The last time Russia’s sole aircraft carrier sailed into the Mediterranean Sea, five years ago, the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet kept a close eye on its progress. The concern among American officers wasn’t the ship’s contingent of fighter planes; instead, it was the very real worry it would sink and necessitate a potentially risky rescue operation.
The 26-year-old Admiral Kuznetsov made it through that 2011 deployment without sinking and is now headed back to the eastern Mediterranean this fall as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s effort to use Syria as a showcase for his new model military.
When announced, I was wondering how good the ship and air component could be given that we require constant practice to remain proficient.
I didn't realize that the ship was so fragile.
I assume worries of her sinking are exaggerated.
But given that land-based planes would be better for actual operations over Syria and that this deployment is simply for prestige, I have to wonder why the Russians would roll the dice for the latter objective with such a potential for a high-profile mishap.