UK’s Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier ‘a convenient sea target,’ Russian defense ministry says

Published 29.06.2017 10:48
Updated 29.06.2017 10:49
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EPA Photo

Russian defense ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said Thursday British Defense Minister Michael Fallon's remarks regarding Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying cruiser demonstrate ignorance of naval science.

Fallon called Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov "dilapidated" and said that Russians will look at U.K.'s new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier with "envy" after the largest and most powerful ship ever built for the Royal Navy set off for its first sea trial in Scotland Monday.

"The British Defense Chief Michael Fallon's statement regarding the superiority of their new aircraft carrier over Russian aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov in terms of external beauty demonstrates their open ignorance of naval science," Konashenkov said.

According to the Russian military official, without assistance, Queen Elizabeth is only able to release aircraft, while being surrounded by a swarm of defending warships, supply vessels and submarines.

"Therefore, unlike the aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, equipped with anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and, most importantly, anti-ship missile weaponry Granit, the British aircraft carrier is just a large convenient sea target," Konashenkov said, adding that having this in mind the U.K. should refrain from demonstrating Queen Elizabeth's beauty closer than several hundred miles from the Russian ship on the high seas.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, a 280-meter (919-foot), 65,000-ton vessel, left the dock at the port of Rosyth on the Firth of Forth estuary near Edinburgh, Scotland.

The ship cost £3.0 billion ($3.8 billion) to build in a project employing 10,000 people and will be the country's future flagship. It can operate with a crew of 1,000 and 40 aircraft.

It took eight years to build HMS Queen Elizabeth and along with its sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, it is part of a defense program worth 6 billion pounds ($7.65 billion), with building and fitting spread over six different shipyards across Britain. It will now spend around two years in sea trials.

Ordered in early 1980s and commissioned in 1990 during the Soviet Union era, Admiral Kuznetsov is the sole operating aircraft carrier of Russian Navy. In February, it returned from the eastern Mediterranean off Syria, where it took part in Russia's military operation in the war-torn country.

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