What roles do Russian BMPT Terminator playing in the Ukraine-Russia war?

Terminator 2 BMPT
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Tank Support Vehicle (BMPT) Terminator of the Russian Army entered the battlefield, in mid-May, Russian BMPT Terminators have reportedly been sent into Ukraine to take part in Russia’s invasion. 

According to information from the Russian press, the Russian Army has begun to send tank support vehicles (BMPT) Terminator to the battlefield in eastern Ukraine to coordinate with main battle tanks.

It is worth mentioning that this new type of combat vehicle with strong firepower and comprehensive protection was officially put into service with the Russian Army less than a year ago.

However, can the BMPT Terminator adapt to today’s battlefield requirements? Do other countries need to learn from the Russian practice and develop similar tanks? These issues are well worth exploring.

Terminator-2 in Ukraine city
Terminator-2 in Ukraine city

As for the development of Russia’s BMPT Terminator tank support vehicle, which is a specialized combat vehicle, developed in the 1980s, the BMPT Terminator has experienced a “bumpy” journey for decades.

Even after completion and initial design, because the Russian Ministry of Defense could not afford to buy, it could not find export customers. It was not until December 2021 that batch of 9 Terminator-2 vehicles were officially equipped for the 90th Guards Tank Division, of the Central Military District of Russia. Now, the more advanced BMPT Terminator-3 is also on the market.

From the perspective of design positioning, the BMPT Terminator is mainly for coordination with main battle tanks, in complex combat environments such as mountainous terrain and cities, to eliminate enemies that threaten tanks and other vehicles. other armored vehicles against enemy anti-tank detachments, bunkers, points of fire and other armored fighting vehicles.

Moreover, because the vehicle is equipped with 4 powerful multi-purpose anti-tank missiles, so even when facing the enemy’s main battle tanks, the Terminator is not “outraged”.

However, compared to the main infantry fighting vehicles, which are equipped by countries around the world, the advantages and disadvantages of the BMPT Terminator are very clear.

Advantages

In terms of advantages, the outstanding feature of the BMPT Terminator is its powerful firepower and diverse vehicle-equipped weapons, which can deal with almost any type of target on the battlefield.

1. Take the BMPT Terminator-2 as an example, its armament includes two 30mm 2A42 automatic cannons, 1 parallel 7.62mm PKT machine gun; two 30mm AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers and 4 9M120 Ataka-V multi-purpose anti-tank missiles. These weapons are enough to deal with fortified fortifications, fire points or main battle tanks.

BMPT Terminator-2 firepower
BMPT Terminator-2 firepower

Especially the 9M120 missile, which belongs to the multi-purpose anti-tank missile, has a rare supersonic speed in the world, extremely powerful (armor penetration reaches 950 mm), after replacing the rod-piercing warhead, it also can attack low-flying helicopters, attack aircraft and UAVs. Although this missile is a product developed in the 1980s, its performance is still world class.

2. The second outstanding advantage of BMPT Terminator is the use of comprehensive and powerful protective armor. This type of tank has been mainly developed over 3 generations since the design was completed, including the Terminator-1/2 using the T-72B3 tank chassis and the Terminator-3 using the T-90 tank chassis. .

Due to the use of a tank chassis, it has strong armor protection. During the upgrade, Russia comprehensively upgraded the body protection of the BMPT Terminator, adding a large number of heavy explosive reactive armor and additional composite armor.

At the same time, Russian developers also focused on strengthening the protective armor behind and on the side of the vehicle, including high-strength cage armor.

In this way, in complex combat environments such as hilly terrain and cities, even facing attacks from the sides and rear, the BMPT Terminator can have enough defense capabilities.

So, after comprehensive improvement of defensive performance, the combat weight of the BMPT Terminator is almost equivalent to that of the T-72B3 tank.

3. The third outstanding advantage of the BMPT Terminator is that the crew’s ability to survive on the battlefield has been greatly improved.

BMPT Terminator-2 has a total of 5 crew members including the commander, gunner, driver and 2 automatic grenade launcher gunners, all concentrated in the front and center of the vehicle.

This area is also the core area with the strongest protection; The front and sides of the body are protected by heavy explosive reactive armor and additional composite armor, and additional armor plates are specially installed on the bottom of the body to resist the shock waves of mine blasts.

