Russia will deploy Admiral Kuznetsov, the country’s only aircraft carrier, in the Mediterranean Sea before the end of 2016 for a period of up to four months, Adm. Igor Kasatonov, the former head of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, said in an interview.
In July, a source familiar with the matter told RIA Novosti that the aircraft carrier would be deployed in the Mediterranean no sooner than October.
“The ship will set off [for the Mediterranean] at the end of the year. The carrier battle group, which will include several screening ships, will be formed. Allegedly, a nuclear multi-role submarine will be [in the group]. The ship's deployment is designed to last for 3-4 months,” Kasatonov, who also was the First Deputy Commander of Russia’s Navy, told RIA Novosti.
He added that up to a certain point, the group would be escorted by IL-38 anti-submarine aircraft and Tu-142 long range aircraft and possibly the carrier battle group could work with Tu-160 strategic bombers.
The Admiral Kuznetsov was constructed at the Mykolaiv South Shipyard, the sole manufacturer of Soviet aircraft carriers, and launched in 1985. It became fully operational in 1995.