The K-24 infantry fighting vehicle returning from the Victory Day parade on June 17 stopped at the intersection of Mnevniki and Demyan Bednogo streets in the North-Western district of the capital, after which smoke poured out of it. Many media outlets decided to use the awesome word “caught fire” in the title of the articles or the phrase “out of order”. In fact, of course, the reasons for what happened could be very different.
Specialist in the armored sphere Alexei Khlopotov noted that the cause of what happened could be an abnormal operation of thermal smoke equipment - a device for setting smoke screens. “As a rule, the principle of its operation is the direct injection of diesel fuel into the hot exhaust pipe of the engine with a lack of oxygen,” the expert wrote, adding that he does not exclude the possibility of depressurization or breakage of the pipeline connection.
It is unlikely that an incident will entail a review of the program, but he once again recalled that the completion of new equipment is a long and painstaking process. Wheel platform "Boomerang" - not an exception in any way. Moreover, for Russia the machine is revolutionary in many respects: previously, the country's armament simply did not have wheeled complexes comparable in armament and defense.
With the world in a thread
Recall that for the first time the car was presented at a private display at the Russia Arms EXPO in 2013, and the general public was able to see the platform at the rehearsal of the Victory Parade in 2015. As in the case of "Armata" and "Kurganets-25", we are not talking about a specific model of armored vehicles, but about a whole family of military vehicles built on a single base. On the basis of the Boomerang, the K-17 infantry fighting vehicle and the K-16 armored personnel carrier have already been developed. In the basic version of the BMP K-17 has a combat module "Age", also known as "Boomerang-BM." He received a 30mm 2A42 automatic cannon with a coaxial 7,62mm PKTM machine gun and four Kornet anti-tank missiles with laser guidance.
The latter can hardly be called a modern solution. Such systems do not fully ensure the principle of “shot-forgot,” they require illumination up to hitting the target, and they can unmask the one who fires, which ultimately can end badly for the Boomerang itself. However, there is nothing to choose from in this case: Russia, recall, still does not have its conditional counterpart FGM-148 Javelin, not to mention the new generation of anti-tank missiles, which, in addition to the “shot-forget” principle, have good range (Javelin cannot boast of this).
Of the advantages: "Epoch" or "Boomerang-BM" is unified for use not only on the BMP K-17, but also on the BMP B-11 on the basis of Kurganets-25 and the heavy T-15 on the basis of "Almaty". As for the promising armored personnel carrier based on the Boomerang, it should receive a module with a 12,7 mm machine gun. An armored personnel carrier can be called a “greatly reduced version”, but it’s more correct to say that infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers will play different roles on and off the battlefield.
Despite the relatively modest firepower, the differences between the new APCs and Soviet vehicles of this class are enormous: the only thing that unites them is the 8 x 8 wheel arrangement.
“Everything else is fundamentally different: the layout with the front position of the power plant, the troop compartment at the rear and the landing of the aft, modular reservations, a high level of mine and ballistic protection, a digital board, a situational awareness system, an onboard information-control system and much more. I’ll say this: no one has done such a thing in our country before, and many systems have no analogues also abroad, ”
- said in 2018 the head of the “Military-Industrial Company” Alexander Krasovitsky.
It is not surprising that the new vehicles will be very different from Soviet infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers: the time of the latter has passed due to objective reasons. What really surprises is an attempt to cross a bulldog with a rhino.
Recall that in 2017, the Army 2017 forum demonstrated the capabilities of the Boomerang platform with the Berezhok manned combat module B05Y01 instead of the uninhabited Epoch. The Berezhok B05Y01 armament complex includes a 30mm 2A42 automatic cannon, a 7,62mm PKTM machine gun, 30mm AG-30 automatic grenade launcher and Kornet guided missiles. The same is installed on BMP-2M infantry fighting vehicles.
It is not clear why the choice fell on this "original" option. The simplest explanation: this is an attempt to make the complex cheaper by abandoning the advantages (in particular, survivability) that an uninhabited module can provide. However, was it worth it then to invest in such an expensive project in order to eventually return to the economy of the 90s? In any case, at the parade we saw a car with the Epoch module: we must assume that this is the main option.
"Boomerang" - to be?
State tests of the promising Boomerang platform will begin before the end of 2020. This was announced in June 2020 by the Director General of "VPK" Alexander Krasovitsky. After their completion, serial deliveries of military vehicles to the troops should begin. According to the designer, as a result of the growing dynamics of modern local conflicts, highly mobile models are needed, therefore, in addition to armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, reconnaissance armored vehicles and an armored repair and recovery vehicle, in the future they can create a wheeled tank with a gun similar to a 125-mm 2A75 based on the Boomerang. mounted on the tracked "Octopus-SD". An analogy with the famous Italian Centauro combat vehicle, sometimes called the “fighter,” also suggests itself. tanks».
However, given the already huge diversity in the Russian army of the main battle tanks and their versions, this option seems completely unnecessary and even “harmful” in terms of unification. Which, of course, does not mean at all that the army does not need the Boomerang platform itself.
If the concept of “Kurganets-25” intersects with the concept of “Almaty” (although they are in different weight categories), then Russia simply does not have a comparable protection analogue of “Boomerang”. Do not forget that after the well-known events, the country can no longer count on the purchase of such samples in the West. So the hope is only in their own strength.
It is also obvious that, as we said above, the era of Soviet armored personnel carriers is leaving. In the new century, there is no place for combat vehicles with low armor protection and a completely unsatisfactory landing and landing scheme using side doors, in which soldiers are not protected by armor and constantly risk their lives. It is noteworthy that Ukrainian developers, not having much money and experience in creating modern equipment, solved this issue at the BTR-4 “Bucephalus”: we recall that it has a stern ramp, which the Russian BTR is sorely lacking. However, this does not remove the issue of survivability of the machine itself, and, besides this, “Bucephalus” has such a large number of flaws that the big question is whether it can even be considered as a full-fledged combat vehicle.
Simply put, neither "childhood illnesses", nor technical flaws like the high visibility of the machine in the infrared spectrum are likely to "kill" the new Russian project, and its main drawbacks will be gradually eliminated.