The Russian aircraft carrier ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ will undergo a second set of modernization at the end of 2016. Earlier in 2015, Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, docked in Northern Russia to undergo a series of inspections and repairs.
The modernization will enable Russia’s sole carrier to welcome new air wings, giving them the capability of accomplishing “two or even three times more missions than earlier,” TASS reported.
The new air wings will be comprised of Mikoyan MiG-29K, a Russian 4++ generation all-weather carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft. Currently, 2 MiG-29K and 2 MiG-29KUB are serving onboard the Admiral Kuznetsov.
According to Chief of the Naval Aviation General Major Igor Kozhin, Russian pilots will start training later this year with their new Russian Naval Aviation air wings.
The addition of MiG-29K to the Admiral Kuznetsov gives the ability to conduct carrier-based land attacks, antiaircraft and anti-vessel defense whereas the Su-33 was built to conduct interception missions.
Hosting a decent payload capacity, the MiG-29K has a GSh-30-1 30mm cannon with 150 rounds and can carry up to 13 missiles with a payload of more than 12, 125 lbs, including possible extra fuel tanks for longer distance missions.
Last week, Russia confirmed it would have the capability to build its new supercarrier project by the end of 2019. As a matter of fact, the 23000E ‘Storm’ Project will carry MiG-29K as well as PAK FA.
The Indian Navy is also operating the MiG-29K. As of 2015, 33 has entered service. According to the Indian Defense Research Wing website, “India’s first indigenously developed aircraft carrier “INS Vikrant” will also be able to operate Naval Mig-29Ks from its decks but will be inducted only in 2018 and will start operating carrier-based Naval Mig-29ks from 2019 onwards.”
Indian pilots trained on the MiG-29K onboard the Admiral Kuznetsov, waiting on the “Vikramaditya” to become operational. The “Vikamaditya” was commissioned in November 2013. It can host 30 MiG-29K but due to operational reasons, less are deployed on the Vikamaditya.
Last November, the Admiral Kuznetsov held anti-aircraft drills in the Barents Sea.