Kreml (Kremlin), Project 1143.7, NATO 'Kreml' Class, 1989
The first of two Pr.1143.7 aviation cruisers were laid down in 1982 at South Yard, Nikolayev. Designed to support Soviet ASW groups and offer power projection across the world, these ships offered far superior capabilities with powerful missile armament backed up by an effective air group and a contingent of Marines. Only the Kreml was completed, commissioning in 1989 shortly before the collapse of the USSR. On commissioning the Kreml was assigned to the Northern Fleet.
Displacement: 75,000 tons
Dimensions: 335m (long, overall), 90m (beam, including flightdeck), 40m (beam, hull)
Armament: 20x VLS tubes for SS-N-19 'Shipwreck' supersonic anti-ship missiles, 1x2 SS-N-14 'Silex' ASW missile launcher (plus reload missiles), 12 SA-N-6 'Grumble' SAM launchers, 2x2 76mm gun mounts, 9x 30mm AK-630 CIWS mounts, 2x5 533mm torpedo tubes for torpedoes and SS-N-15 'Starfish' ASW missiles, 1x RBU-6000 ASW rocket launcher
Airgroup: 70x navalised Su-27 'Flanker' fighters (and including navalised Sukhoi Su-25 'Frogfoot' attack aircraft) plus Ka-27 'Helix' helicopters
Machinery: 2 nuclear reactors supplying steam to 4 turbines, 250,000shp
Complement: 5,000 plus a Marine infantry contingent of 1,500
Real World: By early 1984 rumours began to circulate about a successor to the Kiev class and in August 1984 satellite reconnaissance revealed the hull of the Project 1143.5 Riga
, which would later be better known as Tbilisi
and later still completed as the Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov
. The bow section was incomplete and so speculation continued in the West as to what the new carrier would look like. Would it be a conventional carrier or a heavily armed cruiser-carrier built for power projection. Speculation favoured the heavily armed solution, indeed as completed the Kuznetsov
had a powerful battery of 12 SS-N-19 anti-ship missiles, but the Western speculations were far more powerful. The design shown here, dubbed the i]Kreml[/i], was presented in Strategy and Defence
in October 1984. The design had two steam catapults on the angled deck for 70 navalised 'Flankers' and a powerful missile battery modelled on that of the Project 1144 Kirov class. Oddly only long-range SAMs were presented despite the large Su-27 airgroup (which could probably never been fitted into such a hull). Being sketched in 1984 the design lacks a phased-array radar, so has a dated radar outfit compared to the Pr.1143.4 Baku which completed in 1988.
The West saw the Soviet carrier fleet as being a key part of global projection, so much so that, like this design, they assumed they would carry Soviet Marines and by the late 1980s rumours (perhaps started by the existence of the Su-25UTG deck trainers) circulated that the carriers would carry Su-25 'Frogfoot' ground attack aircraft. Therefore I have included a modified Su-25 based on the Su-25TM/Su-39 airframe with the raised cockpit. What we have here is an interesting semi-accurate glimpse of the reality but incorrect in many ways and perhaps far too ambitious to be workable.
Drawing Note: I first drew this ship probably 10-12 years ago and although this started as a modernisation it ended up a 100% redraw. Golly's Kiev parts were invaluable in completing this. The original drawing had some rather funky deck heights and layouts and odd angles. I've done my best to interpret them and rejig them into accurate forms that could be workable, but it is rather a complicated island compared to the real ships. I have redrawn the previous Su-33K from scratch and it is now far more accurate and I have kitbashed a naval Su-25.
EDIT: made some fixes on the drawing.