The Terminator is undoubtedly scary, but perhaps unnecessary

Kyle Mizokami of The National Interest this time on the pages of The Popular Mechanics published an article in which, as usual, he speaks in a very peculiar, but logical and reasoned manner. With regard to “Terminator” it sounds like this:
“The Russian army may not need this thing, but it looks formidable.”

Russia’s Terminator Weapon Is Unquestionably Terrifying, Possibly Unnecessary

Source: Kirill Borisenko, Wikimedia Commons

In the future, Mizokami’s quotes will also be in italics, but objections or consent – in plain text.

Like many Western experts (and Mizokami is definitely such), Kyle was imbued with the news that the BMPT “Terminator” began to enter the Russian army. And like many colleagues, Mizokami asks the questions: “Why?” and “Who benefits from?”

Yes, loud cries of “hurray” from our side regarding the fact that as many as 8 (eight) cars entered the real part after more than 30 (thirty) years from the beginning of development look somewhat rash. Moreover, the cars that will be included in the 90th TD will undergo further tests there. But according to the results of the tests, already, as they say, it will be looked at and decided.

But even this is not the main thing. The main question that Mizokami is trying to clarify for himself is the purpose of the machine.

“BMPT is designed to protect tanks by detecting and destroying anti-tank missile launchers.”

Yes. Including. Standing in service with the US Army “Stryker” with the ATGM complex “Tou-2” is even a target for the 30-mm guns of the “Terminator”. And in the event that the armor or protection will withstand (which is doubtful, to be honest), then there is an ATGM “Attack”. That being said, with no options.

And the tank, that “Abrams”, that “Leopard”, “Attack” is unpleasant for them. For KAZ is good, but … we saw everything, including this:

Nothing lasts forever under the moon, and even more so a tank, which was hit by a good ATGM. So a technique capable of neutralizing the installation of an ATGM on the battlefield is quite justified.

– You love cool military vehicles. And so do we. Let’s make fun of them together. (K. Mizokami).

Let’s. But it is only worth remembering that the one who laughs last laughs well. So let’s try.

To begin with, you should generally understand what Mizokami sees in this car.

“The BMPT takes the chassis of the T-90 main battle tank and replaces the turret with a module containing a lot of weapons. The BMPT is armed with two 30mm 2A42 automatic cannons, two AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers, four 9M120-1 Attack anti-tank missiles and a remotely controlled 7.62mm machine gun.

It’s like that. A gentleman’s set for all occasions. “Attack” for a tank or intractable armored personnel carrier, 30-mm shells for lightly armored vehicles, 7.62-mm machine gun for infantry and RPG fans.


Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin

It can also be added that the “Relikt” inherited from the tank is quite a modern way to complicate the task of those wishing to shoot at BMPTs with something unpleasant for the car.

Then the fun begins. Application.

“The BMPT was designed in the late 1980s, but did not go into production. The return to the topic happened after the catastrophic war of Russia in Chechnya from 1994 to 1995. Russian tank forces suffered heavy losses in battles with Chechen partisans. On New Year’s Eve 1994, the offensive of Russian troops on the city of Grozny ended in massacres. Only the 131st Maykop brigade lost 800 people in two days of fighting, 20 out of 26 tanks and 102 out of 120 other armored vehicles.

One of the important factors leading to heavy losses was the design of the Russian tanks.

Soviet and Russian tanks are well known for their low silhouette and sleek appearance. This makes the tank less visually and less visible on the battlefield, but also limits its ability to move the gun barrel up or down.

Moving into a modern urban environment filled with multi-story buildings, Russian tanks were unable to raise their guns high enough to engage with anti-tank crews firing at them from above.

Russian tanks are equipped with 12.7 mm heavy machine guns, capable of firing at long distances, including upward. However, the machine guns were intended to destroy helicopters and airplanes, and their manning left the tank commander defenseless against small arms fire. “

In general, I did not expect this from Mizokami. In itself, the situation when a tank will shoot from a gun at a grenade launcher that appears above it is nonsense. Yes, the use of tanks in Grozny is not the best of the pages in the history of our army, but what happened was what happened.

And there was, excuse me, the use of unskilled and unprepared soldiers in unusual conditions for them. The stupidity of the command, so to speak, honestly and frankly. But the tanks, or rather, the elevation angles of the guns has to do with it?

The elevation angles of the T-72 are from – 6 ° 13 ‘… + 13 ° 47’. Abrams has from -10 to +20. Yes, higher, but in city conditions it will also not save much from a grenade launcher on the roof of a neighboring building.

