ARMS 2009: BMPT from Russia

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Extracted from the current (2009) edition of the well-known Russian military journal \'ARMS\', this is an article on the recently introduced heavy tank support vehicle BMPT.

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ARMS 2009: BMPT from Russia

  1. 1. LAND FORCES TANK SUPPORT COMBAT VEHICLE: PROSPECTS n July 2000, at the 2nd I Urals arms show held in Nizhniy Tagil, the first- shown BMPT tank sup- port combat vehicle, caused a great interest among for- eign military experts. The Ural Design Office of Transport Mechanical Engineering started its development in 1998 and eight years later, in April 2006, the BMPT successfully passed state testing. During six years that have passed from its first demonstration till the end of state tests, considerable changes were made almost every- where, from the weapons and fire V.B.Domnin, General Director – G.F.Tyutyugin, Deputy Chief Designer, control system to its layout. So, what Chief Designer, Ural Design Office of Ural Design Office of Transport does the tank support combat vehi- Transport Mechanical Engineering Mechanical Engineering cle look like today? 28 O ARMS Defence Technologies Review
  2. 2. LAND FORCES The BMPT uses the chassis of the guided missiles. Missiles with shaped- T-72 tank. At present, the Ural Design charge and thermobaric warheads Office of Transport Mechanical can be used, too. The shaped-charge Engineering, however, has design tandem warhead can engage all documentation allowing its series types of existing and future armoured production on the T-90’s basis, too. vehicles at ranges of up to 5,500 m This significantly increases both the and the thermobaric one – soft-skin capabilities of the manufacturer and combat vehicles and antitank troops client’s options as the vehicle can be in fortified structures. Additional produced on the chassis of both new armament consisting of two 30-mm tanks and old T-72 ones, thus, allow- AG-17D automatic grenade launchers ing considerable cost reduction. is located in armoured compartments The BMPT weighs 48 t and its crew on the sides of the vehicle. The ammo is 5 members. The commander and load of 300 grenades for each AG-17D aimer of main and minor armament is placed there, too. Front grenade are placed in the turret and the driver launchers can suppress enemy man- and aimers of front grenade launch- power in the sector of ±27° at a range ers – in the hull. of up to 1,700 m in daytime and The main weapons fire control up to 800 m at night. The coaxial system employing the multi-channel 7.62-mm PKTM machine gun is used (daylight optical and IR) sight and as a minor armament, too. Thus, three panoramic low-level TV sight allows weapons operators allow the BMPT ons operators. If needed, the com- the layer and commander to detect to engage three different targets at mander can engage the target from and recognize small-size targets at different directions at the same time. the main armament in the Double long ranges day and night, at any The armament allows this vehicle to mode employing the panoramic sight weather and engage them by two fight with all types of targets on the or the layer’s IR sight. 30-mm 2A42 automatic cannons battlefield including tanks and low- The BMPT’s main armament is using HE-FRAG and armour-piercing speed aerial targets. placed in the module including the projectiles. The ammunition load is The vehicle commander uses day- turret, external armament with drives, 850 projectiles in two cases. Also, the light sights and the day/night pan- ammunition chain and operator posi- main armament includes two launch- oramic wide-angle sight seeks targets tions allow mounting it on various ers with four supersonic Ataka-T laser- and distributes them among weap- types of tank chassis. Changing the 1(48).2009 O 29
  3. 3. LAND FORCES system with two Igla missiles, which Comander's sight can replace the Ataka-T antitank mis- sile launchers. The armament block Machine gun can be also upgraded for light arma- Guided missiles ment (automatic grenade launch- ers, large-caliber machine guns, etc.) instead of 30-mm cannons. A special attention was paid to protecting the crew from antitank weapons. The armoured hull of the T-72 base tank is strengthened by the replaceable block of 3rd-gen- Automatic eration built-in dynamic protection guns placed on the hull’s upper front plate. The sides are fully closed with reactive armour and lattice screens, which provide a reliable protection of the crew from LAWs. The hull rear has additional lattice screen protec- tion from LAWs, too. Placing the outer main armament on the turret Gunner's sight roof allowed making the hull front without unprotected spots employ- ing