Deputy Managing Director of the Tula KBP them. Academician A.G. Nikolay Khokhlov told Nikolay POROSKOV about the creation of the Bakhcha and Berehok combat modules, as well as about the development prospects and the latest developments of the well-known defense enterprise. Shipunova in the direction of armored vehicles, anti-tank missile systems and artillery equipment.
RULE "LONG HAND"
- Nikolai Ivanovich, how did the idea of creating “Bakhchi” come about? Was it dictated by the presence of such samples from a probable (potential) enemy, or did you need the development of your own products of the previous generation?
- The topic of the BMP armament complex appeared at the end of the 80s of the last century. It was the intention to create an infantry fighting vehicle (BMP) of the new generation. As our leader, Arkady Georgievich Shipunov, said, the positive thing in the project was that they divided, smashed the development, on the one hand, of armament and, on the other, of the machine itself, that is, the chassis. The result was the BMP-3 armament complex developed by the Tula KBP, under the leadership of Shipunov, Gryazev and Berezin. This machine in terms of firepower has not been surpassed to date.
We saw the flaws of the BMP-3, and when the paratroopers needed the next generation of equipment, it was decided to make a completely new car, the Bakhcha. It contained many elements of unification with the BMP-3. We needed a car landed from the plane. It was necessary to increase the combat power of the airborne units. Using the already achieved technical solutions, taking into account the shortcomings revealed during the operation, we created a completely new combat department "Bakhcha", much more efficient than what was on the BMP-3.
The fighting compartment was immediately decided to make it unified, that is, suitable for placement on any carriers. And therefore “Bakhcha” in the coming years 15 – 20 will not be repeated. This is a completely new unique combat unit, which combines the power of artillery and automatic weapons and allows you to solve almost all the tasks on the battlefield. This was particularly relevant at the beginning of the 1990s, when, under the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (Paris Agreement 1990 of the Year), we cleaned all heavy artillery outside the Urals. Today, thank God, we came out of this agreement. But Bakhcha-U remains the most powerful fighting unit in the world. And no one is close.
- What caused the appearance of "Berezhka"?
- We are constantly conducting an analysis of various military conflicts, trying to obtain information about what is happening in our field abroad. Yet over the years of operation of the BMP-2, new, well-protected targets on the battlefield have appeared, new challenges have appeared. Having such a massive car as the BMP-2, it's a sin not to give it a new quality. As a result, carried out the modernization, although in fact turned out the car a new generation. She retained all the advantages and advantages of a full-time BMP-2, but also received new fighting qualities. This is firing day and night, from the spot and on the move with guided weapons (missiles), the ability to combat tank-dangerous manpower. The universal combat compartment solves the same tasks, only by a slightly different outfit of forces and means. The new machine has aroused great interest among foreign customers, but now we are preparing it for the Russian army.
- Critics claim that, due to the large volume of transportable equipment, the landing force has been reduced to five people, and because of the increased mass, the opportunity to swim has been lost. In fact, the car turned into a non-floating combat reconnaissance vehicle (BRM). Is it so?
- In Berezhka, the landing didn’t reduce at all, and the ergonomics of the BMP-2 are also kept there. In Bakhche, the landing also was not reduced, it is not about us. Yes, the number of paratroopers in the BMD-4 is less than in an infantry vehicle, but this is due to the weight limit for the possibility of landing. The machine still weighs 13 tons. I note: all our cars are floating.
- The developers claim: “Bakhcha-U” can be placed on different chassis - BMP-2, BMP-3, BMD-3, BTR “Rostok”, BMD-4М and other Russian and foreign carriers with similar loading capacity, as well as on boats, ships and stationary objects. What, on all this technology "Bakhcha" installed?
- Yes, it was tested and installed. The only exception is the "Sprout", it is decommissioned. "Bakhchu" really can be placed on ships, boats, and used as a stationary firing point. That is, the combat compartment is self-sufficient, you only need to supply DC power, and it will solve all the problems.
- Experts say: at the time of its creation, Bahcea overtook to some extent Tanks - they had neither a panoramic sight of the commander, nor a target tracking machine. What did this championship give?
- For the paratroopers it was a powerful leap forward - the BMD-4 could fight on equal terms with the most modern tank. Americans today only approach this. They were very proud that from a tank on an 2,5 kilometer they hit the target with a probability of 0,5, that is, two shells are spent on one target. And “Bakhcha” can shoot at this tank with guided and unguided projectiles from 5,5 kilometers. That is, the tank needs another kilometer 3 to go under fire to make the first shot. This is the concept, or the rule of "long arm": being outside the fire zone of the enemy, defeat.
