Counter-sabotage forces are deployed at all Russian naval bases. The combat swimmers are part of all four fleets and the Caspian military flotilla. In the Syrian Arab Republic, for example, the PDSS is responsible for the underwater and coastal protection of the logistics center in Tartous. But few people know what the underwater special forces are armed with today, what are its capabilities and tasks.
Demand for frogmen
Despite the presence of underwater special forces, in 2020 alone, the Marine Corps Training Center, structurally part of the Joint Training Center of the Russian Navy and located in St. Petersburg, trained about 600 marines to perform tasks as part of anti-terror groups. In fact, this can be qualified as attracting the Marines to specific tasks that were previously solved only by "frog people" - combat swimmers.
The need for such groups on board ships and vessels of the Russian Navy, performing combat missions in the distant sea and ocean zone, did not arise by chance. Today, terrorist methods are being incorporated into the basis of their defense concepts by the states that are members of the NATO bloc.
Following the definitions of the defense departments of the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, the concept of "asymmetric warfare" implies fighting between adversaries, in whose military forces there is a significant imbalance. It is these strategies and tactics that have been adopted by the Finnish special forces, which are being trained in Utti, as well as by the special operations forces of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland.
One cannot do without the latest examples of anti-sabotage technology when solving such complex problems. Equipping combat swimmers with boats of the "Grachonok" and "Raptor" type, capable of speeds up to 80 kilometers per hour and operating in storms, is a serious help for the quick delivery of special forces.
Another innovation is the flying drones of the Tachyon project, which detect enemy combat swimmers at a depth of several meters, being above the sea surface. "It is almost impossible to find a special container while moving and in the process of work. And the crew of the combat swimmers serving the system can impersonate dock handlers - the smart guys are selected "
Recently, another novelty has entered service with the Russian Navy - the DIABAS hydroacoustic anti-sabotage system. The complex consists of hydrophones (underwater microphones) and a standard container for their storage.
The container is disguised as a regular cargo container, but it also has workplaces for operators monitoring the operational situation. Highly sensitive underwater microphones are installed at the bottom and on the quays. They find combat swimmers and underwater drones by recognizing them by sound.
The system is completely mobile. The container is loaded onto a truck and transported to the designated area. It is almost impossible to detect it while moving and in the process of work. And the crew of the combat swimmers serving the system can impersonate dock handlers - the smart guys are selected.
Acting for a combat swimmer is just one of the professional skills of a special forces soldier, where surprise, cunning and ingenuity play a big role.
Our divers are tasked with protecting ships from both sea and land. Combat swimmers are formed from contract servicemen. All sailors and officers pass the most careful selection, tests for endurance, orientation on the ground, the ability to overcome psychological stress.
So impeccable health is not the only ticket to this elite division. The advanced training course includes diving, parachute, topographic, assault, engineering and mountain training. It is combined with the simulation of force majeure situations. Such, for example, as a faulty rebreather at depth or spending the night in a cemetery during a march.
The main task of combat swimmers is to find their “counterparts”: to catch enemy underwater saboteurs who threaten warships, coastal installations of our naval bases, including remote ones, as well as military garrisons.
Sometimes combat swimmers also perform specific tasks to prevent enemy scouts from penetrating sunken submarines in order to reveal defensive secrets.
The underwater special forces are armed with special small arms automatic weapons, which are intended for use not only on land, but also under water.
These are two-medium APS submachine guns and SPP-1 pistols. Back in the USSR, a special cartridge with a needle-type bullet was developed for the APS assault rifle, effectively striking targets at depth. However, on land, the APS is not as effective. It will soon be replaced by a new ADS with a bullpup layout (when the trigger is in front of the clip). It surpasses the APS in accuracy of fire both in the air and under water. On land, he shoots special cartridges of 5.45x39 mm caliber - you just need to change the magazine.
The swimmers also have a special anti-sabotage grenade launcher DP-61 "Duel", which also allows you to destroy saboteurs under water.
Complex training simulators for training submarine special forces operate at the fleet bases. They simulate pressure at depth, as well as deep currents and even coastal mountain slopes. Divers undergo mountain and anti-piracy training. However, the training of operational-tactical tasks on the simulator is necessarily combined with practice at training grounds and in the water area of ports.
An important component of training is to acquire skills in sabotage work against enemy ships. A small group in numerical strength can cause significant damage to the enemy, in the shortest possible time, literally and figuratively undermining his political, economic and military potential.
Get it everywhere
The Russian military department, analyzing NATO's tactics, has developed a special training program to train marines for long-term service as part of anti-terrorist groups on ships performing the task of a naval presence in various regions of the World Ocean. Its implementation took time.
The program is exclusive and includes the study of the structure, technical means and weapons of Russian warships of all ranks and classes by the marines: they must know the structure of the ship that is being protected from sabotage, the location of combat and information posts, vulnerabilities, routes of movement along the hull from deck to hold and from bow to stern.
Particular attention is paid to the study of students of International Maritime Law on the development of practical actions on ships in the conduct of all types of protection and defense. At the forefront are the tactics of actions in the composition of inspection teams and the development of methods of disembarkation on ships when solving anti-piracy problems.
Shooting from standard small arms at surface targets for the Marines is a familiar job. But in the conditions of a limited space of internal premises (compartments, corridors, vestibules) of ships and vessels, preparation for firing requires different skills. Any "skerry" can become a shelter for a terrorist.
The program was developed in accordance with the instructions of the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Evmenov. The training process for the Marines is based on the experience gained in the course of actions against terrorists in Syria.
The level of training passed at the Joint Training Center of the Russian Navy allowed marines from all naval fleets to acquire practical knowledge that is indispensable for countering terrorists and saboteurs.
For several years now, Marines in anti-terror groups have already been on board every warship or support vessel of the Russian Navy, performing tasks at a distance from their permanent bases.