reactive armour blocks. In order to enhance the fire and explosion protection level and weight of the Interior Ministry. safety, the fuel is placed in armoured module allows its mounting on light The module’s armament can also tanks inside and outside the vehi- chassis (like an IFV) or small ships be rapidly changed depending on the cle. The heater that was previously and boats. Thus, the BMPT’s arma- combat mission. For example, its anti- located in the hull is also put into ment module can be used by vari- aircraft capability can be enhanced the armoured compartment on the ous armed services as well as by the by the short-range air defense missile right side of the vehicle. The maga- 30 O ARMS Defence Technologies Review
  4. 4. LAND FORCES zine with rounds for 2A42 cannons Uralvagonzavod plant is now prepar- engagement of targets located from is located in the hull below the turret ing the BMPT’s series production on basement to upper floors. in the least vulnerable zone behind its own initiative. Many countries, chiefly European the armoured fuel tanks. In addition, The ready vehicle still needs ones, rapidly field UAVs able to solve there is a 5.5-kW Diesel generator in evaluating its combat performance reconnaissance and combat missions the armoured compartment on the and application methods by mili- as well as new attack helicopters, right-hand side to allow operation of tary experts. Perhaps, the organiza- which requires an adequate response board electrical equipment when the tional structure of military units will including fielding air defense systems. main engine is shut down. be changed. It is already clear that The introduction of such systems (the To ensure the power similar to the range of its employment largely Tunguska, Tor or Buk-M1/M2E), how- that of the T-90A tank, the BMPT was exceeds the narrow task of support- ever, requires large expenditures due equipped with the 1,000-hp (736 kW) ing tank units. to their high cost. That is why, the V-92S2 Diesel engine and chassis uni- Western experts say that due BMPT can be also used to protect fied with the engine and chassis of extending urban areas, the probabil- units from low-speed aerial targets this tank. ity and duration of combat action in given the attached air defense means During state testing, two pilot such regions will increase. The exist- are not enough. BMPTs went over 10,000 km and ing armoured vehicles including tanks The vehicle can be also employed amassed some 1,000 engine hours as cannot fulfill this task. The importance in counter-terrorist and peace-keeping well as made several thousand shots of this problem is proved by the pres- operations including peace-enforce- from the cannons, grenade launchers ence of versions of M1, Leopard-2 and ment ones. The invasion of Georgian and machine gun and carried out Leclerc tanks adapted for urban bat- troops into the South Ossetia proved several dozens missile launches. To tles at the Eurosatory 2006 show. The that the lack of the BMPT able to solve prove protection requirements, one main solutions implemented in such a wide range of combat tasks and hav- of the vehicles was subject to shots tanks are employing machine guns or ing powerful armament, protection from the tank gun and LAW as well as grenade launchers out independently and advanced fire control systems in the mine explosion and overpressure from the main gun, strengthening the the 58th Army and peace-keeping of the burst wave. The protection side and rear parts. All these solu- troops badly affected the efficiency passed all the tests. tions significantly raise the weight of of Russian troops. This is especially The results of state testing proved Western tanks that are heavy even evident considering the obsolete the characteristics specified in the without that, worsen the visibility armoured vehicles used by the 58th operational requirement. Yet, two through organic sights. At the same Army in this conflict. years after the state tests were time, the BMPT is almost ready for Thus, Ural Design Office of Transport successfully finished, the General combat actions in urban areas and Mechanical Engineering experts think Orderer, however, has not signed the mountain/forest terrain. With that, it that fielding the BMPT by the Russian decision to put the vehicle into ser- is 10-15 t lighter and more maneuver- armed forces and its series produc- vice with the Russian armed forces able as its armament remains within tion are very important as it allows to and include it into the state defense the hull borders in case of turret rota- largely enhance the combat power of order for 2009. Nevertheless, the tion and pointing angles allow easy tank units. 1(48).2009 O 31

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