IN A COMPANY WITH “ARMATO” AND “KURGANZ”
- According to the experts, the BMD-4 "Bakhcha-U" has no foreign analogues, and compared with the BMD-3, the new combat compartment is not less than 2,5 times, and according to some estimates it is an order of magnitude higher in firepower units to solve problems without the support of tanks and artillery - both in the offensive and in defense. Due to what such a growth of firepower?
- First, due to the new combat kit. I am referring to the new shells with OFS (34 units) and ATGM (4 units) with increased firing range and improved armor-proof. Secondly, the commander’s panoramic sight is two pairs of eyes. The detection capabilities have increased, the sights are installed modern, with integrated range finders. The commander can work in any mode: take control of the machine, give target designation.
- The Boomerang-BM unmanned combat module, in which the crew is housed inside the combat vehicle's hull, as in “Armaty”, is a continuation of a family of similar Tula development systems?
- No, not a continuation, this is another topic. The line of the state defense order is developing an unmanned combat module for promising tracked and wheeled light and heavy platforms. He was already shown at the parade next to "Armata" and "Kurgan". This information is still limited.
- Creates a robotic complex "Strike" on the basis of the infantry fighting vehicle BMP-3. This is the development of the Kovrov All-Russian Scientific Research Institute "Signal", which is also part of the High-Precision Complexes holding. Does KBP have anything to do with this project?
- “Strike” does not resonate with our products, we do not work on this subject. Simply, the “Signal” asks us for weapons, borrows combat modules or combat compartments. They make a filling that allows the machine to move without human intervention.
- More about one project. On the basis of the BTR-MDM "Shell" and BMD-4М "Gardener" for the Russian Airborne Forces will create a medical machine - an experimental design work "Injury", as well as the machine control complex with an automatic system "Andromeda." On this chassis, your Kornet anti-tank complex with extended-range missiles will be mounted, and the tracked BMD-4М “Gardener” will again be equipped with your Bakhcha-U combat module. Can you comment?
- We have no relation to this project. The products you listed are manufactured by the concern “Tractor Plants”. We make our own Commander’s automated control complexes for conducting network-centric warfare and Malachite for controlling artillery fire.
- The defense enterprises listed above - in cooperation with you or competitors?
-BMP-3 we started in cooperation with Kurganmashzavod: they developed the machine and the actual fighting compartment, we are a weapon system. Then, for a number of reasons, our roads diverged, they continue to mass-produce the BMP-3, now they are making the BMD-4М, modernizing the old BMP-3. The "Gardener" is an example of an infantry fighting vehicle, but with our combat compartment. That is, it is a factory for the production of light armored vehicles. To some extent we are competitors, to some extent we are in cooperation. More all the same in cooperation.
"BRADLEY" AND "PUMA" RELAX
- According to the developers, the BMP-2М Berehok acquired firepower comparable to that of three or four former BMP-2. Reducing the loss rate by more than two times, ammunition consumption was almost halved. Due to what?
- At the expense of the modern fire control system: both the commander and the gunner can take control of themselves. Four missiles are constantly ready for battle, and the missile does not require any alteration. We are the only ones in the world who, with a guided infantry rocket, fire day and night “on the go”: you drive and the target moves. The rocket in the Berezhok project acquired new qualities: it can be fired from a ground combat installation and from a vehicle. An automatic grenade launcher of high power allows you to hit hidden targets, manpower behind the folds of the terrain at a distance of two kilometers. Thanks to the target tracking machine, defeat it becomes a technical characteristic: the gunner’s qualifications or his physical condition significantly less affect the result of the defeat.
The decrease in the loss coefficient is due to the fact that it is possible to shoot from a long distance. The number of ammunition halved, since the sighting complex is new, more accurate.
- Critics say: if you install an uninhabited module, jobs must be transferred, in fact, you have to "throw out" two soldiers from the landing force. And with the installation of the necessary components and assemblies, there is a need to eliminate another place.
- I don’t know what units and aggregates we are talking about ... The place that occupied the ammunition unit is now occupied by the commander and the gunner, they just sit downstairs, inside the case, and the ammunition unit is at the top.
- I counted a lot of foreign upgrades for BMP-2: Polish (Grupa Bumar), Czech BVP-2, Indian Sarath, special modification for Finland BMP-2, RAFAEL (Israel) offered the Samson Mk II combat department for modernization, there is an offer of Ukrainian SpetstechExport. That is, they all take work from the Russian defense industry? Doesn't that worry you?
