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Russia uses its Ropucha class landing ships for civilian needs.

| 2023

According to information published by Frederik Van Lokeren on July 12, 2023, two Ropucha class landing ships have been used for ferrying civilian traffic across the Kerch Strait, a diversion from their usual role of transporting heavy military equipment.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Russian Navy's Ropucha class landing ship. (Picture source: TV Crimea 24)

The Kerch Strait is a significant waterway connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The Crimean Bridge was built to link mainland Russia with Crimea, crossing the strait.

Rather than improving the infrastructure or finding more conventional solutions, the decision was made to use military assets - the Ropucha-class landing ships - for civilian needs.

Technical data

The Ropucha-class, officially known as Project 775, is indeed a type of landing ship that was constructed for the Soviet Navy. It was built in the Stocznia Północna shipyards in Gdańsk, Poland, making it unique among the Soviet Union's naval assets.

These ships were designed for beach landings and could transport a sizable cargo of 450 tons. The structure of the ship includes both bow and stern doors, making it possible to load and unload vehicles easily.

Additionally, the ship includes a 630 square meter vehicle deck that extends the full length of the hull. This deck can accommodate up to 25 armored personnel carriers.

While the Ropucha-class ships are designed with roll-on/roll-off capabilities, they can also be loaded through the use of dockside cranes. This is facilitated by a sliding hatch cover located above the bow section that allows for access to the vehicle deck. Notably, these ships do not include any helicopter facilities.

Between 1975 and 1991, a total of 28 Ropucha-class ships were commissioned. The last three were an improved variant known as Project 775M, or the Ropucha II. These ships had enhanced defensive armaments and could carry more troops.

They have a standard displacement of 2,200 tons and can carry a full load of 4,080 tons. They are 112.5 meters long, have a beam of 15 meters, and a draft of 3.7 meters.

Their propulsion system includes two diesel engines and two propellers, providing a total of 19,200 horsepower. These ships can achieve a speed of 18 knots and have a range of 6,100 nautical miles at 15 knots.

The capacity of these ships is very versatile, able to accommodate different combinations of tanks, personnel carriers, troops, and cargo. The armament of the Ropucha-class ships is also quite formidable, with a variety of guns, rocket launchers, and surface-to-air missile systems.

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