We’re still waiting to learn (and may never know) how much the December 12 fire aboard the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov will cost the Russian Navy.
According to Interfaks, OSK chief Aleksey Rakhmanov said the bill will exceed 300 million rubles ($4.7 million).
Rakhmanov told Russian journalists:
. . . there’s no final figure. The commission continues to work. Given that the work of firefighters and law enforcement organs has been gathered up, I think we still require some time to reconcile it. We simply weren’t allowed on-board for a long time.
. . . I don’t want to scare or delight anyone, but there’s definitely no 90 billion [$1.4 billion] there. But I think we won’t get away for 300 million.
Recall the fire took a day to extinguish and two Russian naval personnel — an enlisted contractee and an officer — died, and 14 others were injured.
In the immediate aftermath, Rakhmanov claimed Kuznetsov didn’t sustain critical damage. He rejected a December 19 Kommersant story indicating that the bill for fire repairs could reach 95 billion rubles. The business daily said the estimate came from a Northern Fleet staff officer.
The OSK chief said equipment in the engine room where the blaze occurred was already dismantled. Welding sparks started the fire and it apparently spread to electrical cables.
Completed in the early 1990s, the ill-fated sole Russian carrier is being renovated under an April 2018 contract. The ship was damaged in late October 2018 while floating out of the PD-50 dry dock at Roslyakovo. Kuznetsov was initially set to be finished in 2021, but the date has slipped to 2022.
The carrier reportedly will receive a navalized version of the Pantsir-S1 (SA-22 Greyhound) gun-missile air defense system, new boilers, pumps, flight control and communications systems, as well as repairs to its turbines.