Although it may seem counter-intuitive, 2552 does not look for cream of the crop recruits. That would be both too obvious to oversight, and those solders would be better for spetsnaz or naval infantry battalions anyway. Instead, selection seems almost random, covered by accidents that conveniently sideline troops with the right blood type, rh factors, and good grades in science or technical matters. From there, it is a forced reassignment on "medical duties", "special assignment" or "political relocation" to the main base in the central Asian republics.
Once there, training seems normal - except for an oddly large number of doctors on the sidelines, and a far earlier and more intensive introduction to NBC warfare techniques. After the first eight weeks of training, the injections start.
"Washout rate" at this point can be as high as 46%. Side affects can include loss of appetite, sudden necrosis and gangrene, mental instability, migraines, open sores, strange cravings, light sensitivity, chronic muscle aches, heart attacks, seizures, ringing in the ears, and gas. However,those who remain will have a notable advantage over those who have not received the serums. Their bones become fifty percent stronger than base-line, their low light vision improved, hearing slightly better, fatigue lessened, and reaction times slightly better than normal.
After this, the real training and introduction to the unit begins.
Despite the connotations of being a special elite unit, 2552 is mostly equipped with an assortment of obsolescent weapons. Notably, the main weapon is not the AK-74, nor the older AKM, instead standard issue is the SKS carbine. Most of the creatures involved are not phased by suppressive fire or need to be hit accurately - making the semi-automatic rifle preferable.
Even older weapons have a place as well. The PPSh-41 submachinegun of world war two manufacture is greatly appreciated. It is small and maneuverable in tight confines, a 71 round drum magazine can provide lasting fire support. Furthermore, 7.62x25mm pistol ammunition delivers sufficient stopping power, while still reducing the risks of ricochet and over-penetration compared to rifle caliber weapons. Another consideration is that a few million are sitting in old warehouses, and no one is going to notice them diverted to black projects.
Another surprisingly old weapon is a TOZ manufactured copy of the Browning Auto-5 Shotgun. It is a robust weapon capable of quickly firing five sixteen gauge shotgun shells.
Handguns are a matter of individual preference. TT-33 pistols pistols are the most common side arm, as they share ammunition with the PPSh and are easy to acquire from overlooked stocks. The Nagant revolver with its silencer is also appreciated, as using guns in confined spaces can result in hearing loss, and in turn, inability to notice some enemies.
Although most of these weapons are twenty to forty years older than the uses, they are issued a great variety of custom ammunition types. This includes heavy subsonic rounds to protect hearing and bullets made from unusual materials or coated with special toxins for dealing with certain oddities.
Given their proximity to stores of dangerous compounds, it is not uncommon for the unit to operate in bio-chemical defense gear. Night vision gear, and other optical enhancements are given on a case by cases basis - however such equipment is rather rare in the soviet military at this time, so its unlikely to be granted.
The signature equipment of the group, however, is the "biological shield jacket". It appears to be the rather normal heavy canvas and wool winter coat issued to most soldiers. It is made from far more exotic materials though, and is impregnable to many types of acids and chemical weapons. Steel bars and mesh at strategic points protect the wearer from bites and claws, and though its bullet resistant to only small caliber rounds, the protection includes the entire torso down to just below the knees.A small glycol based cooling unit similar to those used by space walking cosmonauts makes the heavy coat bearable to wear in all conditions, and a drug injection system can keep a solider going for extended periods of time despite injury or exhaustion.
The unit is surprisingly well equipped with aircraft for rapid transport. This includes two dozen AN-2s, four an-26, a dozen Mi-8s, and three mammoth Mi-26 cargo helicopters. A number of these are specially equipped for either laying mines to prevent traffic into and out of zones of concern, as well as testing for chemical and biological contamination.
Standard deployment consists of sixteen to forty-eight man platoons, which are in turn broken down into four man kill teams. Weaponry varies depending on environment, but each team is usually given two SMGs, a shotgun, and a rifle, or two rifles and one each of the other weapons.
Most of the time, it is fairly simple. Animals or prisoners are released into a testing environment, followed shorty there-after by a batch of specimens. After 48 hours, the unit is sent in to sweep the facility and liquidate anything that remains.
Sometime involvement becomes more complicated when a potential pathogen or subject escapes. The unit is fully capable of tracking these things down, though outside their bunkers, there are no identifying insignia, and the members are encouraged to hide their faces at all times - usually with a gas mask.
Unit 2552 is highly mobile and spends most of its time in tents or en-route. Most testing is in fact confined to the central Asian republics, this is just a method to confuse oversight.
A few permanent facilities do exist, but they usually have the cover of a normal looking hospital, prison, or power plant. beneath are extensive reinforced concrete bunkers and laboratories. Most rooms are filled with double-walled stainless steel tanks containing unknown substances capable of wiping out cites. Others are dull blue administration areas and greenish living spaces. But there are also extra large arenas, some like old forests, some replicating towns or the inside of manufacturing plants, surrounded by cat-walks and bullet proof glass so that almost every centimeter can be watched.