Support combat vehicle tanks (BMPT) was developed and presented at arms exhibitions more than ten years ago. Its appearance did not cause negative reviews of specialists, which in itself is not bad. Some comments were private in nature, not affecting the positive assessment of this project. Since then, the BMPT, called the "Terminator", has been heavily advertised, constantly presented at arms exhibitions, its effectiveness has been proved by calculations, and the need for introducing it into the tank units has been expressed by leaders of a very high level. Moreover, in recent years, in the open press, the BMPT is considered an integral part of the tank units operating with the direct support of infantry on the BMP.
No one doubts the need to support tanks on the battlefield: since tanks exist, their support on the battlefield has existed, exists and will continue to exist. But there is no BMPT in service with the Russian army, and the prospects for its appearance are very uncertain. The reasons for this situation, apparently, are several.
One of them is economic expediency. This concept can be expressed as a criterion of "cost-effectiveness." Data on the cost of BMPT in the press, of course, are not given, but judging by its configuration, and even despite the base unified with the T-72 tank, it is high.
However, a specific value of the value is available and can serve as a basis for making a purchasing decision. But subject to the effectiveness of the sample.
With efficiency, BMPT is more complicated. This figure is not confirmed in practice, and the magnitude of reducing the loss of tanks, obtained by the methods of mathematical modeling, apparently, does not convince customers. You can understand them:
- there are no analogues in the world with which it is possible to compare the performance characteristics of this machine, to compare with the development trends of tank construction;
- BMPTs are absent in the Russian army, which makes it impossible to appreciate its operational qualities, to determine the optimal ratio of "tank - BMPT" in the subunit, to understand the methods of combat use of this novelty;
The development of BMPT is an attempt to systematically solve the problem of reducing tank losses, which requires its logical conclusion. But in order to move on, we need a new concept of BMPT.
- There is nothing new in the existing BMPT, except for the purpose and the weapon system, in which the artillery component does not impress;
- The existing set of weapons BMPT does not provide effective destruction of all types of tank-dangerous targets (TOC).
As you can see, the reasons are compelling and it seems that the financial side is secondary here. So is BMPT needed, and if so, which one?
The development of BMPT is an attempt to systematically solve the problem of reducing tank losses, which requires its logical conclusion. But in order to move on, we need a new concept of BMPT, the main points of which are presented in this article.
Currently, the fight against tanks and other armored vehicles is conducted not only by special anti-tank weapons, but also aviation, and general purpose tools. In addition, almost all combined arms divisions of the armies of developed countries have in their arsenal the means of fighting tanks. We also note that most of the above funds belong to the category of high-precision weapons. This evolution of anti-tank weapons (PTS), their transformation into an anti-tank defense system, including ground and air assets, including those combined into reconnaissance and attack systems, led to the fact that it was necessary to protect tanks, which, due to their heavy losses , "Buried" after each local conflict of the second half of the last century. This is not surprising: in recent years, there were TCP, from which the tanks constructively do not have the necessary protection. For example, helicopters or PTS, striking tanks from above or because of shelters outside the line of sight.
It is known that only a system can successfully operate against a system. And such a layered system of struggle with enemy fire weapons exists. Conventionally, it is subdivided into echelons, starting with aviation - the most long-range means, and, ending with the last echelon - by tank divisions themselves. But this last echelon is now getting too “heavy burden”: a rapid change in the situation, a large number of ground and air tank-dangerous targets on the battlefield, limited visibility in rugged and wooded areas, in urban conditions, inevitable loss of control ... V. Odintsov, One of his publications called this provision "the tragedy of the tank." More precisely you will not tell.
Thus, the enemy’s anti-PTS system exists, but its information capabilities and the reaction time of its individual subsystems are insufficient, and tanks, as a rule, in maneuverable forms of combat will remain only with the infantry supporting them and covering units of the military air defense (the so-called tank "). However, in local conflicts of the last decades, the “loop” did not confirm its reliability. Especially in repelling the attacks of special attack helicopters (SUV), which are the "headache" of not only tank crews, but also anti-aircraft gunners. Much has been written about the losses of tanks from SUV strikes and the conclusions seemed to be made. But they concerned ways of self-defense of tanks and, mainly, the development of military air defense weapons. But it turned out that these conditions are necessary, but insufficient - the tanks cannot protect themselves from the impacts of the WBC. In order for the tanks to fight the helicopters, it is necessary to increase their reconnaissance capabilities, increase the ammunition load (BK) and guns' pointing speed (hence, the power of the power plant and the drive), introduce special ammunition into the BK. But then it will be the next generation tank.
