Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that a naval aircraft carrier group led by Admiral Kuznetsov will be deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in order to bolster the Russian naval capabilities in the region. While en route to the Syrian coast, the group, which will also include a nuclear submarine, is expected to hold a military exercise involving Tu-160 long-range strategic bomber aircraft.
"The entire spectrum of aircraft and helicopters stipulated by the minister’s decision will be deployed on it (the carrier)," Maj. General Igor Kozhin, chief of the Russian Naval Aviation, said.
The vessel carries a complement of Su-33 air superiority fighters and Ka-27 and Ka-27S anti-submarine warfare helicopters.
In 2016 however the carrier received a number of upgrades and can now also carry Ka-52K reconnaissance and combat helicopters that were originally designed for operations aboard the French-built Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.
The ship’s armaments also include 12 Granit anti-ship cruise missile launchers, Kortik and Kinzhal air defense systems and depth charge launchers.