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Spetsnaz exercise in Mediterranean with Western kit
Russia has been conducting large-scale war games in the Eastern Mediterranean, coinciding with the Russian backed government offensive in the northern Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold. As part of the exercise Spetsnaz combat swimmers have practiced beach landing (possibly beach reconnaissance or short duration raiding) from a KILO Class submarine. The divers used German supplied Rotinor Black Shadow 730 diver propulsion vehicles (DPVs) and Italian made rebreathers.
- A spetsnaz combat swimmer exits the torpedo tube of a KILO Class submarine. The DPVs were also deployed from the torpedo tube.
- The German made Rotinor Black Shadow 730 DPVs with DON MK5 navigation devices. The DPVs were supplied around the time of the Sochi Olympics. Note the holder for navigational aids. Russia also received the smaller Divejet 414.
- Another shot of the Rotinors, with two combat swimmers per vehicle. Note that their weapons, optics and other equipment appears suitable for this environment.
The Spetsnaz combat swimmers are wearing Italian made OMG/Siel MK4 CDV Pro rebreathers, which were supplied around the times of the Sochi Games. French rebreathes were also supplied.
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The Exercises also coincides with the Vostok 2018 exercises which are the largest Russian war games since the Cold War and are being viewed with suspicion in the West. The Mediterranean exercises involve two submarines 26 combat vessels and ships, and 34 aircraft.
- Two Kalashnikov BK-18 assault boats were shown operating in conjunction with a surfaced KILO Class submarine. This was likely only for the photo opportunity, although the BK-18 couyld be used to ferry Spetsnaz to the submarine for a mission.
- Close up view of the BK-18 assault boat.
- Spetsnaz divers wearing French supplied rebreathes with bouyancy control rigs which double as live vests.
At least two BK-18 assault boats were deployed from the Black Sea Fleet to Syria in May 2016 aboard a Kashtan Class special transport ship (article).
The BK-18 is outwardly similar to the RM-17 Raptor which is also deployed to Syria and was also used in the exercises:
Click to enlarge
Length: 18.6 meters
Width: 4.55 meters
Overall height with mast folded: 4.9 meters
Height from waterline: 4.5 meters
Draft: 0.8 meters
Displacement: 25 tons full, 19 tons empty
Speed: 40 knots maximum, 26 knots cruising
Range: 400 nautical miles
Engines: 2 x 1300 hp
Endurance: 2 days
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