The problem with old hulls specially rusty hulls is that they tend to be
less sea worthy as time passes by , metal takes its wear and tear and a
15-20 years old ship over the period of next 15-20 years would be
spending a lot of time in maintenance in the yards then out at sea
compared to a new ship build today.
The wear and tear is on systems not hulls.
The Kirov and Slava class vessels were well designed, capable and popular vessels.
Much of the older systems required relatively large crews, so a significant upgrade will greatly improve performance.
These are not Iowa class battleships we are talking about where 50 men are required to operate each gun turret. The gun turrets of the Kirov were largely automated modern guns and any new guns will be even more automated. The old vertical launch systems on the Kirov had rotating magazines that allowed below deck access and maintainence on the missiles, but the new USUK launch cells will store and monitor the missiles automatically so they will be sealed systems... which will greatly reduce the maintainence work of the crew.
There were actually 5 Kirov class hulls laid down, with the last vessel completed as a command ship, but with very little money making it to the armed forces it was laid up to save on operating costs.
They will spend massive huge amounts in making these ships sea worthy by
adding new weapons , sensors , perhaps refueling its core and changing
its machinery and spending billions of dollars and as she ages he hull
will wear and tear much faster making it less sea worthy.
The money they spend will make the Kirovs in many ways much more similar to other vessels that will enter service in the next few years and that commonality will actually reduce costs for all the vessels.
Any new propulsion system to be fitted to the Kirovs will likely also be fitted to the Kuznetsov when it gets its upgrade/overhaul, and also likely will be used in Russias future carriers after about 2020-2025.
Again commonality within the fleet is a good thing.
The main difference will be in numbers of weapons and types of weapons used and also propulsion, but being able to fit a standard vertical launch system from most naval SAMs and a vertical launch system for pretty much all other weapons on every Russian vessel and the minimising of types of sensors that can launch and control the entire range of weapons is a huge step forward for the Russian navy that will lead to much cheaper operation, simpler maintainence... because spares and support for a destroyers systems will be the same as for a frigates systems for example. It will also make Russian vessels much more flexible with a wide range of choices for load outs for different missions.
I think they should spend money in buying capital ships like more
Gorshkov , 6-8 mistral and build new aircraft carrier , buying old ships
like Ukraina or spending billions in resurrecting is not worth the
money if you compare the investement made versus its sea worthy
capability in next 20 years
The Gorshkov is not a capital ship... it is a Frigate!
They don't need more than about 4 Mistrals. Mistrals are too big for the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, and would really only be of use in the Pacific to protect the Kuril Islands and support operations in the Pacific, and in the Northern Fleet to support arctic operations.
They are not able to perform a carrier role in the sense that they offer air cover for a naval force... they are good for what they were designed for.
There is no point building a new carrier or class of carriers till you have the ships they will need to support them... and to be honest the shipyards making the new carrier would the the shipyard making the new large ships to support the carrier. Which comes first the chicken or the egg. Well it is not rocket science. A large ship is useful on its own... a Carrier on its own is vulnerable. A carrier with large ship support is the full tool set... not invincible, but far more powerful than any of its parts on their own.
A full upgrade and overhaul of the Kirovs and Slavas will mean they will be able to operate fine for the next 40 years... as long as they are looked after and like any other system gets regular upgrades and overhauls.
Brand new scratch build vessels would need a lot more testing and fitting out to make sure there are no design flaws and even when proven they will also need to be looked after and get regular upgrades and overhauls.
Only problem with old ships is that they demand a very large crew, as they are little automated.
The problem with the Iowa class vessels is that they were WWII designed battleships with enormous guns with little or no automation in their operation. This meant huge numbers of sailors were needed just to man each gun turret. The upgrades applied to them were largely cosmetic like some SAMs, CIWS, and some tomahawk launchers and new comms etc. Overall it was basically kept as a gunfire support vessel so they really just wanted those guns so a major upgrade was not warranted.
The Kirov and Slava class vessels were already modern vessels and upgrades and overhauls for these ships could automate most systems to the point where their crews are a small fraction of what they were, which at about 700 was not exactly enormous for a ship this size. During Korea and Vietnam the Iowa class vessels had 2,000 more sailors than the Kirov and even after an upgrade it had 1,100 more sailors.
The difference of course is that the Kirovs and Slavas are getting complete changes from relatively large and bulky old systems and sensors with new much more modern compact systems and sensors and equipment.
The real question to ask is how many times do they spend at sea in a
year and how many months at the docks , if you look at old ships around
you will see at the year passes by they would spend more time in the
dock then at sea , hence practically they tend to be less useful for
operation purpose and have more maintenance issues.
It is like the Mig-29. If you don't upgrade it you will find the parts for the old systems are hard to find because no one makes them any more. Upgrade to new systems and you can use modern parts which are easier to get and cheaper. I would agree the old Kirov would be difficult to put into service now because for a start the Granit is no longer made in Russia AFAIK. They would have to substitute the Vulkan instead... or if there is a replacement in the works whatever that might be.
The point is that the upgrade for the Kirov will likely include weapons and sensors that will be used by most other new Russian navy vessels so maintaining the Kirov will only be more expensive because instead of 2 USUK vertical launch bins fitted to frigates the Kirov vessels might have 50 or 100.
Go to your local electrical appliance shop and ask for a VCR so you can watch video tapes. You might be surprised how hard it is to still find such things.
The upgrade and overhaul of the Kirov and Slava and for that matter the Kuznetsov should deal with the problems of supporting old out of production systems.