Naval Aviation is Hard

It would seem that during repair and refit of Russia’s sole operating carrier, the floating dry dock collapsed, sank, and the resulting off-balance load made a couple of cranes fall into the deck of the ship, one of which put a pretty good-sized hole in the deck. Russia is discovering this kind of thing is expensive, I suppose.

According to the article, the carrier was spewing black smoke on its most recent deployment to the Med and lost 13% of its (admittedly small) air wing. Hope for the sake of their aviators they can fix this thing so its usable.


🇷🇺#Russian #Navy Sinking floating dock PD-50 of the Shipyard number 82. Night on 30th October 2018. Photo via Reuters

— Capt(N) (@Capt_Navy) October 31, 2018

Looks like they were able to float out the Kuznetsov.

The Kuz is conventionally-powered, right?


Okay, then black smoke pouring from it while underway is less of a concern for me, then.

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Kirov class CGN is their nuke…and that a hybrid…no, not like Prius…it also has gas turbine propulsion.

The Kuz burns Mazut, which is a heavy fuel oil something close to Bunker C. In it’s resting state, Mazut is apparently closer in composition to tar than liquid, and has to be preheated before being burned.

Supposedly the Kuz’s emissions problems are a result of inefficiencies in the plumbing with regards to how the fuel is heated and injected into the boilers.

As like a lot of people here I suspect, my formative years were through the Cold War and the ‘scary East’. When I see that broken ship, the perspective I remember is it is all about the money. Naval Aviation isn’t just hard, it’s really really expensive:

(Flag Size to Comparative GDP)

The point with the above graphic (before @near_blind goes and has a cold shower to calm down :us: :slight_smile: ) is not to get into politics (sorry if I went there, this is purely just about seeing the boat and thinking about the costs) but the relationship between the flag size and fleet.

Nukes are scary (Hi India/Pakistan!), so a wild ride on that, but for conventional, it’s all about the money. They ain’t got none.


…and it is dangerous. Over my Navy career I have lost 17 shipmates (including a roommate) to naval aviation accidents…that really sucked. :frowning_face:

…but, when everything is going right, it also a whole lot of fun! :slightly_smiling_face:

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The air injection system for the boilers as well, and maybe impurities in the fuel. If you’re burning too rich, you can get crazy smoke like they were seeing.

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When I first got to my ship, because we were still under construction and it was right after 9/11, several of us were sent over to Portsmouth to help get other ships out of the yards and underway. We were working on the Gunston Hall, an ancient amphib, and had just left the dock she was in when a crane tipped and crashed into the deck where other workers had been just a few minutes before.

This is the most Soviet fuel that could ever possibly exist.


Fuel oil that thick is actually really common, oil fired steam trains (the last of the big boys before diesels) had to use oil heaters. They also throw smoke like no one’s business particularly if you aren’t getting the combustion right.


My father described it as hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

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