You are on page 1of 24

Volume

Issue 134

12

r-c ;si' ro Ltd

Modem Sniping Rifles


Light Cruisers of World Wu I
Modern Combat Shotgns
Raiders and Armed Merchantmen of

1986

Modern Riot Control Equipment

-::: )rb

lf

rleetting: :, :r^^ccs:ng

F m work: :-=: -.: _:itc


A"rt

ishing Ltd,

Lid

Consultant Editor: Major General Sir


Jeremy Moore KCB OBE MC, Commander of British Land Forces during the

Ltd

sts:

-:,::::-=
::::' :.-.:-

Falklands campaign.
& Tory Bryan

Picture acknowledgements

Distribution and marketing offices:

--:a:

: - :t - :-=.:

Orbls Publishing Ltd


Orbls House
20-22 Bedfordbury
London WC2N 4BT
Telephone: 01 319 6111

3rtaln

Subscriplion Manager: Christine Allen


4488 72666

Covet photoqtraph: Bntish HovercFlt Corporation. 2661: Bntrsh Hovercraft Corporatior/British Hovercrafi
Corporatron. 2662: British Hovercraft Corporation 2663: US NavyruS Navy,A/osper Thornycroft 2664:
Westlild HelicopteryBell Halter. 2665: Brltish Hovercraft Colporation/British Hovercraft Corporation
2666r Bitish Hovercraft Corporation/Bntish Hovercralt Corporahon/British Hovercraft Corcoration 266?:
Griffon Hovercraft/Gfiffon Hoyercraft. 2668: US Na!ry. 26II: US Navy 26?2: US Navy. 26?3r US Army/US Navy
2674: US Narry/US Narry/US Army/US Navy 2675: US Army/Bell Aerospace TeItrolt/Beli Aerospace Textron

Circulation Manager: Brian Anderson


Marketing Manager: Paul Stelb

2676: US Naly/US Narry,4JS Navy. 2678: US Army/US Nara//US Army 26?9: Litton Industries/US Navy. 2680:
US Nary/Bell'Halter (iii): MARS Lmcs/Saab (iv): MARS Lncs.

HOWTO OBTAIN ISSUESAND BINDERS FORWAR MACHINE


::::::-:::::::nedbypacinganorderwithyournewsagentordirectfromourSubscriptlon
-::::-:-:'.:uhavedffcultyobtalninganybacklssuesfromyournewsagent,peasewrtetous

: r-

:-: ::r:,s

AUSTRALIA please write to: cordon and Gotch (Aus) Ltd, 1 T 4 Wll iam Srreet, PO Box 767G, Me bourne.
V]CtOriA 3OO1 . MALTA, N EW ZEALAN D, SI NGAPORE & SOUTH AFRICA: BACK NUMbCTS ArC AVAi AbIC At

requ redandenc os ngachequeforthecoverprceof theissue(s).

EUROPE

MIDDLE EAST
ISSUE PR CE: 99p
SU BSCRI PTION;

ISSUE PR CE: 99p


SUBSCRIPTION:

6Months

atr:847.32
surface: 38.74
1 Year
air: f94.64
surface:177.48
BINDEB: f5.55

coverpricefromyournewsagent.

Months

Year

ai: f52.78
surface: f38.74
alr: 1105.56

surface: 177.48
BINDER: f5.55 (inc udlng
surfaae rate postage; please
apply in wrlting for airmai rates)

nc. Postage)

MALTA
obrain BINDERS kom

ncaseofdlfficulty,writetotheaddressgivenforblnders.

AMERICAS/ASIA/AFRICA

Months

FAR EAST
ISSUE PRICE; 99p
SUBSCB PT ON:
6
alr:

Year

ISSUE PRICE:99p
SUBSCR PT ON:

a[. f62.14
sudace: C38.74
ai. f124.28
surface: f77.48

BINDER: 15.55 (including


surface rate postage; p ease
app y ln writing for alrmail rates)

2T

37

!
:

Flrst Post Pty Ltd.


Loaked Bag No. l.
Cremorne,
NSW 2O9O

NEWZEALAND
ISSU E PR CE; NZ $2.65
Obrain BINDERS f rom
your newsagent or
Gordon & Gotch (NZ)
Ltd. PO Box 1 595.
Wel ington

ADDRESS FOR BINDERSAND BACK ISSUES


Crbrs Publlsh ng L mlted
Crbis House
20 22 Bedfordbury
London
WC2N 4BT
Telephone: 01 -379-521 I

Cheques/Posta Orders should be made payab e to Orbis Pub ishing L mjted.


Binder prices inc ude postage and packlng and prices are ln ster ing.

we do not charge cariage

t
!

ISSUE PRICE: AUS $2.15

SINGAPORE
SSUE PR CE: Sing$4.50
Obtain B NDERS from
MPH Distributors
60'l Sims Drive
a3 a7-21
S nqapore I 438

Back lssues are so d at the cover prlce, and

II
!
i
I

surface: 877.48
B NDER:15.55(incuding
surface rate postage; please
apply ln writing for airmall rates)

ObtanBNDERSfrom

any branch of Centra

News Agency or
Intermag, PO Box
57394, Springfleld

Year

f66.82
surface:138.74
air: f 133.64

AUSTRALIA

SOUTHAFRICA
Obraif B NDERSfrom

your newsagent or
M lcr(lvla ra) Ltd,
MAVassal i Street,
Va etta, Malta
Prlce: 14 25

Months

in

the

UK

NOTE
Binders and back issues are obtainable subject to
availabilityof stocks. Whi st everyattempt ls made to
keep the price of the issues and blnders constani, the
pub ishersreseryethe rightto ncreasethcstated
priaes at any time when clrcumstances d ctate. B nders
deplcted in this publlcat on are those produced for the
UKand Australlan markets oniy. B nders and ssues
maV be subject to impoft duty and/or local taxes, whlch
are not included in the above prlces unless stated.

ADDRESS FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS


Orb s Publlshlng Llmited
Hurst Farm
Bavdon Road
Lambourne Wood ands
Ncwbu ry
Berks
RG1 6 7TW
Telephone: 0488-72666

Allcheques/Posta Ordersshould be madepayabletoOrb


Pub ishing Limlted. Postage and packaging is included in
subscript on rates, and prices are glven ln Sterllnq.

]r

ffi.ffFt
, :.-:lr:

'.

,. 1..tit :,:a)a).'.t,vaylnte

js !1.qtyn:yin,q

rr:tn

lllte

"i.tt:irttjJ.,: t;tji

i:

tre: vtiJjtutio:r=.,;,,

:,::.,":.:.:,ii..:!.t:1ii:ii..aifsl'l;l:r":'iseroJo;!tla\f!rt!,V[,i,;)!):ie;,etllttu.o,':l.,rglrtitt"ji9)46
ir rr ,,.r;r.-,
'

iti,t,..:1,r"'i.it:ttt:tt

v!: i:Ite

)liJ!:jiilS,:

r.,,t1;;;,1y

]11.

';6rs;)iii. a-,ti.Ve tlte:;'lLt.y,lf 4f:'C,

:'

'['he cr:ly curre.r]t ltavr:]'cr ett liJtejy fo.see acdr:tt at e the 5E.i''J6:: a.it d ilre
'\jil r:!1.i..;tjturi' !t;ti:: cJ i:r'sif eti'ira.n , ;tritl, itt.r: :;i;: 5E.I{6s of I ra,q. The liii .7 " ;.- .
flre :,r-rf:jr.r'l rlsr:nre ol f:ie lloya I ltlaly's I',li.nt {-ouiltu! rtleesLr.res t1r;
.
t;rtt.it-! i]:re;rir-cr,r.slrioa ir:-hrc{s,rr-rorzedifssuil;liiJity ftir ii:te rttJe

i'.

: t::i:, a:taL(ie ij).!:lo,

D:soite ihe iact lhai the horre.r:craft or /.\OV (Air Cusliion Vehicle) truas a
Eliish rr,veniio.i firore ihan 25 )/ears ago lhe leaC irr desrgn and Lrse ol
I'lVtth ihe
-cucli r:rail has long srnr:e been losi by lhe UK- to the USljR.
hr_ctosl f Leet oioperaiicrrerl ACVs olhrre dillereni classeg, lhe Sor,'iet navy

ihat senror Brrtrsh shLp d.esrq;ners arL:l ,,:. :


'riioulci be spencllng a month or so siuCyrng the US l\.Jav-i.-r S::
d,-rnn.q its er-qhi month denronstraLron
ic ...1 cus E.,.,,..=.
rL vi;33 1s11631ed

Jrjl

navles

-ras

consisienlly dernonslrated lhe crafi'-q qreal versatilily ancl vrabilrty as


vehrcle, loqiistrc il:ansport and ri rs belLeved nine watriatre
ruessel ln additron the USSF i:; aclrvely e,.,plorrnq1 lhe tv,/o related ai:eas of
iie Fjuiiace Eliect Sfrlp (SES) ancf ihe l1vrng In-C;i:ou,nc1 ellecl (-'/VIG)

:Ln assa.L-rl.i

ril

\ ,11l

or rs

Allhough the LItl l'Ja-/y h;rs realizcd the nulilary poi--ntial of AC\1 arLd
i:l-iS teclinolog-y so iarr ii has hmited iis acquisitron ol ihe former lo lhe
LCI'fJ lanclinc; crait pius a. nrrmber oi earlrr:r inals crali, ernd oi lhe laiier
io several IJHS prototyp--s and the r-rern, iMCi] Cardrnai' class ior inrne
cor-r"n ierffreasures ciuiies
in Er,rrope only Fiance has shorrvn a c;enuln-o rnier.esi rn SES rruarships,
vyhilst the Royal irlavy has been iorced lo abandon hovercrafi derrelop
meat (paying oliits lasi ACV in tl'ie auiumn ol 1985) because olthe lack ol
luncls aLnd lack cl inlelest on the part of the MoD ]ronically, early tn 1986

ln ih-^ Far East the People s Repubhc ol Chrna is ,,r.- ..,.,

r:i

j:lrrlt.:ltLllizer:*a!'t

J't)r

j-88':!arnerrlsfu";ies

l.fte

aiy,ct:'sltii:ttvehrci-^

:- ,,-...

'

aslrrTia t,3al il'ia I llA ;-ter tertt r:f t !t: r,t oi"Jd',rr.b.r.:r."h r:s ca;i i:e l;:nl,:^,t) t)::
;ls {iF;li-liirlij J.r J 7 f ei ceir l u rG ti? lalt gr-1yyg1|ii.jnai afip:1i! } j. ti:a [. ':, .:

-'

j..

"qi3i
..*:ir:S-:.

-.

type.
The GullWar l:eLriveen lraq and. lran r,,rhich is s--t
given /\C)Vs ll-ierl first exiencled use,n a lotal w.11 .,.. .piaevlcus operational ca).perrerr..je in a cornbai zone ha'L -- ,-ihe Vieinan-r War in lhe rnid 1960s urher ihe LJS |Ja\r.- u;built copies ol the SR.1\5 in ihe ltl-ol<ono cielta regrr:r

,*':Jg

'.....

l?Llrlloses and. re-:.i I


Jing-sah r:iass is srnrlar to a scaled dovirrr Brrtrsh SF. l'l-, ..'
and is equal rr rnos: respecls to any Western oi: St . - . .

