To date, the Zubr Class is the world’s largest class of hovercraft, with a standard full load displacement of 555 tons.
The military history of the world has proven, amphibious assaults are one of the most dangerous, but extremely important actions. The world’s navies have invested heavily in technologies to bring soldiers and war machines to land from the water to wage war on the enemy. Developed since 1988, the Zubr Class, known by the Soviet Union as Project 12322, was a class of air-cushioned amphibious assault craft designed by the Soviet Union. To date, the Zubr Class is the world’s largest class of hovercraft, with a standard full load displacement of 555 tons.
Zubr craft is 57 m long, beam is 25.6 m, and draft is 1.6 m. Her design included a bridge superstructure at amidships with three large, shrouded propulsion fans aft. The forward section of the boat is largely unobstructed and sports a raised bow with a lowering ramp for embarking or disembarking units, systems, cargo and infantry.
The hull – specially-designed to mitigate the effects of magnetic naval mines – sits atop an inflatable bed which provides the necessary cushion when going ashore. The cushion is deflated to bring the bow ramp to ground level.
The Zubr craft features a surface search radar, chaff launcher and decoys among other integrated systems. Armament includes Surface-to-Air Missile launchers, 2 30mm AK-630 cannons and 2 rocket launchers. The ship is also protected from magnetic influence mines with an active system to compensate for the magnetic fields generated by the ship and transported materials. The central command post and MS-227 device compartments are strengthened with alloy armor.
The Zubr-class landing craft can carry three main battle tanks, or ten armoured vehicles with 140 troops, or 8 armoured personnel carriers of total mass up to 115 tons, or 8 amphibious tanks or up to 500 troops.
Zubr’s propulsion system consisted of 3 10,000 hp propelling M35-1 gas turbine units, 2 10,000 hp supercharging M35-2 gas turbine units. The three propulsion engines manage four variable-pitch propeller assemblies. The Zubr can make up to 40 knots in ideal conditions and reach speeds up to 60 knots under certain conditions. Operational range is listed out to 300 miles. The hull is designed for operations in up to “Sea State 4”, which identifies wave heights of four feet to eight feet.