Pics of the Day: HMS Liverpool Shadows Russia’s Carrier

Here’s a great image that looks like it was almost taken from a Cold War-themed video game. It shows the soon-to-be retired British Type 42 destroyer HMS Liverpool shadowing Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, as the slavic ship transits through the English channel during a recent patrol that marked the closest a Russian naval task force had sailed to the British Isles since the fall of the Soviet Union. No matter how much we lament about the current state of the Royal Navy, these pics, showing the rundown-looking Kuznetsov (I admit, this could just be because of the shade of paint and massive amount of black smoke pouring from her stack) near the aging yet put together-looking Liverpool,  seem to be a superficial reminder of how far the Russian navy has to go in rebuilding its force.

Keep in mind that China’s new aircraft carrier is Kuznetsov’s sister ship, the ex-Soviet Varyag, so we may see these images repeated soon in the Pacific with U.S. Navy destroyers escorting the newly refurbished Chinese carrier.

Good thing that Britain found a way to once again get a major warship patrolling its home waters, otherwise we wouldn’t have these great photos.

  • John Moore

    Type 42 still looks better than anything my CA has frig.

    And the RU carrier only has two planes on deck? How many can it store underneath anyone know?

  • Prodozul

    Wasn’t the Admiral Kuznetsov supposed to be sold to India?

    • Samantk

      No, Admiral Goshkov is sold to India, they were of similar class..

    • Samantk

      No, Admiral Goshkov is sold to India, they were of similar class.

    • Samantk

      Admiral Goshkov is sold to India, they were of similar class.

      • Tom

        I though the Gorshkov was a Kiev class carrier that they were removing most of the foredeck weapons from?

  • jakemono

    The Russian carriers never conducted flight ops in the sustained manner that the US flattops do. The fighters they carry are almost a token force.

  • lol

    In the second photo it looks like the wind is going faster then the carrier judging by the smoke blowing over towards the bow

    • DaveG

      Look at the first picture. The smoke is moving to the left and not to the front.

    • John Brian Shannon

      Sometimes that happens. The wind is 50 knots (which out on the open ocean is nothing) and forward speed is 20 knots.

      It may not look like much, but it’s the warplanes it carries that are the threat. An aircraft carrier is not a weapon, it’s a platform.

  • SqnScribe

    In past ops the air wing compositions have been all over the place due to funding. General analyst consensus (they vary) of normal max -but not overload- capacity is approx: 12-14x SU27s and 18-20x KA-27 helicopters (mixed types); thus reflecting the very different role the Russians assign to their carrier.
    There are CAD & artist impressions out there showing a hanger loading of 22x SU27s when the vast majority of helos are removed (e.g. bin ASW sqn but keep 6-8 assorted for light transport / AEW / plane guard). RIA Novosti report that post-refit the capacity for fixed wing will be 26 Mig-29Ks (Fulcrum variants not Flankers) but no mention of co-resident helo numbers. Your mileage may vary!

  • Chuck

    “showing the rundown-looking Kuznetsov ”

    Looks win wars, yes. Needs more styling!!!!11111

    • MGC

      no kidding I am glad we don’t have pics of the old Midways or Improved Essex class returning from a cruise talk about weathered.

  • blight

    “Oh wow, Britain is rise of a superpower can shadow other big navies”

    Might as well apply the armchair superpower standard.

    • blight

      If this was a Chinese frigate shadowing an European vessel, I’m pretty sure the above would’ve been all over the place. Why the big minuses? Oh well.

  • Pat

    Wow the russian navy has just fallen apart over the years

  • Intherigging

    I’ve always liked the word ‘frigate’.

  • Ian

    A real shame they are retiring the Type 42, they are good looking ships and I’ve always liked the Sea Dart system, I hope Liverpool goes to a good home, preferably not Argentina this time.

    • MJB

      The two 42 type Frigate that Argentina used to sail were built one in UK and the other in Argentina. There are poor performance ships, Coventry and Sheffield are in the bottom of the atlantic given testimony of this fact.

  • Taggert

    More power! Captain Jeremy Clarkson could be heard calling to the engine room of the HMS Liverpool…

  • Ross

    me being a brit, i envy the russians for actually having a carrier right now…

    thats how depressing the state of the british armed forces is these days…

    and especially considering the recent finding of many thousands of billions being wasted in the public sector..yet government always find it prudent to further cut the forces who spend a meagre couple of dozen billion, that actually goes to defending and projecting ourselves in the world…


    • Dale

      Don’t be jelous as it really is a piss poor excuse of a carrier that the Russians have. Seriously, its garbage as is the air wing that operates off it.

