The use of a naval group led by the heavy aircraft carrier cruiser "Admiral of the Soviet Union Fleet Kuznetsov" in the Syrian military operation cost the budget from 7.5 billion to 10 billion rubles, as RBC found out. The campaign cost includes the cost of food (from 306.4 million to 325.5 million rubles.), fuel (from 1.1 billion to 1.5 billion rubles.), combat sorties (1.47 billion rubles.), the cost of the lost fighting vehicles (from 4.5 billion to 6.7 billion rubles.) and "combat" bonuses (38.3 million rubles).
The real cost of the campaign may be more, as data on the use of the submarine fleet of ships and armed groups in the course of the operation have not been published by the military department.
The ship group of the Northern Fleet joined the operation on 15 October. It includes Admiral Kuznetsov, heavy nuclear missile cruiser "Peter the Great", the large anti-submarine ships (BPK) "Severomorsk" and "Vice-Admiral Kulakov," as well as support vessel: tankers, tugs etc. To Severomorsk the cruiser will return in early February 2017, told RBC a source in the Defense Ministry.
Deck fighters and air crash
According to the commander of Russian troops in Syria Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov, "the Russian pilots of naval aviation during the operation in Syria carried out 420 sorties."
Experts interviewed by RBC found it difficult to estimate the cost of combat use of carrier-based aircraft, because they do not know the duration and range. However, the cost of the flight deck fighter fuel and ammunition consumption is comparable with the use of land-based fighter, told RBC Ex-Air Force Commander General of the Army Pyotr Deinekin. With this opinion agrees the military pilot, who asked not to be named. "Difficulties are only for the pilot," he told RBC.
The cost of 420 sorties deck aircraft is about 1.5 billion rubles, 3.5 mln for each flight, earlier told RBC military experts.
During the campaign two fighters crashed: a MiG-29K and Su-33. According to independent military analyst Anton Lavrov, the cost of the lost equipment can be estimated based on the supply of weapons to other countries. So one of the MiG-29K under contract with India signed in 2010 was worth $51.7 million, indicates the expert of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, Konstantin Makiyenko. The assessment close to the Indian contract was given by defense expert Alexey Leonkov. According to him, the cost of one of the MiG-29K, depending on configuration and conditions of the contract, ranges between $35-45 million. Thus, the replacement of the two fighters could cost the Russian budget in the amount of $ 70 million to 103.4 (4 5 billion to 6.7 billion rubles at the exchange rate on the day of accidents).
Fuel and food costs
The sea route was 5.3 thousand mautical miles (more than 9.8 thousand km). The average fuel consumption for an aircraft carrier is about 1.3 tons of fuel per nautical mile. In the transition from the Kola Gulf to the Syrian shores it was spent 6.8 thousand tns of fuel. The same is needed for the return voyage. The price of 13.6 thousand tons of fuel could amount to 303.3 million rubles. RBC calculated based on the average price over ten government tenders.
Purchase prices of state companies are significantly higher than market prices for this type of fuel. According to the international price agency Argus, minimum and maximum price per ton of fuel in 2016 was 9 thousand and 16.2 thousand rubles, respectively. At such prices for fuel, expenses for the cruiser could amount to 122.4 million to 220.3 million rubles.
Support vessels, large anti-submarine ships "Severomorsk" and "Vice-Admiral Kulakov", used fuel worth 954 million to 1.15 billion rubles. Total fuel costs ranged from 1.1 billion to 1.5 billion rubles.
Another major item of expenditure was food provision. The nominal strength of Admiral Kuznetsov is 1960 sailors and officers. However, the actual number of the crew the military department would not disclose. To feed the entire crew, daily need products in the amount of 1.6 million to 1.7 million rubles for rations worth 800 and 850 rubles, respectively, as calculated RBC. In this case, for the time of the campaign, which is 117 days from 15 October 2016 to 9 February 2017, the food on the cruiser would cost approximately 183.5 million to 194.9 million rubles.
According to the data presented on the site of the military department, the crew of the heavy nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great is 727 people. The crew of the large anti-submarine ships, according to Pavlov's study, is a total of 586 people. Thus, for 117 days of the campaign to ensure the support of the crew of ships it would be necessary to spend from 122.9 million to 130.6 million rubles.
The military department did not publish data on the number of officers on the ships of the group, so if we assume that they are serving only the sailors, the minimum amount of allowances for 3273 crew members in one month is 9.8 million rubles. For almost four months of the campaign the agency has allocated no less than 38.3 million rubles for personnel bonuses.