Arctic all-wheel drive
Along the way, many experimental and operational problems were solved. How was the preparation for the march proceeded, what goals were outlined and what did you get in the end?
Northern and Far Eastern directions are the most difficult for automobile and armored vehicles. This is explained by the low density of roads, rocky boulder-gravel surface, close groundwater in summer, high snow cover in winter, weather and ice conditions, and other extreme features. This limits the maneuverability of the troops, determines their attachment to the directions along the valleys and ridges.
The specific climatic conditions of the Far North have determined the priority equipment of the troops in the region mainly with all-terrain vehicles - snow-swamp-going floating tracked vehicles and all-wheel drive vehicles. All of them are used not only for the transportation of personnel and military property, but primarily as base chassis (platforms) for the installation of various weapons.
The regulatory and technical documents of the Ministry of Defense for the creation of wheeled and tracked military motor vehicles provide for their operation from plus 50 to minus 50 degrees on any roads and terrain. The plans include equipping the formations deployed in the northern regions with promising military vehicles. But before you start them in the series, you should conduct a series of tests, especially in low temperature conditions.
Following the international forums “The Arctic is the Territory of Dialogue” (2010, 2011, 2013, 2017), the Ministry of Defense gradually adapted the developed samples for use in the High North. In November, the 2012-th introduced the new "Type of military automotive technology." It was distinguished from previous program documents by the presence of several fundamentally new groups of machines, primarily for operation in the Arctic. In particular, snowmobiles, special vehicles, including ultra-low pressure tires, lightly armored and unarmored two-link conveyors of all categories were recognized as promising.
In the Main Automobile-Tank Directorate of the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, it was understood that equipping the "northern" units with new snow and swamp vehicles would expand the range of tactical techniques, increase the combat potential of the formations, and improve maintenance and repair. After the approval of the type started to implement these ideas.
"Aleut" left in the hummocks
The first stage was a complex of research tests and trial operation of machines intended for the North in various parts of the Defense Ministry, including those deployed in the Arctic region - on Kotelniy Island. Previous experience with articulated tracked conveyors GAS-3351 «Moose" GAS-3344 «Aleut" TTM-4902, DT 3P, snowmobile with TTM-1901 «eagle 'heated cab wheeled ATVs on tires TTM-3930 low and ultralow pressure Nitra and Tracol-39294 made it possible for the first time to formulate tactical and technical requirements for these types of military equipment and begin designing. Interestingly, in the cycle of works the mechanism of public-private partnership was used.
One of the first reviews of prototypes of technology and its capabilities was a conference with a demonstration of dynamic capabilities at the Scientific Research Institute of Nuclear Power Engineering of the 3 Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense in April of the 2011.
The next stage is the implementation of requirements by the industry in the OCD series. Moreover, each stage of the project was accompanied by research. The leadership of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation set the task to work out the machine designs and tactics of the units during field tests in areas with extreme operating conditions.
It is no secret that experts and scientists relied on the experience of predecessors. Expeditionary studies of military vehicles were one of the features and the most important components of the entire test system. The foundations of this school were laid in the very first widely known automobile races of the USSR era. By the end of 80, the system represented a well-proven and methodologically proven research mechanism. Columns of promising cars were periodically sent to extreme areas to test various indicators, especially readiness, reliability, mobility, and cross-country ability. Organizationally, the expeditions were supported by a system of supporting military units. However, in 90, all of this was broken for obvious reasons. The Ministry of Defense’s Main Armored Directorate has developed a plan for the gradual restoration of the system simultaneously with increasing efforts to develop the Arctic.
The first step was the December 2013 expedition of the year to the Kola Peninsula. Involved 25 units of wheeled and snow-swamp vehicles, more than 80 people. They marched over four thousand kilometers, conducted laboratory and road studies and autonomous runs on the Rybachy peninsula in the Murmansk region. Together with the fighters of the special operations forces, they determined the possibility of performing tasks on existing and passing military vehicle samples (BAT).
