Sep 20, 2022
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Special Operations Z weapons: BTR-82A – a rejuvenated veteran you can rely on

In the photo: BTR-82A

In the photo: BTR-82A (Photo: Press Service of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / TASS)

The press service of the defense department of the Russian Federation published video footage showing a fragment of a military clash between military personnel of the allied forces and a unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Both units were supported by the fire of armored personnel carriers – BTR-82A from the Russian side and M-113 from the Ukrainian side. The result of the confrontation was predictable and natural. Ukrainian nationalists very quickly left the battlefield, leaving on it the “gift” of their overseas master.

Fact-proven examples of the victory of Russian weapons are always nice, but we will not talk about that. We will try to figure out what kind of car it is. Some experts talk about it as a fundamentally new armored personnel carrier. Others, in my opinion quite rightly, consider it, although successful, but, nevertheless, the next reincarnation of the good old BTR-80, which received the status of a serial armored personnel carrier back in 1984. The main claims against the “eighties” were called the lack of firepower and frankly weak mine protection.

This was the main motive for the adoption in 2010 of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation of its modernized version – the BTR-82AM. What is the difference between BTR-82AM and BTR-82A? The first were produced exclusively by upgrading the “progenitor” – the BTR-80. The second are, in operational terms, new machines that appeared as a result of the implementation of a separate project. This program did not provide for R&D to develop a fundamentally new armored personnel carrier, since it is costly both in time and money. The key objectives of the project were:

– the growth of the firepower of the machine;

– strengthening of anti-fragmentation and anti-mine protection of the hull;

– ensuring the possibility of firing on the move, and this applied to any meteorological conditions and time of day;

– maintaining the strengths of the BTR-80, for example, high mobility.

To what extent did it succeed? Let’s analyze.

Even a glimpse of the BTR-82A is enough to make sure that he inherited the hull from his “big brother”, and with virtually no changes. The same 7-10 mm rolled steel armor was used as the material for its manufacture. The level of survivability of the landing force and the crew is slightly increased by using an internal Kevlar anti-fragmentation lining. The manufacturer claims to strengthen mine protection, however, he does not explain how this problem was technically solved. It should be noted the appearance of chairs with energy-absorbing suspension and air conditioning.

The BTR-82A has a “tank” layout of the internal compartments: the control compartment is in front, the power compartment is in the stern, and the combat compartment is in the center. In addition, he significantly “gained weight” – from 13.6 tons to 15.4 tons. Part of the reason for this could be equipping the car with a new power unit – an 8-cylinder turbodiesel 300-horsepower KamAZ-740.14-300 with a volume of 10.85 liters . Thanks to this solution, the new armored personnel carrier, at least, retained mobility and high maneuverability. Despite the solid fuel consumption (38 l / 100 km), a full refueling of the BTR-82A provides it with a cruising range of six hundred kilometers on the highway and from two hundred to five hundred on unpaved surfaces. Turret turns are provided by a 5-kilowatt auxiliary power plant, and a stern jet propulsion unit is designed for swimming.

As the main armament, the BTR-82A received a turret cannon-machine gun mount (BPPU), in which a 30-mm 2A72 automatic cannon is paired with a PKTM machine gun (7.62 mm). The BPPU is equipped with a digital two-plane stabilizer, an electric drive, a day (night) gunner’s sight TKN-4GA, which has a control channel for remote detonation of ammunition. On the version of the TKN-4GA-3 sight, the night channel was replaced by a thermal imaging one. In addition, the new machine received combined surveillance devices and Aqueduct digital radio stations capable of encrypting the transmitted signal. The role of additional weapons is played by smoke grenade launchers.

The artillery mount is capable of firing all types of 30 × 165 mm ammunition designed for the 2A42 gun. The concept of “all” also includes armor-piercing sub-caliber ammunition at a distance of 1000 meters, penetrating sloping 47-mm armor. When using a high-explosive fragmentation projectile, the firing range indicator increases to 3000 meters or more. The presence of selective power provides instantaneous switching between belts loaded with projectiles of various types. Ammunition size: PKTM – 2000 rounds, 2A72 – 300 rounds.

The key performance and operational characteristics of the BTR-82A are as follows:

– speed (maximum), km / h – 100;

– speed afloat, km / h – 9;

– elevation angle (maximum), degree – 30;

– overcoming vertical obstacles (wall), m – 0.5;

– the width of the ditch to be overcome, m – 2.

The composition of the crew, people – 3;

The composition of the landing force, people – 7.

Serial production of the BTR-82A formally began in 2011, but a year earlier, Kazakhstan purchased a batch of seventy vehicles for its armed forces. Already in 2017, the number of BTR-82A operated by the power structures of the Russian Federation exceeded 1400. Currently, this vehicle is quite worthy of the status of “the main armored personnel carrier of the RF Armed Forces.”

The machine has taken part in all armed conflicts (with varying degrees of presence of Russian troops) in recent years: Donbass (2014-2021), Syria (from 2015 to the present), Nagorno-Karabakh (2020). Now – a special military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine. Its main operators, with the exception of Russia, are the post-Soviet countries: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Abkhazia. Some include Syria in this list, but officially the BTR-82A has not been adopted by its army.

It is obvious that the armored personnel carrier with the index 82A did not become either breakthrough or revolutionary, even despite the fact that some of the “experts” were quick to call it “the best in the world.” Moreover, its comparison with the T-90M “Proryv” or machines created on the unified platform “Armata” looks incorrect. Nevertheless, this is a “strong” version of the good old BTR-80 and just a good fighting vehicle, which, in fact, has already been repeatedly proved during the Russian special operation “Z”.

In addition, as they say, the machine of the promising Boomerang family of armored personnel carriers is on the way. Their fate today is rather vague – modern weapons require very large financial and time costs. Therefore, the actions of the Russian military leadership, who want to have a proven armored personnel carrier at hand, are the best suited for participating in peacekeeping operations and low-intensity armed conflicts, it seems logical.

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