Study : as cost of the Syrian campaign, “Admiral Kuznetsov”

During a military operation in Syria is the only Russian heavy aircraft carrier cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov” for the first time in the history of the Navy of the country involved carrier-based aircraft in combat. As calculated , the approximate cost of the trip, including the cost of fuel, food and sorties of fighters, made up from 7.5 billion rubles to 10 billion rubles.

In Severomorsk the cruiser will be back in early February 2017, said the source in defense Ministry. Information about the date of arrival confirmed by military experts familiar with the situation. Also the ship’s arrival on 9 February in port reported by the authoritative Navy portal with reference to close to the course of operations.

Why “Admiral Kuznetsov”

Heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser, according to the defense Ministry, designed to support submarines of strategic purpose. “Admiral Kuznetsov” can cover groups of ships against attacking aircraft carriers and submarines. As pointed out by the experts interviewed , the cruiser is able to perform tasks in support of the marine amphibious operations.

In addition to fighter and anti-submarine helicopter cruiser armed with heavy anti-ship missiles “Granit”. Therefore, according to the classification described in the Montreux Convention, “Admiral Kuznetsov” is the battleship, and has the right to act in the Black sea. Other carriers, according to the document, to enter the black sea waters can’t.

Support group

Hiking to the shores of Syria, “Admiral Kuznetsov” in the shock ship group of the Northern fleet went October 15. In addition to the carrier, the group included the heavy nuclear missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky, large antisubmarine ships (BPK) “Severomorsk” and “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” and support vessels — tankers, tugs, etc., stated in the press service of the Northern fleet. The aim of the campaign is “providing a naval presence in the operationally important areas of the World ocean”. According to the former head of the international Treaty Directorate of the Ministry of defense Evgeny Buzhinskiy, this means the craft “showing the flag” in extreme cases — participation in hostilities.

Press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov, answering the question of the task group of ships, noted that data about the campaign “are stored somewhere in sealed envelopes marked “top secret”.

tried to calculate the costs of camping cruiser for the British method, which does not take into account regular payments, for example, military wages, infrastructure costs, maintenance and repair of equipment and other permanent expenses that are not associated with military operations.


Greatest “material value” on Board “Admiral Kuznetsov” is its air group. According to the defense Ministry, the cruiser avianese are up to 12 su-27 and su-33 and 24 Ka-27. These figures do not include the use of MiG-29 carrier-based modifications To the CUBE indicates a military expert Ilya Kramnik, citing sources in the defense Ministry. According to him, in the composition of the air group “Admiral Kuznetsov” consists of four MiG-29, 2 deck fighter su-33, attack helicopters Ka-52K “Katran” (naval modification Ka-52 “alligator”), and about ten helicopters Ka-27, Ka-29 and Ka-31. Official data on the actual composition of the air group on the ship, the defense Ministry announced.

According to the commander of the Russian group of forces in Syria, Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov, “pilots of the Russian naval aviation during operations in Syria complied with 420 combat missions from ships aircraft carrier group of the Northern fleet headed by the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov”. The General added that 117 sorties were made at night.

Experts interviewed found it difficult to estimate the cost of combat use of carrier-based aircraft because of the unknown duration and distance of flights. However, the costs on the flight deck of the fighter’s fuel and ammunition is comparable to the use of land-based fighter, said the former air force commander General of the army Pyotr Deinekin. I agree with this opinion, a military pilot, who asked not to be named. “Complexity is only for the pilot”, — the interlocutor told .

According to the chief editor of the magazine “arms Export” Andrey Frolov, due to limitations of the runway of the cruiser, the aircraft can not carry a full combat load, which limits the radius of their application. Thus, su-33 and MiG-29 could make sorties only within a short range. On the combat use of helicopters, the military Department announced.

The cost of 420 sorties of carrier-based aircraft is about 1.5 bln rubles for 3.5 million rubles for each flight, told earlier military experts. The Ministry of defence was unable to provide comment on this issue.

Lost wings

The war Department on 14 November reported on the fall of carrier-based fighter MiG-29K. According to the edition “the”, when boarding the plane refused both engines, causing the MiG-29 crashed and sank. Three weeks later, the defense Ministry confirmed the loss of Maritime su-33. When landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier broke the rope arresting gear, which is needed to stop landing aircraft on palaue of the ship, and the fighter skidded off the deck. Both pilots managed to eject and survived.

