Connect with us

Latest

News

Staff Picks

CONFIRMED: Russia deploys Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to defend Syrian coast

Russia’s use of its aircraft carrier in the Syrian conflict is principally intended to learn lessons for the design of more potent such warships in the future, rather than to change the situation in Syria itself.

Alexander Mercouris

Published

on

12,731 Views

The Russian navy’s deployment of the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean has provoked a very confused response in the Western media.

On the one hand it is described as a major escalation, as if the Admiral Kuznetsov was a US style supercarrier.  On the other hand there has been a great of deal of derision, with the ship called an obsolete rust bucket dangerous mainly to its crew.

Where does the truth lie?

The Admiral Kuznetsov is the first and only Russian aircraft carrier capable of launching fighter aircraft conventionally.  The preceding Kiev class carriers were smaller ships, which could only launch a small number of aircraft vertically.

Contrary to what reports say, Admiral Kuznetsov is by the standards of navy carriers a relatively new ship.  She was launched in 1985, commissioned in the then Soviet navy in 1990, but only became operational after prolonged trials in 1995.

The US navy currently operates 10 Nimitz class supercarriers.  If the age of a ship is determined by its date of launch; then three of the US navy’s Nimitz class supercarriers are older than Kuznetsov;  if by date of commission, then five are;  if by entry into service then six are.

The Russian navy had no previous experience of operating carriers, so the lengthy time scale of her sea trials between commission and entry into service is not surprising. 

In addition what undoubtedly extended this period before her full entry into service was the political and economic crisis Russia experienced during the 1990s.  Given the severity of this crisis, it is a wonder a ship as large and complicated as Kuznetsov was brought into service at all.

Either way talk of Kuznetsov as some sort of archaic ship from a bygone era is exaggerated, whilst jokes about Kuznetsov being “….practically old enough to have been deployed in the 1905 Russo-Japanese war….” are simply silly.

22russia-web3-master675

The Admiral Kuznetsov is expected to deploy off Syria, carrying 15 warplanes, including new MiG-29K/KUB fighters and the Su-33a, shown here.

Aircraft carriers as it happens tend to be long-lived ships.  Coral Sea, a US Medway class carrier, served in the US Navy from 1947 to 1990.  By the standards of aircraft carriers Kuznetsov is not an old ship.

What is true about Kuznetsov is that because she was the first of a type of ship of which the Russians had no previous experience, and because of the fraught period during which she was commissioned and brought into service – which made it impossible to sort out her teething problems properly – Kuznetsov suffers by comparison with US navy carriers from design flaws and from engine problems.

The ship’s engines are unreliable, because they are insufficiently powerful for a ship of this size. 

The Russians when they built Kuznetsov lacked suitable nuclear reactors for this type of ship (they were designed for the intended follow-on Ulyanovsk carrier, which because of the 1990s crisis was however never built).  They also lacked conventional engines large enough for a ship of this size, which was roughly twice as heavy as the largest other ship the Russian or Soviet navy had commissioned before. 

The Russians accordingly came up with a complicated solution of using multiple steam turbines and turbo-pressurised boilers to make up for the lack of power of the individual engines.  Like all complicated arrangements, this arrangement is unreliable and prone to breakdown, with the engines experiencing stress especially in heavy seas.

To compound the trouble with the engines, they were built by a plant in what is now independent Ukraine.  As political relations between Russia and Ukraine deteriorated, servicing of the engines by this plant became increasingly erratic, and has now stopped completely.

It is these problems with the engines that account for the practice of accompanying Kuznetsov on long range deployments with a tug. 

The tug in question – the Nikolai Chiker – is the most powerful tug in the world.  This same tug played a key role in successfully hauling Kuznetsov’s uncompleted sister ship Varyag from Ukraine to China in 2005, where she has now become the Chinese carrier Liaoning.

The fact Kuznetsov is accompanied by a tug on long range deployments has provoked some derision.  However it is common practice in any navy to accompany large surface warships with service ships, and accompanying Kuznetsov with a tug ensures in Kuznetsov’s case that the carrier will get to where the Russian naval staff are sending it. The engine problems will not affect Kuznetsov’s Mediterranean deployment when the carrier finally reaches its position.

Kuznetsov suffers from other problems, which are unsurprising given that Kuznetsov is so much bigger and so different to any other ship the Russian navy has ever previously commissioned, and the unhappy times when it was launched. 

