“Queen Elizabeth” against “Admiral Kuznetsov”, whose carrier cooler

“Queen Elizabeth” against “Admiral Kuznetsov”, whose carrier cooler

The Russian defense Ministry called the new British aircraft carrier “big target”, the British Ministry said the Russian “Admiral Kuznetsov” an old wreck. While these ships have a lot in common.

New British aircraft carrier “Queen Elizabeth”, which came out on sea trials this week, sparked an exchange of barbs between the Russian and British ministries of defence.

On Thursday, the official representative of the Ministry of defense of Russia Igor Konashenkov called the new ship “convenient shipping purpose,” comparing it to the Russian aircraft-carrying cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov”.

So Konashenkov responded to the statement by British defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who said earlier that Russia must envy British sailors.

“If you’ve seen old, old “Kuznetsov” sailed through the English channel a few months ago, I think the Russians should look at this ship with envy,” — quoted by the British press Minister’s words.

In the press new aircraft carrier has already been nicknamed “Hippo” and “big Lizzie” — this is indeed the biggest warship that was ever built at the shipyards of the United Kingdom. Its size is really impressive — the displacement of 65 thousand tons, length of flight deck of 280 metres.

A new aircraft carrier was headed by Commodore Jerry Kidd, before that, commanded the carriers “Illustrious” and “Ark Royal”. He is also very proud of the new ship.

“In any country there are not so many weapons as symbolic and spectacular as an aircraft carrier. Subs just not visible. And this is a very obvious symbol of military power and force projection,” — said the commander of the “Queen Elizabeth”.

In fact, the new British ship quite a lot in common with his Russian opponent. In any case, the class it is closer to the “Kuznetsov” than supervideocap us Navy class “Nimitz”, the more — recent “Gerald R. Ford”.

However, between them there is one significant difference — the “Admiral Kuznetsov” was built in 1991, and its combat system in need of modernization, and power plant — repair.

British ship just built, is in any case a modern ship, which, moreover, will carry the most modern fighter F35.

Victims of compromise

New British aircraft carrier is not only the pride and beauty of the Royal Navy, but also shows the ability of the British military to find a compromise and get a battle ship in conditions of austerity.

“Admiral Kuznetsov” is also a ship-a compromise — it was originally built as a aircraft carrying cruiser, armed with anti-ship missiles, aircraft it is conceived as an auxiliary service.

This was necessary to comply with the terms of the passage of Straits, through which can not pass the carriers.

Both ships ended up to be much less efficient than a full-fledged nuclear aircraft carrier.

As Russian aircraft-carrying cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov”, the “Queen Elizabeth” is not equipped with steam or electromagnetic catapult to launch heavy aircraft.

With such carriers, you cannot run air radar such as the American E-2 Hawkeye. This requires a catapult. A radar is needed to detect the target aircraft.

On the “Kuznetsov” and “Queen Elizabeth”, as a means of long-range radar detection using special helicopters, respectively, Ka-31 and Merlin Crowsnest.

This reduces the possibility of aircraft vehicle even with a good flight performance of the British Crowsnest Merlin helicopter — the helicopter is not able to carry as much powerful equipment as heavy aircraft.

The flight deck on both ships ends with springboard, which helps to fly the aircraft without assistance.

“Big Lizzie”, as “Kuznetsov”, are not equipped with arresting gear is a special cable that hooked the aircraft to brake during the landing run, but its design allows to install them later.

In the case of “Queen Elizabeth” these shortcomings do not play such a significant role, because on this ship are the latest fighter F35 Lightning II series — with short takeoff and vertical landing.

Low-speed vehicles

For Russian vehicle speed is a key parameter. On the “Kuznetsov” is based MiG-29K and su-33, for which take-off with full combat load it is necessary that the ship went at full speed against the wind.

The maximum speed laid down in the specifications “Kuznetsova” — 29 knots. However, as experts note, because of the deterioration of the power plant the maximum speed is currently much lower, which is reflected in its ability to launch a heavy strike aircraft.

The maximum speed of the “Queen Elizabeth” is 25 knots. It’s too small for the carrier, but not a big factor for takeoff and landing fighter aircraft, F35 V.

While on the deck, “Kuznetsov” three starting positions, and the “Queen Elizabeth” — only one.

The British, as the Russian aircraft carrier is not equipped with a nuclear power plant that, on the one hand, greatly reduces the cost of construction and maintenance, and on the other reduces the maximum speed.

The maximum speed of the American nuclear aircraft carrier class “Gerald R. Ford” — 30 knots, but the aircraft with it start with the catapult.

However, there is one circumstance which may, in this dispute plays a crucial role — “Queen Elizabeth” is the newest ship built, even in a tight economy, but with the latest technology.

It has a powerful digital control system ship weapons. In its construction were originally laid out conditions for future upgrading.

At the same time, “Kuznetsov” was created in the late 1980-ies of the last century, and its next upgrade will begin in 2018. The information on the replacement of worn-out power plant in open sources appeared.


Aircraft carrier as a combat unit is certainly very important, but the fight ultimately his aircraft.

With all the advantages of the MiG-29K and su-33 is deeply modernized aircraft, developed in the 1970-ies of the last century.

However, despite the impressive performance they are still much less efficient than a fifth generation fighter F35B.

For example, is used for strikes on Syria fighters su-33 cannot carry guided weapons against ground targets — only guided bombs. This aircraft was designed primarily for air combat. Maximum combat load it is 6.5 tons.

MiG-29K can carry guided anti-ship and anti-radar missiles, guided bombs and other weapons weighing up to 4.5 tons.

The maximum combat load of the F35 is eight tons, and it can use a very wide range of weapons, like air combat and strikes against land and sea targets.

In addition, the design of the fighter used the technology to reduce radar visibility, was used latest digital control system, weapons, communications, avionics of last generation.

“Kuznetsova” have an advantage over the “Queen Elizabeth” in the missile defense system: missile system “Dagger” and rocket-artillery Kashtan close-range.

British aircraft carrier protecting rapid-fire artillery systems.

However, neither the one nor the other aircraft carrier and was not designed to combat alone — both ships need a group of escort ships, among which should be the air defense destroyers.

Why the Royal Navy a ship like this?

Hardly before the “Queen Elizabeth” will put the same tasks that are put before us shock atomic superawesome — even in the presence of an impressive number of modern fighter aircraft the lack of AEW and the F-35B to refuel other aircraft reduces the combat capabilities of these ships.

On the other hand, “Queen Elizabeth” is able to carry on Board a Chinook transport helicopters that can land troops. That is quite possible to use them as dropships. While air support fighters will be very helpful.

According to the chief editor of the magazine “arms Export” Andrey Frolov, tasks that can be assigned to the “Queen Elizabeth”, a lot.

“For overseas operations, providing “umbrella” for their ships, to the group that landed on the shore, is the possibility of a strike on the territory of a potential enemy no request for overflight. In this sense, the carrier — piece of the national territory”, — the expert said the Russian service Bi-bi-si.

According to him, it is unlikely that the carrier will be able to participate in full-scale hostilities.

“[It can be effective] for operations within the coalition. If we look at the experience of the application of the [French carrier] “Charles de Gaulle”, he’s usually in combat missions from the deck of the aircraft involved 10-12, not more. I think there will be the same,” — said Frolov.

However, the British armed forces, obviously, such a scenario of warfare seems more likely, since the shipyards in Scotland has built a “sister ship” “Queen Elizabeth” aircraft carrier, “Prince of Wales”.

Pavel Aksenov

Russian service Bi-bi-si