As defence chiefs come to terms with the demise of the Royal Navy’s most iconic aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, the museum that charts the history of the planes that once flew from it has taken delivery of their own smaller "aviation cruiser".
The Fleet Air Arm Museum has become the beneficiary of one man’s passion for Cold War naval history by taking delivery of the large-scale working model of the Soviet aircraft carrier Kiev as she was in the 1980s.
Made by maritime enthusiast and former RAF aircrew member Dave Wooley, the model is an impressive two metres long, representing a scale of 1:144.
A working radio controlled model, the Soviet warship took four years to build and boasts four electric motors and two speed controllers. On deck are nine Yak38 Forger A aircraft (the Russian version of the now defunct Sea Harrier), 50 intricately painted model crew and a KA25C Komov Search and Rescue helicopter.
“While we have a considerable exhibition reflecting the West’s naval Cold War deterrent, this is a fascinating example of the East’s naval military power,” says David Hill, Head of the Museum’s curatorial division, which will now be responsible for the giant model’s safe-keeping.