There are for example known to be problems with Kuznetsov’s water pipes, which have a history of breakdowns and of freezing up in Arctic weather.  These problems too however will not affect Kuznetsov’s capabilities as a warship when the carrier finally reaches the eastern Mediterranean, and the close proximity of Russian bases in Sevastopol and Tartus means they can be dealt with quickly if they arise.

Once this deployment is ended Kuznetsov will go through a lengthy refit, which unlike previous refits is intended to be practically a rebuild.  With Russia developing a new range of much larger and more powerful engines, Kuznetsov’s current unsatisfactory engines will finally be replaced, and the other teething problems like the problem with the water pipes will finally be addressed. 

Ultimately this is a potent warship, bigger than any other carrier other than those operated by the US navy, and once the refit is done it will be a powerful asset.  In the meantime the ship already provides the Russian fleet with a carrier capability matched by no other navy apart from that of the US. 

In saying this it is important to stress however that the US navy carrier force – with its 10 nuclear powered supercarriers – dwarfs the capability of any other navy, including Russia’s, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Neither the Kuznetsov, nor any other carrier the Russians might build, nor any other navy, can match or rival it.

A more pertinent criticism of Kuznetsov is that though Kuznetsov is a large ship (at 55,000 tonnes standard weight and with a 305 metre length Kuznetsov is midway between a US Medway class carrier and a US Forrestal class supercarrier) the air group it carries at 40-50 aircraft is relatively small (by comparison a smaller US Medway class carrier carried an air group of 75-80 aircraft in the 1980s).

This suggests that Kuznetsov is inefficient in its use of its spaces, a fact which again reflects Russian inexperience designing this sort of ship when Kuznetsov was built.  However it also partly reflects differences in Kuznetsov’s intended role. 

At the time Kuznetsov was built the Russians did not envisage using their carriers for the sort of long range carrier type operations carried out by the US navy.  Unlike US navy supercarriers Kuznetsov prioritises air defence of the fleet rather than long range strikes.  That explains why Kuznetsov’s fighter aircraft take off from the carrier using a ski jump rather than steam catapults. 

Ski jump takeoffs put less stress on the pilots and shorten takeoff times, enabling more aircraft to take off from the carrier more quickly, which can be important in an air defence situation.

The penalty is that aircraft are limited in the loads they can carry by comparison with aircraft launched by steam catapults.

For air defence – the purpose for which Kuznetsov was designed – this is unimportant since fighter aircraft carrying out air defence missions only carry light air to air missiles rather than heavy air to ground missiles and bombs. 

However it does significantly reduce the air group’s capability to carry out long range strikes.  Combined with the relatively small size of the air group, this means that Kuznetsov’s ability to carry out long range ground strikes is fractional compared to that of a US navy supercarrier.

If Kuznetsov is not really designed to carry out long range ground strikes, why are the Russians deploying Kuznetsov off the coast of Syria?

The plan to deploy Kuznetsov to the eastern Mediterranean was made many months ago, long before the recent collapse in relations with the US over Syria.  The decision therefore can have nothing to do with deterring the US from declaring a no fly zone over Syria, as some people are suggesting.

Most likely the intention is to gain experience operating aircraft against ground targets from an offshore carrier.  This is not something the Russians have ever done before.  Even if Kuznetsov’s capability to do it by comparison with a US navy supercarrier is marginal, the fighting in Syria does at least give the Russians an opportunity to try it out to find out how it is done and what it involves. 

That way they can learn lessons that will help them with the design of the far more powerful ships that are to come (see here and here).

In other words the deployment of the Kuznetsov to the eastern Mediterranean is essentially a training exercise.  It does not merit either the derision or the hype that has been created around it.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Deep State insurrection defying POTUS Trump’s order to release unredacted FISA docs (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 113.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

Deep State officials like ex-CIA chief John Brennan are in panic mode.

Deep State DOJ tool Rod Rosenstein refuses to comply with Trump’s executive order as afforded him by the US Constitution.

Establishment Democrats are all over the mainstream media channels calling the act of releasing documents criminal.

The US President wants every American citizen to see the full, unredacted version of the FISA documents used to spy on Carter Page. Trump is simply asking for full transparency, in what has become a two year, multi-million dollar witch hunt, to find collusion where there is none.

