The Russian special operations forces (Spetsnaz) have been issued a new special operations craft. Designated as Project 02800, the boat is manufactured by a company called Trident Aluminium Boats. The company, among other products, produces motorboats and rigid inflatable boats for commercial use.
According to Russia Today, a state-owned news agency, the new special operations craft is designed for maritime counterterrorism and interdiction roles. They are able to ferry two crew members plus up to 10 fully armed Russian Marines or Spetsnaz. Moreover, they could perform landing operations.
Unloaded, it has a 6.5 tonnes displacement. At 10 metres long and with two engines capable of 240 horsepower, the craft is capable of attaining very high speeds; reports indicate that it can reach speeds in excess of 40 knots (46 miles per hour). The craft has reinforced armour that shields its crew from light calibre fire. It has one main and two smaller forward exit ramps for the quick disembarkation of troops, and also a rear door exit. Further, the craft’s cabin has two firing positions on its roof, which could also be used as an exit in the case of an emergency.
The craft can be deployed from larger ships. RT states that it can be launched from or docked in a mothership in under 30 seconds. It is unknown if it has the capability to be deployed from or be lifted by a helicopter. For example, the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command’s (NSWC) boats do have such a capability.
The Russian craft appears somewhat similar to the U.S. Navy’s Mark V Special Operations Craft (SOC). However, the American special operations craft, which is operated by the NSWC’s Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCC) to infiltrate and exfiltrate Navy SEALs from objectives, is larger (25 metres) and faster (65 knots). Moreover, the U.S. craft packs a bigger bunch when it comes to firepower: Gatling miniguns (7.62 mm) and 0.50 calibre machine guns can put down devastating fire in support of the SEALs.
Where could the Spetsnaz deploy the new crafts? In the Baltic and Black Seas. Only recently, maritime Spetsnaz assaulted three Ukrainian vessels trying to enter the Sea of Azov. (On a side note, the term Spetsnaz indicates a SOF-capable unit; there are numerous such units across the Russian military and intelligence services. For example, the Russian Navy, the Russian military intelligence (FSB), and the Russian Army all have Spetsnaz teams.) However, the small number of the crafts, reports indicate only six at the moment, suggests that they won’t be game-changers wherever they get to be deployed.
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