According to independent military analyst Anton Lavrov, the value of the lost equipment can be assessed on the basis of the supply of arms to other countries. So one of the MiG-29K, according to the contract with India, signed in 2010, worth $51.7 million, says the expert of the Center for analysis of strategies and technologies, Konstantin Makiyenko. “This price is including maintenance, upgrade, create, repair shop and staff training,” says Lavrov. According to him, this figure also does not account for fluctuations. To estimate the cost of the su-33, which were not delivered abroad, based on the fact that a piece of equipment need to be replaced with a new MiG-29. As pointed out by the expert Ilya Kramnik, after the first accident on the aircraft carrier was relocated two MiG-29K.

Estimate close to the Indian contract, gave military expert Alexei Leonov. According to him, the cost of one MiG-29K, depending on configuration and conditions of the contract varies between $35-45 million Thus, the replacement of two broken fighters could cost the Russian budget in the amount of $70 to $103.4 million At the exchange rate on the day of the accident — November 14 (65,2 RUB) and December 5 (64,1 RUB) 2016 — the cost of a new MiG-29 could be from 4.5 billion to 6.7 billion rubles.

Fuel costs

One of the “expenditure” of the Mediterranean campaign, “Admiral Kuznetsov” began the cost of fuel. The sea route from Severomorsk to the coast of Syria, who overcame the “Admiral Kuznetsov” along with the rest of the group, amounted to 5.3 thousand nautical miles (more than 9.8 thousand km). To track the course of the ships during the voyage, you can use the Marine Traffic service that shows the movement of ships in the world ocean on the basis of indicators of the system of Maritime AIS. On the website of the service do not appear warships that disable the corresponding transmitter, but the accompanying group of tug “Nikolay Chiker” is tracked by the service.

Average speed “Admiral Kuznetsov” (combat speed economical speed), according to military officials, is 18 knots (33.3 km / h). The cruising range is 7.7 thousand nautical miles (14.2 thousand km), and maximum fuel on Board, 9.9 thousand tons of fuel oil. Therefore, when you average the fuel consumption is approximately 1.3 tons of fuel oil per nautical mile journey. The transition from the Kola Gulf to the Syrian coast, in this case, it spent 6.8 thousand tons of fuel. The same number took ship for the return voyage.

Average price per ton of bunker fuel oil f-5 (one of the two main types of bunker fuel oil) reached in 2015-2016 22.3 thousand rubles per ton of fuel, the documentation should be ten tenders organized by state-owned companies not affiliated with the defense Ministry, according to information on the public procurement portal. Thus, the cost of 13,6 thousand tons of fuel oil consumed by the cruiser during the voyage, could be 303,3 mln.

The purchase price of the auction of state-owned companies significantly exceed market rates for this type of fuel. According to the international pricing Agency Argus, average for the year 2016 values quotes bunkering fuel oil with a sulphur content up to 3.5% (suitable for use on vessels) in terms of delivery dob (Board) in the ports of Murmansk (close to Severomorsk, where is the cruiser) amounted to 12.8 thousand tons roubles per ton of fuel. The minimum and maximum price per ton of fuel in 2016, according to the Agency, amounted to 9 thousand RUB. thousand RUB. and 16.2 respectively. At that price, the fuel for the cruiser could do from 122,4 million rubles to 220,3 million rubles. However, as pointed out by the expert of the market of oil products, sales of fuel oil for the needs of the military establishment is very opaque, it is potentially corruption-intensive market, so the purchase prices set by the Ministry of defence, can be above market.

Court support — large anti-submarine ships “Severomorsk” and “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” — according to a source close to the Navy to use low-viscosity marine fuel (TSM). According to the historian of the fleet of Alexander Pavlov in his study “type BPK “Udaloy”, under normal supply of this type of fuel is approximately 1.5 thousand tons, the ships of this type can take up to 3 thousand nautical miles (5.6 km). This data confirms the authoritative naval reference book “Conway’s All the World’s Battleships, 1947-1995”.

Thus, BOD “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” will spend on the voyage to the coast of Syria and back (a ship returned from a trip in December 2016) 21.2 thousand tons of fuel. “Severomorsk” spent two times less – 10,6 thousand tons of fuel as at the time of writing, the ship was in the Red sea, and therefore not returned with his group to the port.

The cost of one ton malovskogo marine fuels on the basis of ten trades from the website of public procurement conducted in 2015-2016, up from 30 thousand to 36 thousand. Thus, the fuel to ensure that the escort ships could do the Northern fleet in the amount of 954 million RUB from 1.15 billion RUB.

Total fuel costs amounted to from 1.1 to 1.5 billion rubles., depending on the cost of procurement for the defense Ministry. Calculations of the cost spent in the campaign do not take into account fuel costs nuclear missile cruiser “Peter the Great”. In open access there is no information on the type, volumes and cost of radioactive materials used in nuclear reactors of the ship. According to the expert, Anton Lavrov, recharging the energy of the elements does not depend on the distance of the hike, but from life. “In this case is the depreciation, not the cost of fuel”, — stressed Lavrov.

