Thursday, December 1, 2016

More Problems With Russia's Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov?

Airbus Defence and Space satellite imagery showing Russian navy Su-33 jets parked among Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft at Humaymim Air Base in Syria on 20 November. Source: CNES 2016, Distribution Airbus DS / IHS

IHS Jane's 360: Russian carrier jets flying from Syria, not Kuznetsov

Many of the fast jets that were embarked on the Russia aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov have been flown to the main Russian air base in Syria, Airbus Defence and Space satellite imagery obtained by IHS Jane's shows.

The imagery shows eight Russian Federation Navy Su-33 and one MiG-29KR jets alongside various Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) aircraft at Humaymim Air Base in Latakia province on 20 November.

Kuznetsov can carry around 20 fast jets and is known to have embarked at least eight Su-33s for its current deployment in the Eastern Mediterranean, and at least four of the new MiG-29KR multirole fighters for the first time. One of the new jets crashed on 14 November, an incident that a Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement attributed to an unspecified "equipment fault during an approach for deck landing".

Read more ....

Update: Satellite images highlight potential problems with Russia’s lone aircraft carrier (Washington Post)

WNU Editor: This must have spooked them .... Mig-29 Fighter Jet From Russian Aircraft Carrier Crashes Off The Coast Of Syria (November 14, 2016).


Jay Farquharson said...

In order to take off from the Kuznetsov, SU's and Mig's have to have a "light" combat and fuel load and the ski-jump and short landing adds wear and tear.

Operating from ground up's the aircraft's sortie rate and almost triples the fuel and combat load out.

That's why the Kuznetsov is classed as an Aircraft Carrying Guided Missile Cruiser, not an Aircraft Carrier.

It's also why the Chinese are modelling their next Carrier after the US pattern.

Jay Farquharson said...

For more reading on the subject:

Aizino Smith said...

Still does not explain why the plane crashed.

" ski-jump and short landing adds wear and tear."

Would mean increased maintenance unless that was skipped due to incompetent staff.

Or maybe their Air Boss and training system sucks.

Jay Farquharson said...

The MIG-29 crash was caused by:

- a MIG-29 hard landing damaging and severing several landing cables,
- the MIG-29 running out of fuel while waiting for the landing deck to be repaired and returned to service.

The Kuznetsov carries no tanker aircraft, no AWACs aircraft, no Elint aircraft, ( which is why it's a Aircraft Carrying Guided Missile Cruiser, not an Aircraft Carrier),

and while the MIG-29 can "buddy refuel", the need to operate from the ship with a "light load out" of fuel and weapons, probably meant that attempting to launch a MIG-29 to "buddy fuel" the MIG-29 in the air was either delayed too late in the belief the cable trap would be repaired quickly,

or that a "buddy fuel" attempt wouldn't work, as there would be insufficient fuel in both aircraft to make land, or stay airborne long enough for the repairs to be complete enough for trap landings, and 2 MIG-29's would wind up ditched in the ocean, not just 1.

Aizino Smith said...

- a MIG-29 hard landing damaging and severing several landing cables,

Several cables?

Russians do thing differently so they might have several.

I thought there were 3 or 4.

I here of planes missing cables and catching later ones, but severing several.

It would be interesting to know what Russkis do for carrier quals.

Running out of fuel is not a crash but a ditch. it makes me wonder about who is writing or really writing.

Jay Farquharson said...


"Would mean increased maintenance unless that was skipped due to incompetent staff."

The simple physics of Ski jump take offs, massively increase the G loading of take offs on the aircrafts frame and landing gear, compared to a CATOBAR launch, and in angled vectors contrary to normal aircraft airframe stresses.

If you tried a "full combat load out" STOBAR take off with the "navalized" MIG-29, if you could somehow accellerate to take off speed in time, you would rip the wings off.

The British in contrast, use STOBAR to allow VTOL aircraft, to launch with a full fuel and combat load out, that they would otherwise not be able to lift in pure VTOL takeoff mode. The Kuznetsov was designed similarly around the YAK-38 VTOL aircraft.

