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Russian ‘Terminator’ Combat Vehicle Ready for Service

The Russian Army will receive its first batch of nine “Terminator” tank support combat vehicles on December 1, TASS revealed, citing the commander of the central military district.

The batch will join the military district’s 90th Guards Tank Division in the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions following the completion of June trials, the outlet added, citing division commander Colonel-General Alexander Lapin.

Development

Lapin said the vehicle’s performance was very “effective” during trials, claiming its firepower is “unrivaled” in its class. He revealed that a more extensive “operational evaluation exercise” will take place next June “to explore the potential of employing a battalion of tank support combat vehicles,” adding that a company of vehicles for a motor rifle regiment is also possible.

The “Terminator,” full name Boyevaya Mashina Podderzhki Tankov-72 (BMPT-72), is an upgraded version of the BMPT tank support combat vehicle developed by UralVagonZavod Corporation, Russia. The BMPT, built on the chassis of the T-72 main battle tank, was launched more than 20 years ago but didn’t find many takers in the military, National Interest wrote.

The BMPT-72 was unveiled at the Russian Arms Expo exhibition 2013 and later displayed at Russia’s annual Victory Day military parade in May 2018. The army began testing the first batch of the vehicles in December 2020 in the Chelyabinsk region.

Features

Deputy commander of the 90th Tank Division, Col. Andrey Sigarev, was quoted by Defense News on Channel One television as saying that the vehicle’s “uniqueness” is its ability to engage three types of targets simultaneously.

Its weaponry comprises the Ataka supersonic anti-tank missile system — capable of striking targets at up to 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) — two 30mm guns for infantry forces and helicopters, two grenade launchers, and a Kalashnikov submachine gun. It has a top speed of 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour.

“One BMPT actually substitutes [for] one motor rifle platoon: six infantry fighting vehicles and 40-strong personnel. It is actually impossible to survive under the Russian vehicle’s fierce precision fire,” UralVagonZavod claimed in a statement.

The vehicle is reportedly designed to protect its five-member crew from radiation following a nuclear blast and operate in diverse climatic and geographical conditions, including urban warfare. According to the manufacturer, the vehicle was developed to shield tanks from anti-tank systems, particularly in urban conflicts. 

However, it has acquired more diverse characteristics over time, including that of a “fire support combat vehicle rather than a tank support fighting vehicle,” which can be utilized with “armored, motorized infantry formations and on its own.” 

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