The fall of russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

Admiral Kuznetsov, despite being a symbol of Russian naval power, has faced a multitude of problems and difficulties since joining the Northern Fleet in 1991. The issues have spanned from operational challenges to accidents, mishaps, and even financial irregularities during its repair and modernization efforts. Here are some of the notable problems:

Frequent Breakdowns and Malfunctions

The carrier has become notorious for breakdowns and malfunctions, leading to extended repair periods in port.

Breakdowns occurred so frequently that the carrier had to be accompanied by a tanker loaded with extra pipes for repairs.

Fire and Oil Spill (2009):

Fire on the Admiral Kuznetsov
Fire on the Admiral Kuznetsov

While off the coast of Turkey in January 2009, the Admiral Kuznetsov suffered a fire that resulted in the tragic death of a crew member.

A month later, it was involved in an oil spill off the coast of Ireland, leaking an estimated 300 metric tons of oil into the ocean.

Arresting Cable Failures and Air Wing Transfer (2016):

During its only combat deployment to Syria in 2016, two jets, an Su-33 and a MiG-29K, crashed into the water due to the carrier arresting cable snapping during landings.

The frequent cable failures forced the transfer of the carrier’s air wing to the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria.

Criticism and “Ship of Shame” Label (2016):

Then-British Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon referred to the Admiral Kuznetsov as “a ship of shame” upon its return from Syria, highlighting the carrier’s operational challenges and mishaps.

Overhaul and Modernization Challenges:

After its return from Syria, the carrier underwent an overhaul and modernization effort to extend its service life.

The inability to use the Ukrainian shipyards where it was built led to the refit taking place in Murmansk.

Dry Dock Incident (2018):

In port, the floating dry dock holding the carrier sank in 2018, causing a 70-ton crane to smash through the flight deck.

The incident resulted in the death of a worker, injuries to four others, and a large hole in the deck, complicating the repair process.

Fire and Financial Irregularities (2019):

A year later, in 2019, a fire broke out in the engine room while workers were welding, resulting in two deaths and 11 injuries.

The director of the shipyard overseeing the refit was arrested and accused of stealing funds allocated to the carrier’s repair, highlighting financial irregularities.

In summary, the Admiral Kuznetsov has faced a series of operational and maintenance challenges, contributing to its reputation as a troubled vessel in the Russian Navy. The incidents have not only affected its operational capabilities but have also led to financial and logistical complications during repair and modernization efforts.

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