      • Ross

        not jealous really, im well aware of the fundamental shortcomings of Russia’s defence infrastructure and force. it just would be nice you know, to have like, politicians that do actually promise to maintain the armed forces and NOT gut them the second they come into power..just for once..

  • pandaa

    Someone wash that carrier please

  • Lance

    Russians have re-changed they way carriers are used like the US now they have made strike planes and force projection than the Soviet days of area denial the small Soviet navy was suppose to inflict on NATO. The Change from older SU-33s to be mostly not complete replaced by multirole MiG-29Ks shows this. Wounder if they plane to make more carriers? India following Suit with Russian on both carriers and MiG-29Ks.

    • Ross

      they plan to have 6 carrier strike forces. whether that actually happens remains to be seen.

      • Tim

        That is just a wet dream promoted by some old Russian admirals. The defence minister announced otherwise. Russia simply do not have the money to build even a single carrier at this time, much less 6. Considering the state of their creme-de-la-creme submarine force and how they are still struggling to produce new subs to replace the old ones, their hope for a brand new carrier is projected around 2020.

  • mike

    Soot cannot change the fact that the Type 42s are ugly, and the Kuznetsov is sexy.

  • PrometheusGoneWild

    Black smoke is a sign of incomplete combustion and wasted fuel.
    So the comment in the story about it looking old is spot on…..

    • Enrico

      Indeed it is old, supposedly the engine is going to be exchanged during the upcoming refit which is supposed to start quite soon; Russians have also approached Ukraine to extend the usage of the training facilities in Crimea which are going to become instrumental during the refit since they don’t have any other carrier to train their pilots.

  • tiger

    The seas seem empty of Russian subs as well as Surface forces.…

    Based on this article, they are not able to send more than 10 to sea a year.

  • yoyo

    Great picture - anybody know where a high-rez version might be docked? Naval art & photography is at it’s best in darker weather like this.


    Only 3 Sukhoi’s on deck? Pretty sad state the Russian fleet is in..

    • avi

      that doesnt mean dat dere isnt anymore on d hangers below

  • John Brian Shannon

    It may not look like much - but it’s the warplanes stored below the deck that a carrier brings to the zone, that are the threat.

    An aircraft carrier is not a weapon, it’s a floating airstrip. It can look as bad as they want it to, it only needs to launch and land warplanes.

    All aircraft carriers bring along a number of submarines (2-5 depending on which navy) to protect the ship.

    I would never under-estimate the Russian Navy. It looks like the Brits aren’t either.

  • Gangway Watch

    Oh! MY! Our ‘administrator’ doesn’t seem to like comments discussing the SCENE presented by the juxtaposition of two nations warships “playing a little chess” and how this illustrates the FULL SCALE application of the common magician’s similar illustration of “The Art of Re-Direction”.

    Mr Shannon is to be commended for his “noticing” (and pointing out) that what LOOKS like what’s happening is far LESS important than what IS ACTUALLY happening (and in the two images shown) under all that (apparently) “peeling” paint and sooty smudge-pot stack emission.

    My question relates to what’s happening ELSEWHERE in the world while we’re all looking at this (apparent) “sad” example of Soviet era naval effectiveness. As an example of the “GAMES” being played in the two images shown, what’s currently going on in Syria seems to have just about EVERYone’s attention. Meanwhile, is anybody paying attention to what’s going on inside CHINA?

  • chaos0xomega

    Its political posturing. The russians aren’t realistically going to threaten the UK and both sides know it (at least for now). The Russians want to show that they are still a force to be feared (which is why they sailed through the channel) and they are still capable of being a major military player. The british want to show that they still have the capability to defend themselves against foreign aggression. No more, no less.

    • eric

      exactly, and also to show they both have become irrelevant.

    • avi

      but dere is hardly anything left with d british to defend itself

  • Dale

    No mention of the most important vessel in the Russian navy that accompanied this so called carrier strike group? The important ship i’m of course refering to is the ocean going tug boat Nikolay Chiker, without it the whole carrier strike group can not go anywhere because the Kuznetsov breaks down more oftne than a used Skoda with a million miles on the clock.
    The laughable show of strength from the Russians resulted in a just a seven day tour of the med, that included docking in Syria. That is all they could manage before they had to clear off back to Russia. Really, if I were them i’d have kept them in port as they served only as a national embarrassment.

