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Russia is arming commandos with combat snowmobiles — to take over the North Pole?

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iStock_000005924960_LargeRussia is arming commandos with combat snowmobiles — to take over the North Pole?
Russian military is working on an air-dropped snowmobile for its paratroopers. No, it's not a scene from a James Bond movie.
Earlier this year, Col. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov — Russia's airborne forces chief — ordered the development of "airborne snowmobiles" after a visit to the northern Yaroslavl region.
"Airborne snowmobile flies, shoots, and keeps the driver warm," Shamanov said according to the newspaper Komsolskaya Pravda.
What Shamanov is talking about is an ordinary Taiga-551 snowmobile dropped from the back of an airplane. The vehicle weighs about 705 pounds and powers itself with a liquid-cooled 65-horsepower engine.
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Above — Russian airborne forces commander Col. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, in blue coat, inspects the Taiga-551 snowmobile. Yaroslavl regional government/Russian Internet photo. At top — the Taiga-551. Photo via Russian Internet
Once on the ground, Russian troops could speed along at 62 miles per hour — at most — with the vehicle's 14.5-gallon fuel tank.


Even better, it has heated handles. The Russkaya Mekhanika plant in Rybinsk — which has a deal with the Russian defense ministry to build the snowmobiles during the next two years — is also adding some modifications.
"First, this snowmobile has an armored fuel tank like those on combat helicopters," designer Andrey Zhogin told the paper. "If shot through, it 'self-heals.' Second, it has a special cooling system that prevents the engine from overheating."

The hard part is modifying it to be dropped from a helicopter or airplane — something the plant's manager said they're working on. But the designers have already added mounts for a machine gun or a grenade launcher, which means Russia’s snowmobile force can shoot at … somebody.
ARTICLE SOURCED FROM THE WEEK

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