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edited by Tim Wing
The Aist-class (UEDF reporting name; Russian Project 12321 Dzheyran) was the first large assault hovercraft operated by the Soviet Navy. It was designed by the Almaz design bureau wing of the Almaz Shipbuilding Company in 1964-1965. Production of the craft lasted from 1970 until 1985 at Almaz’s plant in Leningrad.
- Builders: Almaz Shipbuilding Company
- Operators: Soviet Navy
- Built: 1975–1985
- In commission: 1975–2022
- Completed: 20
- Type: Air-cushioned landing craft
- Displacement: 303 tons, full load
- Length: 47.3 m
- Beam: 17.8 m
- Propulsion: 2 × 9,600 hp (7.2 MW) Kuznetsov NK-12MV gas turbines driving 4 axial lift fans and 4 propeller units (4 × four-bladed variable-pitch propellers, 2 pusher, 2 tractor)
- Speed: 130 km/h
- Range: 220 km at 93 km/h
- Capacity: 80 tons
- or 4 light tanks and 50 assault troops
- or 2 medium tanks and 200 troops
- or 3 APCs and 100 troops
- Complement: 15 (3 officers)
Sensors and processing systems:
- Kivach I band surface search radar
- Drum Tilt H/I-band fire-control radar
- High Pole B Square Head IFF
- 2 × twin AK-230 30 mm
- 2 × quadruple SA-N-5 SAM launcher systems (not on all ships)
- 2 × PK-16 chaff launchers (only on two ships)
The Aist-class was built to roughly the same size as the British SR.N4 commercial channel ferry. The Russian name for this class is “maly desantny korabl na vozdushnoy podushke” meaning “small landing craft on air cushion”. The Aist-class prototype was built in 1970, and the type entered production in Leningrad in 1975. It was produced there at a rate of about six every four years. By the early 1990s, twenty to twenty four had been produced.
The craft began to be withdrawn following unification, and, by 2004, only six remained, in two levels of configuration. A modified main engine intake was installed on all Soviet Navy Aists in service with the Baltic Sea Fleet. These intakes are believed to include special filters to reduce the ingestion of salt water, sand and dust particles into the Aist’s engines and machinery, limiting the effects of salt water corrosion. The Aist’s have suffered from high cushion pressure, and they produce exceptionally heavy cushion spray, especially at low speeds.
Three modified Aists (700 series) were based in the Baltic Sea, and the other three are in the Caspian Sea as of the First Robotech War. The earlier engines had been upgraded by that time to allow an increase in displacement up to 298 tons, which was up from the type’s original 260 tons but at a loss of roughly half the type’s original range. Some units carried two SA-N-5 quadruple SAM systems and chaff launchers. These Aist-class continued in this configuration during the post war period.
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Primary source: Wikipedia
Content by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing