Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
Much to my surprise this battle group has now arrived in Syria and will probably remain in port for at least the next six days.
On Sunday, a large Russian naval flotilla led by an aircraft carrier was docked in the Syrian port of Tartous in what Damascus state media hailed as a show of solidarity by its Cold War ally. The Russian naval flotilla aircraft led by an aircraft carrier docked in the Syrian port of Tartous.
Russian Navy vessel callsign RAL65 left the Mediterranean, passed through the English Channel and is currently off Norway. Intially it was thought that RAL65 was the Admiral Chabanenko returning home early, but it turned out to be dodgy information from a Russian forum. The Admiral Chabanenko was one of the vessels that visited Tartus, Syria.
RAL65 is possibly a Northern Fleet intelligence collection vessel that was active in the Mediterranean before the Task Force deployed? Rumour control has it as the RFS Kildin, a Moma Class Intelligence Collector, returning to the Northern Fleet? For a period RAL65 was hove to in the Moray Firth.
The Russian “aircraft carrier”–and crucially, its trusty tugboat–reached Syria, where the flotilla received a warm welcome from the besieged Assad regime. Pavel Felgenhauer’s description makes it plain that scare quotes I routinely use in reference to the Kuznetsov are more than warranted:
The Kuznetsov is a 60,000 ton ship that may carry an air wing of up to 50, including some 26 jets and 24 helicopters. On its present voyage the Kuznetsov’s majestic flight deck is almost empty – only eight Su-33 fighters and two Ka-27S helicopters for search and rescue missions, if any Su-33s are lost (Interfax, November 30). Not only is the present Kuznetsov air wing minuscule, it entirely lacks anti-submarine Ka-27 PLO helicopters and even more importantly – Ka-27RLD (Ka-31) early warning flying radars. Without any long-range radar capability, the Kuznetsov is not a combat ship, but a sitting duck – a large, uncomfortable and rusty tourist ship. The Su-33 fighters are not produced any more, so the Kuznetsov is now carrying the last flight worthy Su-33s and they will soon be mothballed after the carrier returns to port within two weeks.
The Kuznetsov’s main steam turbine engine has been breaking down constantly during the ship’s service, which began in 1992. The Kuznetsov has been a largely immobile and useless ship with three major shipyard repair periods lasting over six years since 1996. The sea salvage tug Nikolai Chiker is shadowing the Kuznetsov during its present tour to tow the hapless carrier back home if the main engine breaks down again. After completing its last voyage the Kuznetsov will be disarmed and go to the Severodvinsk shipyard for a major refitting that is officially planned to last until 2017 or end later – if ever (NVO, April 22, 2011). Su-33 production has been terminated, so the Kuznetsov must be refitted to carry MiG-29K fighter jets being developed for India. The Kuznetsov’s main anti-ship weapon, the supersonic Granit cruise missile, is also out of production and must be replaced. The main engine must be replaced – the carrier will be virtually gutted to the bare hull and rebuilt from scratch. When it ever sails again, al-Assad will be long forgotten history.
Meaning that the Kuznetsov’s little tugboat that could, the Nikolai Chiker, is arguably the most important vessel in the Russian fleet.
I doubt that the refit mentioned in the above quotewill go any better than the overhaul of another Russian “carrier”, the Gorshkov. It was sold to the Indians, but the overhaul in a Russian yard went billions (dollars, not rubles rupees) over budget, and years over schedule.
Confirms what I was saying about this carrier and would scrapping this ship be a better option and start with a clean sheet?
I must confess I was not used to using AIS to locate warships as disclosing a position is something they very rarely make public. It was a surprise to locate the Nikolai Chiker but I see she is now 'out of Range' and has been since leaving the area off of the coast of Cyprus at the end of last year.
There appears to be no public AIS monitors along the Syrian coast. The online maps and plots are only provided by a network a network of fans / spotters and aren't official. Somehow I think conditions in Syria may not be conducive to providng such a service - its rather likely to be misinterpreted by the authorities.
The girls and guys on QRA will probably be kept busy in the next few weeks? Possibly an exercise involving the return journey of the Naval Task Force?
Strategic aviation will resume patrols of the Russian Air Force in late January
Strategic Aviation Air Force (IAF), the Russian Federation in late January to resume air patrols in areas Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the waters of Black Sea coast, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Air Force Col. Vladimir Drik.
In early September, the Japanese authorities have expressed concern about the patrols of the airspace in the Pacific Ocean by long-range Tu-95MS bombers the Russian Air Force. Later, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Army General Nikolai Makarov told
reporters that Russia will not abandon the safety of strategic Russian Air Force, "in spite of the notes in some countries." He stressed that the Russian Air Force while always observed and respected international laws governing such flights.
"Since the end of January 2012 long-range aviation crews continue to perform tasks on the air patrolling the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans, the waters of the Black Sea coast and along the routes along the borders of the Commonwealth of Independent
States, carrying out missions as a baseline, and with operational airfields , "- said Drik.
He added that in 2012 the personnel of the air bases for long-range aircraft will take part in exercise "Kavkaz-2012" and "Peace Mission 2012".
Three new Russian Navy ships made landfall on Tuesday in Ceuta, Spain.
Ceuta's port reopens its doors to the Russian navy ships Tuesday. After passing through the city in December, three of the six ships that arrived in that time scale and will be repeated in the city a few days to conclude their work supplies...... Yaroslav Mudry, Lena and Sergei Osipov ......
The Task Force is based around the Carrier Kuznetsov, so it is aviation related. If it was just a non-carrier deployment then it wouldn't be so interesting and not relevant to the forum. Some people on the forum seem interested so I continued with the updates. I suppose if it annoys you then simply don't click on a thread that has the title Russian task group!
It should be left to the Mods/Admin if the thread should be moved or is not relevant.
No problem, GAVRO
Ship RCJG is now underway in the Black Sea. Possibly deploying to the Mediterranean and might link up with the Task Force? I'll update if she passes through the Turkish Straits.