Russia resumes production of Soviet Murena landing craft air cushion

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Production of the Soviet landing craft air cushion [LCAC] Murena will be restored. Production will begin this year at the Khabarovsk Shipyard. The Khabarovsk Shipyard is one of the largest in Russia, having built over the years 350 warships and civilian vessels.

Russia resumes production of Soviet Murena landing craft air cushion
Photo credit: Engineering Russia

The chief engineer of the shipyard, Eng. Sergey Korolev told a reporter of the local newspaper Khabarovski Vesti that the new Murena will be new modernized landing craft air cushions. Eng. Korolev announced to the newspaper that the Murena project is now protected before the state authorities. Permission to resume production has been received.

“This is an absolutely unique project for our plant, no one has done it before us, now it is being modernized and we expect to sign a contract this year. We hope to start construction this year,” said Korolev.

Old Murena

Years ago, the Russian Coast Guard had eight Murena vessels. They were built in a short period – from 1985 to 1992. In 2005, Moscow decided to decommission seven of the eight ships. The eighth was brought into the shipyard’s workshop for conservation.

Russia resumes production of Soviet Murena landing craft air cushion
Photo credit: RosOboronExport

South Korea is the latest Murena landing hovercraft customer. Between 2002 and 2006, Seoul received the ordered three landing craft air cushions in their export version – Murena-E. The South Korean Navy wanted to order eight more Murena-E boats. Russia and South Korea entered into a dialogue about the order in 2018. An agreement was signed for the eight boats in 2019. There is currently no word on what is happening with the deal.

Murena for French-built vessels

After the success of the South Korean LCACs, Russia decided to equip its future Mistral amphibious boats with the Murena version M. In 2014, during the Euronaval exhibition, the Murena-M version was presented. This LCAC was developed by the Russians specifically for the French Mistral multi-purpose amphibious assault ships that were ordered and were to receive.

Due to Western sanctions against Russia at the time, due to the illegal annexation of Crimea, France refused to supply Russia. In this way, the production of Murena-M also failed.

Russia resumes production of Soviet Murena landing craft air cushion
Photo credit: RosoboronExport

Tsaplya-class LCAC

Murena is landing craft air cushion Tsaplya class. The Lebed LCAC class used to exist in the Soviet Union. Tsaplya-class inherits precisely the Lebed LCAC, as a longer and more modern boat for its age.

Between 50 and 55 knots is Murena’s top speed. The displacement of the boat is 149 long tons [151 t] full load. The boat is powered by two powerful engines providing a total power of 4,000 horsepower. The drive also consists of two lift fans, two propulsion fans, and two four-bladed variable-pitch propellers.

The Murena has a limited payload capacity that it can carry – up to 45 tons. By Russian standards, this means the boat can carry one Russian main battle tank and 80 soldiers by water. The other configuration is a 25-ton combat vehicle and 160 soldiers. Murena’s crew consists of 14 sailors, four of whom are officers. The ship is armed with two 30-mm AK-306 automatic artillery mounts, and two AGS-17 “Flame” grenade launchers.

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