The Mediterranean diet

Another major item of expenditure in the long March “Admiral Kuznetsov” was the food of his crew. As previously reported by RBC experts, the cost of the daily ration for a Russian soldier who is Hamim at the airbase in Syria, was 600-800 rubles. Similar amount with a small margin, applicable to the diet of the crew of “Admiral Kuznetsov”, said a source close to the leadership of JSC “Voentorg” (the company is engaged in trade services and catering in the Armed forces of the Russian Federation).

Sea rations from land differs slightly, the source said . He estimated the cost at about 850 rubles, adding that the price of the ration may vary depending on the region in which occurred the purchase of food. Sea rations is 800 RUB per person per day, and the power of the pilot carrier-based aircraft on the “Kuznetsov” costs about 1 thousand rbl. daily, leading figures of the expert of the Center for military forecasting Institute of political and military analysis Anatoly Tsyganok.

On the website of the Ministry of defense specified the regular number of the personnel of the cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov” — 1960 sailors and officers. However, the actual number of crew by the military was not reported. To feed the entire crew, the daily required products in the amount of 1.6 to 1.7 million rubles. for rations at 800 and 850 rubles, respectively.

In this case, during the campaign, “Kuznetsov” — 117 days, from 15 October 2016-February 9 2017 — food cruiser will be spent approximately 183,5 to 194,9 million.

According to the data given on the website of the military Department, the crew of heavy nuclear cruiser “Peter the Great” is 727 people. The crew of the large anti-submarine ships, according to the study of Pavlov’s “type BPK “Udaloy”, is a total of 586 people. Thus, in 117 days of the campaign to ensure the crew of the escort ships were used by 122,9 million to 130.6 signatures mln.

Unknown exact amount of the payments to the crews of the ships and pilots of deck aircraft. According to a former commander of the Northern fleet (1999 to 2001), Vyacheslav Popov, paid personnel costs increase with the access to the sea.

According to the document, regulating the monthly allowance for the tasks directly connected with risk for life and health in peacetime, published on the website of the military Department, the allowance for participation in the campaigns of the ships amounts to 2% of salary for each day of the hike. In this case, the maximum surcharge amount may not be more than 60 percent of monthly salary.

The war office did not publish data on the number of officers on the ships, so, if we assume that the ships are serving only the sailors, the minimum amount of the allowance for 3273 crew members (sailors with the salary in 5 thousand rubles) for one month is 9.8 million RUB Over the nearly four months of the campaign, the Agency has allocated not less 38,3 million rbl. on allowances to staff. The amount of the post salary of 16.4 million rubles a month (65,6 million rubles during the campaign) regardless of where the ship is located. BB final calculations, this figure was not included, since this cost does not depend on whether the sailors a combat mission or not.

Allowances are also based on the pilots of deck aircraft. For each flight of the aircraft from the deck of “Admiral Kuznetsov” to the serviceman it should be 5% of the salary rise of the helicopter adds to the monthly salary of 3 per cent. The maximum increase in their salary, according to the document, is 50 percent. The defense Ministry did not reported data on the actual number of flight crew on avianese the cruiser.

The results of the campaign

Total expenditure on food (306,4 million rubles to 325,5 million rbl.), fuel (from RUB 1.1 billion to RUB 1.5 billion), sorties (1.47 billion rubles), the cost of lost combat machines (from 4.5 billion to 6.7 billion rubles.) and “combat” bonuses (38,3 mln) made up 7.5 billion rubles to 10 billion rubles, follows from the calculations . The real cost of the campaign may be longer, as data on the use of the submarine fleet and armament of the ships in operation was not published by the war Department. This amount is compared to the two months of conducting operations in Syria, it follows from previously published studies.

“The main thing in this operation — training of flight personnel, use of carrier-based aircraft in a real combat situation,” assesses the results of the campaign Director of the Center for analysis of strategies and technologies Ruslan Pukhov. According to him, received by the crews of the ships and pilots in the campaign experience fully justifies any elapsed the means.

Agree with him military expert Viktor murakhovski. According to him, before the ship group first and foremost task was to check the capability and efficiency of carrier cruiser in a combat situation. “The task was successfully carried out, caused a few dozen strikes on targets in Syria” — sums up murakhovski. It indicates that collateral damage is commensurate with the loss of the American carrier-based aircraft. “Both aircraft have been lost due to faulty equipment, organizational issues,” — said the expert. Despite this, insists murakhovski, experience in the use of wings in combat justifies such losses.

“At the time of writing, the defense Ministry did not respond to a request”.