The official date is set: the Russian aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” should be fully repaired by 2024. But even if technical works follow the schedule, assembling and training a new crew for this ship will certainly not happen quickly.
“Admiral Kuznetsov” was designed to have 1,900 technical personnel onboard. The new crew should consist of 1,500 people, and such a reduction is explained by the fact that many of the internal systems will be automated and therefore will require less maintenance.
Still, a 1,500-large crew is not a simple thing to prepare, because most of these servicemen will need to undergo very specialized and long training before the vessel will be ready to perform at least basic tasks. Also, due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, finding the necessary crew members will not be a simple task.
The repair and overhaul of “Admiral Kuznetsov” have been underway for 6 years. After the ship was stationed at the repair facility, the former crew was disbanded.
Of course, some operations onboard an aircraft carrier are closely similar to those in other types of military ships. Nevertheless, every aircraft carrier has its own specifics, including the fact that the crew must be 100% capable of maintaining aircraft and aviation equipment.
“Even if there are 1500 suitable sailors, their training and familiarization [with the aircraft carrier] will take months, since the Kuznetsov is the largest surface ship in Russia. Even the old team would find it difficult to learn how to properly operate with newly installed equipment. An improperly trained team can lead to major accidents,” commented Russian Navy expert Matus Smutny.
In a similar way, pilots of naval fighter jets Su-33 and MiG-29KR will need to complete additional training after 7 years spent without regular practice at sea.
Previously, Ukrainian military intelligence reported that the ship suffered from significant hull corrosion which is extremely difficult to repair.