/\CV clesiqns both lbr rnrlrlary

.r:=;*e=tgg=":

'tu

re
-

::

FRANCE

French air-cushion vehicles

Dubiqeon-Normandie Naviplan

N500 was a civilian passenqrer/car fer:.- ACV designed for use on cross-

::annej operations. Like the British

Si. N4 hovercraft it could in wartime


::ve been used safely as an emergen:;i logistrc transport on routes througth

:-ispected enemy mineflelds that


,',ould have stopped conventional

.,rrps. Allhough rwo c.aft were o"igr


.al1y b*rlL. one (Lhe N500-l; was wrl:en off after a severe flre that started

tfi

during minor repair work to its skirts.


The second (N500-02 Ingenieur Jean
Berfin) was subsequently modrfied to

lems which caused high unservrceability The N50O was characte-

incorporate a br-conical skirt aranqe

horizontal stabrlizer that carried the


three Avco Lycoming propuision qas

ment that increased the cushion area


by some 10 per cent and enabled the
bodstern ramp equipped craft to lift
4lB passenqers and 65 vehrcles wrthout any increase of installed power.
Unfortunately the N500-2 was with
drawn from service in late l9B3 be
cause of continuous technical prob-

rtzed in appearance by an aft-mounted

turbrnes tn separate nacelles

Although no longer rn use, the destgn

was the largest ACV produced rn


France and provided much valuable
data indirectly to the French nalry for
any future investment it may make in
ACV technoiogy.

Specification
Naviplan N500
Dimensions: lenqth 50 O m (164. I ft);
beam 23.0 m (75. I ft)
Propulsion: five 3 200-shp (3877-kW)
gras turbines driving two lift fans and
three propellers
Weights: maximum 260 tons; payload
see text
Speed:75 kts
Electronics: one navigatron radar

FRANCE

French SES types

As part of an overall plan to meet the


needs of the French nar,ry for the 1990s
and beyond, the Direction T6chnique
des Constructrons Navales set up a
special division to study surface-effect
shrps for use in the ocean-qoinq ASW

to be followed rnto sewrce by a 196,43-

ton NES-200 prototype which will

a iarge hangar and flight deck aft for a


number of ASW helicopters. It will also

4 800-hp (3579-kW) to two shafts

confirm the feasibility of such craft in


the ASW role and to investiqrate SES

have a full complement of air, surface


and sub-surface sensors,

ro1e.

used to obviate the need for the development of any special components
such as hft fans or propulsron plant as
they can all be bought off-the-shelffor

tons
Speed: on cushion 65 kts, and
hullborne 25 kts on qas turbrnes or
l6 }<ts on dresels.
Armament:two single 76 or 100-mm
(3- or 3.94-in) DP gmns, one CIWS
mounting, and ASW torpedo tubes
Aircraft: four to slr ASW helicopters
Electronics: one air-search radar, one
surface-search radar one navrgtation/
heltcop'^1-s.. rol radar one action
information system, one ESM suite and
two sonar systems (including one

In 1981 a 54-ton 12.l-m (39.7-ft)


lonq seagoing trial craft, called the
MOLENES (Moddl Libre Exp6rimental

de Navire A lEff6t de Surface) was


launched to study all the systems required by an SES ofa higher length-tobeam ratio to confirm the data produced by water-tank model trials and
to investrgate the effect of acceleratron

and manoeuvrability on the structure


equipment and crew members Thrs rs

ffi

capabrlities in other mrlrtary and com-

mercial roles. The design is being

such craft. The information qained


from both trials craft will, if satisfactory,

be used in the construction ofthe projected 3,930{on NES-4000 SES warship


for the next century The vessel will be
fltted with medium-calibre guns,
CIWS surface-to-surface missrles and

Specification
NE5-4000

Dimensions: lenqth 111.2 m (364 B ft)


beam30.9 m(101.4 ft); draughton
cushion 2,7 m (B B ft)
Propulsion: two 4O 000-shp (29824-kW)
and one tO 750-shp (12489-kW) gas
turbines driving two hydrojets and two
lift fans respectively; hullborne
propulsion uses two dresels deliverrng

Weight: maximum displacement

3,

930

towed-array type)
Complement: 130-150

$n.N+ 'Mountbatten' class air-cushion vehicle

The BHC SR.N4 Mk 2 'Mountbatten'


class ACV is a passengerlcar ferry
surtable for lB5-km (115-mile) pas-

speeds of around 65 kts, It is probable


that ifstripped ofall interior furnishings

sages on coastal routes. Although crvilian-owned, these craft could have an


impoftant wartime loqristics role of fer-

SR N4 could carry similar loads rn the


logstic transport role which means for
exampie that all the men of a Royal

ryrng reinforcement equrpment and


supplies across the English Channel
without having to worry too much about damaged port facrlitres or enemy
minefields. Only six 'Mountbatten
class craft have been built to date, of
which four were convefied from the
original SR.N4 Mk I to the Mk 2 standard whrlst the remaining two went
direct to the heavier SR,N4 Mk 3 Super

4 configmration with a 16.76-m (55-ft)


long insert amidships that also in-

creased the beam slightly. The Mk 2s


currently cafiy 2BZ passengrers and 37
vehicles in a single lift, whilst the Mk 3s
can carry 4lB passengrers and 60 vehi
cles A military variant, ihe Military 4,
-,vas announced in l9B0 and this can
:arry a payload of up to 165 tons of
supplies andl/or vehicles or a maxmum of 1 000 fully-equipped troops at

a bodstern ramp-equipped civilian

Marine Commando or an infantry

battalion plus most of their equipment


could be carrred. The only limitation
would be the sea state which rf too

hiqh would limrt the craft's performance,

Specification
SR.N4

Dimensions: length (Mk 2) 39.68 m


(]30, 17 ft) or (Mk 3) 56,38 m (185.0 ft);
beam (Mk 2) 23 77 m (78,0 ft) or (Mk 3)

28,04m(920ft)
Propuision: four 3,400-shp (2535-kW)
qas turbrnes driving four hft fans and

four propellers

Weiqhts: maximum (Mk 2) 200 tons or


(Mk 3) 300 tons: payload see text
Speed: (Mk 2) 70 kts (Mk 3) 65 kts
Electronics: two navigation radars

The British Hovercraft Corporadon's SRJ{4 is lh e iargest hovercraft in regulai


service.ln an amphr'brbus assault role it can carr.r' up lo ) .a00 fully-equipped
troops, or light tanks. It is similar in size lo tl'e -<o;lel ,&sf 'cla.s.s, which is a
purpose-designed amphibious assaui r ffaii.

SR.N4'Mountbatten' class mine countermeasures hovercraft


-re

BHC SR.N4 Mk 4'Mountbatten'

class MCMH (mine countermeasures

:-:-;ercraft) is identical rn most re:pects to the Britrsh Hovercraft Cor-

!:ratlons SR.N4 Mk 2 civrlian passen;::r car ferry version but with a much

-=:ger fuel load At its maximum weight


- capable ofcarryingup to 59875 kq
- i2 000 lb) of mission payload in addi--:: to its fuel for a lO-hour sortie. As
:::,gned it is able to perform all the
.=s-<s carried out by a conventional

:-::sweeper with wire and/or


-:.1: sweeps or a mrnehunter

rnfluusrng

- .';:i sonar and either a Gemini ding:-',' ; -tn drsposal divers or a remote,,..::l]ed PAP-104 submersible, The

::'

operations room, crew quarters and


workshops can be located in the twin
side-cabin structures or on the central
deck area forward of the main winch
position. All the signiflcant fittinqs in
the cargo area are erected on palletized modules in order to facilitate role
chanqes for MCM missions and con

version, rf required, to the logistic

transport role. A comprehensive communications and navigTation fit is carried, as is an MCM orrentated action
information system
On an operation several MCMHs
would normally be deployed to form a
Forward Support Unit that would set up
a Mobile Advanced Base for up to

= :.

_- r - _ _trah,VeIStOnOl
_ -r rrrlr!rur
I
. . . =: ::,r- has been Purch-

.=

l'line Wqrfcre Hovercrcrff


With the increase ln size of modern hovercraft, which presupposes an increase in carrying capacity, it is naturil that
naval planners should begin to look at a variety of roies for
which the unique qualities of air cushion vehicles may be
ap pl i c ab le - p ar ticularly in mine w arf are.
Although the Royal Navy has tested hovercraft extensrvely tn the firine countermeasures role and found them ideal platforms because (amongst other
.things)
they are relatrvely invulnerable to underwater explos ons, the sad fact
remains that f urther development work has been curtailed because of the lack
of funds and lack of interest at high levels of the Ministry of Defence. The last
ioy al ltavy ^ove-cra[1. a BH7, was rer-r-ed n 1'e dLluff n o. t 985 to rq bu,lders
{Brltish Hovercraft Corporation) for disposal.
As usual this contrasts sharply with the position rn the UK's c osest al y, the
USA, whose navy placed an order with Bell Halter lncorporated for the USS
Cardinal (MSH-l ), the prototype of a class of glass relnforced plast c m ne
sweeper,rminehunters with an SES (Surface-Effect Shlpt tvpe hull. Lil.e a hovercraft the SES rides on a 'bubble' of air but, instead of being contained by a
iiexrble all-round skirt. the air is contalned by r oid s dewalls (that penetrate the

!\dterqsurlacero.rorovestab.l ty nrougn.eattanc, l,e>b,esi'is'orea^dalt.

Thrs means that an MCM SES craft rs more resrstant to underwater shocks f rom
a mine explosion than a conventional-hulled MCM craft as the cushion's lrft
reeos o'tosL ol Lne null crear ol rne wdter s.,rrac.e rTne novercraf r s more
'es sla-l sl:i'as ls nul > ,s,al y I rr 3.3 tr or more aoove 11e r,ta1o'. r ding on a

I
I

Given the intenseSovief jnlerestin surface skimmers of all kinds, together


with a realistic appreciation of the potentials of mine warfare, it wotild seer,
natural for the USSR to have attempted ta combine the two. One of f.he mosi
suitable craft for such use would be the 27A-bn'Aisf 'class yessej-

cush on of air that can absorb a arge part of the shcck wave.) The air cushion
also reduces the SES's underwater magnet c, acoustic and pressure stgnatures,
thereby considerably reducrng the chances of detonating a mine before rt can be
detected by the sensors aboard. The sonar system fitted s n tially to be of the
n-1.-mo-^Leo SOO-30 variab e-deptn Trrne-delecr o- dno classricdr or r\pe idn
upgraded SOO-14) but because of rts limrtatrons th s rs to be replaced as s6on as
possible by the brand new SOO 32 set The craft wiil also carry the SSN-2
Dleciie lnltrgrdteo \av:gaton S\stems rDl\Si w t^ a co.r-a^d a^Ll conrrol
suite for dlsplaying data on mine locations and exchanginq information wrth

other MCM unrts.

1n the conventional mrnesweeprng ro e the Cardinalwill carry and use a Size


mechanicai sweep, a Mk 5 magnetic sweep and sinqle Mli 4V and Mk 6G
acousiic sweeps; for minehunting the Cardrnalwill be able to deploy a single
cable-controlled Min.e Neutralization Vehicle (MNV) to examrne and destroy
'1

Below: Originatly acquired by theRoyalNavy for trials in the togistic support


role, theVosper ThornycroftVT-2 was extensively modified for mine
countefineasure support. It proved much less vulnerable to underwater
explosions than did conveniional displacemenl yesse,ls.

Above:TheUS Navy's LCAC amphibious hovercra{t programme sa;1. :;r':


m ain design s produced, with the contr act gaing to Belrs AALC. J E F I i ;
Iosing design from Aerojet, has been retained for research into-m:ne
countermeasures, Arctic operations and large- scale medical ev ac,J a : : :.
:

5_

&

5
*"'"''.s

]i o iern Military Hovercraft


- -:: -.e 3 8'm (12
long MNV w ll be on the end oi a 1525-i. i a,'-'
'.., - .e g,r about 9985Jt)
kg {2,200 ib), be capable of 6 <ts under ware- .-: :-

.:.ied ll<
.

- .-:r \\ tn a c osed-c rcuit TV camera in the nose


and wtth faci 1,es.or s:.

:. -:
.')r e)o'rooedn nesor'otoanlnedn'\o.o( lt - ,-:; .: .- :-_-

T03 mechanrcal,

cco JsLc

r"!n^!

Mk 104 acoustic, Mk 105 maqnetic or M.


\arr -'

c sled sr','eeps normalty -seo oy LS

s'r,'eep:ng helrcopters. The Mk 103 is towed at speeds up to 12 kts, the Mk "

Some 17 MSH craft are to be bu t so that tnree -a:i be bese: a. \,--,..c:.:,


ihode lsland and Groton, Connect cut, {ive at Norfoik, Virg n a, s x ai Cr:r e sio:.-,
South Carolrna, and three at Mayport, Flcrida wttn ti^re pr,.rarv riiss o" of

protecting US strateg c misstle submarine bases, tne approaches to the bases


and the SSBNs' transit routes to deep warer.
n the U K BHC has capttalized on the expe lence gai ned by the Royal Navy and
has designed mine countermeasures valants of lts SB N4 lthe SR.N4 Mk 4
MCMH) lnd BH7 {the BH7 Mk 20 MCMH) During the var ous navy trials of
novercra'T lvpes Lwds proveo Indt d ^ove'crarr. w^en co^lpo.ed w tn a co-vp1
Io^a'm nesweeoer, ^aq o n-rcJ- 'as1e.l.ans I soeeo /up lo i ve r,-es gredterJ 1o
the operat ng area, a much better track-keeping ability in rough weather, and the
al"e"dy rre.r oneo Iowe' Jnoerware- signaL-'es.
Dlr ng lre n iai searce 16 r i^se ar >peeos bel!\aen 12 ana 2a.t". 1ov\tro
s dc-scon. va'oble-deol- o' r-l motnted eiracldb e bona.s ea- be erp'9ypj
the sJbseqJenl >\ eep ng be ng po16'-"d by ar rne- conr"enr.onal Io'reo qed'
found aboard RN minesweepeTS or, as in the case of the BH7, by the American
I

-J'eo

--

ai rp to 30 kts, and the other two at up to 28 kts.


For minehunting the MCMH configuralions can be changed and the sea-_
sp.ed reo-ceo ro bel\ ee^ 2 ano 5 l.rs'or the sona' nu^fnq pnase O...
Lo^'acL has been rrade t^e sona' s switcned ro lls cldss f car-on rode. ar:

the target rs confirmed as a m ne a remotely-controlled wire-guided PAP-.1 imrne-disposal vehicle is sent down to confirm by TV camera and lay an F!
charge as near to it as possible. The PAP-I 04 ls then recovered and the charq=
detonated to destrov the mine. lf a mine,disoosal vehicle is not used. a Gerr.'r
dinghy is launched with divers aboard to do the work bv hand.
As n r-e Amer;can 'Card nal c,ass and conten-pora'y B- t,h TVCMVc
precise navigatton system and a command and control cbntre are fitted. The
bonus oT the MCMHs rs that because of their modularized,'pal et zed pavloacl.lev eaa be
o' m ne warare equ prrenr ro se,ve as .oq sl c s-pply r a
"tripoeo
ln time of need.
ln the llqht of the hovercraft's success in the MCM fieLd it s
'^e
t-.prisi^g lrtar
Royal Navy wenl lor a con\onl o^a -'x o- ne\\-qenerd .'
surface vessels instead of a more radicai hovercraftisurface ship package
espec ally as the cost of a 'Brecon' class MCMV is now approach ng that o"' .
fu1ly equipped MCMH.
Left: AIso invoived in the RoyalNavy
M C MH trials, the B ritish Havercraf t
BH.7 Mk 2 demonstrated the \ow

magnetic and acaustic signatures,


together with much greater speed
tha n con v en tional minesweeper s.

problem was o! course


ACV| cost a lot to run.

The major

expense,

as

US Naty has ordered the


first of a new generation of harbaur

Below: The

mine sw ee p e r s from B e I I- T e x tr an.


They will be Surface Effect Ships rigid-w alle d hover cr alt. w hich
cgmp!9 naly o! th.e advantases o:
the ACV and the catamaran. This ts
theSES-20A. wfircfi rs resting the SES

concept.

:::::::::::::::::=:::trr

2Sti4

:...a.-.:.::.: . ....-.

. ....:1::::a:=>'..-

:....-.:.:

:r ': .,::,,,::=::..,: .:.

::.::::::::::::]]l:!1.

i.l.''

::
::.::

i
:..:::..:::

ffi

Hn.NO 'Winchester' class air-cushion vehicle

Designed originally as a fast ferry for


operations in sheltered waters, the
BHC SR.N6'Winchester' class ACV has
evolved rnto a number ofvariants over
the years, Although extensively tested
by the Royal Narry and British army al1

over the world including the Falk-

Iands, the SR.N6 craft used were sold


in 1982 followrng the demise of the
Hovercraft Trials Unit. The basic SR.N6
Mk I can accommodate either 38 Passengers or 3 tons ofsupplies, and is in
use with the Egyptian nalry (one) and

the Royal Saudr Arabian Frontier

Force and Coast Guard (eight) This

model was followed bY the whollY


miiitary logristic support SR.N6 Mk 2
and SR.N6 Mk

variants, which feature

a roof loading hatch and sPectallY

strenqthened srde decks for longi loads


weighing up to 0.5 ton; a roof-mounted
armament of one7.62- or 12.7-mm (0,3'
or 0.5-in) machine-eun is carried for
defensLve purposes. The maximum
payioad is increased to 5 tons of supplies or between 20 and 30 fully armed
troops, Only the Egyptian (two Mk 2s)
and Iranian (two Mk 2s) navies have
this type in service, thougrh the former
has had all three of its SR,N6s modified
to cary srx 500-kg (1,105{b) qround

mines J required. The lranian nauY


also has six SR.N6 Mk 4 variants in
service, These are used for coastal de-

fence duties and can carrY either


20-mm cannon

or

SS,

missiles as alternatives to the more


usual 7, 62-mm medrum machtne-gruns,
The Iraqi customs service also uses the
same hovercraft, but as the SR.N6 Mk
6C general-purpose model, with a lar-

ger cabin to accommodate uP to

55

passenqers or between 5 and 6 tons of


supplies. Six are in use, and are known
to have been used for combat duties in
the Gulf War,
Saudi Arabia also has eight units of
the SR.N6 Mk 8 type in service, This is
the latest of the mrlitary variants to be
produced: it can carry up to 55 fullyequipped troops in the assault role, or
have the same armament alternatives
as the Mk 4 when used as a patrol craft

It differs from the earlier variants in

having only a single propeller and the


addition of two air condittoningtunits on
the roof aft of the cockpit,

Above

SR.N6 MK 8

Dimensions:iength 18.3 m (60.0 ft);


beam 8.5 m (28,0 ft)
Propulsion: one 1, 05O-shp (785-kW)
gas turbine driving one lift fan and one

SR.NG Mk 213 is a mifitarizeC


version of the standard civil ferry.
and unlike the Later Mk 6 seen abote
is powered by a single propeller.
This modelwas operated by the
Royal Navy trials unit in locations as
diverse as Hong Kong and the
F alklands (ironic ally. practis ing
amphibious landings ! ).

Left:The

propeller

naviQlator

I 6. 7

6'W inchester' is the

logistics role over swampy terrain or.


as here, as a fast coastal patrol craft'
It canbe armedwith20-mm cannon
or with short-range SSMs.

Specification

Weights: maximum
see text
Speed:50 kts
Electronics: one

: SR.N

military variant of the widely-used


SR.N6 fastferry.It can be used in the

tons; payioad

radar

12 wire-gruided
)

Variants of the SR.N6 are in service


worldwide, involved in seismic
survey, search and rescue, freight
haulage, crash rescue and
fir efighting, among s t othe r tas ks.
The

twin-propelleredMk

6 has a

payload of between five and six tons


of equipment or up to 55 passengers.

J
i;

u$.

ti

:{

>K iiHz 'Wellingrton' class air-cushion vehicle


The BHC BHZ 'WellinSrton' class was

designed specifically for navy and


military use, the BH7 Mk 2 prototype
sewing with the Royal Navy (from 1970
to late 1985, when funds ran out) as an
advanced{echnoloW trials craft to ev-

aluare hovercrafl rn the logrsric support, hshery protection, ASW and


MCM roles. This machine was followed on the productton line by two
BHZ Mk 4 logistic support and four BHZ
Mk 5 combat versions for the lranian
former, armed with medium
machine-guns on each srde of the
cabtn, can carry loads such as 170 fulnar,ry. The

ly-armed troops or 60 troops wrth


three l,and Rovers and trailers, or two
light armoured vehicles, or up to 14
tons of supplies The Mk 5s were designed for coastal defence duties and
have recesses on their side decks for

two medium-range anti-ship

SSMs

(such as the MM 38 Exocet) plus the


ability to carry a radar-controlled tuvin
30-mm turret on the foredeck in front of
the centre cabin, which is used as the
operations centre, Although not armed
as such rn Irantan servrce, the Mk 5s
and the logtistic Mk 4s have seen con-

siderable combat service during the


Gulf War
In l9B2 the Saudr Arabian navy
ordered eig'ht BH7 Mk 5A combaV
Iogistrc hovercraft, which are essentially similar to the Mk 5 but retain the
bow door of the logistic model in order
Right: Seen here speeding past HMS
Kent, the BHZwas evaluated by the
RoyalNavy from 1970 until 1985 in
both combat and logistic support
roles, but the funds for this important

workranoutin

1985.

Below: The Mk 5 is capable of 58 kts


and can carry four Exocet surface-tosurface missiles. The Iranians have
made great use of their logistic
support version, which can carry up
to 170 fully-equipped troops.

2366

to keep the load-carrying capabilrty.


However, rnstead of the 30-mm tuffet

two single 20-mm cannon can be


mounted on the rool posrtions pre

viously used for machine-guns


A follow-on version is the BH7 Mk 20
multi-role craft, which is a stretched
mode] with greater payload and the
latest advances in skrrt technology. To
date no country has bouqrht this variarit

Specification
BH?MK5A
Dimensions: Iength 23.9 m (78.33 ft);
beam 13.9 m (45 5 ft)
Propulsion: one 4, 250-shp (3 I 69-kW)
gas turbine dnving one lift fan and one
Weiqhts: maximum

55 tons;

payload

see text

Speed:58 kts
Electronics: one navigation radar

Above: The latest variant of the BH7'Wellington' is the Mk 20 Fast Attack Craft,
which can carry an impressiveweaponfit, in this case a pair of Rarden 30-mm
cannon andfour,Sea Skua surface-to-surface missi/es.,Sea Cat SAMs orExocet
SSMs are alternative amaments.

>K

Modern Military Hovercraft

VtZ air-cushion vehicle

The Vosper Thornycroft VT2 hovercrait was extensively tested by the


Royal Nary from the mid- 1970s until
1982 when the Hovercraft Trials Unit

trials, the prototype was further rebuill


to investiqate lts operational capabrlities in the MCM support role, This required the fltting of an electronic and

srve defence cuts, Used origdnally in


the logistrc support role the prototype
VT2-001 (P234) was modifled in 1978 to
carry palletized carqo from ships lyinq

allrespectstothatofthecontemporary
'Hunt class MCM vessel an Atlas 5002
hydraulic crane, a larqer roof hatch

(HTU)wasdisbandedaspartofexten- communications outfit compatible

ofishore to a beach-head. The mod-

in

and rmproved rnternal carqo-handling

..

-r-callons rncluded lLe firtrng of a load

.:.o hatch in the ma-n sLpersrructLre

on

. r ard rhe laying of roller tracking


-he deck l:elow rhe harch lor the move:r.. ':.1 of rhe cargo around rhe enclosed

ieck area Afler several

successful

,
I

1
#
*l;,

."
:-

system and a 5.4 m (17.7-ft) long Sea

Rider workboat. Again the craft

proved highly successful, especially in

the towrng of vanous types of sweeping gear and rn shock trials, in which it
proved almost inr,ulnerable to underwater explostons near or practically
beneath the hull to simulate the detonation of various seamine types. Despite this and the success of the other
hovercraft types used to test various
roles the VT2 was sold to commercral
concerns following the demrse of the
HTU, and the use of hovercraft within
TheVTZ proved an enormous
successrn theMCM(Mine
Countermeasures) rcle, but the
Hovercraft Trials Unit was
disbanded in ffte disasfrous defence
cuts made by the Government in
19B2.The RoyalNavy now shows only
token mteresf in a mmesweeper

- .. invulnerableromostmines.

>K Hm*" series air-cushion vehicles


The Skima series of small air-cushion
vehicles are based on the original
Grifton designs now being

manufactured byVosper
Hovermarine. The smallest of these
craft can be transported on the back
of a pick-up truck, and has been
evaluated both in the UK and USA.
Weiqhts:empty 225 kq (495 lb)r
payload see text
Speed:30 kts

Specification
Skima6
Dimensions: ienqth6, 19 m (20 31 ft);
bean2 62 m (B 6 ft)
Propulsion: one 60-hp (44.7-kW) petrol
or diesel enqine drivinqra single lift
and two propulsion propellers
Weights: empty 670 kg ( 1 474 lb);
payload see text
Speed:30 kts

Specification
Skima 12
Dlmensions: lenqth 7.77 m (25 5 ft);
beam3.5 m (11.5 ft)
Propulsion: one 250-hp (186-kW)
petrol or diesel engine drivinq a single
lift and propulsion propeller
Weights: empty 990 kg (2 178 lb);
payload see text
Speed:35 kts
Electronics: one navigatron radar
The various Skima ACYs keep down

their weight and reduce overall cost


by inc orpo r ating infl ata ble
sttuctutes into the basic design. This
alsogives improved buoyancy and
stability, and endows them with
impres sive obstacle- crossing ability.

the Royal Nalry and other armed services has been reduced to the barest
minimum so that the forces can say that
interesl rs still oerng snown

Specification

vT2

Dimensions: ienqth 30 18 m (99,0 ft);


beam 13.3 m (43.6 ft)
Propulsion: two 4 250-shp (3169-kW)
qas turbrnes driving four hft fans and
two variable pitch ducted drive fans
Weights:maximum 108 tons; payload

3l 4 tons
Speed:60/70 kts
Electronics: one navigation radar

il

Et r"n"olan wingr-in-ground effect machines

Since 1965 the Soviets have been experrmentrng in the Caspian Sea area
with what has become known as the
Ekranoplan or 'Caspran Sea Monster',
This machine has a potential speed of

km/h; 346 mph) or more,


and operates at a height ofbetween 3 5
to i4m (115 to 46 ft) above water,
300

kts

(556

then directed downwards so that therr


exhausts create an arr-cushion effect
under the vehicle's main wrnq. The

growing lift then raises the vehicle

clear of the water so that the forward


engines can be reonentated to direct
their blast back over the upper surface
of the wing to estabhsh additional lift

marshland or other such terrarn. Wrth a


main hull like that of a wide-body air-

and so rapidly increase the forward


motion untri the cruising speed at

which flight can be sustarned is estab-

liner, the Ekranoplan can carry

payload of over 90 tons, or some 900


fully-equipped troops or Naval Infantry. Its propuision system compnses
eiqht marinized gas turbines mounted
above a forward stub wingr and two
propulsion turbines aft installed at the
base of a dihedral tailplane. The mode
ol operaLron ts that all tle engines ore
LSed to start The Ekranoplan movinq
whilst the machine is in contact with
Lhe warer: lhe Iorward engr-tes are

lished. By flying in and out of this

ground-effect cushion the Ekranoplan


can clear shipping shorehnes and

other obstructions as required Such a


capability is particularly useful to the
Soviet nalry for amphibrous assault and
logristic support duties as this type of

vehicle effectrvely overcomes the


problems of sea conditions, tidal currents, underwater obstacles, and defensive sea and land minefields by

flying over them,


A smaller Turboprop Ekranoplan rs
also under test, Based on the 'sea
monster' concept, this has improved

aerodynamic shape and the rear-

mounted gas turbines replaced by a

single 15,000'shp (11184-kW) turboprop. The forward engines are also


replaced by two internally-mounted

Specifi cation (provisional)


Ekranoplan
Dimensions:span40 0 m(131.23 ft);
lensth 91,4 m (300.0 ft)
Propulsion: 10 gas turbines
Weights: maximum 307,4 tons; payload
Speed:300 kts

gas turbines to provide the power aug-

Specification

mentation for take-off and the initial lift


The newvariant has also been used for
amphibious assault trials with a swingnose arrangement to allow for the carriage of vehrcles and outsized loads. A
missrie attack variant (with two singTle

Turboprop Ekranoplan
Dimensions: span 30 5 m (100.0 ft);
length 60 9 m (200.0 ft)
Propulsion: one i5 000-shp (11184-kW)
turboprop and two gas turbines
Weights: maximum 216 tons; payload
59 tons ofcargo or 500 troops
Speed:280 kts
Armament:see text

underwing containerlaunchers for

SS-

N-22 anti-ship crurse mtssiles) has also


been seen, although no production de-

ctsion on any Ekranoplan version


believed yet to have been taken

rs

ffLu"a' class air-cushion vehicle


The NATO reporting named'Lebed'
class multr-duty surface-effect landing
craft was first seen in prototype form in

entered series production in


1976-7, Used as amphrbious initial
assault landing and Iogristics-over-theshore (LOTS), 'Lebeds' are normally
1973 and

carried tn pairs by the 'lvan Rogov


class LPDs rn their stern weil decks,

For an assault the 'Lebeds' wouid be


preloaded before embarking. The de-

siqn is an origrnal Soviet one, and Ls


thought to have been undertaken by
the Soviet narry's High-Speed Ship Design Bureau rn Leningrad, Eighteen
'Lebeds' are rn service, with some
three or four more in varying states of
completion 'lrebeds' are now found
wrth the Baltrc, Black Sea and Pacific
Fleets as weil as aboard the LPDs. A
bow ramp is provided for vehicle Ioading and unloading, whrlst personnel

can use doors located aft Typical


payloads include two PT-76 iight
amphibrous tanks, two BTR-60/70/

BMP-1/2 APCs two loaded trucks up to


a total weight of 34.38 tons, 120 Naval
Infantry or some 40 tons of supp[es.
In 1982 the prototype of what rs ex-

pected to be the 'Lebed'successor


the lO0{on 'Tsaplya class, was seen

This is now beheved to be entenng


series production on lne construclior
line that was used for the 'Lebed' class.

Specification

Armament: one ADMGO 30 sx-barrel


CIWS mountrng on forward quarter of
the starboard superstructure
Electronics: one navigation radar and
one 'High Pole-B IFF sysrem

Mounted on the deckof aSoviet


transport vessel, the'Lebed' class of
ampfirbrous assault hovercraft is
somewhat smaller than the

The cockpit of the 'Lebed' is on the

' I van Rogov' class amphibious


assauilsfups.

'Lebed'class

Dimensions: lenqth24,B m (81 4 ft);


beam i0.B m (35.4 ft)
Propulsion: three 3 600-shp (2684-kW)
gas turbines drivrngr four lift fans and
two propellers

Weights: maximum
see text

BS

tonsj payload

Speed: 70 kts (60/65 kts normal)

port side of the craft, balanced by


turret-mounted ADMG

30

-mm

r em ote - controlle d G atling- type


cannon to the starboard. Typical
payloads would include two PT-76

American LCAC or the BritishVosper


W2. The class has been designed to
operate out of the docking wells of

lighttanks or twoBMP infantry

combatvehicles, or up to 35 tons of
treight.

iJ

efr

2668

ll;1f=

il

ii]Lr' class air-cushion vehicle

Developed from the 50 seater Skate

class amphibious passengter ferry

ACV t-e 'Gus class log sl c supporr


ACV was tested rn prototype form from
1969 onwards, series production of 36
craft takinq place between 1970 and
l9B2 at a steady rate of two or three
units per year. Deployed by all four

Sovret fleets (the Northern, Baltic


Black Sea and Paciflc), the Gus can
carry either a lull Naval Infantry pla
ioon of 25 men or several tons of supplies It is used extensrvely for river
patrol, special forces small-unit troop
.nseTlrons, beach-head reconna ssance, and amphibrous assauit and

two 'Lebed class ACVs and

Modern Military Hovercraft


one

'Ondatra' class LCM usually

embarked Some sx or so of the 36


umts were completed with two pilot
posittons and have been rssued to the
'Gus class ACV battalions of the fleets

Specification
'Gus'class
Dimensions: length 21.33 m (70,0 ft);
beam 7. I m (23.3 ft)
Propulsion: three 780-shp (582 kW)
gas turbines dnvinqrone lift fan and two

as operational conv^.rsron ralners

propellers

There has also been at least one furth-

Weights: maxtmum 26,7 tons; payload


see text
Speed: 60 kts (40 kts normai)
Armament: small arms and LMGs
Electronics: one navigatron radar, and
one 'High Pole-B IFF system

er denvative of the desiqn with twin

ducted propellers but thrs

rs

beheved

not to have progressed beyond the


prototype staqe It is likely that the

long term successor of the 'Gus'wiil be


a much larger ACV whose flrst prototype is due soon

The'Gus' class logistic support ACV


is roughly equivalent to the British
SR.N6, although used by theSoviets

in combat roles much more than


those in thewest. Used extensively

bySoviet naval infantry on river


patrol, small-unit insertions and
assaujts, lft e cJass seryes with all
Sovietfleets.
.i
:1

fttEl
t

]$i
...l:fl

*s

loctstic missions. For the last, the 'lvan


P.ogtov'

class LPDs can each carry

:l.uee 'Gus' class ACVs in place of the

rlB

I
..

,'.

;'

fiL*

Soviet air-cushion vehicles

In the early l980s two new Sovret naval

ACV prototypes were sighted by

NATO reconnaissance units. The flrst


named the'Tsaplya'class by NATO, is
:houqht to be the successor to the
i,ebed class which is about to end its
croductron run. -t is srmilar rn slze, coniguration and performance to the Brit
sh BH7 Mk 4 and incorporates a bow
Coor and central load weli Desrgned
-or use aboard the 'lvan Rogtov' class
-PDs and their successors the craft
can carry one PT-76 light amphibious
rark and B0 Naval Infantry, 160 Naval
Lriantry, or some 25 tons ofcargo The
second design, named the 'Utenok'

il

class, is slightly longer but smaller


overall, and appears to be desiqtned to

carry one T-54/55/62/7474 MBT as its

primary payload. With two 'Utenoks'


currently undergorngt extensive testing along wiht the srngle 'Tsaplya, it is
possible that both desrgns are actually

complementary to one another with


the aim that the 'lvan Rogov' class LPDs
will eventually have the ability to deliv-

er MBTs beyond the water line of

beach-head rather than relyinq on the

more conventional 'Ondatra' class


LCM carrred

at

present.

1l thrs

assump-

tion is correct, rt is probable that the


LPDs will be carrying mxed loads of

'Lebeds' and 'Utenoks, or 'Lebeds or


'Tsaplya', or'Tsaplya and'Utenoks' by
the end of the l980s the actual mtx
depending upon the operation to be

navigation radar and one High Pole-B


IFF system

mounted.

'Utenok'class
Dimensions: lenqth 26.3 m (86.3 ft);
beam 13.0 m(42.7 ft)
Propulsion: not known
Weights: maximum B0 tons; payload

Specifi cation (provrsional)


'Tsaplya'class
Dimensions: Ienqth24.0 m (78,75

ft;

Specifi cation (provisional)

beam140m(459ft)

see

Propulsion: not known


Weights:maxtmum 100 tons; payload
see text
Speed:65 kts
Armament: two 30-mm twin turets
Electronics: one 'Spin Trough'

Speed:65 kts
Armament:two 30-mm twin turrets
Electronics: one 'Spin Trough'
navigation radar and one 'High Pole-B
TrE ^,,^+^-

text

iHist' class air-cushion vehicle

Built at the Leninqrrad Shipyards, the


aLr-cushion vehicle known to NATO as
he'Aist'class is the Sovrets'frrst large
ACV design, and while similar rn

Eeneral appearance to the British


SR.N4 Mk 2 'Mountbatten class is
nuch heavier. The prototype was
iaunched in i970 and foilowing extens-ve testing the class entered series
productron in 1975, Since then several
';ariants have been built, these differing in f,n herght, overall length, superstructure detail and armament conrlguration. Some 17 'Aisls' are in ser-

present and more are being


bullt. Used as an amphrbious assault
\'1ce at

arid logistic supply ACV, the 'Aist' can


deliver Naval Infantry, armoured vehi-

cles and supplies to beach-heads

',vhich can be well inland. Only two of

the Soviet fleets (the Baltic and Black


Sea Fleets) deploy the 'Aists, the for-

mer havinq its units extensively photographed by NATO aircralt and ships

Curirg Warsaw Pact landing exercises. Largte bow and stern loadinqt
:'amps provide througn-shrp opera-

tions, and typrcal payloads for the craft


are two MBTs of the T 54/T-55/T-62/T72 or T-74lype, four PT-76 light amphi-

brous tanks and 50 Naval Infantry,


three BTR-60/7A/BMP-I/2 APCs and
100 Naval lnfantry, four trucks

and

100

Naval Infantry 220 Navai Infantry or up


to 50 or 60 tons of supplies.

Specification
'Aist'class

Dimensions: length 47 B m (156.8 ft);


beam 17,5 m (57,4 ft)
Propulsion: two 24,000-shp (17894-kW)
gas turbines drivinqr four hft fans and
four propellers

Weights: maximum 270 tons payload


see text
Speed:80 kts (60/65 kts normal)
Armament:two twin 30-mm turrets
over the bow
Electronics: one 'Spin Trough
naviqation radar, one 'Drum Tilt' flre
control radar one 'Hrgh Pole-B' IFF
system, andone 'Square Head' IFF
system

Seenoperatingwith MilMi-8'Hip'helicopters off the Baltic coast of the


German Democratic Republic, the Leningrad-built 'Aist' class large
amphibious ACY is about the same size as the 'Mountbatten' class used on the
English Channel, although giving the impression of being more rugged.
2669

Aist' class air-cushion vehicle (continued)

ft

Modern Military Hovercraft

,-"w,1

Aist'Class
lcrge Naval Air-cushion Vehicle
USSR

In servicewith the BlackSea and Baltic Fleets of the Soviet navy, the'Aist' class
has been in production since J975 at a rate of approximately two completior.s
peryear. Atypical load duringoperations on theBaiticwould be twoT-72
MBTs and two platoons (60 men) of anavalinfantry company. Armament
comprises two twin 30-mm DP turrets together with an associated 'Drum TiJt'
AA fire control radar.

'Aist'class hovercraft are drivenby twin marinizedNK-: *is' _=-:*-;_:=i


originally developed by Kuznetsov to power the Tu-35 'Ber- bc.=-bc-: -i;:-::
models had the engine air intake at the mouth of a long dorsa-:,:::.=- -"--*.:
here, but this was later eliminated.

I'lekong I'lonsters
The Mekong Delta is the'rice bowl'of
Vietnam. W ith five thou s and squ are

miles of paddyfields andwaterways, it is

a tortuous area to navigate in

both

vehicles and ships, but it proved no


obstacle for hovercraft.
During the Vietnam War one of the major areas

of concern to the US armed forces was the


Mekong delta, a largJe area to the southwest of
the capital Saigon, .fhrs region contains over
3900 km (2 425 miles) of navigable waterways
oi which some 1290 km (800 miies) are canals
with a mean water depth of 2 m (6.6 ft) at low
tide and the remainder natural or improvised
waterways spreading out from the Mekong,
Vaiso, Dong Nar and Saigon rivers. l'he 13000km' (5,020 sq mile) alluvral basrn whrch iorms
the delta is bordered to the north by the poorly
drained and low-fertilitv Plam oI Reeds with
some 5300 km (2 045 sq mrles) oi its TOOO-km
(2 700-sq mile) total area actually wlthin the
borders of South Vietnam. What was important,
however, was that the delta was consrdered to
be the 'rice bowl' of Indochina with an atten-

dant high concentration of population in

numerous hamlets and few real towns,


This made the delta a primary ob;ective for
the North Vietnamese and local Vietconq both
as a major food source and as a recruiting and
base camp area. The network of waterways
was ideal for supplying guerrilla units and for
transporting war materials from Cambodian
sanctuary areas to the vrcrnity of Saigon and
some of the towns near it

Inshore surveillance
In September 1965 Operation'Game Warden' was initiated, the flrst US Navy unrts
assigned to it becoming operational in February 1966, Their assigned mission was the provision of inshore surveillance and dayhght patrols aiong the major waterways to reduce to a
minimum the Vietcong infrltration and supply
operations by junk, Later, as the unitsQained in
experience they were also used to undertake

lengthy night patrols, to support ihe Vietnamese River Force in its operations and to

insert and extract 6/10-man SEAL reconnaissance and raiding parties in communist base
camp areas. The craft used first was a modified
commercial sports boat design destgnated the
Disappointing as coastal patrol craft, the
hovercraft proved a great success when deployed
to the Plain ofReeds, particularly during the
rnonsoon sea,son when the weather often

prohibited helicopter operations.

2672

PBR Mk L Thrs was rapidly followed into service by an enlarged version, the PBR Mk 2,

However, it was soon realized that the PBRs

were too valuable an asset to commit to the

remoter parts of the delta, and surveillance of


these areas was left to overflights by helicopters and irregular patrols by South Vietnamese
troops in navy assault boats, Not daunted by
thrs, the US Navy began looking at other forms

of transportation, amonq which was the aircushion vehicle, Of these the most'promising

appeared to be the Beli Aerosystems SK-S


Model 7255, an 8.5-ton 118-rn:(3875-ft) lonq

The crew of aPatrolAir CushionVehicle(PACV)


rnspect a samp an forViet Cong supplies while
another PACV stands by. One disadvantage of the
craft as an offshore patrolvessel was that in order
to stop and search it had to deflate its air cushion,
leaving itvulnerable.

Americanized version of the Brrtish SR,N5 design, Accordingly three such vehicles, desrgnated Patrol Air Cushion Vehicles (PACV)-l to
3, were dehvered late in 1965, and over the
next four years they were twice deployed to
South Vietnam for testing, In the coastal and

Modern Military Hovercra

.::i!i!:::::=:-:i.:i_:-;*ri:rri..$1{...-:

::::..

=
debut in Operation'QuaiVat'
' monster' inVietnamese), the PACVs adopted the
:all sign'Monster' and their crews adorned them
.'t ith this ferocious slark's-mo uth des iqn.

.1,!ter their combat

,-shore patrol roles they were found to be


.iequate in terms of mobility, but also much

::

noisy and requrrrng considerable mainte-

..-rce to retain operational status lor long


::riods.

In-country success
Despite this inrtial disappointment it was
:.:n found that the craft were highly successful
'.':en moved in-country to the remote marshy
.::as ol the Plarn of Reeds, especially during
:-: -,vel season when weather conditions sev
=::1y limrted aerial activity Operating usually
,:. -cairs or as a trio (and occasionally as single,:-s) the PACVs could travel at speeds of up to
, :r 60 kts wrth a crew of three pius 2 tons of

.-r:ohes or up to

J.7

tron two single 7.62 mm (0,3-rn) machrne-guns


on each srde of the cabrn in amidshrps window
positions, two 40-mm grenade-launchers and
the various prstols sub-machine guns and automatLc rifles of the embarked personnel The

unfortunaie thing was that when searching a


suspectlunk the PACVs had to come alongside

and deflate their skirts rn order to marntain


positron Followlng their return from Vietnam
in May 1969 they wete transferred to the US
Coasi Guard durlng October ol the same year,
and underwent an overhaul in 1970 belore
startrng a perrod ol evaluation as unarmed

passengers. Apart from

r-it for whrch a high-definition surlace.::rch/navrgtatron radar was fitted.. The arma
-:nt varied, although lor the flnal 1968-9 de:-"-ment 1t vras ofhcially flxed at a twin 12 7,:: (0.5 rn) calibre heavy machine-gun mount:n the cabin roof just aft of the prlot's posi
=:
)peration'QuaiVat' in progress, 2l November
capturedViet Cong Euerrilla is taken
:baard by US Navy personnel near Moc Hoa in the
. :66: a
.:.a

,Sr

r,.

ij'19lrliill,llfitlrtili,,it,r,rrl

rr*

coastai'patrol craft Once thrs i:,: , : : cro'i, ca led Horor I 3 wer: c= :


In addition to the PACVs il= , i .,
-S Mar,ne Corps also e'.a .. - : ...'- ..
1960s and early 1970s l0 Chr.,-s,:: I - Riverine Utility Craft (RUC), rh:..= :,- :

(rr . - . .
. :- -:=:.
wr h h^lic"l /anes mo*n.- - --.
underside on the fore-and a,: ..-,,-. '20I long625 lonpero e :.
''l o\o otar deep s"ramp--- - ..
Cres as well as water or Cr. -:.: i
was based on the marsh

screw concept (two propelhn;r :

.-

il ;, ;lT\qiii6$qff$&ilirtr;;rrra, :.
.
-*,{.,rrir ,rr,,1,: .r,i*Fi

:--:rr use as high speed transports and cargo


,::ners the PACVs were also used as patrol

jn ofReeds. Seventy sampans and a similar


:.:rr'ber of dwellings were destroyed, with I )
::jsoners laken and 23 enemy KIA.

ft

Mekong Monsters
significantly hmited in the herght of obstacles
they could climb. A maxrmum ground speed of
I0 to 12 kts was possible, though in water thrs
was reduced somewhat, The payload was
etther I ton of supplies or six fuily-equrpped
troops in addition to its crew of two enlisted
men. If required, an armament of one 7.62-mm
mediurn machine-gun and one 4O-mm gre-

nade-launcher could be mounted lor use

alongside the crew's and passenQrers' own personnel weapons. In ihis confignrration it was
possible to mount limited offensive actrons,

No further development
Surprisingly, throughout the Vretnam War
the ACV remained an experimental craft, and
after the type's retirement ln 1969 ACVs were
not developed further even though the ques
tron of therr relative usefulness rn comparison
qrrth helicopters had not been answered in fu]],
In many quarters it was felt that coastal patrol
roles could be adequately covered by the
readily-avallable helicopter wlthout any signi'
licant loss in operational efflciency.
The usefulness of ACVs (especially in logistrcal roles) was not forgotten, however, and
during the 1970s the ACV was resurrected in
the form of the IEFF(A) and IEFF(B) prototypes
lor use as landing craft, For the other answers rt
remains to be seen what the Soviets and
Chinese can do, for these are now the largest
users of military hovercraft in the world. As
such they will not stand by and let a new concept in warfare stagnate, but will strive to explore all lts possrbilitres rf only to justify the
iarge amounts of money and effort they have
expended rn developrng the technology.
Below: The PACVs roar beneath the bridge atAn
Long en route for Cat Lo after the action in the Plain
o.fReeds. The PACYs gave a creditable
performance, but their price tagwas against them;
each one cost nearly $lm and their running costs

werephenomenal.

Above:The three PatrolAir CushionVehicles skim over land and sea alike. They proved able tomove at
speed through vegetation two metres high and clear ditches up to four metres across, much to the
discomfitureof theVietCong,whohaddominated thePlainof Reedsfor manyyears.

Above: A PACV kicks up a dramatic cloud of mud


and spray as itmanoeuvres across a marsh near
the Cambodian border in search of the elusiveViet
Cong. The single 0.50-cal machine-gun seen here
was soon supplemented by0.3-calweapons and
4 0 - mm gre n ad e J au nc h er s.

Above: The original PACVswerewithdrawn in


1969, but Bell built three hovercraft to a IJS Army
specification and flew them tovietnam for combat
evaluation. This machine operated with the 9th
Infantry Division in the summer of 1968. Note the
s/ab sides, which distinguish it trom the PACYs.

USA

Bell Model7467 LACV-3O

The LACV-30 (Liqhter Air-Cushion

Vehicle 3O-short ton payload) is a


slretched version of Bell Aerospace
Textron's Voyageur civilian model. A
:3tal of 24 of these vehicles (company
iesignation Bell Model 7476) is in the

being dellered to replace


LARC-5 and LARC-]S
irighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo
5 and 15{on) models currently in ser-.rce with the US Army's light and
redium amphibian companies. The
::ew craft will be used as high-speed
:rnphibious vehicles for LOTS (Liqht:r-Over-The-Shore) operations where
:,c port facilities exist. The LACV-3O
:al lrave] over water, land, snow ice,

Specification

two propeilers

LACV30

Weights: maximum

Dimensions: Iength 23.32 m (76,5 ft);


beam I 1.18 m (36,7 ft)
Propulsion: two I 800-shp (1342-kW)
gas turbines driving two lift fans and

see text
Speed:33,5

Voyageur heavy-haulage ACY was


developed in I 97 I , and was used as
the basis for development of the US
Army'SLACV-31.

Below:The LACY-3j is much more


efficient than previous LOTS (Lighter
Over The Shore)s/stems, and will
eventually replace the LARC-5 and

Below: Operable over an enormous


variety of terrains from the Arctic to
the tropics, the LACY-3O can ensure
dry landingot thewiderange of
carg oes c ar rie d. T h es e can inclu de
ISO containers, tracked and wheeled
vehicles, eng ineer ing eq uipme nt,
pallets and barrels, water, fuel, fire-

Above : T he first of 30 MCV 4As was


delivered to MERADCOM ( the US
Army's M obility E quipmen t

l, 34 tonsj

payload

ks (normal)
Electronics: one navigation radar

-Drocess of

The Bell Aerospace Canada

Texton

:re wheeled

::a-rshes, swamps, low brush and other


snall obstacles or through 2.44-m (B{t)
::qrh surf carrying a variety of contain-

:rized cargo, wheeled or

tracked

-;elLrcles, heavy engineeringr plant or


supp[es such as fue] and water

:ter

:trntainers, It can be carried fully

=ssembled on a ship, be launched by


:e crew and be fully operatronal with-:- several hours or, altenatively, it can
:e broken down into 15 sectrons for
:.-.nage by truck, rail or aircraft and
--:en reassembled at its destination, In
.-:e srmple drive-on/drive-off role us:-9r rts bow ramp the craft can carry the
:---axrmum load of 30 tons with an enr-Jance of 2 hours.
however tt is
as a self-unloading platform for
-ed
-rcplies via its swing crane in the
::'"./s the load is reduced to 26.5 tons
,:-::-rgh endurance remains the same
l--:er roles (such as medical evacua:::. troop transport and water or fuel
::supply) give greater endurance,
::::es of between 5 and t hours being
;:ssible depending upon the actual

Il

;a-.1oad figmre.

LARC - I 5 amphibious vehicles

currently in sewice. Secondary roles


could include coastal, harbour and
riverine patrol, search and tescue
and fire control.

fighting equipment or troops.

Research and Development

Command) in J,981. Unlike the sa=e


company's LCAC, the MCY is noi e:
assault craft butrs desi'gmed fo,ir
used solely for the transpofiatic: s:
goods from ship to shorc.

_a-:

f,

i,anAir,g Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)

The Bell Aerospace Textron LCAC is


the definitive production version ofthe

IEFF(B) amphrbious assault landing


craft that was tested alongside the
Aerojet-Generai IEFF(A) prototype
for over five years by the US Navy.
Incorporating the best attributes of
both, 107 LCACs were to have been
built, but this has been cut to about 90,
of which some 45 are to be based at the
Ltttle Creek Naval Amphibious Base,

Virginia for the Atlantic Fleet and the


remainrng 45 at the US Marine Corps
base at Camp Pendleton, California for

the Pacifrc Fleet The LCACs are

being deployed in units of six to amphr


bious squadrons (PHIBRONS) and will
be carried by the LHA, LPD, LHD and
LSD classes (one, two, three and four
craft respectively) to the disembarkation pornts. The open cargo deck area

is 168.06m (l B09sq t-) in area

and

capable of accommodatinq 60 tons of


cargo under normal condrtions or up to
75 tons in the maximum overload state
perwith a consequent decrease

i.

The

formance. Typical loads rnclude a 52ton M60Al MBT with five loaded jeeps
or a complete howrtzer battery of six

i05-mm/155-mm

(4. 13-ir/6.

1-in)

gnrns

and their loaded truck tractors and


crews. The LCAC is fully skirted and
can clear land obstacles up to 1 22 m
(4 ft) hiqh Bow and stem ramps are
fitted to allow ease of loading and unIoadrng.

Specification
LCAC
Dimensions: len glh 26.82 m (BB. O ft);
beam 14.33 m (47.0 ft)
Propulsion: four 3, 070-shp (2289-kW)
gas turbines drivingr four hft fans and
two propellers

Weights: maximum

170 tons;

payioad

see text
Speed: 50 kts. or 40 kts witn maximum

payload
Armament: smallarms
Electronics: one surface-search/
navigatron radar

firstproductionLCAC enters thewelldeck of

U,S,S

Pensacola(LSD 38)

during the first underway mating of an LCAC and an LSD. The LCAC carries
an M60 MBT,

anMl5l Jeep and anLAV-25 LightArmoredVehicle.

Below:With a range of 300 nautical


miles (approximately 550 km) at a
speed of35 kls , the LCAC can ferry
large loads fastfrom vessels

d
ri

dl
#

standingwell out to

Above: Operating off the coast of


Florida, the Bell Aerospace Textron
AALC (Am p hibiou s As s au I t L anding
C raft) J EFF (B ) approaches the
d oc king we Il of the Landing S hip
Dock U.SS Spiegel Grove. The JEFF(B)

formed the prototype for the tJS


Navy'snewLCAC.

sea and can

carry those loads (more than 60 tons,


which could include an MBT and
light vehicles, or a full artillery
battery) safely inland-

Right : J EFF(B ) underway off the coas t


of F lorida early in I I 84, with a cargo
including an M60 MBT and two i'55-

mm howitzers" The LCAC

programmewillgive theUS Navy the


capacity to land at high speed US
Marine units with their heavy
equipment, while standing some
distance off the coast.

I
u

*,r

i'

tfr

lvlcrine Corps Assaufi


As aresultof the Pacific campaigns
WorldWar II, the USAhas an

number of special forces operations were

of

unpar alle led amphibious w arfare


capacity. That capability is about to be
dramatically enhanced with the
introduction of the LCAC.

.wo incidents durrng Operation 'Fury

lctober

the

l9B3 actron against the Provrsional Re

',-olutionary Government of Grenada and its


Juban allies, showed yet again to the US Navy
,visdom of havrng LCAC (Landlng Craft Arr
Cushion) vehicles as part of its future amphrbious warfare fleet, On the night of lhe 24125
October several groups of US Navy SEAL (Sea,
Air and Land) special forces troops landed
irom rubber rardrng craft on the north eastern
coast of Grenada to reconnoitre the beaches
near Pearls Airport (and its defences) for an
assault by one US Marine company rn amphibrous tractors and two others aboard helicop
:ers during the following day, The SEALs dis:overed that around the beaches were reefs
.hat made impossible the use of landing craft to
oring the heavy equipment ashore and also in
all probabrlity, the approach ol infantry laden
emtracs. Once this was reported back the re-.-elatron forced the task force commanders to
:ancel the beach assault and rely instead total
-;r on the success of the heliborne assault by
: ruo marine companies on the atrfreld and the
::wn of Grenville to the south to attain the US
i{avy's ob;ectrves, Luckrly, this force met llttle
:esistance and both the targets were secured
: y early morning wiLhorL casuall-es, Whrlst thrs
r:rack and the Ranger airborne assault (lo 'he
south at the Poinl Salines airfield) went jn, a

t
$

fr

berng conducted, One involved the rescue by


22 SEALs of the island's Britrsh appornted gov

ernor from his offlcial residence on the outskirts of the capital, St George's, As a result of

the unexpected strength and reaction of the


delending forces the SEALs were surrounded
in the house and became a priority problem to
the Joint Task Force 120 commander, Admiral

bled ashore the combined force moved on :,reiieve Government House at 07,00, mee:ii:
lrttle resistance on the way save lrom a BRDN:

armoured car which was demohshed ]:iround lrom one oi the lanks,

Metcall Initral aid in the form of close air sup

port from a US Air Force Lockheed AC-130H


Spectre gmnship and two US Marrne Corps Bell
AH-1T SeaCobra helicopters resulted in both
of the latter being shot down by AA fire, thiee
out of their four crew beinq kilted,,rA.subse
quent ground attack on the house by People's
Revolutionary Army (PRA) troops led by three
BTR-60 APCs was then beaten off by return fire
from the SEALs and the AC-130H, whrch des
troyed one of the BTRs and stopped the other

two with fire from its heavy weapons,

This,

together with a follow-up strike on the AA posi,


tions 1n the area by US Navy Vought A 7 Corsair IIs, was sufficient to effect a stalemate situa
tion overnight, A rescue operatron was then
mounted, the amphrbious warfare ships not
used rn the Pearls Airport operation being sent
around the top of the island nearer to the capitai, In the meantime in the early hours of the
mornrng a marine company was helicoptered
across the island to a landing zone by Grand
Mal Bay just to the north of St George's, Here it

met a second company that had made an


amphibious assault on the beach from 13
LVTP-7s launched from the LST USS Manito-

woc. Heavy equrpment (in the form of flve


M60Al MBTs) was also landed by landing craft
from the LSD USS Fort Snelling. Once assemSince the large-scale adoption of the helicopter in
warfare, the US Marines have become specjafisfs
inthe art of Yertical Envelopment' - large-scale
:}eftboine assa alts - as a result of the inability oI
conventional landing craft to use 83 per cent ofthe
,world's beaches. The adoption af the LCAC has
dropped that figare to 30 per cent; which means
that the heliborne riflemen can make.their assault
: in the larcwledge that their heavy support is much
more likely to be there when they need it.

ffi

'+

Marine Corps Assault

Above: Helicopters have


revoltptionized w afi are. but remain
extremely vu Iner able to determined
opposition. In the IJS operation to
take G renada, numbers of U H -60
B lack H awks and AH - I s were shot
downbyCubans.

Above: The Grenada operation proved once more


the difficulty in attac king vigorous Ly- defended
positions, with the lightly-armed People's
Revolutionary Army and theirCuban advisers
putting up stiff resistance against overwhelming
US power.

Left: To the SEALs trapped in the


G overnor's house, S oviet- built BTR60 APCs were a real threat, but had

LCACs been available the original


beach landingwould have gone
ahead, and the rescue mission would
have had M60 tankswith itall the
way.

,-,if

.,:,r ll

Modern Military Hovercraft


These episodes showed to the US Navy that

jre presence of a few LCACs aboard the land:g shrps would have allowed the landing on
-r day at the beach near Pearls Airport to con
:-nue without hindrance from the reef obsta:1es, with considerable tactical surprise to the
jefenders as they obviously thought such an
:peration impracticable. In addrtion, the range
and speed of the new craft would also have

ailowed the rescue landing to take place much


inore quickly and without the need to move the
-anding ships too far from their original posi:ron, The added bonus would have been that
heavy equipment such as tanks could also have
been taken ashore by the LCACs at the same
.rme, In fact the LCAC by virtue of its indeendence oftidal and hydrographic conditions

ras increased the percentage of the world's


beaches available to amphibious landings from
7 to 70 per cent. The LCAC's advantages in

payload, speed, range, surprise elfect and


-cross-ihe-beach capabrlity will also allow 50
per cent more tonnagte of combat equipment
-nd supplies to be delivered rn a given time
,-, hen compared with conventional hull-type
-anding craft, This is even more remarkable
','.-hen

it is realized that the latter are operating

:om vessels in a hrghly vulnerable position but


,:ss than 1O km (6 2 miles) offshore, whereas

Above: USS Wasp, firct of the new LHD class '*'i;c:


will be optimized for LCAC opera trons. is
scheduledfor delivery in 1989. Slightly larger ie:
the'T ar aw a' class, the s e 40,0 0 0 - to n v e s s e I s''o1I

re

former would shuttle from vessels relatively


safely posrtroned up to 50km (more than 31

:liies) out to sea, It should also be noted that the

-CAC wrll be working ln conjunction with

replace the muchsmaller'lwoJima'class on

,-ariety of other platforms such as the Srkorsky

lH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter


-ble to carry a l6-ton payload over the same

r}.

.nip-to-shore distance, the tilt-rotor Bell MVr2A Osprey medium-lift aircraft which is to
replace the elderly Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea
Kniqrht hehcopter, and the upgraded LVTP,Al and new LVT-B amphibious assault
=rmoured personnel carners.
The Osprey is particularly important as a
:crce-builder rn the Amphibious Operationai
,irea (AOA) as it wrll be able to make two
separate 460-lar/h (286-mph) deliveries of 24
:dly equipped marines to a landing zone 48 km
:om the host shrp within 90 minutes and with:ut the need to refuel. In addition it is capable
:i self.deploylnent throuEhout the world using
;:ihght-refuelliner ii heeded, With first deliver-:s due in 1991 the ultimate fleet goal is 16
active and two resewe MV-22A squadrons,
To ensure that the LCACs get to assigned

:_OAs, the US Na,,ry has begun procurement of

re Whidbey lsland' orT,SD-41 and the'Wasp'


-r 'LHD-]' dock landing ship classes. By lhe

::::d-1990s this new-bulld effort (plus the con-

;ersion of existing ships to take LCACs) wlll


The revalution in IIS Marine

operations is takinE place in stages:


lhe Light Anqared,T,eiicJd a,ndltre:..,,
CAC entering seruice now, the ndw
amp hibiou s trac ked ve hicld in the
!1ext few years, the 'Wasp' clAss LHD
n the early I 990s, and fte MV-22 tilt'
lctor aircraft at about the sazne tine
'replacing the venerable CH-46 Sea
Knigh\. TheACY is central to the
:ew style of operations, as the
)'larines think that the vessels oI an
.-ssault force may have to stand off at
.east 40 km (25 miles) from any

:efended shoreline.

one-for-one basis.
Left: At the heart of the change which is to su;ee;
through US amphibious capabilify in the nez:

decade, the air-cushioned landing cralt ma,.",n'e-be the most significantdevelopmentin the fel=
since the introduction ofthe origina,l assauii
vessels during World War I I .

give the US Navy and US Marine Corps the


strategic lift capacity to deliver several Marine
Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTF) ol brigade
or divisional size simultaneously in several
parts of the wcrld,

iilrr

SEs-IOOB and SES


-Z0o surface-effect test ships
n
.

,;,

-id':al-.
Based at the Patuxent River NavaL Air Station, the SES-200 is a stretched
version of the Bell Halter Model I 10, and has been used in thel}S Navy's
Advanced NavalVehicle Concept Evaluation Effort. It has been sent io Europe
for six months in an attempt to initiate a collaborative alliance project to
develop large, sea-going surface- effect warships.

The Bell Aerospace Textron SES-I00B


was part of a long{erm US Nalry programme ro develop laroe ocean-gorng
ships with speeds of B0 kts or more for
military uses, Stemming from research
beqnrn in 1960 and the expedmental

17{on XR-l which was completed in


1963 with a top speed of 34 kts, the

92-kt 100{on 23.7-m (77,75-ft) SES-1008

in 1971 and used


toqether with Aerojet-General's SES100A 75-kt 11O-ton 24,4-m (80-ft) long
craft through the 1970s to test performance, stability and sea-keeping char,
was launched

actenstics, structural loadinqs and the


various operatronal tasks that a Surface-Effects Ship miqht undertake, ln

April

1976 the SES-1008 travelling at

kts successfully fired a verticallylaunched RIM-66B Standard SM-]MR


air-defence missile against a surface
target moored some 9.7km (6 miles)
60

away. The SES-100A was subsequently scrapped in l9B2 after the evaluation
had been finished, whilst the SES- 1008
was placed on static display at the
David W, Taylor Naval Research and
Development Center, Annapolis in the
same year, The latest US Navy SES
research vessel is the Bell Halter SES200 Model 730A which was modified in
1982 from the

Bell Haiter 110 Model


SES after trials

2I0A demonstratlon

with the US Coast Guard as the USCG

Dorado (WSES-1), the USCG then


buying three units similar to the origdnal, The marn change involved a 15.24m (50-ft) insert in the huli in order to
increase the available fuel load and to
allow the US Navy to assess the performance of a higher lenglh-to-beam
ratro, The aft deckinq was also strengthened ro allow hehcoprer operations.
The SES-200 was shipped to Europe in
January l986 for an eight-month techmcal demonstration period for various

NATO navres,

Specification
sEs-200

Dimensions: lenqth 48.77 m (160,0 ft);


beam ll,BB m(39.0 ft); draught 1,7to
2.6 m (5,5 to 8.5 ft)
Propulsion: two 1,600-hp

( l193-kW)
diesels dnving two propellers and two
445 hp (332-kW) diesels driving hvo

lift fans

Weights: maximum drsplacement 200


tons; payload see text

Speed:32 kts
Armament:none
Aircraft: provtsion for one helicopter
Electronics: one sudace-search/
navigation radar
Complement:13

The pioneer US Navy surface-effect


vessel, SES-1008, is seen in April 1976

when she launched an SM- l


tandard surface- to-air missile while
making a steady 60 kts. It was also
the firstvertical launch of the SM-l
from any ship. On 27 J anuary I 980,
S

SES-

I00B set

surface effect vessel


91.9 kts(170.25 km/

speedrecordof

l,05.8 miles) per

hour.

Following the successful six-month


trial of the BH 1 I 0, the US Coast
Guard ordered three similar vessels
for use out of Key West, Florida, in the
war againstdrug-smuggling in the
C aribbean and the G ulf of Mexico.
Known as the 'Seabird'class, the
lftree yesse/s are Seahawk (I,VSES-Z),

Above : The original B e II- H alter B H / / 0 SES rs seen bef ore she was acquir ed f or
a joint US Navy/Coast Guard evaluation programme in I 980. After sii months'
Coast Guard appraisal she was handed to the Navy, where she was converted
into the SES-200 by the addition of a 15.24-m (50-ft) hull extension.

Shearwater (l,Y,Sg,S-3) and Petrel

(wsES-4).

*#ffi

Armed Forces of the World

$Denmark
In time of war Denmark would have a vital role to
play in the defence of the West as it is situated on

the approaches to the Baltic through which the


Soviet Baltlc Fleet (which is known to have more
than 30 conventional and nuclear submarines, sur-

face craft, many amphibious warfare vessels and


over 20 hovercraft) would have to pass.
Denmark has a population of just over f ive million
and its armed forces have a peacetime strength of
31,000 officers and men of whom 9,800 are conscripts doing their nine months' national servlce.
The Danish forces are being modernized, with the
air force recerving the bulk of funds, especially for
the General Dynamics F-1 6 fighter which is being
built in Europe for service also with Norway, Bel-

gium and the Netherlands. The Danish army

is,

however, in need of major modernization, especially


in artillery and air defence weapons. The navy has
plans for new submarines and surface craft but, as
wrth a number of NATO countries, there are insufficient funds to allow all arms to be modernized at
once.
No NATO forces are based in Denmark permanently although other NATO countries, including
the Allied Mobile Force, do train in Denmark on a
regular basis. Until 1963 Denmark did not allow any
foreign troops on its soil, including NATO troops,
and still does not allow nuclear weapons within the
country.

The Army
The Danish Army has a peacetime strength of
about 18,000 officers and men of whom 7.000 are
conscripts doing their nine months' national service.
Denmark is dlvided into Western Land Command
which covers Jutland and has three brigades, Eastern Land Command which covers Zealand and has
two brgades, and Bornholm region which has a
battalion of

rnf

antry plus supporting armour and artil-

lery.

The Army has two divisional headquarters and is


organized into f ive infantry brigades, each of whlch
has one tank battalron, two mechanized infantry
battalions, one artillery battalion, one air defence
battery, one englneer company and the usual support units. There are also five regimenlal combat
teams each with two infantry battalions, one artillery
battalion, one anti-tank group and reconnaissance
elements. There is a single Army aviation group with
eight Saab T-'17 light aircraft and '1 2 Hughes 500M
light helicopters.
lnfantry weapons used include 9-mm (0.35 in)
SIG P210, P220 and Browning pistols, 9-mm M49
Hovea sub-machine guns. 7.62-mm (0.3-in) Heckler
and Koch G3 and 7.62-mm Garand (converted from
0.30 calibre) riIles,12.7 mm (0.50 calibre) Browning
-7.62-mm
MG42l59 machine guns; 60M2 HB and

mm M2,

8'l

-mm M/57 and 2O-mm Thomson


'1

Brandt mortars; anti-tank weapons include FFV 84mm Carl Gustav, 106-mm M40A1 recoilless rifles,
and Cobra, Dragon and TOW ATGWs. Air defence ls
provided by the General Dynamics Redeye surfaceto-air missile known in Danish service as the Hamlet.

Armoured vehicles in service include 120 Leopard


(delivered between 1976 and 1978) and BB Centurion MBTs armed with '1 05-mm (4.13-in) guns, 48
lvl41 light tanks armed with 90 mm guns (3.54-in)
which now fire new ammunition and are to be fitted
with a new powerpack in the future,650 M113
series armoured personnel carriers,68 M106 mortar carriers armed wlth 107-mm \4.2-tn) morIars,24
M59 155-mm (6.1O-in) Long Tom guns, 144 105mm M'l 01 towed howitzers,96 Ml14 155-mm
1

towed howitzers,i'12 203-mm (8-in) M1'1 5 towed


howitzers, 72 'l 55-mm M109 series seltpropelled
howitzers and 36 Bofors 40-mm (1.57-in) towed
antl-arrcraft quns.

Danish Army reserves consist of 6.000 in the


Augmentation Force which is subiect to immedrate
recall, 35,000 in the Field Army Reserve of which
'1
5.000 are in the Covertng Force Reserve (these
would bring units up to full strength and also add one

mechanized infantry battalion to each of the five


infantry brigades). and a further 20,000 to provide
combat and logistical support. The Regional Defence Force has a strength oI 24,000 with 2'1 infantry battalions, two tank battlions, seven artillery
battalions, anti-tank squadrons and support unlts.
There is also an Army Home Guard with a strength
of 60,000 including 8,000 women.

The Navy
The Danish Navy has a total strength of 4,500
regularofficers and men, 1,300 men doing theirnine
months' national service and 2.600 civilians. Reserves include '10,000 for the navy and 5,000 in the
naval home guard.
Naval headquarters is at Arhus, with additional
naval bases at Copenhagen, Korssr, Frederikshavn,

HDMS Huitfeld is one of 10'Willemoes' class Fast

Attack Craft designed by Lurssen and built at


Frederikshavn. Her three Rolls-Royce gas turbines
give a maximum speed of 38 kts, and she is armed
with eight H arpoon surface-to-surface mrssrTes
and a76-mm/62 (3-in) Compactgan.
Thorshavn (in the Faeroes) and Grsnnedal (in Greenland).

Strength of the Danish Navy includes two 'Narhvalen' class submarines built in the Royal Dockyard,
Copenhagen, between 1965-70 and armed with
eight 2'1-in (533-mm) torpedo tubes; and two 'Del
finen' class submarines built tn the Royal Dockyard
between 1954-64 armed with eight 21-in torpedo
tubes. Two 'Peder Skram' class frigates commissioned in 1966-67 are armed with eight Harpoon
surface-to-surface missiles, Sea Sparrow surfaceto-air missiles, two 5-in (127-mm) guns, four Bofors
The Saab MFI- I 7 Supporter is one of the lightest
of all current trainer and light attack aircraft,
having a maximum speed of 235 [an/h ( I 46 mph)'
The Dlnish air force acquired 32 examples for
side-by-sid.e dual training. This machine is one of
the eight operated by the army aviation group.

Armed Forces of the World


40=mm (1.57-in) L/60 anti-aircraft guns, depth
charges and anti-submarine torpedoes. Three'Niels
Juel' class frigates commissioned between 198082 are armed with eight Harpoon surface-to-surface
missiles, Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles, one
OTO Melara 76-mm (3-in) Compact gun, four torpedo tubes for Mk 32 anti-submarine torpedoes and
depth charges. These frigates can also lay mines.
One modified 'Hvidbjornen' class frigate, commissioned in 1976 and strengthened for navigation in
ice, is armed with a single 76-mm gun and can carry
a Westland Lynx helicopter aft. Four 'Hvidbjarnen'
class frigates commissioned in 1962-63 are each
armed with a single 76-mm gun and have a helicopter platform; these can also carry depth charges.
Light forces, well sulted to the Baltic, include 10
'Willemoes' class fast attack craft commissioned
between 1976-78 and armed with one 76-mm Oto
Melara Compact gun, two or four 21-in torpedo
tubes and eight Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles; six 'Solaven' class fast attack craft each have
two or four 21-in torpedo tubes and a single 40-mm
Bofors gun forward. Commissioned between 196567. all of these 'Solsven' class are in reserve (two of
them will be used for spares).
There are also eight 'Daphne' class seaward de:ence craft commissioned between '1960-65, of
which four were built with US funds; these are
armed with one 40-mm Bofors glln, flare launchers
and depth charges; there are also three'Agdlek'
class large patrol craft armed with two 20-mm cannon and used off Greenland; two 'Miigen' class
large patrol craft armed with two 20-mm cannon;
n:ne 'Q' class large patrol craft armed with two
2Gmm cannon; and 28 small coastal craft armed
with a 20-mm cannon or a 12.7-mm machine-gun.
Mine warfare vessels include four 'Falster' class

mrnelayers commissioned between 1963-64, each


of which can lay 400 mines and is armed with four
76-mm guns in twin mounts; twog'Lindormen'class
coastal minelayers commissioned in 1978, each of
which can lay 60 mines and.is arn ed with two
20-mm cannon; one 'Langeland' class minelayer
armed with two 40-mm and two 20-mm guns; and
six US-built'Sund' class coastal mineweepers each
armed with a single 40-mm gun.
Support craft include one torpedo/recovery vessel, the Dannebrog royal yacht. two tankers. four ice
breakers, plus fishery protection, survey vessels
and environmental patrol craft. The icebreakers are,
however. run by the Ministry of Trade and Shipping
although maintained by the navy, while the Ministry

of the Environment controls such ships that

are

maintbined and manned by the navy.


The naval air arm has eight Westland Lynx helicopters which are flown by naval crews but maintained by the air force.
Like Norway and Sweden, Denmark malntains
coastal defence with forts armed with 150-mm (5.9in) and 40-mm guns at Stevns and Langland, plus
small coast-watching positions and radars.
The Danish Navy also has a special road-borne
support unit for its coastal forces, as in time of war
these would operate away from their main bases to
avoid detection. This unit, called the MOBA, has two
sections: operations and logistics. The former has
vehicles with communications equipment, command facilities and radar, while the larger logistics
element has vehicles carrying stores, fuel, provisions, torpedoes and ammL-rnition.
Modernization plans include the procurement of
four submarines, additional helicopters, new mine
countermeasures vessels and updates for some of
the attack craft.

The Air Force


The Danish Air Force has 7,500 officers and men
of whom 'l ,500 are conscripts doing their national
service. Reserves total 9,400 off icers and men with
the air force home guard having an additional 12,400
officers and other ranks of whom 1,800 are women.
The Royal Danish Air Force is assigned to Allied Air
Forces Northern Europe.

The Tactical Air Command has three fighter


ground attack squadrons with 48 General Dynamics
F-1 64/8 aircraft (Numberc723,72l and 730 squadrons); one fighter ground attack/interceptor squad-

ron (Number 725) with 16 Saab Draken F-35XD


fighters; and one fighter ground attack/reconnaissance squadron (Number 729) with 16 RF-35XD
Draken aircraft. A total of 51 Drakens was purchased from Sweden and modified to meet Danish
requirements. Missiles used by the aircraft include
Sidewinder AAMs and Bullpup ASMs.
Air Material Command has one transport squadron (Number 721)and three communications flights
with three Lockheed C-1 30H Hercules transports,
three Grumman Gulfstream llls (used for VIP transport and maritime reconnaissance) and seven Saab
T-1

7s. There is also a search and rescue squadron

(Number 722) with seven Slkorsky 5-61A helicopters and 1 5 T-17s are used for flying training.
The Danish Air Force also mans and operates an
Air Defence Group with Raytheon lmproved Hawk
su rface-to-air.

missiles.

The main air bases are located at Avno, Aalborg,


Skrydstrup. Karup and Vaerlsse.
Commissioned in I 980, HDMS NielsJuelis ffie
name ship of a three-strong class of frigates armed
with Harpoon SSMs and Sea Sparrow SAMs, as well
as an OTO-Melara 7 6-mm Compact gun.

:',i.i.j