Repairs of the damages caused to the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft carrying missile cruiser by the fire on December 12th, would cost approximately 95 billion rubles (about $1.5 billion), an unnamed source in the Northern Fleet told Kommersant.
“This is not only about damage to the structures of the aircraft carrier, but also about damaged repair equipment and also due to the injuries to the military and civilian specialists,” he explained.
According to the official version of events, a spark from welding fell on some of the debris in the hold, which led to a fire.
At the same time, another source of Kommersant previously noted that the consequences of the accident are unlikely to be catastrophic for the ship.
The Admiral Kuznetsov warship was transferred to the United Shipbuilding Company in April 2018.
Civilian specialists have to completely upgrade the power systems and armaments of the ship under a contract worth about 60-65 billion rubles ($1 billion). The same contract involves the reconstruction of the dry dock which will cost another 23 billion rubles ($370 million).
According to the Kommersant source, due to the repair work, almost all of the equipment on the Admiral Kuznetsov had been dismantled, so only communications equipment has allegedly burned onboard the warship, mostly power cables and communication lines. All of these were supposed to be replaced within the framework of the concluded contract.
Thus, the 95 billion rubles in damages is a puzzling, and massive cost, having in mind that the entire retrofit of the warship didn’t cost that much to begin with.
To compare costs, the USS Gerard R. Ford aircraft carrier itself costs $13 billion, with the entire program costing upwards of $30. Regardless – a brand new aircraft carrier, a massive warship, commissioned in July 2017 costs $13 billion, while the repairs of equipment that was about to be replaced somehow cost approximately $1.5 billion more.
To provide some additional scope, the entire program for the British Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers – the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the HMS Prince of Wales costs $8 billion USD.
When the incident with the Admiral Kuznetsov happened, there were three possible explanations:
- Sabotage – the goal of such actions is to deliver a devastating PR blow to the Russian Navy and Russia itself, and to delay the plans to put the Admiral Kuznetsov back into service.
- Criminal Negligence – in this case, one of the main reasons is a poor production behavior that has become common for the modern Russia. Not so many representatives of the powerful Soviet engineering school remain in the defense industry. The Soviet system of engineering education was destroyed. The new one is not so effective .The Russian defense industry suffers from a lack of young skilled and motivated specialists.
- Corruption – the fire occurred at the first energy compartment. This is one of the most complex and expensive parts of the warship. Millions of dollars have already been spent on the maintenance of it and other equipment of the warship. The fire accident may allow to spend even more money on the maintenance of the warship.
Therefore if these reports by Kommersant’s sources are true, this would indicate that the massive scale corruption may have been one of the key sources of the issues with the Russian Navy’s only heavy aircraft carrying missile cruiser.
MORE ON THE TOPIC: