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    Russian aircraft carrier readies for training mission

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    Russia's only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, has left a dry dock after scheduled repairs and is getting ready for a training mission in the Barents Sea.

    Russia's only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, has left a dry dock after scheduled repairs and is getting ready for a training mission in the Barents Sea, the Northern Fleet said in a statement.

    "The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier will sail to the Barents Sea at the end of September on a training mission relevant to its main purpose," the statement said.

    The warship was assigned to the Northern Fleet in January 1991. It is capable of carrying 26 Su-33 Flanker-D and MiG-29K Fulcrum-D carrier-based fighter jets, and 24 anti-submarine helicopters.

    The upcoming mission will most likely involve a comprehensive program of naval pilot training to further develop the skills acquired by pilots at the Nitka Naval Pilot Training Center in Ukraine.

    The Admiral Kuznetsov is expected to be docked at Sevmash shipyards in 2012 for full-scale modernization, which will continue for at least five years.

    Russia is aiming to finish drafting plans for a new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier for its Navy by 2012 and build at least three of the ships for its Northern and Pacific fleets.

    MURMANSK, September 15 (RIA Novosti)

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