An early version of the BTR-4 (the first prototype) with the Thunder combat module (c) KMDB them. A.A. Morozova
Discussions around the BTR-4 project began immediately after the demonstration of the first prototype in the 2006 year. Soon after the prototype of a promising combat vehicle was shown, the interested public split into two camps with diametrically opposed positions. Supporters of the BTR-4 car rejoice at every success of the Ukrainian defense industry, and in disputes they are pressing on the advantages of the armored personnel carrier. Opponents of the project, in turn, are used to confirm their position. news or even rumors of technical or economic failures. Due to its duration, this dispute often goes from a confrontation of arguments to a banal abuse.
Kharkov company, not paying attention to the disputes, continues to implement the project. For several years, a number of modifications of the promising armored personnel carrier were created, and some of them became the subject of contracts. To date, it is known about the signing of three agreements. In 2009, two contracts were concluded with a difference of several months. In accordance with the first 10, the BTR-4 armored personnel carriers must go to serve in the armed forces of Ukraine, and the second involves the delivery of 420 vehicles of several versions to Iraq. The cost of the Iraqi contract exceeded 450 million US dollars. In the spring of 2012, Ukraine and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the joint construction of 100 new combat vehicles with a total value of about 150 million dollars. Also interest in the BTR-4 expressed Kuwait and Macedonia.
It cannot be said that the fulfillment of the contracts was completely disrupted, but it is necessary to note the fact that some success was achieved only in relation to the Iraqi order. For economic reasons, the Ukrainian army still has not been able to buy even ten previously ordered armored personnel carriers of the new model. Much more successful can be considered an agreement with Iraq. From March 2011 to February 2013, the Iraqi Commission received over 120 new combat vehicles, but the Iraqi army actually received less than a hundred armored personnel carriers.
At the beginning of this year, information appeared in a number of media outlets that Iraq intends to abandon the existing contract with Ukraine. However, in March a kind of refutation of this information appeared - the 42 armored personnel carrier, adopted by the commission in February, was loaded onto the SE Pacifica ship and sent to Iraq. At the end of April, the ship arrived at the Iraqi port, but the military of the Middle Eastern state did not receive a new vehicle. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense refused to unload the ship and pick up the armored personnel carriers. According to available information, the Iraqi side refused to accept the car because of the large number of defects, namely due to cracks in the buildings. In this regard, the ship SE Pacifica was forced to go into neutral waters and anchor, waiting for the end of the situation.
The wait lasted several months, during which the company-owner of White Whale Shipping threatened with sanctions of the organization Ukrspetsexport, which is responsible for the supply of military equipment to foreign countries. Because of the idleness of the vessel and the lack of payment, the owners of SE Pacifica promised to unload armored personnel carriers in a third country and, if necessary, initiate a lawsuit, as a result of which the vehicles would be sold and the proceeds would go to compensate the carrier’s costs. In early September, the 42 armored personnel carrier was arrested by Indian authorities. It is worth noting that the vessel SE Pacifica, in addition to the 42 BTR-4, was carrying a large cargo of metal that had to be delivered to India. Due to the downtime in the Persian Gulf, 70, thousands of tons of metal were delivered to the customer three months later than the agreed time. In this regard, the total amount of penalties requested by the Indian side amounted to 500 thousand dollars.
In late September, the Indian authorities lifted the arrest from the ship and it again went to Iraq. But this time, the Iraqi military refused to accept armored vehicles. According to some information, in the very near future the contract for the supply of 420 armored vehicles will be finally canceled, and only a few dozen of the armored personnel carriers that were delivered earlier will remain in the Iraqi army.
The interior of the car, the case of the use of habitable combat modules such as "BAU 23х2", "Thunder", "Flurry". (c) http://sfw.so
History with the sailing of the vessel SE Pacifica can be considered a real catastrophe for the BTR-4 project. Due to the fact that Iraq refused to accept armored vehicles ordered earlier, Ukrspetsexport found itself in an extremely difficult position. Money for armored personnel carriers was not received, the shipowner company billed not only for the transportation of cargo, but also for several months of vessel idleness, and Indian businessmen are demanding to pay a huge fine. According to reports, disputes over the financial side of the current situation continue to this day.
The situation with the implementation of the Iraqi contract has become a new cause for violent disputes. As before, supporters and opponents of the BTR-4 project interpret this situation in accordance with their position. Iraq’s refusal to accept the third batch of armored vehicles is called a small problem that can be easily resolved and the reason for closing the project due to the final destruction of its prospects in the eyes of potential customers. What will happen to the BTR-4 armored personnel carrier in the near future is difficult to say. Probably, the Ukrainian defense industry will attempt to sign a contract with the countries that have expressed their interest in this project.
It must be recognized that, despite all the problems of a political, economic and technological nature, the BTR-4 armored personnel carrier is worth attention. Unlike the previous Ukrainian cars of similar purpose, the BTR-94 and the BTR-3, it is not a further development or modernization of models of equipment created in the Soviet Union. In the design of the BTR-4 used some technical solutions inherent in modern foreign armored personnel carriers. First of all, it is the layout of the case with an average location of the engine compartment. Such an arrangement of units allowed the control compartment to remain in front of the hull and move the troop compartment to the stern. Thus, in terms of its layout, the BTR-4 meets the requirements for modern armored personnel carriers, since the landing force can land through the stern door, being covered from bullets and fragments by the whole vehicle.