- Czechoslovakia in Soviet times produced the BMP-2 under license, and manufacturers modify the product by virtue of their understanding. Israel proposes to upgrade and many other equipment captured in the fighting. This is a market, tough competition. We can not prohibit upgrading BMP-2. Another thing is that everyone turns out differently. In addition, there are still only proposals for modernization, which you have listed, but there is no business.
- The “Berezhok” complex by the criterion of “cost - efficiency” has no analogues in the world, which determines its great export success. What makes our product cheaper?
- We take the existing combat compartment and put it on the chassis or refining, installing additional weapons. Alteration is minimal. Naturally, the cost in this case is less.
- With the installation "Berezhka" with minimal reworking, the BMP-2 does not lose its excellent ride quality and ability to swim, but receives a control system weapons (FCS), weapons and communications and navigation systems at the level of modern infantry combat vehicles of the BMD-4, М2А3 type “Bradley”, “Puma” and even better. How do you manage to keep driving performance?
- We try to minimize the extra weight. In "Berezhka" is 500 kilogram. Combat and tactical and technical characteristics remained unchanged.
- When carrying out modernization, do you take into account responses from the troops, from the main "users"?
- We are in constant contact with the users, especially since the new machine is under warranty. Our experts go to the troops, helping the military in the development and maintenance of new equipment. We train the navigators, operators in our training center - this is provided by the Okayer program. Therefore, we know well the weak points of our technology, we take it into account in further development, during modernization.
If we talk about the specific recommendations of the troops, then this is the deployment of a range finder, ammunition on the “Bakhche” compared to the BMP-3. In the first Chechen campaign, it became clear to us how to improve it, develop it. We took into account the experience of using BMP-2 abroad. For example, a machine stopped to launch a guided missile becomes a target. Need to shoot in motion.
WILL HAVE TO DO FLEXIBLE TANKS
- What foreign assessments of products of Tula KBP are known to you?
- The requirement to remove the BMP-3 for the Urals is already an estimate. A potential adversary is trying to remove the weapon he fears, away from sin. We didn’t have meetings with local designers, so it’s not possible to get their opinion, and it’s completely impossible with the current sanctions regime. Although, of course, at international arms exhibitions we approach the stands of other countries. In such cases, knowing who we are, it is often generally forbidden to shoot. A European tank OBT-2000 was displayed at an exhibition in India, so there were padlocks for all hatches.
- The struggle of the creators of percussion weapons and weapons of protection is eternal. Some say that their weapons will break through any defense, others claim that their defense will repel any blow. Where is the truth when it comes to your particular weapon?
- It is impossible to say unequivocally that some are right and others are wrong. Newton also discovered: action equals opposition. New elements of protection appear, but over time there are means of destruction that overcome this protection. When our "Cornet" began a confident march around the world, one English officer told academician Shipunov: "Probably, we now have to make solid-cast tanks!" That is, he meant that by inventing protection, you can reach the point of absurdity.
Of course, we profess an ideology: do everything to protect our country. But it makes no sense to carry excessively heavy defense - it is better to get ahead of the enemy and hit him at a distance from which he can not effectively respond. This is the concept of "long arm", which professed Shipunov.
- Weapon developers are simply forced to look into tomorrow. What new adversary means do you expect, knowing them, to improve your own weapons and military equipment?
- We knew for a long time and today we know what is developing, for example, unmanned aviation - as a means of reconnaissance and means of destruction. Therefore, in the design of our combat vehicles, we are laying the possibility of firing not even obstructive fire, but namely aimed fire to engage low flying air targets. I mean, in particular, the complex "Shell".
The Kornet anti-tank missile system on the Bakhcha and Berezhok combat vehicles also has this capability. The presence of automatic target tracking allows an automatic gun or any weapon with a sufficient range of reach to conduct aimed shooting at low-flying targets. The decision is made by the crew commander or gunner operator.
There are new means of destruction, such as cruise missiles with a small reflective surface. And we are working to improve the accuracy of detection, the tracking of such targets and their defeat, we are working on how to improve combat performance. In the combat machine we are working on and which we will soon show at the exhibition, one person in an automated mode works on two goals simultaneously: on the air and on the ground. KBP is a diversified firm, and we follow the development of armaments in various areas.
- How do you take into account in modern developments the nature of future wars - contactless, hybrid, network-centric, with the use of weapons on new physical principles?
