Kiev Class

Overview

Country: Soviet Union

The Kiev Class carriers (also know as Krechyet Class) were the first class of fixed-wing aircraft carriers built in the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Navy wished to have an aircraft carrier which would let it operate as a self contained task force. They had originally wanted a super aircraft carrier more like the American ships but in the end decided on a more cost effective design. The first of the class was laid down in 1970.

The design does not follow the post war western tradition and harks back to a pre war philosophy of a combination of cruiser and carrier. In the Russian Navy this class of ships is specifically designated as heavy aircraft carrying cruisers rather than just an aircraft carrier. This maintains the Russian independent line of creating unique designs best tailored for their needs. The intended mission of the Kiev class was to support strategic missile submarines and other surface ships. Being a hybrid it was capable of engaging in anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and surface warfare.

A total of four Kiev class carriers were built and commissioned, although a fifth was approved but never built. They all served in the Soviet Navy and then Russian Navy but after the end of the Cold War and the deteriorating economic position meant that they were withdrawn from service in the early 1990s . Only one now remains active and that is the fourth ship, Admiral Gorshkov, which has been modernized and sold to the Indian Navy.

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