The Russian navy's only aircraft carrier -- the Kuznetsov -- sailed to the Mediterranean sea for operations against ISIS and anti-Assad forces. The start to the campaign was not auspicious, as an MIG-29 was lost just when it started operations. The fighter went into the sea when coming in to land. The warship also was a sitting duck as it belched a trail of black smoke all the way to the Mediterranean. The airwing of the carrier soon recovered its efficacy and started a systematic bombing of over 1000 targets. The bombing was severe and the ISIS targets, as well as opponents of president Assad, were regularly bombed.

The result has been positive as the sustained bombing by both the airwing of the carrier and the Russian Air Force broke the morale of the oppsition. It has led to a cease-fire between the warring factions as the superiority of the Russians military in support of Assad was decisive. Even Turkey and Iran joined in the cease-fire, keeping America out. Earlier, Turkey joined Russia in joint operations against ISIS.

The Kuznetsov

The Kuznetsov joined the battle against ISIS in October 2016, and left the scene of the eastern Mediterranean in January. It was spotted moving through the English channel by the Royal Navy. The carrier was on its way to the northern fleet HQ. This is the first aircraft carrier of the Soviet fleet and the first ever operation by a russian aircraft carrier.

From that point of view, the carrier operations would have been a wonderful learning experience for the Russian navy.

Last word

The carrier is, however, a pygmy compared to the gigantic American carriers. It displaces about 60,000 tons compared to the US carriers that displace over 100,000 tons. It will take at least a decade for the Russian navy to match the prowess of the American warship.

In addition, one aircraft carrier is not much of a force. The Russian navy is also hampered by a paucity of access to the warm water, all weather ports. This restricts its operational capability. It still has many miles to go to reach the American fleet.