Military Review

"Rook" special forces

"Rook" special forces
The sabotage of maritime special forces and now experts are among the most effective

The first Special Forces soldier of the United States Navy is considered to be Lieutenant William Cushing - the hero of the US Civil War. The steam launch under his command on the night of October 27 1864 on the Roanoke River sneaked unnoticed by the battleship of the rebel Confederate Albemarle. A few minutes before the attack, the enemy discovered the launch and raised the alarm. But the 21-year-old captain was not taken aback. He dispersed his little boat, and it was able to jump over the barrage bon. A blow with a pole mine in a battleship of a southerner’s battleship sent him to the bottom. However, a few months before this event - February 17 1864. - the Confederates made an equally spectacular feat. Their primitive submarine HL Hunly, made from an old boiler and set in motion by muscular strength, commanded by infantry lieutenant George Dixon, sank the steam corvette of the Northmen of Hausatonic with a pole mine at Charleston. But in that war supporters of the federation won, so the laurels of the first naval commandos went to Kashingu.

The sabotage of naval special forces and now experts are among the most effective. Why? With relatively low costs, competent organization and excellent training of performers, they provide an opportunity to approach the object of attack secretly and strike suddenly. The same applies to solving intelligence tasks. Protecting the most important coastal and offshore facilities, such as oil and gas production platforms, is now an important area of ​​business for maritime commandos. Increasingly, they are attracted to anti-terrorism and anti-piracy operations. That is why the development and technical equipment of units and subunits of the marine special forces are receiving much attention everywhere.

One of the priorities is to improve the means of delivery of commandos to the place of operations. These funds put forward a number of requirements that are sometimes difficult compatible. They should be light and strong, small in size, seaworthy, hardly noticeable, speedy and, if possible, comfortable. But, as you know, miracles do not happen. Therefore, the "rooks" for the naval forces of special operations are very different.


During the Northrop Grumman Corporation Canoe Test

In the US Navy, the simplest vehicle of the SEAL units (acronym for Sea is Sea, Air is Air, Land is Land, that is, a team capable of acting on the sea, from the air and on land) is canoeing. Engines - muscular strength, propellers - oars. However, these are not the boats that the American Indians have used since time immemorial, although the hull shape and resemble them. They look like folding tourist canoes, but are made of extremely lightweight and durable polymeric materials. Such canoes are intended for action in shallow and marshy waters. Boats often serve not only for the delivery of special forces themselves, but also for the cargoes necessary for them: weapons, communications and food. By the way, small firms and such giants of the American military industry as Northrop Grumman Corporation, which builds for fleet nuclear carriers and submarines, missile destroyers and large-tonnage universal landing ships.

But perhaps the most common vehicle of the maritime special forces are various sized rigid inflatable motorboats (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats - RHIB). They are also called “zodiacs” by the name of a French company that first built a boat of this type in the 50s of the last century commissioned by the famous French traveler Alan Bombard. These boats have a mixed design. Their body in the form of a deep V is made of wood, aluminum alloy or synthetic material and has excellent seaworthy qualities. On board is an inflatable "collar", providing floodability. Equipped with such high-speed boats, outboard motors or stationary engines of high power, allowing to develop a high speed.

US Navy First Special Forces Lieutenant William Cushing

"Zodiacs" form the basis of the transport "park" of the American naval special forces. More than 70 RHIB, built by the New Orleans firm of United States Marine, can be found in different parts of the world - from the far north to southern latitudes. The length of the boats is 10,95 m, the width is 3,23 m, the draft is 89 cm, that is, they can come very close to the shore. The hard case is made of fiberglass and Kevlar, which makes the design durable and lightweight. Its weight is 7893 kg. This allows, if necessary, to throw the boat through the air by aircraft or helicopters and parachute into the water. The boats are equipped with two Caterpillar diesel engines of 940 horsepower, powered by two jet propulsion units. They develop 45-node full speed, and with an economic speed in 33 the RHIB node travels a distance of 200 miles (370 km).

In the middle part of the building is located the department of management, where in addition to navigation devices there are modern means of communication. On a low U-shaped mast - a radar antenna. Compact optoelectronic observation devices can also be mounted on it.

