Knives have played an essential role in the service and supply of various units and parts of the Russian naval fleet. These knives come in various types, each serving a unique purpose, and combat swimmers, ship crews, and military personnel of coastal units utilize them. Depending on the challenges at hand, these knives can be used for hand-to-hand combat or various tasks. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most fascinating examples of naval knives that have been an integral part of the Russian Navy’s equipment.
The Universal Diving Knife (NVU)
One of the primary users of knives in the Navy is the diving unit. Over the years, several options for working knives have been developed specifically for them, including some designed for use as weapons. Among these, the “Universal Diving Knife” NVU, which was introduced in the late seventies, still stands as a reliable tool in their arsenal.
The NVU has a total length of 320 mm, with a blade length of 164 mm. The blade is crafted from stainless steel or non-magnetic metal in the case of the NVU-AM modification. It features one-and-a-half sharpening, forming a pointed combat end capable of delivering piercing strikes. Most of the butt is occupied by a serrator, although it is absent on the NVU-AM version. The plastic handle is spindle-shaped with annular protrusions to ensure a secure grip. A cross guard is provided to protect the hand, and a handle is embedded in it for use as a hammer.
The NVU knife has plastic sheaths equipped with a retaining rubber ring, and the scabbard has a two-point mount for attachment to the diver’s equipment. This versatile knife quickly became a standard tool among divers, proving its worth in cutting various materials and delivering stabbing or crushing blows, making it highly appreciated by combat swimmers.
Diving Knife from KAMPO
Continuing the tradition of multi-purpose working knives, KAMPO JSC developed a “diving knife” that was adopted for supply to naval units several years ago. This knife boasts enhanced functionality and is also suitable for self-defense.
In terms of dimensions, the KAMPO diving knife is similar to the NVU but features a different blade size and proportions. The blade, made of steel 100X13M or 95X18, has a characteristic shortened tip with one and a half sharpening. It also includes a long serrator sharpening along the butt. Notably, the side surface of the knife carries a ruler for quick measurement of objects. The blade is seamlessly connected to the rider’s plastic handle, which is designed concurrently with the cross guard. A block with a hole for a safety cable is integrated as a pommel, doubling as a hammer.
The sheath designed for the KAMPO diving knife shares similarities with the one for the NVU but features a different shape and is made from different plastic materials. Nonetheless, it maintains the two-point suspension system for attachment to the diver’s equipment and a loop to secure the knife handle.
Universal Marine Knife (NMU)
For rigging and other tasks in the fleet, the “Universal Marine Knife” from KAMPO has been developed, representing a modernized version of the traditional boatswain knives used in the past. These classic tools typically featured a blade for cutting objects and a marlinspike for working with ropes and cables, but the NMU takes this concept to a new level.
The NMU is a folding knife that incorporates three essential elements. It features long and short blades with various configurations attached to one side of the handle. The short blade is equipped with a cable stripper and a folding marlinspike for working with ropes. Regarding functionality and tasks, the NMU aligns with the classic boatswain knives, but it stands out with its modern design and improved ergonomics.
Recently, the Ministry of Defense announced plans to adopt the NMU into the Navy’s arsenal, with expectations that it will be accepted and put into production by the end of the year.
The Versatile Murena Combat Knife
As a universal tool for combat and work, combat swimmers initially used NVU knives. However, specialized designs emerged to cater to their unique needs over time. One such product is the “Murena” combat knife, developed by SARO upon the Navy’s request to equip anti-sabotage forces and equipment units (PDSS).
The technical requirements for the “Murena” were particularly demanding. It needed to excel in cutting soft objects and sawing through hard materials, from ropes and algae to nets and metal up to 15 mm thick. Achieving such a combination of characteristics in a single blade proved challenging, resulting in an unconventional design.
The Murena blade is crafted from steel 65X13 and features a pointed end with a bevel and one-and-a-half sharpening. Notably, there’s a long notch in the butt, and its surface boasts a serrator with large teeth and a longitudinal groove. An additional hacksaw blade for cutting metal objects is cleverly integrated into the groove. The handle takes the form of a pair of linings on the shank, and the spider is part of the blade strip. The knife has plastic sheaths equipped with a textile loop to secure the handle.
While it’s known that the Murena reached production and was selectively supplied to relevant Navy units, the actual effectiveness of its design features remains somewhat elusive. Nevertheless, the composite nature of this multifunctional blade stirred up debates among enthusiasts of cold steel.
The Needle and its Sheath
Within the PDSS, there’s also the “Igla” combat knife, developed by the Melita-K enterprise. This knife and its accompanying sheath form a complete complex designed to address various cutting and chopping tasks.
The Igla knife measures 319 mm in total, with a 173 mm stainless steel blade crafted from different grades. It features a pointed war end with one and a half sharpening, and the butt includes a serrator and a 10-cm ruler. Near the crosspiece, there’s a recess for breaking wires. The handle is made from plastic with a metal top.
The sheath takes the form of a plastic cover with integrated metal parts. It includes a folding awl, nippers with relatively long handles, a combined hacksaw for wood and metal, and a screwdriver. This sheath, complete with its tools, is enclosed in a textile cover for easy attachment to equipment.
The Igla represents a comprehensive approach to combat knife design, with all essential functions embedded within the knife itself. Any additional features not typically found in a simple blade are cleverly incorporated into the sheath, resulting in a versatile tool.
From the Past to the Future
Developing combat and working knives for the Russian Navy has been an ongoing process spanning several years, resulting in various models. These knives have been adopted for use by divers, combat swimmers, ship crews, and coastal unit fighters. While some models have remained within limited circles, others have seen broader usage, highlighting the importance of these versatile tools in the naval fleet’s operations.
In conclusion, these naval knives serve as tools for various tasks and embody the meticulous craftsmanship and innovation that goes into equipping the Russian Navy with reliable, multi-purpose instruments. Whether it