The Russian Navy’s sole aircraft carrier is scheduled to undergo her first major refit in 2017. RFS Admiral Kuznetsov has not been extensively modernised since entering service in 1990. The 58,000-tonne carrier had been due a major upgrade at Sevmash in 2012 that was expected to last around five years.
The plan then had been to update her air defence missile batteries and electronic systems, along with the removal of P-700 Granit (SS-N-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship cruise-missile launchers to provide more hangar space for fixed wing aircraft.
The modernisation work was postponed because of long delays in the refurbishment of Vikramaditya for the Indian Navy. Next year’s refit will primarily focus on upgrading flight deck equipment to improve the launch and recovery rate of aircraft.
Before then the carrier is preparing to deploy to the Mediterranean later this year with a composite air wing of Su-33 Flanker and MiG-29K/KUB Fulcrum fighters, as well as Kamov Ka‑27, Ka-31 and Ka-52K helicopters.