The crew of such a “rook” consists of three people: a commander and two sailors-shooters. There are two firing points in the bow and stern, where automatic grenade launchers, large-caliber or multi-barreled machine guns are mounted on light tripod machines. Therefore, if necessary, these small ships can provide fire support to commando units on the coast or fight off the pursuit of enemy boats.

Behind the control room is the “passenger deck” on the 8 of the fully-equipped SEAL fighters. They are located in the shock-absorbing seats, which by convenience are significantly superior to those used on airliners. After all, even a very well-trained commando after a few hours of shaking the rough sea at high speed is not easy to start the task in the rear of the enemy. Damped seats reduce the dynamic loads on the body and allow you to maintain combat capability.

The naval forces of other countries also use hard-inflatable boats, but with more modest characteristics than the American zodiac. The Special Forces of the British Royal Marine Corps applies several modifications of the RIB type boats from VT Halmatic. They transport 10 to 15 special forces at speeds from 26 to 30 nodes over a distance of 100 miles. Some of them have machine gun weapons.

Crew prepares RHIB to do the job


Parts of the special forces of the Navy of many other countries of the world have similar boats. But few have more powerful tools that American SEAL has. They have at their disposal 20 boats of the Mk V type with a full displacement of 75 tons. They are designed and built by Trinity-Halter Marine from Gulfport, Mississippi. The length of these aluminum alloy boats is 25 m, width is 5,18 m, draft is 1,52 m. Two MTU diesel engines with 4770 horsepower, hp and two jet propulsion disperse the Mk V to a speed of more than 50 knots. They deploy 16 commandos at speeds of 35 nodes to a distance of 600 miles (1112 km). The boats are equipped with four inflatable motor boats for the direct landing of troops on the coast. They are lowered into the water through the aft ramp. With these boats using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) ScanEagle can be conducted aerial reconnaissance of objects of attack. The role of command and control of special forces during operations is also assigned to boats. Depending on the tasks performed on the Mk V is small arms in different combinations. These can be single or twin 12,7-mm machine guns М2НВ, 7,62-mm machine guns М60Е and automatic 40-mm grenade launchers Mk 19.

The 12 Mk V is assigned to the first squadron of special purpose boats in Coronado, California, and 8 to the second same squadron in Little Creek, in the area of ​​the main naval base of the Atlantic fleet of the US Navy Norfolk. Heavy military transport aircraft C-5 Galaxy boats can be delivered anywhere in the world. Recently, they began to be observed on the Black Sea, including in Sevastopol, from where they go on hikes towards the Russian coast of the Caucasus, where, by the way, Russian leaders like to rest.

Launch of the ScanEagle UAV from the Mk V boat

Attempts were repeatedly made to create boats of similar purpose for the special forces of the British Royal Marines. At first it was the so-called Halmatic 145 FIC interceptor boats. They were made of composite materials that included Kevlar and balsa wood with a reinforced glass coating. These boats had a length of 14,5 m, width - 2,88 m and draft - 1,35 m, and the displacement in ballast was about 9 t. They developed a full speed of 60 knots in a calm sea.

The British commandos also had another Halmatic boat of a very original design - type VSV (Very Slender Vessel - literally a “very narrow vessel”). His hull had a “wave-piercing” shape: the nose was very elongated, and the stem went forward under water at a significant angle, as it was on ships of the late nineteenth - early twentieth centuries. Such a design of the nasal tip makes it possible not to enter the wave, but as if to cut it with a knife. This reduces the resistance of oncoming water flow, which makes the boat, at least in theory, more economical and less noticeable. The length of the VSV developing 55-node speed was 16 m, width - 2,6 m, draft - 1 m, full displacement - 11 t. The boat had a low silhouette, which also contributed to the reduction in visibility. However, the crew and troops were located in a fairly spacious cabin in the middle of the hull.

Mk V type boats in Sevastopol

The British carefully concealed the presence of an exotic VSV boat in their naval special forces. But once during a NATO naval exercise off the coast of Norway, he flew at a speed to the stones, where he was captured by photo reporters. However, the Americans were well aware of the novelty of the partner in the North Atlantic bloc. They experienced a similar boat. But his capabilities did not seem to have made a big impression on them. But the well-known German company Lurssen built for the Indonesian Navy 10 interceptor boats of the VSV type, which are used by the naval commandos of this country.

