Military Review

Projects engineering hovercraft reconnaissance boats

During the recent international military-technical forum “Army-2016”, the enterprises of the domestic defense industry demonstrated various developments of one or another purpose. Among other exhibits, specialists and visitors of the exhibition were shown some promising models of equipment for the engineering troops. One of the most interesting elements of this part of the exhibition was the newest amphibious engineering reconnaissance boat IRK.

The project of a promising amphibious boat IRK was developed by engineers of the Central Design Bureau "Neptune" (St. Petersburg) in the interests of the engineering forces of the armed forces. The main activity of this design bureau is the development of boats and light vessels of various classes, including those using an air cushion. During its work, the TsKB Neptun proposed a large number of civil and military projects. Now, on the basis of accumulated experience, a new project was developed, the purpose of which is to update the fleet of engineering troops.

Engineering reconnaissance boat, presented in 2015 year. Photo TsKB "Neptune" /

According to reports, work on the project of the KFM boat started in 2014 year. For the first time in domestic practice, it was proposed to equip engineering troops with a hovercraft capable of solving various tasks of studying and reconnaissance of the area. Currently, engineering reconnaissance of water barriers is carried out with the help of inflatable boats, etc. light technology. Existing boats and boats allow you to solve the main tasks, however, there are some limitations regarding mobility. In particular, they can move only in open water, while the coast or ice-covered areas are inaccessible to them. For a significant increase in the mobility of intelligence engineers and the expansion of the range of tasks to be solved, it was proposed to develop a new boat with amphibious capabilities.

The first result of the new project was first shown to the public during last year’s exhibition Engineering Salon 2015. In May 2015 of the year on the basis of the military unit of the engineering troops in the city of Kstovo (Nizhny Novgorod region) an exhibition was held, dedicated to the existing and future systems for various purposes. During this event, the Central Design Bureau "Neptun" demonstrated a prototype of a promising engineering reconnaissance hovercraft.

According to the developer, the new amphibious boat is designed to conduct round-the-clock engineering reconnaissance of water barriers and terrain. The purpose of such work is to ensure the combat operations of the troops, as well as the deployment of crossings, etc. In addition, the boat has the ability to transport personnel or various assets, especially the reconnaissance group with special equipment. It was noted that the design of the boat uses some ideas aimed at reducing the transport dimensions. In the transport position, an amphibious reconnaissance boat can be transported by road without interfering with other road users.

At the exhibition site was attended by a prototype of new technology, which allowed to determine the main features of the design and evaluate the success of the proposed ideas.

The exhibition "Engineering Salon-2015", visible the stern of the boat. Photo TsKB "Neptune" /

Engineering reconnaissance boat, shown last year, received the hull of the original design. The unit of relatively small thickness, which serves as the basis for the installation of all other components, was made in the form of three separate sections. The central section served as the basis of the hull, and the side elements were proposed to be foldable. When transferring the boat to the transport position, the side sections had to be raised to a vertical position, reducing the transverse envelope of the entire boat. Before launching the water, it was proposed to unfold sections. To the bottom surface of all three elements of the body was attached a flexible rubber fence-skirt, necessary to create an air cushion.

On the bow of the boat was a small platform, suitable for use for various purposes. To ensure the safety of the crew on it, the site received a rigid fence with fixtures for the lifebuoy. Also on the site were provided bindings for the anchor rope. Behind her was a wide and long casing of small height, accommodating some units. Behind the casing placed a relatively large cabin for the crew. She received a frontal part, consisting of three main parts with glazing and a small roof. With the frontal part of the board connected a small length. Apparently, to reduce the weight of the design, the boat did not receive solid sides of the cabin. Because of this, there were only small front and rear metal sections on the side of the crew seats. It was proposed to close the space between them with light fabric awnings with transparent inserts. The stern of the boat hull was given under the elements of the power plant, including the propeller in the annular channel.

Inside the cabin there should have been crew members. In addition, it provided space for the transport of special equipment necessary for conducting reconnaissance. For self-defense it was proposed to use a PC machine gun mounted on a pivot mount above the frontal part of the cabin.

General view of the KFM arr. 2016 d. Figure

During the military-technical forum "Army-2016" of the Central Design Bureau "Neptune" presented a new version of the engineering reconnaissance boat under the designation of the KFM. The appearance of this boat clearly showed that over time, the earlier project has undergone the most serious changes, resulting in the emergence of a new design with improved parameters. The layout of the main units was changed, the hull design was reworked, and, probably, adjustments were made to the equipment and other features of the project.

