The Ministry of Defense has decided to start purchasing Sprut-SDM1 self-propelled artillery mounts. In terms of firepower, the vehicles are not inferior to tanks, while they are able to overcome water obstacles and parachute. Airborne operations, in the formations of which they will enter, will be much more efficient, experts noted. In addition, according to experts, this technique is indispensable in areas where there are many water barriers.
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The number of vehicles ordered by the military department is still unknown. According to Izvestia sources in the Ministry of Defense, the question of which formations and in what quantity will be supplied with equipment is now being worked out. However, the principal decision on the formation of self-propelled units units has already been made.
Also, according to the interlocutors of the publication, starting next year, the training of commanders of the Sprut installations will begin at the 242nd training center of the Airborne Forces.
The basic version of the vehicle – “Sprut-SD” – was put into service in 2006. It was produced on the BMD-4 chassis. Until the end of the last decade, more than a dozen samples were delivered to the troops. However, in 2010, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense abandoned the technology. This was preceded by an incident during the May 9 parade – one of the Octopus’ engines caught fire immediately after passing through Red Square. The first installation was criticized for its poor design and weak armor, which only protects against bullets.
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Sprut-SDM1 is a fundamentally new technique, unified with the newest BMD-4M. More powerful protection has been developed for the upgraded vehicle, which will increase its survivability on the battlefield. The product is fully integrated with a digital fire control system, which not only increased the accuracy of shooting, but also made it possible to fire at low-flying and low-speed targets, such as helicopters and enemy unmanned aerial vehicles.
In the arsenal of self-propelled guns there is a rocket fired through the barrel of a cannon – it was created on the basis of “Invar-M”. The shaped charge is located in the bow of the ammunition and provides overcoming reactive armor, including the built-in version. He directly and hits the target. To destroy fortified engineering structures, a version of a missile with a high-explosive warhead of thermobaric action has been developed.
“The vehicle, capable of overcoming water obstacles and landing from an aircraft, is armed with the same 125-mm cannon as all main tanks with a full range of ammunition,” military expert Alexei Khlopotov told Izvestia. – It was created for the fire support of the landing. Previously, the fighters had only 120-mm self-propelled guns “Nona-S”, which could not effectively deal with armored vehicles. The concept of the new plant immediately seemed somewhat controversial, so its implementation was delayed. Development was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s. In the current modification, the vehicle’s fire control system has been completely redesigned, a thermal imaging sight has been installed, due to which the fire capabilities have become the same as those of the latest tanks. In fact, the Sprut-SDM1 is a light amphibious tank. In recent years, there has been a general trend towards the creation of this class of equipment. Many countries have similar developments. In terms of combat capabilities, they roughly correspond to the “Octopus”, but no one has vehicles capable of landing and swimming.
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The expert noted that due to the running characteristics, “Sprut” are especially relevant for the area where there are many rivers and other bodies of water.
With the new vehicles, the Airborne Forces units will be able to fight against the enemy equipped with heavy armored vehicles, Colonel Valery Yuryev, deputy chairman of the Russian Paratroopers’ Union, told Izvestia.
“There has always been a need for mobile anti-tank weapons in the troops,” he explained. – For example, the BMD-2 is equipped with a 30mm cannon that cannot destroy a tank. And, in fact, of the anti-tank weapons, the units on this equipment had only hand grenade launchers (RPGs) and guided missiles (ATGMs). But the range of the grenade launcher is 400 m, while you still need to be able to hit, and it is guaranteed to hit the target only from two hundred meters. ATGM launchers have a small ammunition load – three or four missiles. The installations were in the regiment’s anti-tank battery, and the commander placed it in the tank-hazardous directions. But now the tanks are becoming more and more maneuverable, and they will simply bypass this battery and go to attack the troops from other directions. Therefore, the troops need a powerful weapon with dozens of rounds of ammunition. Thanks to him, the landing units will become more autonomous.
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Today, the Airborne Forces form the backbone of the Russian rapid reaction forces. They can be quickly deployed anywhere in the country or far beyond its borders by air, land or sea. For this, units are equipped with special equipment that cannot be found in other types and branches of the military.
In addition to the anti-tank “Octopus”, the development of the 120-mm self-propelled artillery gun 2S42 “Lotos” is now being completed for the airborne artillery units. The range of its cannon reaches 13 km. The armored vehicle is capable of floating and is equipped with a hydropneumatic suspension for transportation in military transport aircraft.
The production of new, well-armed BMDs has been launched. In 2020, the Airborne Forces should receive three of their battalion sets. Each includes 31 BMD-4M and eight armored personnel carriers BTR-MDM “Shell”.
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At present, an experiment is underway to create airborne units of a new type, which will be delivered to a given landing site not by airplanes, but by helicopters. Their carrying capacity is insufficient to transport BMD. Therefore, it was necessary to develop new lightweight military equipment on the basis of domestic cross-country vehicles. Already demonstrated high-speed buggies capable of accelerating to 150 km / h, as well as armed samples with anti-tank missile systems “Kornet” and 120-mm mortars.
In full force, a new type battalion from the 31st separate airborne assault brigade was tested this year at the Kavkaz-2020 strategic command and staff exercises. There, Mi-8 and Mi-26 helicopters not only delivered paratroopers to the battlefield. They also transported a battery of D-30 howitzers with ammunition and armed vehicles. The deployment of the paratroopers was covered by the shock Mi-28N and Ka-52. The soldiers were planted both by landing method and by special cables from a height of 20–25 m.
In the future, they plan to equip the Airborne Forces with their own helicopter formations. It was reported about the imminent plans to introduce an army aviation brigade, armed with both strike and transport vehicles, into their structure.