In place of the 145 FIC and VSV, VT Halmatic developed the Belle (Beauty) project. The boat, indeed, turned out to be externally elegant and technically harmonious, combining the best qualities of boats 145 FIC and VSV. The upper part of the hull and the cabin are made in accordance with the most stringent requirements of low visibility. Belle is capable of transferring 10 commandos with equipment (total payload mass is 2,6 t) with a cruising speed of 45 nodes with a wave of 4 points. What contribute to the two diesel engines of the German company MAN, working on two propellers with Arneson drives. To reduce infrared visibility, there are cooling devices for engine exhaust.

18-meter "Beauty" can reach a full speed of up to 60 nodes and act on the excitement to 6 points. Depreciated seats and air conditioners create very comfortable conditions for the crew and commandos. After all, the cruising range of the Belle is considerable - 600 miles. It can be deployed over long distances by C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft. This small ship is equipped with the most modern means of navigation, communication and detection. In 2006, the VT Halmatic shipyard launched the headboat of the series. Now the special forces of the British Royal Marines have four boats of the Belle type.

Boat Mk V develops full speed

British "Beauty" and "Wave-cutting" boat VSV


After the successful attack by the submarine Confederate HL Hunly Corvette Northerners Hausatonic, it became clear that a new formidable weapon had appeared. Today, no one disputes its effectiveness. Therefore, for special forces, the preferred means of delivery are those that have the ability to move under water. That is why several US Navy nuclear submarines are equipped with DDS hangars (Dry Deck Shelter - “dry deck shelter”) with mini-submarines SDV Mk III of the so-called “wet” type. Commandos before the operation moves from the submarine to the hangar. They unstick SDV. “Dry shelter” is filled with seawater. The DDS stern lid opens and the mini-sub goes to the target. In the SDV, the commandos are placed in diving suits with breathing apparatus, since the device, in fact, is only a big tug of combat swimmers.

Mini-submarine SDV Mk III is derived from the hangar of the submarine Florida

The range of the mini-submarine SDV Mk III, carrying six fully equipped fighters, is small - just 19 miles. The source of energy is silver-zinc batteries, which supply the electric motor with the power of HP 18. Full speed - 9 knots. That is, the characteristics of this vehicle can not be considered brilliant.

That is why in the second half of the 90 of the last century, the US Navy began to develop a more advanced and promising transport submarine commando - Advanced SEAL Delivery Systems (ASDS). In August, 2001 was sent by Northrop Grumman to test the first mini-submarine of this type. First, unlike the SDV Mk III, it is “dry,” that is, the 8-16 commandos can be located in the stern compartment of the vehicle without diving suits while moving to the landing site. Dressed in them, they go out to sea through a lock chamber in the central part of the ASDS building. Secondly, increased maneuverability due to the installation, in addition to the propeller, four (two in the bow and two in the stern) thrusters. Thirdly, the range has increased to 125 miles, that is, to 230 km. However, the size of the underwater sabotage means also increased significantly. The ASDS displacement is 55 t, its length is 19,8 m. The commander of the apparatus and the operator coordinating the actions of the SEAL fighters are located in the nose compartment.

Two multi-purpose nuclear submarines Charlotte and Greeneville of the type Improved Los Angeles have adapted for the transportation of ASDS. Each of the four Ohio strategic nuclear submarines converted into cruise missile carriers and for operations as part of special operations forces must be equipped with two ASDS vehicles. Heavy military transport aircraft C-5 Galaxy they can be airlifted to remote theaters of war.

In total, it was planned to build a new type of 6 mini-submarines. However, the program has been minimized. The fact is that in the process of testing the head apparatus a number of technical problems emerged, which were not completely eliminated. Meanwhile, ASDS construction costs jumped to $ 230 million in 2000 prices, when the dollar was very high. At current prices it is more than $ 280 million, that is, for this money you can build a full-fledged modern non-nuclear submarine.

Last year, the US Navy began to revive the ASDS program, since the four converted Ohio-type nuclear-powered ships actually remained without an important component of their standard equipment. But the financial and economic crisis is unlikely to allow it to begin its full implementation.