As a result, they formulated the requirements for wheeled models performed by the “HL” (with the possibility of operation at temperatures up to minus 60 degrees), tested new methods of research in the Arctic, and gained invaluable experience of interaction when performing expeditionary scientific and technical tasks.
The second winter expedition took place from 4 to 24 in February of 2016. It was attended by representatives of military authorities and industrial enterprises, 18 units of equipment. In particular, "Ural-53099" "Typhoon-U", KAMAZ-43502 "Patrol", "Tracol-39295" with a cargo platform, KAMAZ-53501 HL, "Ural-4320-31" HL, "Ural-63706" " Tornado-U ”with armored cab,“ Ural-Next ”wheel formula 6x6,“ Ural-Avtovoz-M ”with frame-panel cab, army snowmobiles А1 with sleds and equipped with a cabin ТТМ 1901-40, KAMAZ-5350 with an armored car. provisioning machines. Expeditionary trials started from Moscow Bronnitsy. The route goes to the city of Naryan-Mar and back. In total, the vehicle has covered more than six thousand kilometers.
These tests allowed to clarify the performance of the most promising samples in the operation in the Far North. In essence, we received a start in life of cars performed by the “HL”, requirements for military vehicles on ultra-low pressure tires were formulated and a lot more was done.
In the first expeditions, mainly wheeled vehicles were tested, then the turn of tracked samples arrived. At the coordination scientific and technical council, the Deputy Minister of Defense made the final decision to conduct the most difficult transition along Tiksi-Kotelny Island in 2017. Suffice it to say that the movement was to be in a storm, with limited visibility, on the ice.
The expedition went to eight promising models: cars on tires of ultra-low pressure “Trakol-39294” and “Trakol-39295”, tractors DT-10М with two snowmobiles in the second link, DT-30PM with a trailer, DT-10M with a body-container, GAZ -3344-20. More than 50 researchers from GABTU, NIITs AT AT 3-th Central Research Institute, engineering troops, 25-th Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, the main military medical department, special operations forces, coastal troops of the Navy, industry representatives participated in this transition.
The run was the hardest. An autonomous march was completed with a convoy of snow-plowing equipment on the route Tiksi settlement - Cape Buor-Khaya - Svyatoy Nos - Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island - Small Lyakhovsky Island - Boiler Island and back. The total length of the route was more than two thousand kilometers. In addition, four control runs were conducted with a total length of about 800 kilometers.
The temperature dropped to minus 45 degrees, the maximum wind speed at gusts reached 35 meters per second. Since for the first time in such a volume and in similar conditions the research was conducted, it is important to name them. This will provide a complete picture of the situation.
So, were tested and evaluated:
starting quality and microclimate in habitable compartments at low temperatures;
the sufficiency of the energy reserve on board for autonomous (up to three days) stay in standby mode with the accommodation of a full-time crew while maintaining the minute readiness of the equipment for the beginning of the movement;
the possibility of long-term autonomous residence of the crew in habitable compartments;
operating costs of fuels and lubricants and special fluids when driving on clear, peaty and mixed ice surfaces, on virgin snow with different density and depth;
average speeds of single samples and a snow-billowing column (mixed and tracked) when driving in various situations (with fully functional equipment, when towing a damaged car, when driving with a speed limit set);
the possibility of inspection, daily maintenance, number maintenance and routine maintenance, fitness for military repair at low temperatures and strong gusty winds up to 35 meters per second;
reliability of samples and completeness of spare parts when performing autonomous marches;
the effectiveness of lighting areas when driving at night in a blizzard with a visibility of one or two meters and the possibility of movement using a night vision device in normal conditions;
the reliability of the installed additional equipment (crane boom with electric winch, removable ramps for the snowmobile to the second link, electric panels for heating the cabin and habitable compartments, loading platforms on the roof of the first link).
