Project 1232.2 Zubr / Pomornik class
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 ship is designed for reception to prepared or unprepared shore of military equipment and personnel of the advanced detachments of amphibious assault, transport them by sea, landing on unequipped coast and fire support. The ships are capable of laying active minefields.
The Soviet design Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft is designed for shore landing assault units. The Zubr hovercraft has a cargo area of 400 square meters and a fuel capacity of 56 tons. It can carry three main battle tanks (up to 150 tons), or ten armored fighting vehicles with 140 troops (up to 131 tons), or eight armored personnel carriers of total mass up to 115 tons, or eight amphibious tanks or up to 500 troops (with 360 troops in the cargo compartment). At full displacement the ship is capable of negotiating up to 5-degree slopes on non-equipped shores and 1.6m-high vertical walls. The Zubr remains seaworthy in conditions up to Sea State 4 and has a cruising speed of 30-40 knots.
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.
Bison can move on water, ice, land and marsh. The hull of the small landing craft is made of welded high-strength corrosion resistant aluminum-magnesium alloy. The main propulsion of the ship carrying the body, provide strength and unsinkable ship is a rectangular pontoon. Located on the pontoon superstructure is divided by two longitudinal bulkheads into three functional compartments.
The middle part is a landing bay equipment with tank tracks and ramps. The side compartments are located the main and auxiliary power units, room personnel desantiruemye groups living quarters, life support systems and protection against weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Flexible fencing of the air bag is designed to hold the air cushion under the hull of the ship and to provide the required lifting height of the vessel above the supporting surface (ground clearance). The enclosure holds two tiers: a flexible receiver and mounted elements - with cross sectioning the air cushion longitudinal and lateral keels.
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.
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