The machine gun is a real weapon in such a situation. And not a single machine gun on Russian tanks has a sign “Shoot only at helicopters” or “Shoot only at planes”. Accordingly, God himself commanded to fire at fans of RPGs or “Javelins”.

Although, I will note that for this it would be better suited not a 12.7 mm, but a 7.62 mm machine gun. And the rate of fire is higher, and there will be more ammunition.

“The BMPT was intended for firing together with Russian tanks in the conditions of Grozny. The BMPT’s mission is to search, identify and fire at enemy anti-tank groups. Autocannons, machine guns and grenade launchers of the machine are able to rise to engage enemy troops in tall buildings without exposing anyone to enemy fire. “

Well, so-so picture. Nothing else can happen in our country except Grozny?

It is very difficult to say where Mizokami got such a picture from. According to him, tanks enter the city (any, not necessarily Grozny), guarded by BMPT. For some reason, not a word about the infantry, but it is well-trained infantry that is the main danger for grenade launchers and ATGM crews of the Javelin type.

Shooting from a 30-mm cannon on the roof – well, to be honest, it looks absolutely absurd. The 30mm round is not for a body with a grenade launcher or a pair with a Javelin. It is still necessary to get there. But a machine gun, or a few assault rifles – and “Houston, we have problems.”

But this is in the event that next to the tank and BMPT there is a normally trained and prepared squad of warriors. But for some reason, Mizokami refuses us in this, despite the BUSV and other smart books.

“While US Army tanks fought in the Battle of Fallujah in 2004, they were used much differently — and as a result, more successfully than the Russian army in Grozny.”

Here one cannot but agree with this statement, BUT: we are now assessing not the actions of the Russian army in Grozny and do not compare our soldiers with the marines in Fallujah. We are talking about the tactics of using BMPT, which is still being developed “on the fly.”

This, in fact, was the message. On the continuation of tests with the development of tactics of application.

“In Western armies, especially in the US Army, there is nothing like BMPTs. This is because NATO armies do not consider them necessary. “

And here I will tell you this: I agree 100%. If gentlemen, the American marines and tankers flew into the Grozny meat grinder, so they would have seen the second assault on Fallujah as a doctrine. Although there, too, the losses were quite hefty.

Does NATO consider it necessary to have tanks fire support vehicles? No problem. This is because NATO armies have not fought any major army in the world. Libya? Iraq? Afghanistan? Yemen? Somalia? Haiti? Syria?

Well, if I were sitting on the relevant commission of the US Congress, I would also say that “ne teba”. Does the list of US military operations in the 21st century look ridiculous? So really, BMPT in conflicts with such armies is useless.

“The Russian ground forces approved the concept of using BMPTs for use in 2010, but in fact never bought them, declaring them unnecessary on the modern battlefield. Apparently, Moscow has now changed its mind. NATO forces rely heavily on infantry equipped with anti-tank weapons, and a vehicle like the Terminator may eventually come in handy again. ”

It is strange to explain, but it is for this that combat vehicles are tested, in order to really make sure by experience that the machine represents exactly what was expected of it on the battlefield.

Kyle Mizokami asks a good question, which in principle echoes the recent topic of Heavy Flamethrower Systems (TOC). How much is this necessary in a modern army?

And nobody knows yet. Someone habitually shouts “Hurray!”, Because they can’t do anything else, and someone will thoughtfully study the use of BMPT in conditions close to combat.

And this is a really sensible approach – to study the possibilities, develop tactics for use, train the crews, test them in conditions close to combat.

And only then draw conclusions about whether the army needs this vehicle or not.


Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin

In our military history, including the Soviet one, and not only in ours, there have been many cases when equipment, after approbation, did not go into service. For a variety of reasons, but did not go. It is quite possible that this could happen in our case as well. Did the Commander-in-Chief cancel the absurd fuss about the PAK YES, ordering to build the Tu-160M2? It was, it was …

So in an amicable way, here you just need to calmly watch the test results and draw conclusions. And then make decisions.

The experience of the US Army, it is undoubtedly rich and interesting, but how seriously it is worth focusing on it is a completely different question. The Americans have a completely different approach to the use of the army, and, most likely, they will not go into open conflict with an army capable of drawing their blood.

So, when developing strategies and tactics for using our army, everything should be taken into account. Including the actions of tanks in cities under the cover of infantry and BMPT. And even more so – in an open area, where BMPT will be clearly more useful than in the city.

But I am sure that we will find out everything in due time.

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