From Admiral Kuznetsov With Love – Russian Aircraft Carrier Starts Bombing ISIS

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Nov 16 2016
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Russia’s largest battleship – Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier – has begun combat operations in Syria after leading the Russian fleet of 8 fearsome warships in an epic journey to Syrian port of Tartus, but not before leaving a trail of panic among NATO members as the fleet sail through the North Sea, Dover Strait and English Channel before heading south towards Mediterranean.


According to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, fighter jets Sukhoi Su-33 from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier had launched their first strikes on Syria. He said – “Today, we started a major operation to launch massive strikes on Daesh and al-Nusra Front targets in the Idlib and Homs provinces in Syria,”


Russian Su-33 Flanker-D Fighter Jet & Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft

This is the first time in the history of the Russian Navy that Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier is being used in combat. The Russian’s only aircraft carrier was loaded with 15 Sukhoi Su-33 all-weather air superiority fighters and 15 Mikoyan MiG-29K/KUB multirole fighters onboard, as well as 30 Kamov Ka-52K, Ka-27, and Ka-31 helicopters.


Admiral Kuznetsov was escorted by the Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) battle cruiser, the Vice Admiral Kulakov destroyer, anti-submarine Severomorsk, frigate, supply ships and submarine – all part of the Northern Fleet. Russian Navy has also sent the Admiral Grigorovich frigate to Syria’s territorial waters to join the Admiral Kuznetsov.



In the latest operation, Grigorovich was reportedly launched Kalibr cruise missiles on terrorist targets. Designed for air defence mission, anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, Admiral Grigorovich is one of 2 classes of Russian warships that possess platform to launch the supersonic Kalibr land-attack, anti-ship and anti-submarine cruise missile.


According to the minister, the main targets include ammunition depots, training centre as well as plants producing weapons and chemical substances. However, the Russian Defence Ministry also reported that a MiG-29K jet had crashed due to technical problem in the Mediterranean Sea after taking off from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrier while performing exercise flights.

Russian Sukhoi Su-33 Flanker-D Jet Fighter


In his update to President Vladimir Putin, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu didn’t mention about Aleppo or any plan for the Russian mighty fleet to join the “Battle of Aleppo“. Russia’s assault kicked off just hours after Putin and President-elect Donald Trump, speaking by phone, agreed to combine efforts in Syria to defeat “international terrorism and extremism.”


Barack Obama has been aiding what his administration sees as moderate opponents of Assad while continuing the fight against al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. However, Russia describes all rebel groups as “terrorists” and Trump’s blanket statements about joining Russia have been seen as the U.S. President-elect’s approval of Vladimir Putin’s view.



Elizabeth Trudeau, US state department spokesperson, said the renewed bombing coincided with multiparty talks in Geneva between the United States, Russia and other countries seeking to achieve a ceasefire in the conflict and a roadmap towards a political settlement. She said – “We strongly condemn the resumption of air strikes in Syria by the Russians as well as the Syrian regime,”


Elizabeth can condemn all she likes but with lame duck President Obama clearing his remaining weeks before passing the White House’s keys to President-elect Trump, Russia is unstoppable. In fact, President Putin might take this transition period to impress, and to a certain extent “warn and intimidate”, incoming President Trump on Russian military prowess.



With a range of up to 2,600-km, the supersonic 3M-54 Kalibr missiles (NATO codename: “Sizzler”) are able to penetrate the enemy’s missile defence systems, not to mention its capability of carrying both a conventional or nuclear warhead. Russia had demonstrated its prowess when it hit targets in Syria from 4 small Russian warships in the Caspian Sea last October.


When the Soviet Union launched the Admiral Kuznetsov in 1985it was a major technical accomplishment for the then-superpower. Around the same time, Moscow began assembling Varyag, a sister ship of the Admiral  Kuznetsov, but it was never completed or commissioned by the Soviet Union, which collapse in 1991.

China Aircraft Carrier Liaoning

The second hull of Varyag was eventually sold to China, which is today known as Liaoning. Interestingly, since the ship was commissioned into frontline service in the early 1990s, the Admiral Kuznetsov has deployed just 5 times. But this is the first time the Russian aircraft carrier has been deployed for a real combat. United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) will conduct a modernization upgrade on the carrier in 2018.


Often mocked by the West as obsolete, the Admiral Kuznetsov, however, is not like other aircraft carriers which are essentially just floating airbases. The Admiral Kuznetsov is an aircraft-carrying cruiser, which means the aircraft carrier possess powerful missiles. Russia is the only country in the world with such a heavily armed aircraft carrier.



Although the Russian aircraft carrier needs escort ships, it doesn’t need as many as its American counterparts. Armed with 12 Granit anti-ship cruise missiles, 6 AK-630 automatic weapon systems, 2 Udav rocket launchers with 60 depth charges, a Kinzhal surface-to-air missile system and a Kortik gun-missile system, it can defend itself if necessary.


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