Short-range anti-aircraft systems (ZKBD) - the main means of covering those parts and divisions. They were the main focus in the fight against WOS. But it did not come true because of the difficulty of detecting helicopters using the terrain to attack, the relatively long reaction time of these complexes and their high vulnerability to all types of enemy fire. After all, the tactical zone, within which most of the anti-aircraft units are located, is most densely suppressed by various means of enemy fire attack. At the same time, the reduced damage area of the ZSU, ZPRK and short-range air defense systems is several times larger than that of the tank. In addition, they are one of the main targets of enemy artillery.
Deleting an airborne safety control system at a safe distance may result in the terrain conditions not allowing to detect the target in time and open fire on it. Yes, and fire capabilities in range in this case may be insufficient. This also applies to the Tunguska air defense missile system. Even its high fire capabilities will not save from losses due to enemy artillery fire. Oh, this complex opponent "without attention" will not leave. The loss of Tungusk in Chechnya in 1996, eloquently testifies to this. Meanwhile, the importance of timely impact on the target, using the terrain to select the line of attack, suggests the presence of means of cover that are in close proximity to the object of cover.
Considering the situation of countering the "tank - TOC" even in a simplified form - as a duel, it is necessary to note three circumstances.
First, on the battlefield, all targets, with the exception of fortifications, have a limited time during periods of observation and shelling. That is, by definition, temporary. Most of all this is characteristic of WOS, which relate to goals for which time of visual or instrument contact with the air defense system is limited.
When assessing the effectiveness of shooting at such a goal, it is necessary to take into account the point in time at which the defeat of the target was achieved. The sooner this moment came, the more effective the shooting. If the target has finished its action (shooting, launching rockets), then shooting at it, as a rule, is impossible or ineffective. By the methods of operations research it is proved that in the duel situation under consideration “SUV-ZK”, even accepting the probability of hitting an air target equal to one (hypothetical case), the damage from its action will not be zero, but will depend on the ratio of the time of the start of shelling and the duration of the target .
Secondly, the probability of hitting targets during combat operations, for objective reasons of a technical and tactical nature, for tanks and infantry fighting vehicles that support them, will inevitably be significantly lower than the range. The same applies to the air defense systems covering the tanks and infantry. A possible solution to the problem in this situation may be an increase in the number of target channels acting on the principle of "saw-shoot". Fearing excessive concentration of fire in this case is not worth it because of the low probability of detection and the short duration of the targets. In such conditions, BMPT with a more advanced than the tanks information management system (IUS) would be very useful. Unlike the tank, the design features of the BMPT make it possible to have such a system and more effectively carry out the search and defeat of the TOC.
Thirdly, it is impossible not to note one more circumstance that eludes the attention of the authors of publications on tank topics. In due time: when the danger of an AMC for tanks was realized, pilot exercises were held in the Soviet Union, during which tactical methods of dealing with this type of targets were developed. It turned out that tankers, purely psychologically, pay more attention to defeating those targets that are easier to destroy, that is, tanks. This is natural, since all the tanks are created according to the principle of “beat the equal,” for which they have the appropriate armament. Another matter of the BMPT: “having taken over” the air and ground TOC, they would greatly facilitate the fight against enemy tanks by tankmen.
It seems that the presence of BMPT in combat formations will to some extent solve these problems.
Another important aspect of the use of BMPT is the fight against the enemy’s tank-dangerous manpower (TOGS). The BMPT armament complex comprising an automatic cannon, anti-tank guided missiles, an automatic grenade launcher and machine guns cannot be solved.
Shooting from a cannon at tank-dangerous manpower, located in shelters, is ineffective, and behind obstacles (for example, on the reverse slopes of heights or behind buildings when conducting combat in a populated area) is completely impossible.
Automatic grenade launchers do not provide reliable destruction of such targets due to the weak power of the grenade and low accuracy at short distances. As a matter of fact, the BMPT course grenade launchers are not designed for this: the angle of elevation is not designed for firing indirect fire. Not much benefit from them will be when shooting in the winter with deep snow cover.
To defeat such targets, it is necessary that the BMPT armament kit contains a weapon that can fire not only with direct, half-line, but also indirect fire. That is, combining the qualities of a cannon and mortars (it is no coincidence that the Israelis install 60mm mortars on the towers of their Merkava tanks).