Another important feature of the BTR-4 relates to its weapon system. The project initially envisaged the use of various combat modules, including those with remote control. To date, several new combat modules have been developed that are suitable for use on the BTR-4. Initially, the Thunder combat module was considered as a weapon system. In the construction of this module, some already mastered solutions are applied. Thus, the weapon operator is located inside the armored corps, but its head is inside the small turret. Operator's workplace is rigidly connected with the other units of the module and rotates with them. Above the roof of the turret of the operator is located observant and sighting equipment, as well as the characteristic system of mounting weapons. The Thunder combat module carries one 30 mm automatic caliber gun, an 30-mm automatic grenade launcher and a rifle caliber machine gun. In addition, the transportation and use of four anti-tank missiles "Competition" or "Barrier" is possible. Armament and ammunition, with the exception of missiles, are located in an armored casing.
A bit later, the Parus combat module appeared, having the same weaponry. In this new module is built differently: the workplace of the operator is stationary, and only the upper turret rotates. The control of weapons is carried out using the remote. At the request of the customer, the workplace of the commander can be equipped with a control panel. The use of the new architecture helped to optimize the layout of the modules of the module, which in particular led to an increase in the ammunition load of the automatic gun.
From the very beginning of the project, it was assumed that on the basis of the BTR-4 it would be possible to make machines of various purposes. For example, a contract with Iraq meant the supply 270 BTR-4E with combat unit "Sail», 80 commander BTR-4K, 30 command and staff vehicles BTR-4KSH, sanitary BSEM 30-4 10K and repair and recovery ARV-4. In addition, there are project options for the installation of new engines and weapon systems.
In February 2013, the Kharkov engineering design bureau presented its new development - the BTR-4MV armored personnel carrier. The main difference of this modification is enhanced booking. The case is said to provide third-level protection under the NATO standard STANAG 4569. Declared the ability to install additional reservations, increasing the level of protection to 4 or 5 level. To increase the level of protection, the front part of the case underwent large modifications. The top of the frontal part of the hull now consists of a single plate on which the commander’s observation devices and the driver’s hatch are installed.
BTR-4МВ at the IDEX 2013 Arms Exhibition (c) www.militaryparitet.com
An interesting feature of the updated BTR-4MV is the ramp of the troop compartment. A door was installed on the base BTR-4 in the rear hull sheet. On the upgraded car, almost the entire rear wall of the troop compartment performs the function of a lowered ramp. However, there is a door in it. As practice shows, in some situations, a relatively small door may not be sufficient to land and disembark or load the wounded.
Armament BTR-4МВ similarly arms base armored personnel carrier. In the future, the development of new combat modules or the use of existing foreign ones is possible.
The sample of the armored personnel carrier BTR-2013МВ presented at the IDEX-4 exhibition in February was equipped with a German diesel engine produced by Deutz BF6M1015CP with 450 horsepower. The use of a similar power plant, which provides the vehicle with mobility at the level of the base BTR-4, has raised some questions. The fact is that one of the reasons for pride in the Ukrainian defense industry was the use of the 4DT diesel engine on the BTR-3. However, on the prototype of the car of a new modification for some reason used the engine of foreign production.
The modifications applied in the BTR-4MB project are expected to interest foreign buyers. However, now the new armored personnel carrier is at the stage of testing and refinement, because of what is not yet offered to customers. The lack of accurate information does not allow for a full assessment of the prospects of the upgraded version of the BTR-4, but the stated improvements may be useful.
In the context of the BTR-4 project, rumors and verified information about several technological problems repeatedly appeared. As an example of such information, one can cite the statements of Iraqi customers who accompanied the refusal of the armored vehicles brought. In addition, at the end of February of this year, a representative of the security commission of the Iraqi parliament criticized the quality of Ukrainian armored personnel carriers, and also accused Ukraine of failing delivery times.
Due to such statements by officials, the further fate of the BTR-4 project continues to be a subject of controversy. Iraq already has some experience in operating Ukrainian armored personnel carriers and therefore can be considered a worthy source of information about the characteristics of these vehicles. The information announced by the officials, as well as the refusal to accept already built equipment, are a serious blow to the reputation of the project, which can have the greatest consequences, including the loss of interest from potential customers.
At the moment, the future of the Ukrainian armored personnel carriers remains unclear. The current situation can cause a variety of emotions, including pity. It is sad to see how an interesting and promising project could not realize its full potential. The claimed appearance of the BTR-4 is able to interest small, poor countries that need new relatively inexpensive armored personnel carriers. However, a number of production and technological problems that could have caused Iraq’s claims does not allow for the completion of the first major contract. The latest BTR-4ВМ project in this case turns out to be Ukraine’s main hope for a full-fledged entry into the international armored personnel carrier market. Over the next few years, we will find out whether Ukrainian defense enterprises will be able to provide customers with decent modern armored vehicles or not.
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