Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov (“Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov”) is an aircraft cruiser serving as the flagship of the Russian Navy. She was originally commissioned in the Soviet Navy, and was intended to be the lead ship of her class, but the only other ship of her class, Varyag, was never completed.
The ship has ill fame and the phrase “If you misbehave, you’ll be sent to the Kuznetsov” is a norm. Read below to find out why.
The Admiral Kuznetsov’s main fixed-wing aircraft is the multi-role Sukhoi Su-33. It can perform air superiority, fleet defense, and air support missions and can also be used for direct fire support of amphibious assault, reconnaissance and placement of naval mines.
The carrier also carries the Kamov Ka-27 and Kamov Ka-27S helicopters for anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, and small transport.
The ship features 7 decks and 2 platforms, stern-part and fore-part machinery and boiler compartments, 5 engine compartments, a 150-meter long warehouse, 6 galleys, a lock up and a guardroom.
Displacement: 43,000 tons (Standard-load), 55,000 tons (Full-load), 58,600 tons (Max-load)
Length: 1,005.5 ft (306.5 m) o/a, 900 ft (270 m) w/l
Beam: 237.2 ft (72.3 m) o/a, 125 ft (38 m) w/l
Draft: 29.9 ft (9.1 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 8 turbo-pressurised boilers, 4 shafts, 200,000 hp (150 MW)
2 × 50,000 hp (37 MW) turbines
9 × 2,011 hp (1,500 kW) turbogenerators
6 × 2,011 hp (1,500 kW) diesel generators
4 × fixed pitch propellers
Speed: 32 knots (37 mph; 59 km/h)
Range: 8,500 nmi (15,700 km) at 18 kn (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 1,993 (total); 1,960 ship’s crew, 626 air group, 40 flag staff, 3,857 rooms.
To begin with, the ship has no heating because an auxiliary boiler is missing. So it’s not bad when it’s +5C in the cockpit and it’s a luxury when it’s +12C in there.
Electric heaters help the personnel out. Yet they are expensive and not easy to buy so the seamen have to assemble them by themselves to later have their “off-design equipment withdrawn”.
Unfortunately, that’s not all about the heating. When it’s this cold, water freezes everywhere including pipes which may cause a rupture. To prevent this, they just don’t supply almost 60% of the cabins with water (neither in winter nor in summer). The situation with latrines is just as bad. The ship has over 50 latrines but half of them are closed.
As for its ventilation, 50% of the ventilators broke down. Considering the fact that there are very few portholes on the ship, it is difficult to imagine how terrible it smells in here (it smells like mold and it’s very stuffy).
Speaking about the wardroom, it is missing too. Instead, there is a cafeteria seating up to 150 persons ( there are 2,000 people in the crew).There are no tablecloths in the cafeteria and it is highly recommendable to wipe your cutlery before using it. As for its food, it’s Ok but it’s better not to be late because they steal it sometimes so it may be gone by the time you come.
Formation is carried out 10 times a day and each formation lasts for about 35 minutes. Every time they highlight the fact that these people are the crew of the AIRCRAFT CARRIER while in fact actual aircrafts visit this ship pretty rarely.
Members of the crew are entitled to be granted an apartment but they are situated “in the back of beyond” and it will take them 4 hours to get there by bus.
The ship’s ill fame results in high stuff turnover. Experienced sailors are replaced with inexperienced ones and contract soldiers are the only way out.
The personnel consist of mostly people from far away villages because those from the cities believe evading proves their high social status. This can be applied to Russians while Caucasian people think the other way round. It is a matter of honor for them to serve in the army and serving in the navy is their dream. As for people from Bashkiria or Tuva, they probably don’t know how to evade yet. As a result, every 10th draftee doesn’t speak Russian.
As for the ship’s primary task, hardly any aircrafts can be seen here. Instead, you will find a 25-ton crane, 4 haulage trucks, fire-fighting trucks and a snow plow in its warehouse.
Theft is another problem of the Admiral Kuznetsov. They supply the ship with pierced canned food but they still manage to sell it at a lower cost to factory workers. “You gotta hustle if you wanna survive”.