Correct weapon, wrong place

One of the most versatile armored vehicles of our age is the BMP. There are literally hundreds of variants, sub-variants and field mods, most of them one-off or really obscure.

BMP with Malyutka Karabakh 1990

This is a BMP from Nagorny Karabakh, 1990. Notice the elevated Malyutka ATGM launcher. I have no idea whether this is a functional launching system but I suspect so.

Terminator in Syria

So, there are Terminators in Syria now. At least two of them. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, a “Terminator” is a generally used name for the Russian BMPT-series vehicles. Basically it’s a tank chassis with an unmanned turret on top, usually armed with autocannons and missiles. While the missiles can knock out tanks, the primary purpose of the vehicle is to protect actual tanks from infantry threats (the BMPT name stands for Armored Tank Support Vehicle in Russian).

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The previous Terminator iterations were based on the Russian T-90 or T-72 tanks, this one’s a hybrid (has the more advanced BMPT turret and a T-90A hull). There isn’t any known official designation for it yet.

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What is really interesting is the row of “bags” on its side. That’s not bags – that’s actually a “soft” ERA kit, instead of hardened/armored casing there’s basically a fabric bag with some support structure and probably some sheet metal in the front. It’s probably cheap and very easy to replace but it looks vulnerable to small arms. I have no idea how efficient that is.

When you run out of books. Whats next?

Author: Captian Nemo

When you run out of books. Whats next?

When you run out of books. What’s next? It is a question I have seen come up many times in the last 4 years. What do you do? Where do you go and who do you turn to? One of two things happens… you give up or you continue, digging and searching for a line of text in the vastness of the internet. I was there once… And in doing so I would find articles and notes in books and papers… leading me to books and documents I had never heard of. But these too ran out and ran dry of information. I KNEW there was more, by process of elimination, refusing to give in to the belief that there could not possibly be anything more on the subject at hand.

Maus Engines, an article I wrote for For The Record News in 2014, was the result of running out of books. But. Now nearly 3 years later (It was published in November but mostly done by March 2014) I view it as needing some serious revision due to additional information published and unpublished since that time. I had figured at the time that it was all that could be. And I was wrong. As to when I will get it done I do not know.

When you run out of books you start asking your peers and asking if they know of anything. Then its off to the endless, bottomless, yawning blackhole that is the archives. Between the thousands of pages of office memos and receipts of documents being passed back and forth during the second world war there exists intelligence files. Admittedly intelligence files need to be read carefully. From time to time they are wrong or seemingly contradict information from the Germans themselves. Ironically they also hold records of things that have been overlooked and forgotten.

The archives is no place for the faint of heart, the strain on the eyes is rather real. Whats worse is the strain on the mind… you begin to forget where you saw something and notes are exceedingly important. The archives are the key to unlocking the mystery and finding more. There is simply no easy road no easy route. To go to the archives is to take the road not taken and the road less traveled. It is not something that can be done in a day or even a year. Even large archives are missing such things as a basic index. Sure they can tell you if X exists it will be in ABC pile… but when that pile is say 735,000 pages of material, perhaps you can understand why it is that the books by Jentz, Doyle, Spielberger, Fletcher and Hunnicutt are both held in such regard and why it takes so long to produce anything better.

I have barely scraped the archives. And most of what I have written at FTR will need to be rewritten, the stuff from the US is its own nightmare partly because the US archives is a mess and partly because while solid, organized summary’s exist in the Canadian archives on US projects and ideas, they are only summary’s they tend to lack the deep detailed information. And then there are the things authors mention in passing, which are not expanded upon, such as the 179 ton Panzer Project, TOG, the T1/M6 Heavy Tank, the T-28/95/28 Super Heavy Tank and many others… all exist in further detail in the archives if anyone is willing to dig.

If you can dream it, somebody in the US, the UK, Russia, German, Japan, France and Belgium thought about it, dreamed about, designed it, tested it in the lab, field tested it… or put it into mass production all before the end of 1946. From explosive armor… to underwater tanks… camouflage paint to hide planes from searchlights… to cannon firing at unthinkable velocities and ranges… gauss guns… bombs that could burrow through more than 6 meters of reinforced concrete… drone speed boats able to track and attack other ships on their own… CCTV on armored vehicles… radar based ranging and navigation systems for armored vehicles… and seeing in the dark… it is all there, and more, ever so much more.

What would you give up to find it?

Nemo.

T-80 with 30mm RCWS? Why not!

Hello everyone,

Look what was found standing in the backyard of the Central Scientific – Research Institute for Precision Machine Engineering (ЦНИИточмаш) in Podolsk, Moscow region. Photo credits withheld by author’s wishes.

This is a T-80 MBT with a 30mm remote-controlled weapons system (designation unknown). The gun is missing obviously but you can see the mount there. The weapon system was designed to fight low-flying airplanes and armed with the 30mm 2A42 gun (same as on BMP-3 for example). The mount could traverse 120 degrees on its own, the depression was -51/+65, carried 450 rounds.

Who can say how many interesting prototypes are rotting away in Russia. It’s a shame really, but considering this stuff is still classfied, there would have to be a military budget to keep such vehicles in good shape.

M47 with Diesel

This is an interesting conversion – the Austrian M47D. Basically, the Austrians were looking into replacing the original M47′s engine with the M60 series diesel for the same reasons the Americans did – better economy and reliability. Simmering-Graz-Pauker produced two prototypes of this setup but the project got cancelled.

M47D1

More photos along with other interesting stuff can be found here.

More about the Scarab

Thanks to Jiří Tintěra for the information and the photos!

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As I wrote previously, this new T-72 modification is called T-72 Scarab. This tank is intended specifically for export. The previous names cited by some websites (T-72-4 or T-4-72 and their modifications) are false – the vehicle’s official name does not contain the “4″ part. The Scarab is a deep modernization of T-72M1 MBT, offered by the Czech company Excalibur Army s.r.o.

The first thing you notice is the brand new Czech ERA kit, called DYNA-Excalibur. It’s been designed to be very effective against tandem HEAT warheads and two-piece penetrator kinetic rounds, which means the target customer group are most likely the Middle East countries (well, those not buying overpriced American stuff). The sides and the rear of the turret are protected with cage armor, the top armor was increased as well :) The original engine was replaced with a 840hp V-84 (or M-84, unclear). A remote-controlled 12.7mm NSV MG station was added to the turret, the turret top armor was increased. Vehicle’s periscopes and optics now have anti-laser coating.

The basic Excalibur packet includes retooling the entire vehicle to 0 hour condition and the installation of the basic functions. Updated electronics including a FCS specified by the customer (for example, the Belarusian Sosna-U or the TURMS system) can be added as well.

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SONY DSC

SONY DSC

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