Russian Terminators Arrive In Syria
Early July 2017 saw the release of photos showing a single BMPT-72 “Terminator” tank support combat vehicle in service with the Liva al-Quds Palestinian brigade serving with Syrian government forces. So far there have been no indications the vehicle has seen combat use, and it also appears that the vehicle was sent to Syria mainly for combat evaluation rather than in response to any urgent tactical requirement.
The BMPT concept represents an answer to the need to provide a high volume of suppressive fire against enemy anti-tank guided weapons and static weapon emplacements such as machine-gun nests. While modern infantry fighting vehicles are usually armed with automatic cannon which can fill that function, their inferior level of protection means they are hard-pressed to truly accompany tanks and are instead forced to provide overwatch fire with anti-tank guided missiles which limits their ability to use their cannon. The use of anti-aircraft weapons, either purpose-designed vehicles or gun trucks with towed anti-aircraft guns mounted on their platforms, suffers from a similar limitation. The only way to get around these problems, which Russian forces discovered when fighting in Afghanistan and Chechnya, is to develop a heavily armored vehicle that replaces a tank’s main gun with automatic cannon. This vehicle was Obyekt 199 “Ramka”, which over the years matured into the BMPT-72.
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