The majority of recent Russian aircraft in Syria are taking off its their main land base, after it theatrically dragged its only aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean sea.
“We don’t think the Russians are flying as many sorties off their carrier as they would want the world to think,” a British intelligence officer told IHS Janes. The lack of airstrikes from the aircraft carrier come after a Russian jet reportedly crashed into the ocean after take off Nov. 14.
The Russian Ministry of Defense acknowledged the crash Nov. 15, saying it was due to an “equipment fault during an approach for deck landing.” Russian media however reported Nov. 21 that the error may be with a critical component of the aircraft carrier itself, possibly forcing Russia to ground all fighter aircraft on board.
Russia deployed the Admiral Kuznetsov to Syria in late October to assist the ongoing air campaign to help Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Russia and Syria are currently engaged in a relentless bombing campaign on the city of Aleppo, where hundreds of civilians have reportedly been killed in the last week.
While the Admiral Kuznetsov was on its way to Syria, it was denied refueling privileges in Malta and Spain. Video’s of the Kuznetsov billowing smoke through the English channel aside modern western warships were widely mocked at the time.
The Kuznetsov’s plumbing is reportedly so bad many toilets on board are unusable, and it is besieged by electrical problems. “All their ships look shiny on the outside, but are pretty horrid on the inside. You only have to look at the smoke she’s belching out to see not all is well,” a British Naval officer told the Telegraph in October.
He elaborated, “We have had people on board Russian ships in the last 10 years or so and it’s always a bit of a shock. The conditions inside are pretty manky.”
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