Meanwhile, the company Oregon Iron Work has established for the American naval special forces production of the type of boats Sealion very original design. As Norman Polmar points out in the latest edition of his guidebook, “Ships and Aircraft of the US Navy,” the name Sealion has little to do with sea lions, but is a sophisticated abbreviation of the acronym SEAL and the words Insertion (“drop landing”), Observation (“close intelligence”) , Neutralization ("suppression"). That is, the purpose of the boat, as well as the role of its crew and “passengers” are encrypted in it.

US Navy submarine Greeneville transports underwater vehicle ASDS

The Sealion is a semi-gliding boat with a length of 21 m. It develops speed over 40 nodes. Its 100% architecture meets the requirements of stealth technology. A narrow elongated body in the nasal tip enters a pointed tetrahedron. A low superstructure breaks off with a sloping stern, where the hatch for landing 8 SEAL fighters on two hard-inflatable motor boats is located. The boat looks very much like a dagger or even a stiletto. But this is not its main difference from other special forces "rooks". “Sea lion” has ballast tanks, which, like a submarine, when approaching the target are filled with seawater. The boat slows down and sinks. But not all — above sea level, in order to make it easier to observe, towers a dozen or two centimeters from a part of the cabin-superstructure. In other words, the Sealion is a semi-submersible boat that can quickly arrive at a place of operation at high speed, and then sneak up on the object of attack unnoticed.

A small outlandish ship aroused genuine interest among the leadership of the US Navy. One of the boats of this type was even visited by the American naval minister of the last Republican administration, Donald Winter (resigned in mid-March - ed.). The Sea Lion made a strong impression on him.

The United States, apparently, has begun to export such boats. A slightly different version is in service with the Singapore Special Forces. The changes affected mainly the structure of the aft superstructure. But what caused them is unclear.

It should be noted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran (in this country such boats are most often built according to the DPRK technology) are leading in the area of ​​the creation of semi-submersible boats. But, of course, by technical perfection, their means of special forces are inferior to American ones.


Boat MRCC in surface position and in the underwater

But the futuristic "sea lions" are not fully satisfied with the commando. A boat in a semi-submerged state can still be detected. To eliminate this drawback, the American company STIDD Systems proposed an innovative project of the MRCC (Multi-Role Combatant Craft) - a transport 32,5-foot (almost 10 m) military special forces. This is a multifunctional platform. It combines the qualities of a speedboat that uses a diesel engine with a turbocharged horsepower 435 hp. It develops speed in 32 of a node, semi-submerged vehicle, and a wet-type submarine, which develops an 5 nodular speed under water for two and a half hours. The crew of the MRCC consists of two people. The Hybrid also carries 6 commandos or 800 kg of cargo. Float range on the surface - more than 200 miles (with additional fuel reserves - 300 miles).

The MRCC is still being tested and it is not yet clear what the verdict for this vehicle will be made by the American maritime commandos. But one drawback is obvious - the "wet" delivery of special forces. And not only under water, but also in the surface position, since the waves, especially at speed, overwhelm this “boat”. However, as already noted, creating the perfect tool for commandos is simply impossible. Something has to be sacrificed.

Obviously, it is on the basis of these circumstances that the specialists of Defense Consulting Europe (DCE) designed their SDV for the Swedish special forces, which was presented on 3 last September at the Berg naval base near Stockholm. He repeats in many ways if he does not copy the American MRCC. Approximately the same speeds of surface (30,5 node) and submerged stroke (5 nodes), the ability to go in a semi-submerged state. Close payload (about 1000 kg) and the length of the device (10,3 m). They differ only in maneuverability, since the DCE “hybrid” has four underwater electric motors, and the MRCC has two. Noticeable differences are also found in the hull structure. The Swedish apparatus has rubber cylinders on the sides, into which air is pumped in the surface position, which provides better stability at speed and unsinkability. When a mini submarine dives, the air from the cylinders is released.

Diving boat SDV of the Swedish company DCE in the surface position and when moving in a semi-submerged state

Apparently, in the near future, the means of transportation commandos will not only dive, but also learn to fly. The Pentagon’s Advanced Development Authority (DAPRA) is working on the ideology of a flying submarine to quickly and covertly deliver special operations forces to the scene of hostilities. The concept has been proposed for consideration by companies who wish to undertake this complex matter.

