ZUBR / Pomornik class gallery

Since 1988, only 15 units of these air cushion vehicles have been manufactured. With its 55 knots (102 km/h) of sustained speed, it allows to disembark an enormous amount of equipment and troops in a very short time at distances of up to 500 km. Currently, only Russia (2), China (4) and Greece (4) have in service this impressive vehicle. It seems that there is a will to manufacture some more units of this class in the future, although there are difficulties in the manufacture of some components, as the gas turbines or the reduction gears.
The compartments for the crew and the embarked troops have heating, air conditioning and thermal and acoustic insulation coatings along with anti-vibration systems. These ships have a certain degree of protection against small arms fire and artillery splinters to protect as much as possible the dangerous maneuver of disembarking vehicles and troops on the beach. All Zubr class hovercrafts have been built by the Almaz Shipyard of St. Petersburg and Morye Shipyards of Ukraine.
The propulsion of these vehicles is carried out by powerful gas turbines. The M35-1 or M70FRU2 & 2R types for the four-bladed air propellers, and the M35-2 or M85RU/FRE80D7 to drive the air-cushion blowers. It also has four NO-10 blowers to generate the air cushion through axial operating wheels of 2.5m in diameter. The Zubr class LCAC can overcome 5% gradients and vertical obstacles of 1.60 meters in height.
The Pomornik class usually carry defensive weapons such as Strela-3 air defense missiles or Strela-2 SAM missiles on quadruple mountings. Two 30mm AK-630 six-barrel CIWS completes its defenses. They also usually mounts 140mm Ogon type or 122mm BM-21 type multiple rocket launchers to “soften” the coastal defenses if necessary. Among its pasive defensive devices it has the MS-227 chaff launchers, decoys and ECM equipment.
This image shows the Greek L-182 Kerkyra craft,  that together with the L-180 Kephallenia, L-181 Ithaki and L-183 Zakynthos are the only ships of this type active in the West. It is remarkable, as a curious fact, that the sale of these ships to Greece, meant that for the first time a NATO member country had ships of Soviet design.
Ukraine had 4 units in service until the year 2000. This is the U420 Donetsk, the first to be withdrawn together with the U422 Kramatorsk in 1999. Later, in the year 2000, the U423 Horlivka was withdrawn, and the U424 Artemivsk was sold to Greece , where still in service.
Currently, China has 4 Zubr class in service, requested in 2009 and sold for a total amount of 315 million dollars. Two were built in the Feodosia Shipbuilding Company of Crimea and in 2012 all ships were delivered. This vehicles are an updated version of the Russian hovercrafts. Generally this hovercrafts carries a R-782 Buran communication system and Ekran-1 and Lazur navigation radars along with satellite navigation systems.
A Chinese Type-96 MBT disembarks from a Zubr class LCAC. These vehicles have a loading area of 400 m2 in which they can hold a maximum of 130 tons payload. It can carry 3 MBTs, 8 IFVs or up to 10 APCs, in addition to the troops. The Zubr class are capables to carry and to lay up to 80 naval mines in removable mounts.

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