On Tuesday engineerd presented us with the incredible LCAC hovercraft. And while it is a mind-blowing piece of hardware, it’s not the mind-blowingest hovercraft in the world. Yes, leave it to the Russians to always build something bigger.
The Zubr (named after an Eastern European bison) is the world’s largest hovercraft. It was designed to perform much the same mission as the LCAC – fast delivery of troops and vehicles over water and into a combat zone. It’s equipped with living quarters, NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection, and an armoured command centre. It also carries armaments from SAM missiles to missile decoys to mines. You’d probably want to be sailing something pretty serious before you tangled with this fan-propelled monster.
While achieving similarly high straight-line speeds to the LCAC, the Zubr can carry up to 500 troops or 130 tonnes of tank, or roughly double the LCAC’s capacity, over swells of up to 2.5 metres and climb 1.6 metre walls while fully loaded. I’ll leave our American readers to translate those figures into the language of fear and xenophobia (1/8ths or something?)
Presumably due to its leviathan size and associated costs, the Zubr is even rarer than its over-hunted bovine namesake. The Russian navy operates two, the Ukraine has two, and the Greeks (the Greeks!) have four. I guess if you want to take back Turkish-held Cyprus, you’ll want a fleet of Zubrs on your side. The Chinese also have four on order; two of which will be built in the Ukraine and two in China. Way to keep advancing Chinese military might, everyone.