The range of such a device should be at least 1850 km. It is designed to "run" at a distance 185 km by water and 22 km under water. The capacity of the submarine is 910 kg, the capacity of the cabin is 8 people. This "hybrid" will be able to move under water for 8 hours using a snorkel for air supply and exhaust gas. The form of the construction of DAPRA is not specified. It may resemble a “flying saucer” or a plane of the classical scheme.

The last time attempts were made to create a diving plane in the United States in the second half of the 60-s of the last century. Father and son Raids constructed two models of “aero-bearings”: first with a low-powered gasoline engine (RFS-1), and then with a turbofan engine (RFS-2). Both cars flew and sank, but their characteristics did not suit the fleet, which closed the financing of the project.

Now the idea of ​​"aero liners" back. Of course, they will be created using the latest technologies that were not available in the 60's. But, nevertheless, this task will not be less difficult.


Since the Second World War, amphibious vehicles and floating armored vehicles have been used both for the landing of landings from the sea and for raids of special operations forces. They have one common drawback - low speed in overcoming water obstacles. Thus, the widely known American amphibian LARC-5, carrying a 20 man at a range of about 480 km, develops a maximum speed on the water of no more than 16 km / h. At the turn of the 60-s of the last century in the United States, an attempt was made to create a high-speed hydrofoil transporter. On the instructions of the military, Lycoming took on the development of floating hydrofoil vehicles. Two models were created at once: LVHX-1 with fully submerged automatically controlled wings and LVHX-2 with a front wing crossing the surface of the water and a fully submerged controlled rear wing. According to calculations, they should have developed a full speed 84 km / h and a cruising 65 km / h on calm water. But the machines turned out to be no less complicated and capricious than the “aero-ships”. Many problems arose with hydraulics when it was necessary to lay down wing devices before going ashore. In the end, they abandoned these machines.

ACC / E Expeditionary Warfare Amphibious Vehicle

Does this mean that amphibians cannot even dream about the speeds of Formula 1 cars? Of course, they are far from the cars, but a significant increase in speed on the water is possible. So, in any case, experts say the American branch of the New Zealand-British firm Gibbs Technologies. They offered to equip units SEAL floating car Humdinga all-terrain vehicle and quad-amphibious Quadski.

The first machine with a wheel formula 4х4 is equipped with a 350-strong engine and can move on the ground at a speed of 160 km / h, and by water - 64 km / h (!). She carries five people. The second, designed for two people, on the ground and on the water develops 72-kilometer speed. Moreover, the transition from one mode to another is carried out by simply pressing a button on the control panel. In this case, the wheels are pressed against the body of vehicles and are heated in a kind of "clutches" like ship's anchors. At high speed, the wheels practically do not come into contact with the oncoming water flow, and therefore do not interfere with the movement.

These machines aroused the interest of special forces. They conducted their in-depth tests and proposed to Gibbs Technologies to modify them in conjunction with the leading Pentagon contractor - Lockheed Martin Corporation. Now three speed amphibians are being created. The first is an Amphibious Combat Craft Expeditionary (ACC / E) expeditionary vehicle. For the base taken car Humdinga. But the characteristics have changed somewhat. Increased load capacity. Became a different form of the body. In accordance with the requirements of the military, it is more “licked”, that is, streamlined. Elements of stealth-technology are also being introduced.

A similar three-axis machine, designed primarily for operations on rivers and in coastal waters (Amphibious Combat Craft Riverine - ACC / R), will have a significantly larger size. Its length is 10,8 m, its payload is 3,2 t. Speed ​​on the water is 65 km / h. The car will be equipped with three machine guns, and, probably, he will get an easy booking. It is supposed to use ACC / R not only as a vehicle, but also as a patrol boat, especially in shallow and marshy water areas.

Amphibious high-speed machine ACC / R will have a large carrying capacity and powerful weapons

The design of the ACC / R uses many of the elements of the ACC / E amphibian. That is, we can talk about a fairly high degree of unification of the two cars.

Significant changes are undergoing and the appearance of the quad Quadski, which in the military version is now called Terraquad. Its payload is increased, it becomes more like a light all-terrain vehicle, rather than a four-wheeled motorcycle. The driver and the passenger can be placed not only in tandem (one by one), but also in an automobile way (side by side).

According to the US military, the new high-speed amphibians will significantly increase the capabilities of the naval special forces to deliver fighters to the shore and transfer them to objects of attack or defense.
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