Along the way, equipment was tested to determine the thickness of the ice, communications equipment, electric cable nets (for moisture and snow protection, sudden changes in temperature). Checked evacuation. The sufficiency of the set of Arctic uniforms and its convenience for work as a driver at low temperatures and gusts of wind up to 35 meters per second, visibility were evaluated.
The program of testing BAT and means of support in the complex natural and climatic conditions of the Arctic has been fully implemented.
On the tundra, without railway
During the last unique expedition, the possibilities of autonomous living of personnel and placing material and technical equipment in frame-inflatable tents, repair and maintenance of equipment in a frame-inflatable hangar were evaluated. The effectiveness of promising small-sized portable means of heating components and assemblies, individual BAT systems (in particular, heat guns and panels) has been established.
In addition, preliminary testing of a special snow and swamp vehicle was conducted on ultra-low pressure tires, and acceptance tests of the inactive trailer link to DT-30PM two-stage conveyors were carried out. The effectiveness of the changes made to the device of the two-link crawler conveyor tractor GAZ-3344-20 has been checked. As a result, it is recommended for acceptance for the supply of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
In the course of the autonomous march, the rational structure of the snow-swamp column for the transportation of property was determined. Army snowmobiles and special vehicles (on ultra-low-pressure tires) are evaluated in route exploration, construction of ice crossings and crossings using special equipment, orienteering, guarding the column. The possibility of the transfer of forces and means by existing and prospective models of snow-swamp-going BAT carrying capacity up to 50 tons was confirmed (army snowmobile А1, special vehicle "Trakol", two-link tracked transporters GAZ-3344-20, DT-10PM, DT-CTNMX, CT-CTNMXM, DT-CTNMXM. the territory of the country on the ice of the Arctic seas and the tundra zone in particularly difficult climatic and road and ground conditions.
The main directions of further development of the snow-bogging BAT and special equipment in terms of improving the parameters of autonomy, simplicity and reliability, life support at low temperatures, maintainability and mobility in the Arctic (including ice).
The results of the expedition are analyzed. Obviously, changes will be made to the requirements for snow and swamp-going vehicles, to test and research methods, and to clarify the organizational methods of future expeditions.
The Russian Federation is seriously and systematically developing the northern territories, which, as you know, have enough applicants. No wonder experts say that the wars of the twenty-first century - for resources and water - will be waged in the Arctic. But we will not give up our land and span.
From the blizzard desert to the south
Dmitry Bulgakov, Deputy Minister of Defense, Army General: “Extreme tests will continue”
The main goals and objectives of the winter expedition were to confirm the characteristics of promising and modern models of military vehicles, as well as to determine the main directions for their further development, to check constructive solutions, to gain operating experience in the regions of the Far North and the Arctic. In addition, in practice, the possibility of an autonomous march by units of the RF Armed Forces in difficult climatic and road conditions has been confirmed.
It was these tasks that determined both the choice of such a complex route, and the range of equipment. Also tested products, equipment and materials necessary for the organization of full support of military units located in the North, in isolation from the points of permanent deployment. This is a habitable module created on the basis of a container body, and promising fuels and lubricants for ultra-low temperatures, special uniforms and equipment, as well as engineering tools to ensure the fulfillment of tasks in high latitudes.
All samples generally confirmed specified requirements. Received a unique experience in the operation of equipment and organization of MTO in the Far North and the Arctic. But the most important thing is that the personnel showed high professionalism in performing an unprecedented task. The expedition was autonomous. At a considerable distance from the places of permanent deployment of military units, at extremely low temperatures (up to minus 50 degrees and wind speeds over 20 meters per second), in the absence of road infrastructure, considerable distances were covered over ice.
The practice of such tests will surely continue. An expedition is planned to be conducted in desert-sandy (at high temperatures and dusty air) and mountainous areas. Moreover, the nomenclature of equipment will constantly expand, its composition will be refined, taking into account the tasks facing the Armed Forces.
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