Posts Tagged ‘Tanks’

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Modern conflict as Western audiences are familiar with it has been marked by well marked and uniformed modern military forces, operating instruments of war traditionally reserved for nation states, such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, and air forces. More and more these warfighting capacities are co-opted by non-state actors, increasingly through capture from state actors, purchase from third parties, or as covered in a previous post by creating homegrown alternatives such as the Kurdish tanks, Hell Cannons of the Islamic Front, or the off the shelf ISRcapabilities acquired from a simple quad rotor drone equipped with a camera. At the outset of the Syrian Civil War, only the government had armored capabilities, an air force, and the means to project power beyond short lived ambushes of police and soldiers by poorly equipped opposition fighters. As the conflict approaches its fourth year of conflict, a very different state of affairs exists. Today, nearly every faction in the Syrian Civil War possesses some form of armored capacity, ISIL captured, and for a short time operated, Syrian government MiGs representing one of the few times in history that a non-state group has operated any semblance of an air force. As the capacity to wage warfare becomes less and less the purview of only the Syrian government, the monopoly on use of force erodes more and more as government weaponry is captured.

As with the first and second guides to weapons of the Syrian conflict, this one does not attempt to cover all vehicles operated in Syria, but rather aims to touch on the most commonly seen and most influential to the conflict. For more in depth reading about the armored vehicles common to this conflict, please check out the Oryx Blog series on the tanks of Syria. For the sake of continuity, as with past articles, a Wikipedia link will be attached for each entry. It is worth mentioning that a majority of Soviet armored vehicles purchased by the Syrian government are what are known as monkey models, where some of the design elements featured on the domestic versions of the vehicle have been removed for export models. This was multipurpose, both to prevent more complicated military equipment from being captured by enemies of the Soviet Union and revealing the true capabilities of their armor to the West, to save on expense, and to prevent fickle foreign governments from attaining full strength Soviet weaponry.

Main Battle Tanks

T-55/T-54 the workhorse of the of every group that has armored capabilities in Syria, the Syrian Arab Army began the conflict with roughly 2,000 of these vehicles, and it has been the most widely fielded, as well as most widely destroyed and captured, armored vehicle in Syria. Many variants of this Russian tank exist and numerous countries have offered upgrade packages to make this 60+ year old tank more survivable on the modern battlefield, but the tank itself, in stock forms, offers a 100mm rifled cannon, armor varying in thickness from 30mm to 205mm, and calls for a crew of four (driver, gunner, loader, commander). The T-55 is an exceedingly simple vehicle to operate and maintain, which gives it staying power in the conscript armies of nations who cannot afford the expensive maintenance infrastructure of more modern designs. Similarly, it makes the T-55 an ideal vehicle for insurgencies to capture, as only a rudimentary knowledge of heavy equipment repair and maintenance is necessary to keep it running. The T-55 is no contender for combat against modern main battle tanks, but it offers significant advantages when employed against lighter vehicles, entrenched infantry, or fighters behind cover offered in an urban landscape such as buildings. However, the T-55 suffers from armor that is not able to withstand even dated anti-tank weapons like the RPG-7 ‘s most basic warheads, and especially more powerful munitions such as the controversial TOW missile or Konkurs ATGM. As a result, traditional methods of ‘plussing up’ tank armor have been employed in the form of reactive armor which explodes away from the tank when struck or the much more low tech (and inexpensive) chain armor or slat armor both designed to detonate incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles prior to actual impact on the tank. Such methods are employed on nearly all armored vehicles in Syria, and are believed to have made a real difference in survivability of low tech vehicles like the T-55. The T-55 is notable for its heavy usage by ISIL forces to spearhead assaults through massed armor supporting heavy infantry forces. This ability has been degraded by the presence of coalition airstrikes, but helped catapult ISIL to prominence in 2013 and 2014.

T-62 Developed as replacement for hte T-55, the T-62 features a larger, 115mm, smoothbore cannon, heavier armor all around, and a larger vehicle. The heavier cannon was required for field new ammunition capable of defeating modern (for the time) Western tanks. The smaller T-55 could not handle a turret large enough to field the new cannon, and thus the T-62 was born. Employed in the same manner as the T-55, and also appearing in opposition arsenals all over the country, the T-62 is similarly upgraded in various fashions to help defeat anti-tank munitions. As will be repeated theme, as with most Soviet era armored vehicles, maintenance and repair of the T-62 is relatively low level and can be conducted under austere conditions without long supply trains and logistical hubs, making the T-62 another excellent vehicle for opposition groups to field. The SAA was believed to have 1,000 at the outset of hostilities.