This is all you need to know about the hoax that was and is Trump-Russia collusion and the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the insurrection taking place at the US Department of Justice, as Democrats, ex-Obama officials, and DOJ directors are doing everything in their power to make sure the truth, about how the FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page was obtained, remains hidden from the eyes of the American public.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel

Via Zerohedge


Despite President Trump’s Monday order for the “immediate declassification” of sensitive materials related to the Russia investigation, “without redaction,” the agencies involved are planning to do so anyway, according to Bloomberg, citing three people familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are going through a methodical review and can’t offer a timeline for finishing, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matter. –Bloomberg

Trump ordered the DOJ to release the text messages of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also ordered released are specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The DOJ and the FBI are expected to submit proposed redactions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – which will prepare a package for Trump to sign off on.

“When the president issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests,” a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. “The department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the president’s order.”

The agencies are likely to cite national security concerns over revealing classified “sources and methods” pertaining to the Russia investigation – which will put them in direct conflict with Trump’s order. Trump, as president, has the power to override the agencies and declassify material on his own.

Trump’s order to release the documents comes after months of requests from GOP lawmakers, while the DOJ has repeatedly denied their requests for more transparency.

The FBI’s spy…

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is interpreting Trump’s request to include information about the use of confidential informant (spy) Stephan Halper during the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation. After taking in over $400,000 from the Obama Pentagon under the auspices of a research contract, Halper befriended and spied on members of the Trump campaign, including aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

Showdown?

Top Congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and Mark Warner penned a joint letter to ODNI Director Dan Coates, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding that the agencies defy President Trump.

In the letter, the lawmakers “express profound alarm” at the decision to “intervene in an ongoing law enforcement investigation that may implicate the President himself or those around him.”

“Any decision by your offices to share this material with the President or his lawyers will violate longstanding Department of Justice polices, as well as assurances you have provided to us.”

The letter then demands that the agencies brief the Gang of Eight before releasing the materials “to anyone at the White House.”

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Trump Weighs In On The Single Worst Mistake In American History

Trump hits Bush: Invading Iraq ‘the single worst decision ever made’.

Published

on

Via Zerohedge


In a wide ranging interview with The Hill on Tuesday conducted in the Oval Office, President Trump was asked to give his take on the biggest mistake in American history.

Considering just how open-ended a question that is, it’s perhaps surprising that he merely went back less than a couple decades into the Bush presidency, though Trump’s base will certainly welcome it as it hearkens back to his “America First” foreign policy vision of the campaign trail.

“The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,” the president during his interview with Hill.TV.

“Obama may have gotten them (U.S. soldiers) out wrong, but going in is to me the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country,” he said.

Trump explained the reasoning behind this choice, and why it wasn’t something like the civil war or another defining and devastating event reaching far into American History.

“Because we spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. Now if you wanna fix a window some place they say, ‘oh gee, let’s not do it. Seven trillion, and millions of lives — you know, ‘cause I like to count both sides. Millions of lives,” the president explained.

Some scholars and humanitarian groups estimate that over one million Iraqis were killed in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq starting in 2003. A 2008 Opinion Research Business (ORB) poll, for example, found that approximately 1.03 million people had died as a result of the war.

“To me it’s the worst single mistake made in the history of our country. Civil war you can understand. Civil war, civil war. That’s different. For us to have gone into the Middle East, and that was just, that was a bad day for this country, I will tell you.”

Various estimates on the Iraq war’s cost have put the total taxpayer bill as low as near $2 trillion, but none dispute that it is in the multiple trillions, and estimates will vary widely depending on if veteran care is factored into it.

The comments echo things Trump said on the campaign trail in 2016. For example during one of his first major foreign policy speeches then candidate Trump said, “I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V.” And referencing the famous quote of John Quincy Adams, he said during the same speech, “The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies.”

He had previously shocked pundits for being the first Republican nominee for president to trash George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq, and has more recently likened it to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest”.

All of this is a hopeful sign considering the extremely heightened and dangerous tensions over Syria this week, and given Trump seems to have vacillated between “bringing the troops home” and getting more involved. On Monday Trump hinted that a decision on the U.S. role in Syria is coming soon.

Commenting on the over 2,000 troops now in Syria ostensibly as part of the “anti-ISIL” coalition campaign, Trump indicated this mission could end soon: “We’re very close to being finished with that job,” he said. He followed with: “And then we’re going to make a determination as to what we’re going to do.”

