Kiev-class aircraft carrier

The Kiev class aircraft carriers (also known as Project 1143 or as the Krechyet (Gyrfalcon) class) were the first class of fixed-wing aircraft carriers built in the Soviet Union.

First laid down in 1970 the Kiev class 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 to be more cost effective.

Unlike American or British carriers, the Kiev class is a combination of a cruiser and a carrier. In the Soviet Navy this class of ships was specifically designated as a heavy aviation cruiser rather than just an aircraft carrier. Although the ships were designed with an island superstructure to starboard, with a 2/3 length angled flight deck, the foredeck was taken up with the heavy 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.

A total of four Kiev class carriers were built and commissioned, serving in the Soviet and then Russian Navy. The first three were decommissioned, of which, one was scrapped and two were sold as recreational pieces to China. 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.


Kiev-class aircraft carrier
Class Ship
Type Aircraft Carrier
Manufacturer Black Sea Shipyard
Production Period 1970 - 1982
Origin Russia (USSR)
Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1975
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Russia (USSR) 1975 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Black Sea Shipyard 1970 1982 4 View

Ships in Class

Name Namesake Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Fate
Kiev subgroup
Kiev City of Kiev Soviet Shipyard No. 444, Mykolaiv 21 July 1970 26 December 1972 28 December 1975 Sold to commercial interest, 1996
Minsk City of Minsk Soviet Shipyard No. 444, Mykolaiv 28 December 1972 30 September 1975 27 September 1978 Sold to commercial interest, 1995
Novorossiysk City of Novorossiysk Soviet Shipyard No. 444, Mykolaiv 30 September 1975 26 December 1978 14 September 1982 Broken up at Pohang, 1997
Baku subgroup
Admiral Gorshkov
(ex-Baku)
Admiral Flota Sovietskogo Soyuza Sergey Georgiyevich Gorshkov Soviet Shipyard No. 444, Mykolaiv 17 February 1978 1 April 1982 11 December 1987 Sold to Indian Navy for STOBARconversion, 20 January 2004
Commissioned as INS Vikramaditya, 16 November 2013

Builders: Chernomorsky Shipyard 444
Operators:  Soviet Navy
 Russian Navy
 Indian Navy
Preceded by: Moskva-class helicopter carrier
Subclasses: Baku-class
In service: 28 December 1975 - 1995
15 December 2013 - present
Completed: 4
Active: INS Vikramaditya
Preserved: Kiev (China)
Minsk (China)
General characteristics
Type: Aviation Cruiser
Displacement: 42,000-45,000 metric tons full load
Length: 273 m (896 ft)
Beam: 53 m (174 ft) o/a
31 m (102 ft) w/l
Draught: 10 m (33 ft)
Propulsion: 8 turbopressurized boilers, 4 steam turbines (200,000 shp), four shafts
Speed: 32 kn (59 km/h; 37 mph)
Complement: 1,200 to 1,600
Armament: See article for variations
80 to 200 surface-to-air missiles
2 dual-purpose guns
8 close-in weapons systems
10 torpedo tubes
Aircraft carried: Up to 30, including:
12 × Yak-38 aircraft
16 x helicopters
Aviation facilities: Abbreviated angled aft flight deck

End notes