The upper part of the body is protected by a remote control turret, and the rear part of the body is a diesel engine and transmission components, which can also resist attacks.

Especially the remote-controlled turret with weapons and ammunition completely separate from the body. Therefore, even if the turret is hit and detonated, the occupants of the tank are still very safe, and there is essentially no “flying turret” similar to the T-72 and other battle tanks. other mainstay.

Weaknesses of MBPT Terminator

However, in another aspect, the shortcomings of BMPT Terminator are also evident. First of all, because the BMPT Terminator tank directly uses the main battle tank chassis, using the rear engine, so it cannot carry infantry to battle.

The BMPT Terminator-2 version also retains two automatic grenade launcher gunners, who can dismount when necessary; while BMPT Terminator-3 can dropped anytime it want.

BMPT-3 on Armata chassis
BMPT-3 on Armata chassis

Therefore, on the battlefield, when the BMPT Terminator fights with main battle tanks, it also needs to be escorted by infantry or other infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers.

When fighting in complex terrains such as hills and cities, infantrymen, accompanied by tanks and armored fighting vehicles, can climb to high points on either side of the road, or high-rise buildings, sweeping Clean enemy troops can take advantage of these areas to ambush and target for BMPT vehicles to destroy.

It can be said that tanks and battle armor cannot be separated from the infantry’s synergies on the battlefield.

In addition, the BMPT Terminator uses a remote-controlled turret, which protects the safety of the occupants of the vehicle, but it will also make the weapons equipped on the vehicle vulnerable to enemy attack and destruction.

The vehicle’s remote-controlled turret integrates a 30mm automatic cannon, a side machine gun and a multi-purpose anti-tank missile and other main weapons. Once the remote control turret is destroyed, the BMPT Terminator also loses its ability to fight.

In addition, to ensure that the commander and gunner have enough vision, the BMPT Terminator is also equipped with two large peripheral sights. In it, the commander’s peripheral sighting device is installed on the top of the turret. This design can certainly give the commander better visibility, but it will also become a target for large enemy snipers.

In fact, in the Western sniper training program, aiming at enemy tanks and armor is also one of the necessary skills. Therefore, if the BMPT lost its observation system, it will be “blind” and difficult to continue fighting.

The professional development of the future infantry fighting vehicle

Will the BMPT Terminator tank support vehicle with its specific uses and outstanding advantages and disadvantages become the future development direction of infantry fighting vehicles in the world?

Compared to tanks, infantry fighting vehicles born after World War II and during the Cold War are “rising stars”. At that time, the world’s military powers, for the first time developed and equipped armored transport vehicles, called “battle taxis”, based on the experience of coordinating combat between infantry and tanks in World War II.

However, this type of combat vehicle has weak firepower and thin armor, so it is difficult to really accompany battle tanks.

Therefore, on the basis of armored personnel carriers, the body is enlarged, the combat compartment is increased, and a turret equipped with weapons such as cannons, machine guns, anti-tank missiles is installed, leading to infantry fighting vehicles. (BMP) was born.

Since then, infantry fighting vehicles have rapidly replaced armored personnel carriers and become the best partner of main battle tanks.

In the 1980s, the typical infantry fighting vehicle was the Soviet/Russian BMP-3, the development of infantry fighting vehicles in the world reached a new milestone and began to have combat capabilities. certain independence.

Before that, infantry fighting vehicles developed by countries were basically to cooperate with main battle tanks. But the Soviet/Russian BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle has strong and complete firepower, which can perform combat missions independently of main battle tanks.

Therefore, the Soviet Army was never equipped with light tanks or amphibious tanks after the PT-76, as the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle could take on these roles.

After entering the 21st century, the world infantry fighting vehicle has opened a new development milestone, which is the German “Puma”. Representing this type of combat vehicle, the new generation of infantry fighting vehicles not only has stronger stand-alone combat capabilities, but also has stronger armor protection, better maneuverability, and a higher level of performance. more advanced information.

Of course, the next thing is the weight of the new generation infantry fighting vehicles, often up to 30 tons, even more than 40 tons, and the purchase price of course increases.

Therefore, according to experts, the development of the world infantry fighting vehicle will also encounter this situation, just like the main battle tank has been developing in the direction of “big, comprehensive” and going to the limit.

Therefore, to solve this dilemma, specialization or specialization, such as the BMPT Terminator tank support tank, may be a better choice.

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