Kiev-class aircraft carrier

The Kiev class, Soviet designation Project 1143 Krechyet (gyrfalcon), was the first class of both fixed-wing aircraft carriers (heavy aircraft cruiser in Soviet classification) built in the Soviet Union for the Soviet Navy.[1]

Aircraft carrier Novorossiysk, USSR, 1986
Novorossiysk in 1986
Class overview
NameKiev class
BuildersChernomorsky Shipyard 444
Preceded by Moskva class
Succeeded by
SubclassesBaku class
In service
  • 1975–1996
  • 2013–present
General characteristics
TypeAircraft cruiser/Aircraft carrier
Displacement42,000–45,000 tons full load
Length273 m (896 ft)
  • 53 m (174 ft) o/a
  • 31 m (102 ft) w/l
Draught10 m (33 ft)
Propulsion8 turbopressurized boilers, 4 steam turbines (200,000 shp (150,000 kW)), four shafts
Speed32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph)
Complement1,200 to 1,600
Aircraft carried
  • Up to 30, including:
  • 12 × Yak-38 aircraft
  • 16 × helicopters
Aviation facilitiesAbbreviated angled aft flight deck


Laid down in 1970, the first ship of the class, Kiev, was partially based on a design for a full-deck carrier proposed in Project Orel. Originally the Soviet Navy wanted a supercarrier similar to the American Kitty Hawk-class. However, the smaller Kiev-class design was chosen because it was considered[by whom?] more cost-effective.

Unlike most NATO aircraft carriers, such as U.S. or most British ones, the Kiev class is a combination of both a cruiser and an aircraft carrier. In the Soviet Navy, this class of ships was specifically designated as a "heavy aviation cruiser" (Russian: Тяжелые авианесущие крейсера) rather than solely as an aircraft carrier. This designation allowed the ships to transit the Turkish Straits, while the 1936 Montreux Convention prohibited aircraft carriers heavier than 15,000 tons from passing through the Straits.

The ships were designed with a large island superstructure to starboard, with an angled flight-deck 2/3rds of the length of the total deck; the foredeck was taken up with heavy surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile armament. The intended mission of the Kiev class was support for strategic missile submarines, other surface ships and naval aviation; it was capable of engaging in anti-aircraft, anti-submarine, and surface warfare.

The Soviet Union built and commissioned a total of four Kiev-class carriers, which served in the Soviet and then the Russian navies. The first two ships were sold to China as museums, and the third ship was scrapped. The fourth ship, Admiral Gorshkov, was sold to the Indian Navy in 2004, and after years of extensive modifications and refurbishment, is currently in active service as INS Vikramaditya.[2]

General characteristicsEdit

  • Designer: Nevskoye Planning and Design Bureau
  • Builder: Nikolayev South (formerly Chernomorsky Shipyard 444)
  • Power plant: 8 turbopressurized boilers, 4 steam turbines (200,000 shp), four shafts
  • Length: 273 metres (896 ft) overall (283 metres (928 ft) for Baku subgroup)
  • Flight Deck Width: 53 metres (174 ft)
  • Beam: 32.6 metres (107 ft)
  • Displacement: 43,000–45,500 metric tons full load
  • Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph)
  • Aircraft: 26–30
  • Crew: 1,200–1,600 (including air wing)
  • Armament:
  • Date deployed: 1975 (Kiev)


Name Project No. Namesake Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Fate
Kiev 1143 City of Kyiv (Kiev) Soviet Shipyard No. 444, Mykolaiv 21 July 1970 26 December 1972 28 December 1975 Sold to a Chinese company in 1996, converted into a theme park in Tianjin since 2004. Further renovated and developed into a luxury hotel since 2014.
Minsk 1143 City of Minsk 28 December 1972 30 September 1975 27 September 1978 Sold to China as a museum, placed in naval museum in Jiangsu since 2016.
Novorossiysk 11433/1143M City of Novorossiysk 30 September 1975 26 December 1978 14 September 1982 Broken up at Pohang, 1997
Baku subclass
Admiral Gorshkov
11434 Sergey Georgiyevich Gorshkov Soviet Shipyard No. 444, Mykolaiv 17 February 1978 1 April 1982 11 December 1987 Sold to India in 2004, now INS Vikramaditya

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jordan, John (1 April 1992). Soviet Warships, 1945 to the Present. Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 978-1854091178. LCCN 93107387. OCLC 473749103. OL 22267847M.
  2. ^ Gokhale, Nitin A. (14 June 2014). "All you wanted to know about INS Vikramaditya". Rediff News. Archived from the original on 26 February 2021. Retrieved 10 December 2021. It was at this juncture that Russia offered Admiral Gorshkov to the Indian Navy. Negotiations over acquiring the 44,500 ton Admiral Gorshkov started in 1994. Various high level delegations who had assessed the ship had independently concluded that the ship’s hull was in good material state and would be worth considering for exploitation in the Indian Navy with a suitable mix of aircraft.

External linksEdit