It is undeniable that tensions have risen so much between the United States and Russia over the past few years — vitriolic Democrat rhetoric about purported election meddling isn’t helping matters — that some are wondering if we are on the verge of reentering a Cold War with our formerly Soviet rival.
It has appeared that Russia is in the process of rebuilding their military to try and attain their former glory as a top superpower, and a recent report from Jane’s Defense Weekly showed that Kremlin is on the verge of taking a rather significant step in that direction.
It was reported that the Russian military has begun working on producing an updated and modernized version of a large amphibious hovercraft-type landing craft known as the “Zubr,” or “Bison,” that could deliver tanks, armored vehicles or hundreds of troops onto a beachhead in the event of a military conflict.
Russian media outlet Sputnik News reported that construction on the massive hovercrafts could begin as soon as 2018, but other reports push production back a year or two.
What isn’t up for much debate is the decidedly offensive capabilities of this attack vessel, which is claimed to be capable of carrying up to three heavy tanks, up to 10 smaller armored vehicles, or even as many as 500 soldiers that could be landed on “78 percent of unimproved shores throughout the world.”
Should the Russian military carry through with their plans to construct these specialized hovercraft vessels, they would likely be deployed to the Baltic, Black and Caspian seas, presenting a quick-strike and invasion capability to all regions of importance to Russia.
The craft could also be sold to other military powers, most likely China, which could certainly find use of the vehicle in their military buildup of the islands and atolls in the South China Sea, according to The National Interest.
The hovercraft is believed to be equipped with two multiple rocket launcher systems, four short-range anti-aircraft missile launchers and two 30-mm guns, which could be used to provide supporting fire to troops and vehicles landed on a beachhead.
Though not exactly of a “stealth” design, the Russians nevertheless claimed that the craft is nearly “invisible” to radar, likely due to the immense spray of water kicked up by the craft’s fans that serve to diminish and disguise the ship’s contours when painted by a radar station.
It is worth noting that earlier versions of this craft that were produced near the end of the Cold War weren’t as awesome as advertised, and current models of troop or vehicle-carrying hovercraft beach landers have been disappointing to say the least, but expectations remain high for this latest iteration among Russians and their potential trade partners.
We shall have to wait and see if Russia follows through on actually constructing this specialized attack craft, or if this is simply more military posturing by Russian President Vladimir Putin as he attempts to reassert Russia on the international power broker scene.
Image and Content: Conservative Tribune