aviation training facility is a year late in opening and the Russian Navy has relied on contractors to fill in the gaps in its pilot ranks.

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Categories: Aviation, Foreign Forces, Russia, Surface Forces
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

  • Ed L

    A learning Curve that I am sure the Russians will improve on.

    • John Locke

      They’ve gone from 5 carriers to 1 and she’s 30+ years old. They don’t deploy her regularly and aren’t building a replacement. Seems like they’re going in the opposite direction.

      • Ed L

        I notice that, maybe they are finally deciding if Carrier Aviation is really worth while. Especially with shore base Naval aviation regiments supporting the fleet. But then there are those people (even in our American Navy) who rather have multiple platforms for all three environments instead of putting everything into one basket like having a CVN does. Even back in the 80’s there was a small pool of American Naval Officers who rather see half our carrier force replace by 60 or more Cruisers, Destroyers, Frigates.

      • CapitalThought

        Russian GDP is $2T, they don’t have the money to float a substantial carrier navy. Even spending 5% GDP on Military, that just doesn’t leave enough to support a carrier navy.

    • USNVO

      Possibly, but people have been saying that since the ship was first built without them making much progress down the learning curve. The Navy is pretty far down the priority list for the Russian military and their carrier and airwing doesn’t appear very high within their Navy’s priorities. Not where you want to be if you have limited resources.

      • CapitalThought

        Russian GDP is $2T, they don’t have the money to float a substantial
        carrier navy. Even spending 5% GDP on Military, that just doesn’t leave
        enough to support a carrier navy.

  • PolicyWonk

    We can be certain that the pilots assigned to this floating scrap heap are relieved that their chances of getting home alive have been enhanced.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    Coal running low.
    Time for home!

  • Joseph Dadi

    Russians: last ones in, first ones out…

  • Brent Leatherman

    An entire – what? – 9 week or so deployment?I wonder if the tug boat that is one of her standard auxiliaries ran out of DFM?

  • seamarshal

    OOPS! Ran out of coal, ran out of pilots, ran out of jet fuel, ran out of borscht (at least that’s how google told me to spell it). Well, need to go back to the mother country!!

  • publius_maximus_III

    Da-svi-da-niya (cough, cough) comrades up on top of Old Smokey. Man, are my eyes burning, must be that crisp, clear Mediterranean breeze (cough, cough).

  • Jeff Kindrick

    Cute video! Not terribly impressive when compared to the well choreographed chaos I recall from the flight deck of CVA(N) 65 on Yankee Station 45 odd years ago however. In the early nineties, a couple of Mig-29’s were touring around the US escorted by a pair of F-15’s. I was at the airport fire station in Helena, Montana, to get some photos when they landed and was struck by how dirty the exhaust on the Russian birds was. Same fuel, but you could see the dark plumes of smoke from ten miles away as they approached while the Eagles were clean as a whistle.

  • Donald Carey

    Such a short deployment won’t impress very many people…

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    well ill be hacked