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The Russian Military Is Bringing Back the World's Largest Hovercraft
Russia will procure more Zubr (“bison”) hovercraft, a sixty-two-foot-long, 555-ton air-cushioned behemoth that can ferry three tanks, ten smaller armored vehicles or five hundred troops. Construction of the first vessel is slated to begin in 2018, according to Russian news site Sputnik News, which did not indicate how many Rubbers would be built.
By way of comparison, the U.S. equivalent is the Landing Craft Air Cushion, or LCAC, which only weighs in at 182 tons and can carry just one tank.
Both the Zubr and the LCAC are Cold War designs. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed, the Soviet navy had eight Zubrs. Russia ended up with three, Ukraine with two and Greece eventually ended up with four, including post-Soviet vessels. Now, China is also buying Zubrs.
Why bring back an old class of landing vessels? A Sputnik News article from 2016 provides a clue. It turns out that there aren’t enough Russian landing craft, and those in service have problems.
“There are not enough existing Russian amphibious ships from the ‘Dyugon’ and ‘Gyurza’ projects to solve the problems facing the Navy and the Marine Corps,” said Sputnik News.
“We still do not have good diesel engines, which led to problems with the ‘Dyugongs,’” said military analyst Andrei Frolov. “The ‘Zubr’ has already been tested, well-proven and was even in demand abroad.”
The Zubr is powered by high-temperature gas-turbine engines that confer a top speed of seventy knots. Naval-technology.com describes the Zubr design as a “square-shaped pontoon structure of the hull which provides a rugged, stable and seaworthy design. The pontoon's superstructure is divided by two longitudinal bulkheads into three functional sections. The middle section accommodates the compartment for armored vehicles to be landed with taxi tracks and loading and unloading ramps. The two outer sections house the main and auxiliary power plants, the troop compartments, crew living quarters, and life support and NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection.”
The Zubr is armed with two multiple rocket launchers, four Igla-M short-range anti-aircraft missile launchers, and two thirty-millimeter guns. As par for Russia media on defense matters, there are some rather large claims for the capability of the Zubr. “The ship is able to land troops on 78 percent of unimproved shores throughout the world,” claims Sputnik News. “Moreover, the Zubr is invisible to radar stations. This effect was achieved due to the fact that during movement, the ship sails on a giant cloud of water spray, which ‘dithers’ its contours on radar screens.”
Just as interesting is the assertion that reviving Zubr production is a response to foreign interest. As Foxtrot Alpha points out, Greece was so unhappy with its Zubrs that it sold some of them to China. A giant amphibious hovercraft that can transport three tanks would be useful to China amid the islands and atolls of the contested South China Sea. However, that only applies if the hovercraft works as advertised.
While Russia is turning back toward Cold War hovercraft, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are looking toward the future. The Ship-to-Shore Connector, or SSC, is under development as a highly automated hovercraft with greater reliability than the LCAC.
This article originally appeared on The National Interest.
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- This Is How U.S. Navy Plans to Dominate the Wars of the Future
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Army study recommends more sleep for recruits at basic, which drill sergeants will absolutely not disregard or anything
(Reuters Health) - Soldiers who experience sleep problems during basic combat training may be more likely to struggle with psychological distress, attention difficulties, and anger issues during their entry into the military, a recent study suggests.
"These results show that it would probably be useful to check in with new soldiers over time because sleep problems can be a signal that a soldier is encountering difficulties," said Amanda Adrian, lead author of the study and a research psychologist at the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland.
"Addressing sleep problems early on should help set soldiers up for success as they transition into their next unit of assignment," she said by email.
Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."
The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.
There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.
A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.
Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.
It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.
It all began with a medical check.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
The US military now has to ask the Iraqis for permission before giving close air support to troops in combat
U.S. forces must now ask the Iraqi military for permission to fly in Iraqi airspace before coming to the aid of U.S. troops under fire, a top military spokesman said.
However, the mandatory approval process is not expected to slow down the time it takes the U.S. military to launch close air support and casualty evacuation missions for troops in the middle of a fight, said Army Col. James Rawlinson, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.