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Russia to refurbish its sole aircraft carrier in 2017: Report

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The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. An internet photo

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia is likely to start refurbishing its only aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" in 2017, according to a media report.

The carrier modernisation programme will start following a contract expected to be signed soon, a defence industry source was quoted as saying in an Itar-Tass news report.

"The works on the vessel will begin after she returns from a long-distance voyage in the Mediterranean in the first quarter of 2017 and will last for two-three years," the source said.

"The Defence Ministry's contract with the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) on the aircraft carrier's repair with modernisation worth several billion rubles under the technical design of the Nevskoye Design Bureau is ready, it will be signed in June," he added.

The source further said that the service contract on the Admiral Kuznetsov with the Northern Fleet command has already been concluded.

The modernization will focus on the aircraft carrier's flight deck, including replacement of the deck covering, tailhooks, aircraft arresting gear and other elements of the take-off system.

The Admiral Kuznetsov composite air wing will include the Sukhoi Su-33 and MiG-29K/KUB fighters, Kamov Ka-27, Ka-31 and Ka-52K helicopters (destined for the Mistral class helicopter carriers).

The Su-25UTG aircraft will no longer be based on the aircraft carrier, the source added.

Admiral Kuznetsov, built during the Soviet era, has been in service with the Russian Navy as its flagship carrier since the 1990s.

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