Additional thoughts regarding the damage to Admiral Kuznetsov . . . .
The gulf between OSK chief Rakhmanov’s 300 million rubles and 95 billion rubles from Kommersant’s Northern Fleet staff officer source is as wide as it gets. How do we parse what we’ve heard? Whom do we believe?
Interesting that Rakhmanov had something of an estimate, but, at the same time, said, “We simply weren’t allowed on-board for a long time.” He also rejected the possibility of critical damage right after the fire. Can he really know the extent of damage if experts haven’t been on-board?
The same may go for Kommersant’s source. Have he and other naval officers been on-board? Maybe 95 billion was misheard? Doesn’t seem likely though in the case of a quality paper like Kommersant.
We’re in a “he said, she said.”
So let’s try to understand 300 million and 95 billion rubles.
- A TASS feature in July indicated that a Krylov center design for a 44,000-ton catamaran-hull carrier, the design alone, would cost 3-4 billion rubles.
- In December, an OPK source told RIAN development and construction of an unspecified new carrier would likely cost Moscow 300-400 billion rubles ($4.7-6.3 billion).
- Even the “medium repair and limited modernization” of Admiral Kuznetsov, as envisaged in 2018, is likely to cost at least 55 billion rubles ($860 million), per Bmpd.
- To get your bearings, first-in-class USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) cost $12.8 billion to build with $4.7 billion in R&D costs.
Bottom line: we have to wait and see how much this fire costs the Russian Navy, if we ever find out. We have to watch for Russia’s financial calculus vis-à-vis continuing the repair and modernization of Kuznetsov. But here’s a guess. The fire damage from December 12 will be closer to Kommersant’s number than Rakhmanov’s.