Jay Farquharson said...

CATOBAR aircraft carriers use the catapult not just to launch aircraft, but also as a "shock absorber" on the landing cables.

The Kuznetsov has a 5 cable trap system using counter weights and hydraulics, which unlike the US's steam system, isn't progressive. As a result, because the resistence is constant on the cable, a cable failure or an aircraft "skipping" several cables is much more common.

As a result, if all 5 cables arn't working, you don't try to land.

The Russians have a land based "concrete Carrier" in Beriev*. After 50 successful take offs and landings, you get to try it out on a "real" carrier. 100 take offs and landings qualifies you for Kuznetsov Air Crew.

*The Kuznetsov need 20-30 knots of wind over the bow to allow the SU's and MIG's to get airborne. The "Concrete Carrier" needs the same, but can't be "turned into the wind" like the Kuznetsov, which limits training time.

Aizino Smith said...

I never seen counter weights and hydraulics. I won't say that it is not that way. Russian engineers are good. I'll have to check it out further.

I wonder if the Russians use officers or enlisted for tending to arresting gear equipment?

20 to 30 knots sounds right

the Russians seem to build the biggest submarines. I wonder why they do not build bigger carriers and just do thing right.

Jay Farquharson said...

Kuznetsov wasn't built for the AS/SEAD in theater role US Aircraft Carriers were.

She was initially built to provide a offshore "air/missile defence bubble" to support ASW Operations against US Boomers, sort of the role that Escort and Light Carriers filled in the North Atlantic in WWII, but missile heavy.

When her YAK jump jets were retired, she was repurposed to provide a AD/A2 bubble.

The Soviet's never "managed" to embrace US Carrier Doctrine, because of a whole host of reasons, ranging from different doctrines of Power Projection, a belief in missiles, and the inability of Soviet Industry to manage the building of large ships.

She's 16,650 long tons shy of the USS Forrestal's basic displacement.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union, the only yard large enough to build ships of this size, wound up in the Ukraine.

While Russia is building a new yard to regain some big ship capabilities back, Russia industry isn't currently capable of building a Mistral sized helicopter carrier.

Aizino Smith said...

"a belief in missiles, "
Well 2 patrol boats took out the destroyer Eilat with 4 Styx missiles in 1967.

"and the inability of Soviet Industry to manage the building of large ships"
People do model this in wargaming with action points or supply points. The USSR was capable of large projects. Maybe they are only capable of so many large projects at a time due to money or top down management.

They make large missile boats. You would think they could just scale up if not all at once then in stages.

Jay Farquharson said...

As ususal, Stalin also had an impact. Prior to WWII, he wanted battleships, which were started, never finished, and the massive amounts of steel tied up in the projects were not recovered until after WWII.

People forget that the Soviet Union had 1/3rd the steel production of Germany in WWII, and it was of lesser quality.

This left the Soviet Navy short at the start of the war of many of the vessels they needed.

After the war, the Soviet Union forcused on Coastal Defence and submarines first and formost, then larger ships capable of contesting the "near abroad".

In contrast, the US experience in the Pacific ended the Battleship/AirCraft carrier duel in the USN and set the course for US Naval Doctrine, ( non-nuclear), just as Aircraft Carrier operations in WWII, set Royal Navy doctrine post WWII.

Now, in an era of AD/A2 rendering Carrier Airgroups highly vulnerable with in strike ranges of a near peer opponent , and so "obsolete" for power projection, Russia will probably never have a "real" aircraft carrier.

China and India are working on "real" aircraft carriers, but for different reasons.

China seems to be aiming to mirror US Aircraft Carrier groups for power projection, ( and might make it there in another 20-30 years),

India is doubling down on the Pakistan-India Wars experience, where India's old carrier was able conduct deep strikes into Pakistan from the sea, that could not be achieved overland.