Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Russia Is Now Sending Its New 'Terminator' Tanks To Syria
Russia has sent an armored vehicle, known as the Terminator 2, to Syria.
Russian media reports that a single BMPT-72 has been sent to Syria for testing. It was shown to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week when he visited the Russian base at Hmeymim.
The Terminator 2 is a tank that is designed to protect other tanks, especially in urban areas. It’s built from refurbished hulls from the venerable T-72 main battle tank. But instead of mounting a big 125-millimeter cannon, the BMPT-72 is armed a remarkably diverse suite of weapons that includes two 30 mm cannons, four Ataka-T antitank missile, and a heavy machine gun. This gives the Terminator 2 the capability to engage infantry and light armored vehicles with its cannon, and tanks and buildings with its guided antitank missiles.
The first version of the Terminator was designed in the late 1990s. It was a five-man vehicle based on the chassis of the T-90 tank, according to Russian media. It was armed with two hull-mounted thirty-millimeter automatic grenade launchers in addition to the other weapons, notes Jane’s 360. The Terminator 2, first unveiled in 2013, subtracted the grenade launchers and reduced the crew size to three.
The concept of the “tank support combat vehicle” arose after Russian experiences in Afghanistan and Chechnya, where numerous Russian tanks fell victim to insurgents armed with antitank rockets and missiles. The most notorious incident occurred in the Chechen capital of Grozny on New Year’s Eve, 1994, when large columns of Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers were ambushed and wiped out in the city streets by Chechen fighters armed with antitank rockets. That terrible night alone may have cost the Russians as many as four hundred armored vehicles and a thousand dead.
Russia’s initial response was to escort its tanks with ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled antiaircraft guns, which could rapidly pump out cannon fire to suppress hostile antitank teams. However, the ZSU-23-4 was lightly armored and not equipped to detect ground targets.
Hence the BMPT was designed as a “versatile and mobile weapon for protecting tanks,” explained Sputnik News. “According to the initial conception, vehicles of this type should be used alongside tanks on the battlefield and destroy any potentially dangerous target.”
While the BMPT would seem to be an impressive vehicle, the Russian military doesn’t seem to think so. The Russian army never ordered the first version because the five-man crew was too large, the Ataka missile launchers were unprotected from enemy fire and the fire-control system was lacking.
But “the main disadvantage of the first Terminator was its high cost, since using the T-90’s chassis for an armored fighting vehicle of this type turned out to be prohibitively expensive,” Russia Beyond the Headlines notes.
Are prospects any better for the Terminator 2? This remains to be seen. While Russian media typically extols the virtues of Russian weapons, praise for the BMPT-72 is curiously guarded. RBTH cited a Russian military analyst who noted that while the Terminator 2 is “easier to operate, lighter, and cheaper” than the original, it also has “significantly less firepower. It can fire at only one target at a time, while the first Terminator could take down three targets.”
Conceptually, the Terminator 2 has merits. Much like the Israelis converting their older Merkava tanks into heavily armored troop carriers, a Russian support vehicle heavily armed with missiles and small-caliber cannon might be useful in engaging infantry while the main battle tanks like the T-90 go after big targets like enemy tanks. On the other hand, it’s a tank that isn’t a tank, which means using it will add more tactical complication on the battlefield.
No doubt the hope is that if the Terminator 2 performs well in Syria against rebels, this will induce the Russian army to place some orders.
This article originally appeared at The National Interest.
More articles from The National Interest:
- Duel of the Light Attack Planes: Tucano vs. Texan vs. Scorpion
- How America Can Fight Back Against Hybrid War on the High Seas
- This Is How South Korea Plans to Stop a Nuclear Attack from North Korea
'What happens after that is out of their control' — Former military leaders and lawyers react to Trump's war crimes pardons
On Friday, President Donald Trump intervened in the cases of three U.S. service members accused of war crimes, granting pardons to two Army soldiers accused of murder in Afghanistan and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL found guilty of wrongdoing in Iraq.
While the statements coming out of the Pentagon regarding Trump's actions have been understandably measured, comments from former military leaders and other knowledgable veterans help paint a picture as to why the president's Friday actions are so controversial.
Raccoon infestations and extreme rust didn’t stop an anonymous buyer from nabbing this Soviet-era submarine
A former Soviet submarine that became a tourist attraction docked adjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach is expected to be sold soon to an anonymous buyer, with plans to remove the rusting sub by mid-May.
The 48-year-old Russian Foxtrot-class submarine, known as the Scorpion, had hosted paying visitors for 17 years before it fell into such disrepair that it became infested with raccoons and was closed to the public in 2015.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
A U.S. Air Force combat controller will receive the nation's third highest award for valor this week for playing an essential role in two intense firefight missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.
Tech. Sgt. Cody Smith, an airman with the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing at Air Force Special Operations Command, will receive the Silver Star at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on Nov. 22, the service announced Monday.