Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
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.
More articles from The National Interest:
- This Is How U.S. Navy Plans to Dominate the Wars of the Future
- Why It's Time for the Carrier Battle Group
- The Coming Laser Wars?
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.