- We can not stay, as they used to say, in the era of the Napoleonic wars. But, as shows история and the practice of our enterprise, the concept of network-centricism created by the American military, is nothing more than an advertising move to once again draw us into an arms race. They themselves do not fight with this concept anywhere, they only impose their own vision of the modern battlefield on the world, where everything is supposedly automated, where there is a connection from a single soldier to a brigade commander ...
- The same snag, as with the star wars?
- And with star wars, and with "smart" ammunition. In fact, the organization of the interaction of branches of the armed forces, types of armed forces is the primary task of any commander of any country. Only with effective interaction can you achieve success. Why did the Germans go through the whole of Europe in the course of the Second World War? Thanks to the implementation of the theory of blitzkrieg: artillery preparation, air strike, and then armored wedges come into play, which sew defense and go to the operating room. According to the theory of network-centrism, it turns out that a fighter hung with electronics, before firing at the enemy, must report to the commander: to hit or not? As long as he gets an answer, he himself is slapped. That is, we observe elements of absurdity in network centrism.
- Do you carry out comparative tests of your weapons and those of competitors, as, for example, the aircraft makers do?
- If this is possible, then of course we do. In particular, the foreign customer. At one time, an Israeli firm exhibited its products against Berezhka. We won, proved our advantage by the results of hitting targets, but taking into account local specifics, the release of results has not yet occurred.
SHOT - DON'T FORGET
- Which of your foreign counterparts of your weapon cause you respect or even fear?
- It is difficult to say this is a philosophical topic. Of course, now the American and German guns, mounted on light-armored vehicles, pierce armor that is thicker than ours. They have a larger liner volume, greater initial velocity of the projectile, better quality materials and gunpowder. But we do not chase them blindly. Our 30 mm cartridge is universal, cross-species. With these cartridges, we can shoot at sea, in the air and on land. They also have a tough specialization in the types of troops. And then, we solve the problem in another way. And they, and we have both advantages and disadvantages.
Yes, the Jewelin’s anti-tank rocket, which supposedly finds the target itself, works on the principle of “fired and forgotten”, commands respect. But how can a man leading a battle forget his goal? He needs to make sure he hit her.
We put an automatic target tracking machine in our car, that is, we had “brains” in the car all the time. Their “brains” fly away with each rocket. Their rockets are three or four, and some are ten times more expensive than our analogs, which solve the same problems. The homing head on their rockets does not exclude the so-called friendly fire. Having suffered losses from it, foreign developers introduce a correction mode.
- Do your weapons in the world copy? What are you doing to preserve intellectual property?
- Copy, of course. I think that the preservation of intellectual property, its protection should be monitored by the state, the designated authorities and services. Now this has been given more attention. Previously, they simply gave documents to socialist countries, the same Kalashnikov assault rifles.
About three years ago there was a message that our “Cornet” was launched in Iran - under a different name. But even the technological color there is fully consistent with ours: the warhead is yellow, the rocket is gray, the controls are black. One to one. Although we did not have contracts or supplies with the Iranians.
- I heard this judgment of our defense industry: the party that copied the Russian weapons, can refer to the secrecy of their own product and not open the documentation to the court.
- There are precedents for the opposite. Israel copied or upgraded our tank T-55 completely, as they say, without bothering. And they explained numerous coincidences as a result of long-term studies. When they began to understand, reached the starting heater used in low temperature conditions. But why a heater in Israel, where the average annual temperature + 30 degrees? So they proved that the Israelis are our copy.
- As far as your company touched sanctions? Is something being done for import substitution?
- The sanctions were a novelty for the first time, and in the sixth, as now our company, they gave up on them: they are there, they are not there, what's the difference? We leave on replacement and on insurance stocks, in parallel we carry out our own developments. Here the sanctions applied to Russia as a state, of course, inhibit, since we have many subcontractors and co-contractors.
- How are the names of weapons and military equipment, sometimes quite bizarre?
- As there is a theory of random numbers, that there is a set of random words. They called some product an exotic term or a word from a completely different area, and then we get used to it and it seems that there is complete compliance. Why did one jet infantry flamethrower be called "Bumblebee" and the other - "Prize"? "Bumblebee" does not buzz, and bangs so that the ears pinch. Anti-tank missiles "Fagot", "Competition" (they say, argued with colleagues, competed, which is better), "Metis" ... The latter after 10 years found an excuse: cheap, like a grenade launcher, and at the same time ATGM! And the "Cornet"? What does the hussar rank? In a word, the name is a matter of chance. The main thing is that the name does not affect the combat characteristics.
On the go
- Nikolay Poroskov
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