The updated project has preserved the architecture of the hull on the basis of three sections, but the dimensions of the onboard devices have noticeably decreased. At the same time, as before, to reduce the dimensions of the boat in the transport position, they can be raised to a vertical position and be fixed in it. Along the perimeter of the three-section case, as before, a rubber fence is attached.

The upgraded boat received a new layout of the main structural elements, which should have a positive impact on the technical and operational characteristics. Thus, the nose of the hull is now given for placing the crew cabin and compartment for transporting some property. The cutting takes up about half of the total length of the hull, and behind it are the power plant elements, propellers and other equipment. At the same time, as in the previous project, the cabin building is divided into two separate parts, the gap between which can be covered with a corresponding awning.

To accommodate the crew with a new KFM project, it is proposed to chop up an updated structure consisting of two main elements. Directly in the forward part of the body is fixed a unit of a characteristic faceted shape, formed by several straight panels. The front compartment of the unit has a smaller height and has a hatch in the top panel. The higher back, in turn, is the nasal section of the cabin. To observe the surrounding space, the nose of the cabin receives a large glass area. In addition, the absence of a part of the roof allows observation “over the side”, including using optical systems. From the stern the cabin is limited by a vertical wall with fastenings for an awning.

Projects engineering hovercraft reconnaissance boats
Prototype of a KFM at the exhibition "Army-2016". Photo

In front of the felling, there are jobs for two crew members. The commander’s console is located at the left side, and the control post at the right. It is proposed to control the movement of the boat using the handwheel and a set of levers, and there is a liquid crystal display to control the operation of the systems. In place of the commander is a similar screen with a remote control. Also near the crew in the cabin there are several boxes for storing various items.

The aft part of the hull of an amphibious KFM boat is allocated for the placement of power units. Directly on the body are placed several rectangular housings containing some elements of the power plant. Cylindrical compartments are placed in front of them, possibly containing compressors to maintain an air cushion. For movement, the boat must use a single six-bladed sustainer propeller placed in the rear part and enclosed in an annular channel. Management in motion is proposed to carry out with the help of three vertical and one horizontal steering wheel, placed behind the screw.

The sample of the KFM boat presented at the recent exhibition received fairly simple weapons necessary for self-defense. On the roof of the front compartment of the cabin was installed a simple design with mounts for rifle weapons. The sample boat was armed with the RPK-74 light machine gun. It is also possible to use other weapons of similar class.

For conducting engineering reconnaissance of reservoirs and the coast, a new type of boat must use various special equipment. In particular, the KFM is completed with a modern hydroacoustic complex of an unspecified type, with the help of which the state of the reservoir, its bottom, coast, etc. It is also possible to use the transportable complex of engineering intelligence, means of visual observation and other equipment necessary for the intelligence officers of the engineering troops to accomplish the assigned tasks.

Crew Jobs. Photo

In working position, with a full fence and a functioning air cushion, a new type of boat has a length of 7,8 m and a width of 3,1 m. The height of the boat with an air cushion is about 3 m. With a lowered air cushion, the total height is reduced to 2,5 m. aboard a payload weighing up to 900 kg. There is also the possibility of transporting five people, including the crew. The used propulsion system and propulsion unit can accelerate the boat to the speed of 60 km / h both on water and on land. Travel range - up to 250 km. There is a possibility of continuous work within two days.

Transportation of an engineering reconnaissance boat should be carried out using a KamAZ-63501 truck or other similar vehicle, as well as a set of special systems in the form of a wheel semi-trailer and some other equipment. The design of the boat itself and the means of transportation allows it to be transported on public roads without any special measures.

In an updated form, a promising amphibious IRC boat may be of great interest to the engineering troops. In a number of situations, such as the preparation of crossings of various types, etc., engineering troops need data on the parameters and state of the water barrier, as well as on the availability of approaches to it, their location and other features. Currently, this kind of reconnaissance is carried out using inflatable motorboats and other equipment of a similar type. Light vessels of the "traditional" design have certain disadvantages in the form of the possibility of moving only by water. In the new IRK project, this problem was solved by using an air cushion.

