Russia will deploy its aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea before the end of 2016 for a period of up to four months.
A group of the Russian Navy warships, led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, will set off for the Mediterranean Sea before the end of 2016 for a period of up to four months, the former head of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, Adm. Igor Kasatonov told the RIA Novosti news agency.
Earlier in July, a source familiar with the matter told RIA Novosti that the aircraft carrier would be deployed in the Mediterranean no sooner than October.
“The ship will set off [for the Mediterranean] at the end of the year. The carrier battle group, which will include several screening ships, will be formed. Allegedly, a nuclear multi-role submarine will be [in the group]. The ship’s deployment is designed to last for 3-4 months,” Kasatonov, who also was the first deputy commander of Russia’s Navy, said.
According to the admiral, up to a certain point, the group would be escorted by IL-38 anti-submarine aircraft and Tu-142 long range aircraft, exercises would be conducted with the aircraft. “In view of the situation, the carrier battle group could also work with Tu-160 strategic bombers,” Kasatonov noted. However, he did not disclose campaign tasks: “The aircraft carrier will perform the tasks that it will receive.”
The heavy aircraft cruiser Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov has recently taken on its board a new wing, consisting of deck-based fighters MiG-29KR and Su-33. Pilots flew training missions, checking the serviceability status of the aircraft and the aircraft carrier systems, during the sortie over the Baltic Sea.
In the Mediterranean, the aircraft carrier will strike the Syrian terrorists. After returning to the base, the Admiral Kuznetsov will be on the upgrade.