On June 23, the military-technical exhibition MILEX-2021 opened in Minsk, which is the main platform for demonstrating the achievements of the Belarusian defense industry. One of the main exhibits of the exhibition this time was the promising MZKT-690003 or Volat V-2 armored personnel carrier, developed by the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant. This vehicle was built taking into account modern trends in the development of armored vehicles and is intended to replace the old types of armored personnel carriers.
The main field of activity of MZKT, as its name suggests, is the development and construction of automobile and special chassis. Several years ago, the company also began to work on full-fledged armored vehicles. First, a two-axle armored car appeared, and now a full-size armored vehicle is presented.
As reported, the Volat V-2 / MZKT-690003 armored personnel carrier was developed on an initiative basis. Design work and construction of a prototype were carried out behind closed doors. The existence of a new project was announced just a couple of weeks ago, in preparation for the upcoming MILEX-2021 exhibition. Then the State Military-Industrial Committee announced the first show of several Belarusian developments. It is curious that already at the announcement stage, the appearance, main features and characteristics of the armored personnel carrier were revealed.
On the eve of the opening, the prototype was delivered to the exhibition area and covered with a cover - until the official presentation. This event was held on the first day of the exhibition, June 23, in the presence of a number of high-ranking officials of the Republic of Belarus, the Union State and the CSTO. Traditionally, solemn speeches were made, in which the strengths and great prospects of the new development were noted.
The MILEX-2021 exhibition will last until June 26, and immediately after that the experienced MZKT-690003 will return to the manufacturer to undergo all the necessary tests and revisions. Such measures are supposed to be carried out in the shortest possible time, and in the near future to offer the Belarusian army a full-fledged and efficient model. However, the exact dates for completing the fine-tuning and passing state tests have not been named.
BTR Volat V-2 is a wheeled four-axle combat armored vehicle, built using current ideas and solutions based on available components. Already in the basic configuration, a sufficiently high level of performance has been achieved, and in addition, a certain groundwork has been created for subsequent upgrades.
Volat V-2 is built on the basis of a welded armored hull. The layout is traditional for modern armored personnel carriers - the engine compartment and the control compartment are located in the bow, the fighting compartment is located behind them, and the feed is given to the landing party. The standard armor corresponds to the Br4 class and provides protection against automatic bullets. Provides mine protection level 2a / 2b standard STANAG 4569 - undermining 6 kg TNT under the wheel or bottom.
The engine compartment is equipped with a WP13.550A0 diesel engine with a power of 550 hp. and a hydromechanical six-speed gearbox MZKT-55613. Power units are assembled into a single unit, which makes it easy to replace them in any conditions. A two-stage transfer case with a locking differential is used. All axles are driven, with cross-axle and center differentials that have forced locking.
The chassis uses an independent hydropneumatic single-link suspension. The wheels are equipped with 14.00R20 tubeless tires with Run-Flat inserts. A centralized swap system is provided. The two front axles are steerable.
The own crew of an armored personnel carrier, depending on the fighting compartment, can include up to three people. The crew has day and night observation devices, video surveillance equipment, etc. In the aft compartment there are eight landing seats; the exit is through the aft ramp. The inhabited compartments are serviced by a filtration unit, which ensures activities in the conditions of the use of weapons of mass destruction.
The Volat V-2 exhibition armored personnel carrier is equipped with a modernized fighting compartment from the BMP-2. In this configuration, it is armed with a 30mm 2A42 cannon, 7,62mm PKT machine gun, anti-tank missiles and Tucha grenade launchers. In the future, it is possible to use other modules with a different composition of weapons and control devices. In all cases, the armored vehicle will be able to support the infantry with fire.
In the presented configuration, the armored personnel carrier has a total mass of 19,9 tons. According to calculations, the maximum speed of an armored personnel carrier will reach 110 km / h on land and 10 km / h on water. On flat tires, the car is capable of accelerating to 20 km / h on hard surfaces. In the course of modernization, the mass of the product can be increased to 24 tons, but after that it will lose its ability to float.
The prospects of the MZKT-690003 armored personnel carrier are directly related to the state of the Belarusian army's fleet of combat vehicles. The motorized rifle units are armed with armored personnel carriers BTR-70 and BTR-80, as well as infantry fighting vehicles BMP-1 and BMP-2. Despite regular repairs and upgrades, such equipment is becoming obsolete morally and physically - and in the distant future will require mandatory replacement.
In this context, the army has very limited choices. Until recently, the Belarusian military could only count on the purchase of Russian equipment, such as the BTR-82A (M). In the future, it will also be possible to consider the purchase of armored personnel carriers on promising platforms. Now, its own project of such a machine has been developed, which corresponds to the main world trends - and the army gets the opportunity to choose.
In the near future, the Volat V-2 will have to pass all stages of testing and receive a recommendation for adoption. How soon it will be possible to carry out all this work is unclear. Belarusian enterprises do not have experience in developing full-fledged armored personnel carriers, and the project may have drawbacks that will complicate and delay the fine-tuning for an indefinite time.
After the successful solution of these tasks, new difficulties will arise, this time in the field of production and rearmament. The army has a large number of obsolete equipment - the BTR-70 alone is more than 400 units. A hypothetical rearmament program, providing for the equivalent quantitatively replacement of old samples, will be extremely expensive and complex.
It is unlikely that the Belarusian army will be able to carry out a complete rearmament using the Volat V-2 within a reasonable time frame. It should be expected that such a technique will find a place in the army, but will not become widespread and will not be able to supplant all existing models. However, in the long term, there is a chance to get rid of the oldest armored vehicles and reduce the share of other samples.
Achievements and prospects
Thus, the situation is ambiguous. In the presented form, the Volat V-2 / MZKT-690003 BTR can be considered a fairly successful modern vehicle in its class. It is of great interest to the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus and may give them some new opportunities. However, the realization of this potential is associated with a number of characteristic difficulties of a technical, organizational and financial nature.
However, at the moment, even the very fact of the appearance of a new armored personnel carrier is interesting. The Belarusian industry develops projects in new areas for itself and accumulates the necessary experience. It is possible that in the future this will lead to the emergence of new projects. However, now MZKT specialists will have to focus on the Volat V-2.