Amphibious landing craft
The Zubr (Bison) Air Cushion Landing Craft, known by the NATO codename Pomornik [Skua], came into service in 1986. At that time it was the world's largest air-cushion vehicle [a title later claimed by the Project 1239 Sivuch/Bora class Guided Missile Corvette]. The mission of the ships is to carry out rapid sea-lift and beach landing of assault troops and combat material on territory held by hostile forces. The ships also provides fire support for the troop operations on shore. The ships are capable of laying active minefields.
The ships are equipped with two stabilised multiple rocket launchers, four Igla-1M portable air defence missile systems, and two AK-630 30 mm automatic gun mounts. The Zubr Class ships can carry up to 130 tons of cargo: three medium battle tanks such as the T-80B tank, or eight BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles, or ten BTR-70 armoured personnel carriers, or 360 fully equipped amphibious landing troops. The ships have a bow and a stern ramp for fast landing of troops and combat material. The ships have a top speed of 60 knots. It can move on sea surface, sandbanks, marshes and overcomes obstacles up to 2 meters.
The high-temperature gas-turbine engines are installed on the craft to drive the air-cushion blowers and air propellers. Four NO-10 blowers, fitted with axial operating wheels, 2.5 m in diameter, are mounted to generate the air-cushion. The air thrust for movement is provided by three four-bladed reversible variable-pitch air propellers, 5.5 m in dia. The air propellers are mounted inside ring shrouds. The craft is equipped with two electric power plants. Each electric power plant comprises two gas-turbine generators, rated at 100 kW each, as well as the main switchboards. Control of the craft and its technical means is centralized, remote, automated. These modes of control are celected from the main control station, central control room and remote control panels.
The square-shape pontoon constitutes the main carrying structure of the hull, which ensures the ruggedness and insubmersibility of the craft. The pontoon's superstructure is divided by two longitudinal bulkheads into three functional parts. The middle part accommodates a compartment for armored vehicles to be landed with taxi tracks and loading/unloading ramps. The main and auxiliary powerplants, troop compartments, crew living quarters, as well as the life-support system and the system for protection against WMD. To maintain comfortable conditions at combat stations, in amphibious troops compartments and crew living quarters, provision is made for ventilation, air-conditioning and heating systems, thermosound insulation coatings and structures made from vibro-damping materials. Provision is also made for the normal rest and feeding of the crew.
Apparently some ten units were built between 1986 and 1994. Of these, one was completed for Ukraine and three additional units were tranferred to Ukraine. The design is believed to be rather unreliable, and the standard engine lifetime of 500 hours is said to diminish to 50 hours when the payload is increased from one to three tanks. The six remaining Russian units are generally believed to remain in service, though some may be inoperable or in reserve. Reportedly the Greek Navy intends to buy two from the Russian Navy and two more that would be built in Ukraine. In the early 1990s two units were cancelled and scrapped incomplete. The disposition and chronology of specific units is conjectural.
On 25 May 2000 a ZUBR air-cushion landing craft was laid down at ALMAZ Shipbuilding Company. The contract for delivery of this craft was signed with Hellenic Ministry of Defense. on 24 October 2000 Almaz Shipbuilding Company launched the first of two air-cushion landing crafts ZUBR project that are under building for Hellenic Navy.
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