The modern Russian Navy continues to invest resources into fielding an effective amphibious fighting force and manages a healthy stable of amphibious support ship such as the Ropucha-class (Project 775). These landing ships are used in conjunction with other amphibious fighting elements such as marines and vehicles when taking the fight to the enemy from "ship-to-shore". The craft are shallow-draught, measuring just 12.2 feet deep. to better wade to within reach of shorelines and release their fighting cargo. Twenty-eight of the craft were completed with the first examples coming online in 1975 - while there still was a Cold War with the West. The last ships were taken into service in 1991.
The Ropucha-class craft were all constructed at the Stocznia Polnocna Shipyard at Gdansk, Poland during the Cold War period.
The landing ships displace 2,200 tons under standard load and up to 4,100 tons under full load. Each has a length of 369.10 feet with a beam measuring 49.2 feet. Drive power is from 2 x Marine diesels developing 19,200 horsepower to 2 x Shafts under stern. The vessels can reach speeds of 18 knots and range out to 6,100 nautical miles - making them somewhat independent "Blue Water" vessels. Aboard is a crew of about 98-100 personnel.
The hull is drawn up to carry up to 10 combat-laden Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) or 12 wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) / Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) or even a mixed cargo force of tanks, self-propelled guns, support vehicles, and logistical vehicles. Up to 313 infantry can be hauled or up to 500 tons of useful cargo in the form of supplies for establishing beachheads or supplying inland troops. Cargo is released through large doors found at the bow and stern of the ship with the vehicle deck running the entire length of the vessel.
The Ropucha-class ships have self-defense-minded weaponry installed, particularly to support shoreline actions and defend against low-flying threats. 2 x twin-barreled 57mm AK-257 autocannons are carried (Ropucha I ships only) as is a single 76mm turreted gun fit. To this is added 2 x 30 122mm A-215 series Grad-M rockets for area suppression. Strela-2 (SA-N-5) short-range surface-to-air missile launchers also aid in airspace deterrence. Close-in support is through 2 x 30mm AK-630 digital combat units sporting Gatling-style guns.
Two distinct forms of the Ropucha-class ships are in service - original Project 755 (known as "Ropucha I") vessels numbering twelve and modified/modernized Project 775M (known as "Ropucha II") vessels numbering three. The latter group can carry more infantry and has improved defensive armament to deal with more modern emerging threats.
The Ropucha-class craft are in service with the navies of Russia, Ukraine, and Yemen. Russian types were used in combat during the War in South Ossetia in 2008 against Georgia. Ukraine managed only one ship, U402 Kostiantyn Olshansky, but this example was later captured by Russian forces in its takeover of Crimea from Ukraine. The sole Yemeni example was eventually sold off to private operators.
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