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City Shipyard Hovercraft Is 1st Delivery to NATO State

Published: December 29, 2000 (Issue # 633)


Last week St. Petersburg's Almaz shipyards delivered the first of two enormous Zubr hovercraft it has contracted to build for the Greek armed forces under a deal arranged by Ros vooru zhe niye, the Russian state agency responsible for arms sales abroad.

While the $100 million price tag for the contract, which was signed in January 2000, makes the delivery impressive enough, it is even more significant as Ros voo ru zhe niye says that it represents the first delivery of a Russian-made warship to a NATO member country.

In fact, this was the first time one of the craft had been sold abroad at all.

Alexander Osin kin, head designer at the Central Sea Design Bureau in St. Petersburg, where Zubr was designed 10 years ago, says that the vessel's abilities make it unique.

"For example, the United States and Great Britain also have hovercraft, but the Zubr is much quicker with a maximum speed of 110 kilometers an hour and is superior in relation to many technical parameters," Osinkin said.

"The Zubr can clear land obstacles 1.6 meters high while other craft of this type can clear less than a meter," Osinkin said. "It can also carry three tanks - at 50 tons each - or 10 armored troop-carriers, while the American Landing Craft Air Cushion vessels can carry only one tank and a maximum weight one-quarter that which the Zubr can haul," he said.

The Zubr weighs 540 tons, is 57 meters long and 22.5 meters wide.

Anatoly Pavlov, a consultant at the St. Petersburg office of Ros voo ru zhe niye, said that the fact that a NATO member country bought the ship from Russia rather than from other producers could become a precedent and proves the high quality of the Zubr.

And Valery Che repovsky, technical director at Almaz, said that the sale presented no security problems. "We've sold other navy ships to Northern Af ri ca, Algeria, India, and some other countries, but never to a NATO country," he said. "This is a very profitable contract for Russia, especially since there is nothing secret about the vessel."

Cherepovsky said that the vessel delivered last week had been serving in the Russian Navy since 1994 and had just been overhauled and modified. The second ship called for in the contract will be new and is due to be finished in June 2001. Construction on the ship began this May. A group of Greek inspectors will remain in St. Petersburg to oversee the construction of the second craft.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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