  • Tad

    How many carbon credits do the Russians have to buy in order to run that thing?

  • Morty

    War in the Atlantic

  • StJohnTheSlackest

    If you look closely at the back of the Russian ship it says ‘Я хочу, чтобы моя подруга была эта грязная’.

    Little Russian joke…

    • elportonative77


      • MailOrderBride


  • matheusdiasuk

    What’s the stage of building of HMS Queen Elizabeth II?

    • Dale

      It’s slowly getting there, mind you I wouldn’t mind betting that by the time its complete we will be even more skint than now thanks to our foreign aid idiocy and we’ll have to then sell it off to pay for the next years foreign aid. Don’t look so suprised as we’ve already repeatedly shafted our armed forces big time in order to ring-fence then increase foreign aid spending. The UK, the only country where the government places foreigners as a higher priority than its own people!

  • Polaris

    WTF ? The carrier could swat Liverpool like a fly. Where are the Nimrod patrol aircraft ?(gone). Liverpool is shadowing the Russian because there was nothing else to deploy She goes to the breakers in two months. The RN surface fleet is a shadow of it’s former self that is incapable of any power protection

    • MikeD

      Our Nimrod project was scrapped to pay for foreign aid to India and Africa.

  • Waylander

    The Kuznetsov did not sail through the channel, she anchored off the Moray Firth for four days sheltering from North Sea winter storms.
    She was accompanied by the ASW destroyer Chabanenko, frigate Yaroslav, support vessels & a tug.
    After the weather abated she headed around the top of Scotland and into the Atlantic to the west of Ireland, bound for the Meditterranean.
    I wish people would stop going on and on about the UK not having a strike carrier,
    HMS Queen Elizabeth will be finished next summer, though not fitted out, then in the water by summer 2014, Prince of wales finished by 2014, then floated in 2016.
    The Russians on the other hand cannot even build two small 16,000 ton LHDs, they have to buy them from the French.

    • MickD

      Just a pity we have NOTHING fixed wing to fly off said carrier. Jesus, we’re an embarrassment.

  • CoCowboy692000

    There is NO NAVY, BAR NONE, which even comes close to the US Navy… NONE… And none of their ships can hold the 80 plus planes that our ships hold either. No worries about the Russian AC Carrier… None at all… America could handle this with its eyes closed.

    • Dan

      Thanks we’re aware of that, also even the British Royal Navy could wipe the floor with the Russians in their current state and they’ve got no carriers, the sub fleet alone would eat them for breakfast. I’m afraid celebrating the fact that the USN could beat the Russian Navy is like celebrating Mike Tyson knocking out Justin Bieber. Alas the cold war is history.

    • Waylander

      Actually the British QE class will have a similar air group to the new US Gerald R Ford class, both carriers will have three strike fighter squadrons, which is not bad considering the QE will be 65,000 tonnes & the GRF 100,000 tonnes.
      The US carrier will have more aircraft in total including Hawkeyes , helos etc

  • Captain Mannering

    Does anyone know how a Type 42 Destroyer would fare against an air attack from Admiral Kuznetsov in open ocean? I know the SU-33s are good jets but I’ve read elsewhere that the Sea Dart although ageing is still a good system (Improved radar after falklands etc)

  • Calvin

    looks like something off the last airbender

  • brad

    has anyone ever noticed that none of the Su’s has ever taken off with missiles on any wing hardpoints? this is because their carrier does not have a catapult system that could provide enough take-off speed for planes with heavy ordinance loads. in essence, the SU’s are essentially unarmed! funny when you think about it.

    • Stratege

      Su-33s typically have a air-to-air combat load - medium range and short range AAMs

  • avi

    well british should concentrate in funding its brown water navy.. its pathetic to scrap good condition ships due to lack of fund rather than scrapping the rusty ones… and the kuznetsov has enough granit missile to take out the entire so called royal navy and half of britain….

  • avi
  • avi

    the russian carrier itself has enough granit missiles to take out the entire royal navy sand half of britain and the so called token aircrafts will jst be needed to guard d airspace over the carrier. Britain is with a broken backbone.With a depleting fleet worse dan even russia. So it should concentrate on funding its depleting brown water navy

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