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The Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier was the last class of aircraft carrier commissioned into the Soviet Navy. The design represented a major advance in Soviet fleet aviation over the Kiev-class carriers, which could only launch VSTOL aircraft. As the first Soviet carriers to be built with aircraft ski-jumps, the Kuznetsov-class carriers were capable of launching high-performance conventional aircraft. Only the lead ship Admiral Kuznetsov was completed and commissioned into the Soviet Navy, and the ship now serves in the Russian Navy.



Hull and flight deck[edit]

The hull design is derived from the 1982 Kiev class,[9] but is larger. The ships are the first Soviet carriers to be designed with a full-length flight deck. The foredeck is dedicated to aviation instead of surface weaponry, as on the Kiev-class ships. The ship's 12 anti-ship cruise missiles are located in launchers below the flight deck.

The aircraft carriers are of a STOBAR configuration: Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery. Short take-off is achieved by using a 12-degree ski-jump on the bow. There is also an angled deck with arresting wires, which allows aircraft to land without interfering with launching aircraft. The flight deck has a total area of 14,700 square metres (158,000 sq ft). Two aircraft elevators, on the starboard side forward and aft of the island, move aircraft between the hangar deck and the flight deck.

Air wing[edit]

In the original project specifications, the ship should be able to carry up to 33 fixed-wing aircraft and 12 helicopters .[3]


To comply with the Montreux Convention restricting the transit of aircraft carriers through the Turkish Straits, the Kuznetsov-class ships were originally designed as aircraft cruisersKuznetsov carries twelve launchers for P-700 Granit(SS-N-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship surface-to-surface missiles, which also form the main armament of the Kirov-class battlecruisers. The heavy surface armament makes Kuznetsov different from other countries' aircraft carriers, which carry only defensive armament and rely on their aircraft for strike power.

For long-range air defense, Kuznetsov carries 24 vertical launchers for Tor missile system (SA-N-9 Gauntletsurface-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.

In the late 2000s, the Russian Navy reportedly removed the old Granit missile tubes to make room for a larger hangar bay, though it was never clear that they were ever really removed. During a major overhaul set to begin in September 2017, the P-700 tubes will be replaced with new vertical launch tubes capable of housing newer Kalibr and P-800 Oniks cruise missiles.[10]

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