We consider it a hopeful and a good sign that Trump is possibly revisiting his “America First” foreign policy pledges by identifying the Iraq War as the worst mistake in US history.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Brett Kavanaugh eleventh hour smear begins to fall apart (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 112.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

US President Trump is urging the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh to testify and be heard.

Trump said he wants to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, noting that it would be “unfortunate” if she does not testify before a Senate committee. Trump told reporters Wednesday as he left the White House to view hurricane damage in North Carolina…

“If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate.”

“If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that would be very interesting.”

From Trump’s lips to God’s ear…Blasey Ford came out to issue a statement essentially saying that she will not testify to Congress, either in an open or closed door session.

Furthermore it appears that Ford will not even allow Senate investigators to fly to California and obtain her statement from the comfort of her own home (as Senator Grassley has offered to do).

Ford is demanding an FBI investigation into an allegation with no date, time or place attached to it. 

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the dangerous game of identity politics being played by the establishment, Democrat left, and their mainstream media minions.

The premise that a four decades old accusation is all that is needed to destroy a person’s entire life, threatens to tear down the most basic foundational values adhered to from within the US Constitution, and propel the United States of America towards a fascist state where censorship, citizen surveillance, and evidence free accusations are used to keep the establishment left in power and the American population cowered in fear.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

According to Zerohedge, Democrats’ Hail Mary play to stymie the confirmation of Trump SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh is beginning to fizzle out. As angry Dems demanded that a Monday hearing on the allegations against Kavanaugh be delayed until the FBI has a chance to investigate, turncoat Republicans (on whom the Dems had been depending for votes) instead withdrew their support and fell in line after Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley declared that he would not honor Democrats’ request. Grassley revealed his intention to stand firm late Tuesday after lawyers for Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey, who is claiming that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her 35 years ago when the two were 17-year-old high school students, said their client wouldn’t be wiling to appear at Monday’s hearing.

According to the HillGrassley said Tuesday that there was “no reason” to delay the hearing now that Republicans have invited both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his accuser, to testify publicly. However, while Ford’s attorneys have insisted that their client has taken a polygraph test and “deserves to be heard”, Ford has bizarrely insisted that the FBI should have an opportunity to investigate her claims before she appears before the committee in order to spare her the “trauma” of confronting her alleged assailant.

Ford’s lawyers conveyed her request in the form of a letter sent to the committee, a copy of which was obtained by CNN.

Senator Grassley said he would refuse this request as several Republicans who had appeared to be on the cusp of defecting said they wouldn’t support further delays should Ford prove unwilling to testify.

Via the Hill…

“Republicans extended a hand in good faith. If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote,” said GOP Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who was one of the first Republicans to call for the Judiciary Committee to hit pause on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Sunday.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) told reporters earlier Tuesday that Ford’s lack of response to the committee about testifying was “puzzling.”

And GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who had threatened to vote against Kavanaugh if Ford wasn’t given the chance to be heard, told CNN that he expected the committee to move on if she doesn’t appear.

“I think we’ll have to move to the markup,” he told CNN. “I hope she does (appear). I think she needs to be heard.”

Via Zerohedge…

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegations and insisted he didn’t attend the party where the physical assault allegedly took place. Patrick Smyth, a fellow former Georgetown Prep student whom Ford alleges was also in attendance during the party issued a statement via his lawyer standing up for Kavanaugh. And in a separate letter to Grassley and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, not only does Smyth repudiate Ford’s allegations, but he adds that he doesn’t remember this party even taking place.

Of course, Feinstein – who admitted last night that she couldn’t say for certain that Ford’s story is entirely truthful – sat on Ford’s allegations for three months before referring them to the FBI and sharing them with other lawmakers (who purportedly “leaked” it to the press). President Trump on Tuesday said that he “feels sorry” for Kavanaugh, adding that he doesn’t want to “play into [Democrats] hands”, presumably by giving them more time to drag out the confirmation process.

“They should have done this a long time ago, three months ago, not now. But they did it now. So I don’t want to play into their hands,” Trump said.

Without the support of their Republican allies, Democrats will lack the votes on the committee to hold up the nomination past Monday. Though bizarrely, Kavanaugh himself hasn’t said yet whether he would or wouldn’t testify, which begs the question: If neither Kavanaugh nor Ford appear at the hearing, what exactly will lawmakers discuss?

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending