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Analysis: Russia Defense Ministry to create a line of marine vehicles

The Russian Defense Ministry prepared technical requirements and will soon begin to create a line of marine vehicles. It will include armoured personnel carriers, fire support and transportation vehicles, the Izvestia daily writes.

Russia Defense Ministry to create whole line of marine vehicles 925 001 Landing ship of project Project 11711 Ivan Gren during trials in the Baltic (Picture source: TASS)

The new hardware will operate in extreme conditions of the Arctic and desert. It can cover dozens of kilometres by water and effectively engage in land missions. For the first time, the idea to build heavy vehicles for marines was voiced after the deal to purchase French Mistral universal landing ships. France refused to supply them because of sanctions. Russia is currently building big amphibious assault ships of project 11711. The Ivan Gren first ship is already operational.

Marine vehicles have to faultlessly operate in Arctic ice and desert at temperatures ranging from plus 50 to minus 50 degrees. The whole line of vehicles is likely to become operational in 2025, Defense Ministry sources said.

The new marine vehicles will be engaged in over-horizon landing when amphibious assault ships keep out of the adversary fire range, expert Alexey Khlopotov said. "The tactic will save costly ships. The vehicles will approach the coast at maximum speed and seize a stronghold. It is necessary for the landing ships to deliver heavy hardware, tanks, artillery and air defence to the shore," he said.

The new vehicles will be much bigger than current BMP-2, BMP-3 and BTR-80. They will weigh close to 30 tons (current marine carriers and infantry fighting vehicles weigh 17 tons). A vehicle has to carry 15 marines with weapons and outfit and has powerful artillery to provide sufficient fire to fight tanks and helicopters.

The situation in Russia has changed since the foiled Mistral deal. Project 11711 amphibious assault ships are under construction. The Ivan Gren is operational and the Petr Morgunov is undergoing factory trials. Two other ships are under construction. The Navy has determined the parameters of the first Russian universal landing ships to be laid in Crimea in 2020. They will carry over 20 helicopters, have a dock for landing boats, carry heavy armour and up to two reinforced marine battalions with a total strength of 900 men.

The drawbacks of available BTR-80 and BTR-82A of marine forces regularly trigger hardware losses at drills. In 2019, one BTR-80 sank near Kaliningrad and a communication vehicle on its base sank in Primorye.

Marine brigades will get a new staff matrix of six battalions. They currently have two: seaborne assault and marine battalions plus a reconnaissance company and smaller detachments. Now one reconnaissance, one tank and two marine battalions will be added. Tank units will reinforce the firepower and manoeuvrability of marines for large-scale operations away from Russian borders.

Besides, all brigades will be reinforced with two companies of snipers and drones. In future, marines are likely to operate their own air units, the Izvestia said.

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