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Russia is trying to clog the Baltic Sea with old “Bison”, little help from China.

China showed the Russian Navy how to build landing ships.

There were reports in the Russian media that the Navy was preparing to “clog” the Baltic Sea. And even the Black Sea. Although we are talking about ships assigned to the Baltic Fleet. In addition, these are small ships. And there are two of them. And someone even said that modernization would turn them into “Star Wars ships.” In general, the excitement rose strong.


Although, of course, these are very interesting ships, and it is worthwhile to dwell on their fate in more detail.


In the early 80s, Almaz Construction Bureau developed a small hovercraft landing ship (MDKVP) of project 12322 Zubr (Bison in English). Its uniqueness consisted in combining high speed with significant dimensions. Until now, the Zubr is the largest ship of this type.


15 ships were built, the first of which became part of the Baltic Fleet in 1988. The rest went in approximately equal proportions to the Baltic and the Black Sea. Now there are 2 ships left, assigned in 1991 to the Baltic Fleet – “Evgeny Kocheshkov” and “Mordovia”.


With the rest, fate treated cruelly. Some ships went to Ukraine, and it quickly sold them to Greece and China. Russia also sold several ships to the same countries. 5 ships were disposed of. That is, it turned out that 8 beautiful high-speed landing ships are currently operated in foreign fleets, and only 2 in ours.


Zubr is capable of transporting up to 140 paratroopers along with military equipment, the total weight of which reaches 150 tons. These can be 3 main battle tanks. Or 10 armored personnel carriers. Or 8 BMPs. Or 8 amphibious tanks. If there is no equipment, then the number of paratroopers can reach 500 people.


This Bison not only delivers personnel and equipment to the landing site, but also supports the actions of its troops with the help of the 140 mm caliber Fire and Incendiary Complex Fire. The ship has two complexes, each of which has 22 guides. The maximum firing range is 4500 meters, the minimum is 800 meters.


There is also an automatic 6-barrel 30 mm artillery assault rifle with a firing range of up to 5000 m and an ammunition load of 3000 shells. Rate of fire – 5000 rounds per minute.


For landing and equipment used the nose ramp. At the same time, the ship is capable of moving on relatively even or swampy soil using an air cushion.


“Zubr” is certainly a good ship, allowing you to implement the tactics of “quick response”. And it would be possible to continue its construction. However, under the circumstances, this is not possible. The ship uses the M-70 gas turbine engine, more precisely – 5 of these engines with a capacity of 10 thousand hp 2 of them provide air cushion fans. 3 untwist the pushing screws creating horizontal traction.


So, engines were earlier made in Ukraine, at the Nikolaev  city «Zorya» plant. Due to the breakdown in relations between Moscow and Kiev, an even more serious problem arose – the Zorya gas turbine units lost the frigates of the 22350 project under construction for the Russian Navy. Due to the critical situation, they had to independently develop engines for the frigates and build a production line for them in Rybinsk. But, it is clear that for small landing ships, no matter how beautiful they may be, in this regard no one will hit a finger on a finger.


This is also due to the fact that the concept of landing operations has changed. They decided to abandon the “large” small high-speed landing ships. Instead, they decided to develop a line of hovercraft, which will be based on a new type of landing craft. For example, on universal landing ships, which are unknown when they will appear in Russia. Characteristically, the concept changed precisely when France intended to build two Mistral helicopter carriers for Russia, which, in essence, are UDC.


Another problem arose – the possibility of repairing power plants. Two Russian ships have been in operation for almost 30 years. Engine life – 4000 hours. Until 2014, at least one set of engines, 5 units could still be purchased in Ukraine. But for each you had to pay a million dollars. Money was a pity. Now you can not buy them for any money.


But still, one ship, the Eugene Kocheshkov, underwent repairs at the beginning of this decade. And now they decided to upgrade both ships. Initially, “Mordovia”, since it must first be repaired.


It is supposed to introduce a modern control system on ships, due to which the share of automation of all ship processes, including traffic control, firing, landing and landing, should increase significantly. Also, changes will affect the navigation system, communications. The radar station will be strengthened. The jet flamethrower will be replaced by the Grad MLRS of marine modification.


What is interesting: in China, the situation with the Zubr, to which both Ukraine and Russia sold ships, is much better than in Russia. Ukraine supplied buyers with a full set of design and technological documentation. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that two “Zubr” have already been built at Dalian shipyards, which the Chinese renamed the “Bison”.


And in conclusion, a few words on the topic of Chinese wisdom and Russian gouging. China in the mid-90s began to show increased interest in powerful gas turbine plants to equip their frigates and corvettes. In Ukraine, in Nikolaev, we purchased the appropriate engines. And they invited for consultations the specialists of the Zorya-Mashproekt enterprise.


Then the Chinese ordered the development of GTU M80 with a capacity of 50 thousand hp for their destroyers. And with the help of attracted Ukrainian experts, they transferred technology to their plants. Now in China there are no problems with gas turbines. You can not say that about Russia, where the commotion began only after as Russians say «the fried rooster» pecked you, means when the hard time came.

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