PRP-5 "Mars-2000" at the parade in Tula. Photo Vk.com/milinfolive
The parades on June 24 showed a large number of promising weapons and equipment, including brand new. One of these innovations was demonstrated in Tula - at the place of development. In the parade, for the first time in front of the public, there was a promising mobile reconnaissance point PRP-5 or "Mars-2000". Consider this product in more detail.
According to well-known data, the Tula PJSC NPO Strela was involved in the development of PRP-5 with the involvement of a number of other organizations. According to his open documents, in the spring of 2012 a contract was signed with the Ministry of Defense for the implementation of experimental design work “Development of a mobile reconnaissance point PRP-5”, subject code - “Mars-2000”.
The following references to the PRP-5 project in the open press appeared only a few years later. At the beginning of 2015, the corporate publication of the RG group of companies spoke about work in recent years. Among other things, mention was made of the fruitful cooperation of Gidrosila CJSC (part of the RG group) with Strela NPO on the topic Mars-2000. It was alleged that in 2013 Hydrosila fabricated and tested the layout of a hydraulic lifting mast. In 2014, an order appeared for the assembly of finished products for installation on experimental equipment. Messages were accompanied by a photograph of the mast.
In 2015, NPO Strela received a patent No. 2557770 for a new design of a telescopic mast. After that, there were disputes that reached the court. In court documents, the Mars-2000 ROC was mentioned, within the framework of which a mast was created. The proceedings ended in 2018 and probably affected the course of the project.
View from a different angle. Photo Russian.rt.com
On May 27, 2020, TASS published excerpts from a conversation with the Director General of Military Industrial Company Alexander Krasovitsky. He spoke about the development of new models of equipment based on the BTR-82 armored personnel carrier. In particular, a “new combat reconnaissance vehicle” is being created called “Mars 2000”. Unfortunately, this time the official message did without special details.
On the eve of June 24, rehearsal of the festive parade was held in several cities, and these events traditionally attracted public attention. At a training in Tula, a new model was noticed - a previously unknown machine based on the BTR-82, equipped with a specific tower and other units. Soon it became known that this is a mobile reconnaissance point PRP-5. It was first shown in Tula - at the place of project development.
Unfortunately, most of the data on Mars 2000 has not yet been published. Reliably known only the purpose of this machine, the type of base chassis and the presence of some units from subcontractors. In addition, some conclusions can be drawn after an external examination, although the main parameters will remain unknown after that.
The basis for the PRP-5 was the BTR-82 wheeled chassis. It is easy to see that when remodeling into a mobile reconnaissance point, an armored personnel carrier loses some devices and receives new ones. So, behind the shoulder of the tower there is a small superstructure, the configuration of the side hatches has been changed. In place of the standard cannon-machine gun turret is a new unit; behind it on the roof is a new casing of unknown purpose. There are other innovations. In this case, apparently, the level of protection, mobility and other characteristics of the base APC are preserved.
Machine close-up. Photo Vk.com/milinfolive
On the forehead of the car, in front of the commander’s hatch, instead of a standard searchlight, an optical-electronic unit is installed, replacing the standard periscope and providing better visibility in any conditions. There are obscure instruments on the sides, probably sensors with a side view.
In place of the standard tower, an aggregate of a different form with a different composition of equipment was installed. The new tower has a complex forehead, as well as a developed side and aft niche. A large-caliber machine gun is installed in the embrasure, and optics for guidance are located next to it. However, the product on the roof of the tower is of most interest. There is a U-shaped platform with a swinging block.
This is probably the bulk of reconnaissance optoelectronic equipment. It can be assumed that this particular unit is integrated with the mast from the Hydrosila and with its help rises to a certain height. However, the presence of such functions, as well as the characteristics of the optics remain unknown.
The mobile reconnaissance points of previous models carried small-sized radar stations for monitoring ground targets. The exterior of the new PRP-5 does not indicate the presence or absence of a radar. If such equipment is available, then the antenna device in the stowed position is retracted into one of the casings. In this case, the antenna may also need a mast for lifting.
Aft, above the engine compartment of the armored personnel carrier, is a rectangular casing with a trapezoidal cover. On the sides of it are transported some pipes. The purpose of these units is unknown.
Hydraulic mast for PRP-5. Photo by GC "RG"
Obviously, the internal volumes of the body are given for certain devices. Control panels for reconnaissance equipment, as well as communication and control equipment for interaction with headquarters, batteries, etc., are required. However, the composition of such equipment and its exact capabilities are still unknown - and it is not clear when they will be revealed.
A mobile reconnaissance point must be present on the battlefield, monitor the terrain and search for enemy targets. Data on identified structures, armored vehicles or fighters are transmitted to a higher headquarters for organizing a strike. Also, the reconnaissance armored vehicle is able to work as a spotter of fire. Modern domestic samples of this class are equipped with day and night optical devices, as well as radar and a developed communications complex.
Currently, there are several types of reconnaissance points in the Russian army, mainly vehicles of the same family — PRP-4 Nard, PRP-4A Argus, and PRP-4M Deuterium. All of them are made on the BMP-1 tracked chassis and have the necessary set of reconnaissance and communications equipment.
The latest PRP-5 “Mars-2000” should preserve the basic capabilities of its predecessors, but the use of modern devices can improve key characteristics, and therefore operational efficiency. It should be assumed that there is more "long-range" optics and improved radar. Communication facilities should ensure full-fledged work in existing and promising network-centric structures.
Serial armored vehicle PRP-4A "Argus". Photo by Vitalykuzmin.net
The use of new equipment is of great importance. The armed forces of the ground forces are receiving samples and weapons with wider capabilities, requiring special means of support. Promising PDPs should look for targets and provide coordinates for both “conventional” and high-precision weapons.
A significant difference between the PRP-5 and its predecessors is the wheeled chassis. It is more advantageous than caterpillar in terms of operation and possible strategic mobility. In addition, the BTR-82 armored personnel carrier is much newer than the BMP-1/2 infantry fighting vehicle, and also remains in serial production. It should be taken into account the fact that LLC VPK is developing several models of equipment based on BTR at once - this will provide a high degree of unification.
The PRP-4 series vehicles retained the full-time dome of the BMP-1 turret, which limited the available volumes and made it necessary to reduce armament to one PKT machine gun. The new Marsa 2000 tower is notable for its large volumes, and due to this it can accommodate not only equipment, but also a heavy machine gun - a more serious argument for self-defense.
The existing mobile reconnaissance points, which are in service with the Russian army, generally meet current requirements and effectively provide for the solution of fire missions. However, in the medium term, the PRP-4 product line will become obsolete morally and physically, and they will need to be replaced.
The replacement model, PRP-5 Mars-2000, has already been created, built and is likely to be tested. The timing of the completion of the ROC, the start of production and putting into service is still unknown. However, the fact that the new car was openly shown at the parade may indicate success. There is reason to look to the future with optimism and expect the imminent appearance of “Mars” in the troops.