A scouting hovercraft, unlike other equipment, has the ability to move around water bodies, regardless of the season or weather conditions. Thanks to this, scouts can literally fly over water or above ice. In addition, it is possible to enter the uncool shore to survey its condition and search for possible approaches to the water barrier. Also, the high performance characteristics of a prospective boat can be used for transport purposes, for example, for disembarking a group of reconnaissance engineers at the desired site, located at some distance from the coastline. The solution of other transport problems is not excluded.

The possible appearance of a future model of an engineering reconnaissance boat. Figure

By keeping the dimensions and weight of the boat within acceptable limits, the operator of such equipment is able to quickly and without the problems of transfering the KFM to the desired area, where he can independently begin to solve the tasks. From the point of view of dimensions, the promising amphibian boat is almost no different from other equipment of a similar purpose used by the engineering troops.

Since spring of last year, the Neptune Design Bureau has managed to present at the exhibitions two prototypes of a prospective engineering reconnaissance boat. As the appearance of the two exhibition samples shows, in 2015-16, shipbuilders-designers in the most serious way finalized the initial design, resulting in the appearance of a KFM boat with an updated look and, possibly, enhanced characteristics. In the future, the development of an existing project may continue. So, in the context of the subject of amphibian boats for engineering troops, there are already drawings depicting similar equipment of non-existent types. It is possible that the further development of already developed projects will lead to the emergence of new versions of reconnaissance hovercraft.

The exact prospects of the two projects of an engineering reconnaissance boat developed by the Neptun Central Design Bureau and presented at several recent exhibitions are still unknown. In its current form, this technique is of particular interest from a technical and operational point of view. The commissioning of a KFM boat will make it possible to increase the effectiveness of engineering intelligence in comparison with the work carried out with the help of models of equipment in service. However, so far there is no information about the interest shown by the military department to the KFM project. In the same way it is impossible to talk about the real prospects of development. It may be put into service and put in the series, but even the approximate timing of this has not yet been determined.

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  1. Volga Cossack
    Volga Cossack 15 September 2016 06: 56
    A very interesting project ......... Thanks for showing the new products!
  2. gridasov
    gridasov 15 September 2016 09: 33
    Hovercraft, with a whole complex of their, so to speak, novelty, but this is not new for a long time, also suffer from a set of disadvantages that lie in the propellers and air blowers that create this very air cushion. The question is that banal propellers are used that are not able to create a sufficient pressure air flow and at the same time create a lot of noise and stand out in size. Therefore, only fundamental solutions for propellers can allow, when installing one propeller hidden in the body kits, to solve the problems of balanced coordination of air flows along all the necessary vectors. There have been no such solutions for decades. Therefore, to say that the project is interesting means "again to pound water in a mortar."
    1. 1vlad19
      1vlad19 15 September 2016 10: 22
      There is a lot of noise just from the engine, you should have heard the Murena roar when 2 GD and 1 GTG are launched.
      1. corporal
        corporal 15 September 2016 12: 45
        Quote: 1vlad19
        A lot of noise just from the engine

        Intelligence needs silence. And this prodigy for many kilometers will notify all interested parties that someone is looking for a place to cross. No.
        1. Alexey RA
          Alexey RA 15 September 2016 16: 23
          Quote: Corporal
          Intelligence needs silence. And this prodigy for many kilometers will notify all interested parties that someone is looking for a place to cross.

          You might think that the standard IRM does not notify anyone. Especially when it gets stuck and starts pull out. smile
  3. 1vlad19
    1vlad19 15 September 2016 09: 49
    I am glad that they use a rubber fence (skirt), otherwise we all hit on to develop pontoon variants, we won’t get on land, they tear them with hummocks. But here everything is clear and understandable, only in winter it will be cold in it.
  4. Razvedka_Boem
    Razvedka_Boem 16 September 2016 17: 45
    For the first time about a similar project, I read in the Technique-Youth issue like the years of the 70s. Then there was an article stating that for operations in Vietnam, the Americans are developing a light hovercraft. Armament was supposed 1 - 20 or 30 mm cannon, a pair of easel grenade launchers and a pair of machine guns. Speed ​​up to 100 km / h. But everything remained on paper.
  5. alex86
    alex86 16 September 2016 19: 58
    "Having swam out to the middle of the street, he led the thrower, as if looking around, then removed the air cushion and with a thunder and rattle moved in our direction." Predatory things of the century. Strugatsky.
    This is such a joke, and the mentioned technique has a right to exist, but with the definition of "reconnaissance" somehow it is not in suit. True, the "Bison" exists, but secrecy is not required of him (that is, it would be nice, of course, but ...).