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Upgunning: Russian tracked IFV:s in 2020

Kurganets-25 prototype
The Russian army has three different types of motorized infantry formations. The new and experimental light ones ride on 4x4 MRAPs and Pickup-trucks. The wheeled ones are now mostly equipped with BTR-82A 8x8 IFV:s, while the tracked ones have more varied equipment including the BMP-2, BMP-3, BMP-4 and MT-LB. The tracked platforms were supposed to be replaced with the new Armata family vehicles the heavy T-15 and the lighter Kurganets-25.

Both the T-15 and Kurganets-25 have had serious development delays and the Kurganets-project has on several occasions been labeled as abandoned. While the new vehicles are troublesome, their turret development seems to have been more successful.

T-15 with the 57mm AU-220 turret

The “Epoch” turret, that was developed for the Kurganets-25 has been up-gunned with a medium velocity 57mm gun. The resulting turret has been integrated with BMP-3 IFV and several of the new vehicles are entering service trials in the first quarter of 2020. The 57mm gun will not completely replace the dual gun set-up in BMP-3 and BMP-3M IFVs.

Model of a BMP-3 with 57mm Epoch-turret

There is also the 2S38 ZAK-57 Derivatsiya-PVO variant of the BMP-3 under development. It mates the AU-220 turret developed for the T-15 with a BMP-3 chassis. The 2S38 has an air-defense oriented sensor package and the gun is a high velocity 57mm that packs a lot more punch than the one mounted on the “Epoch” turret.

ZAK-57
The venerable BMP-2, while once revolutionary, is now badly behind the curve. Its armor protection was low when it was introduced and while its 30mm gun still packs a punch, the original missiles are rather ineffective in the modern battlefield.

Russians have developed a new turret to upgrade the BMP-2s. The unmanned “Berezhok” turret has four 9M133M "Kornet-M" ATGMs and a 30mm 2A42 autocannon. This upgrade will be rolling to the troops during 2020. It’s also possible to upgrade the few remaining BMP-1:s in the Russian depots this way.

Unmanned Berezhok turret to be mounted into hundreds of BMP-2s

BMP-2M with the manned Berechok-turret

The only new addition to the Russian combat roster in 2020 will be the production BMPT Terminator. The vehicles that have toured all the military fairs and even fought briefly in Syria are pre-production prototypes and finally the first production vehicles will reach the actual combat units.

In 2015 the Russian army was proudly saying that by 2020 they will have less vehicle variants in service, with most of the troops equipped with new vehicles that share the maximum number of common components. 

In 2020 they have more IFV variants and sub-variants in service than before, with no unifying platform in sight. 

While the combat capability of the Russian ground forces is certainly increasing the whole armament program looks a lot like a surge designed for maximum short term gains instead of sustainable development path.




https://rg.ru/2019/11/22/t-15-i-kurganec-25-rossijskie-bmp-s-57-mm-pushkami-pokazhut-na-parade.html
https://www.janes.com/article/88975/russia-considers-arming-armoured-fleet-with-57-mm-cannons
https://www.armyrecognition.com/september_2017_global_defense_security_news_industry/bmp-3_fitted_with_epoch_unmanned_turret_ready_for_test_trials.html

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