Such guns belong to the guns of the combined type and are capable of firing both mines and projectiles (rockets). They are in service in the Russian army and in the armies of some other countries. But they were not designed to solve the problems under consideration. However, in the creation (refinement) of such weapons is not unusual. How many such problems have already arisen and were successfully resolved by Russian gunsmiths.
The combined weapon caliber (KO) is advisable to have an 82 mm, since in this case there is much to create a KO: one of the two types of ammunition already has is the 82-mm mine; since the Great Patriotic War, technical solutions are known that make it possible to combine the features of mortar firing with a classic cannon shot in one semi-automatic weapon; there will be no big problems with the automatic loader; IUS is similar to that of BMPT. This list can be continued further. However, it should be borne in mind that the KO is not a universal gun and complexation with 30-mm AP, AGS and machine gun will be necessary. In the development of this tool, if it starts, there is a good start. Prospects are attractive at all - if there is a projectile in the ammunition with ready striking elements and undermining at a fixed range, a homing roof-mine and exploration mines, BMPT can become a tactical reconnaissance and firing complex with good prospects.
It is known that the emergence of fundamentally new models or weapons systems, even if they are not based on the latest scientific discoveries, but developed using the technological level already achieved, can influence the tactics of combat. This provision fully applies to BMPT: equipping them with tank units, of course, will not make a revolution in military affairs, like nuclear weapons; Radically will not change the strategy of warfare, as information and computer systems. However, they will have an impact on the tactics of combined-arms combat:
- losses of tanks and BMPs supporting them in all types of combat will decrease;
- it will be more rational to use BC tanks and, probably, there will be no need to increase the range of ammunition in BC due to the inclusion of fundamentally new ones, with an increased effectiveness of TOT actions;
-tank divisions will acquire greater autonomy, which is important with the dynamic nature of modern combined-arms combat and actions under special conditions;
- BMPT can be very effective and as an independent fire weapon in anti-terrorist operations and local conflicts of low intensity;
- Tactical standards of air defense systems may change - due to the greater distance of the anti-personnel command post from the contact line. This will reduce their losses, will allow better use of the terrain to select starting (firing) positions and, accordingly, will increase the effectiveness of the air defense system as a whole.
As we see, the considered tactical aspect of the problem is important in itself. But there is one more - no less significant - military-political, expressed in the form of military-technical cooperation (MTC), one of the directions of which is the export of arms and military equipment (AME). Needless to say, how important the military-technical cooperation is for Russia, one of the world's largest arms and military equipment exporters. In this regard, the export prospects for the advancement of BMPT in the armament market from a tactical point of view should be very favorable.
There are a number of arguments in support of the BMPT, but we will dwell on one thing - the prestige of the state. This concept has a pronounced political character and is in some way connected with another - a priority in development. We make one small excursion into history.
In Russia, the tank’s birthday is considered 18 May 1915. It was on that day, near Riga, that the tests of an armored combat vehicle created by Alexander Porokhovshchikov and having all the attributes of a modern tank began. "All-terrain vehicle" - so called this fighting machine - successfully passed the tests, and the team of creators was ready in the shortest possible time to "bring" the machine and even make it floating. However, due to the short-sightedness of the leadership of the main military technical administration, the project of A. Porokhovshchikov did not receive support. A number of other projects of tracked combat vehicles that were developed at about the same time as the Rover were also not accepted.
Almost a year and a half after A. Porokhovshchikov, England opened a new era in the development of means of warfare. Russia has lost priority in creating a new type of combat vehicles, which received the short and expressive name "tank". Of course, the works of the first Russian tank builders were not in vain. The rapid development of tank building in the Soviet Union in the 20-30 years of the last century, equipping the army with tanks that are not inferior to the best world models, and for a number of indicators and superior to them is the merit of their predecessors. It was not from scratch that Soviet tank building developed. But there is no priority! And if it was an isolated case, when Russia lost its priority in creating the most important direction in the development of weapons.
In view of the above, let us express this, perhaps somewhat categorical, thought: the fate of the BMPT, a new trend in the development of armored vehicles, created in Russia more than a decade ago, can repeat the fate of the Rover. This once again proves the importance of developing a new concept of BMPT. The concept, which has absorbed all the best that exists in the existing model, and fully corresponds to the conditions of the contact phase of the modern war. The concept, in which, in addition to the detailed look of the BMPT, issues of structure, management and information support (interfacing) with higher-level systems, including military air defense, are resolved. Only with this approach is it possible to quickly advance the project and retain the achieved priority.