T-72 Arguably, the most powerful tank in the Syrian arsenal, and the most widely fielded modern Main Battle Tank in the world, the T-72 improves on previous tank generations with a larger 125mm smoothbore cannon, thicker armor than the T-62, slightly better operational range, and significantly faster. The T-72 makes extensive use of reactive armor, and is far better adapted to shrug off lighter anti-tank weapons such as the RPG-7, though still very vulnerable to ATGMs and more modern RPG variants like the [RPG-29]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPG-29). The introduction of an autoloader removes the necessity for a crewmember dedicated to loading the main gun. Not much heavier than the previous T-62, the T-72 has the ability to operate in a variety of environments that heavier Western tanks would become bogged down in or incapable of traversing, such as light bridges. However a more complex fire control system, autoloader, and more modern powerplant make the T-72 more difficult for non-state actors to keep it maintained in functioning order. The SAA was believed to have 1.600 at the outset of hostilities

Armored Fighting Vehicles (tracked)

PTR-76 Although only lightly fielded in Syria with some 80 units in service prior to the war, the unique nature of this vehicle bears mentioning. An amphibious reconnaissance vehicle, the PT-76 would serve as the chassis basis for a number of more advanced Soviet armored vehicles. While lightly armored, relative to a main battle tank, with a 76mm cannon, the PT-76 has the ability to ford bodies of water, and functions as a light tank. Not heavily armored enough to go toe to toe with other armored vehicles or even light anti-armor weapons, the PT-76 is best used as a standoff weapon capable of delivering aimed cannon fire over a long distance. The PT-76 is an early example of a gap that existed in many armies, for a lightweight armored and tracked vehicle, with a lighter cannon, not intended for frontline combat service, but rather to ferry troops and conduct reconnaissance. Its use in Syria has not been very widespread.

BMP-1 The BMP-1, much like the PT-76, offers a stop-gap between unarmored gun-trucks and heavily armored main battle tanks. Armed with a 73mm cannon for lightly armored vehicles and troops, and a launching rail for the 9M14 Malyutka ATGM to deal with more heavily armored threats, the BMP-1 is a fast moving infantry fighting vehicle (BMP standing for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty, Russian for: infantry fighting vehicle), thinly armored, just enough to protect the three man crew and up to eight infantry passengers from small arms and shrapnel. Not intended to go toe to toe with more heavily armored foes but rather function as a “battle taxi” shifting troops where they’re needed on the battlefield. With over 2,000 believed to be in the Syrian arsenal at the outset of hostilities, the BMP-1 constitutes the most commonly found non-tank armored vehicle and shows up in the hands of opposition groups all over the country. Earlier this month, al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra utilized a number of BMP-1s in conjunction with a few T-72s and T-55s to overwhelm the SAA defenders of Wadi al-Daif military installation in Western Syria, signalling a shift towards heavy armored operations by opposition groups to spearhead assaults and overwhelm entrenched defenders who would be difficult to otherwise defeat.

BTR-50 Similar to the PT-76, and built on the same chassis, the BTR-50 is an amphibious armored personnel carrier designed to carry large numbers of troops to and from the battlefield. Lightly armored to withstand small arms and shrapnel, the BTR-50 lacks a heavy weapon at all, either going unarmed, or with some combination of medium and heavy machine guns manned by the crew. In Syria, some BTR-50s have been modified to accept a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun on top of the hull, but this arrangement is not a common modification. The vehicle can carry up to 20 combat troops, both over water and on land, and is often reinforced by sandbags and bolt on metal armor for additional protection. In service primarily by the SAA, BTR-50s have shown up in various opposition groups. The SAA was believed to have 550 at the outset of hostilities.

Armored Fighting Vehicles (wheeled)

BTR-60 Where previous vehicles discussed have all been tracked, the next three are notable for being wheeled. Where tracks offer many advantages especially in terms of cross country ability, if a single track is disabled a vehicle is dead in the water and unable to continue moving. In contrast, the eight wheels of a BTR-60 allow the vehicle to continue moving even if several tires or deflated or destroyed. The BTR-60 is a lightly armored vehicle intended to ferry troops to and from the battlefield, much like the BTR-50. In contrast, the BTR-60 fits fewer troops (up to 14), moves much faster than tracked vehicles, and has a 14.5mm heavy machine gun turret mounted on the roof. Armor is minimal and only frontal armor will stop small arms fire at all rights, with the thinner side and rear armor being susceptible to penetration by small arms fire at close range. As such, the BTR-60 is best employed shuttling troops to the battlefield, then quickly withdrawing before attracting heavy fire. The SAA was believed to have 650 of these at the outset of hostilities.

BTR-152 Essentially the predecessor to the BTR-60, the BTR-152 borrows heavily from Second World War designs, and was the brainchild of Soviet analysts who concluded the reason they suffered such disproportionately high rates of infantry casualties was a result of a lack of armored personnel carry to move troops to the battlefield. The result was the BTR-152, a very thinly armored, open top, six wheeled vehicle, equipped with a single machine gun, requiring only a crew of two, and capable of moving 18 passengers. Numerous variants of this vehicle were produced, including command and communications, anti-aircraft with quad machine gun mounts, and mine-laying variants, and most of these variants have been seen in Syria. A major vulnerability is the open top, leading to extreme threat to those inside from grenades, or gunfire from an elevated position. Home-brewed fixes such as bolt on armor and angled canvas siding to cause grenades to roll off have met with some success, but this dated platform is not much more efficient than the technicals and armor plated trucks of the opposition. The SAA was believed to have 300 of these at the outset of hostilities.

BRDM-2 Separate from the aforementioned armored personnel carriers, the BRDM lacks any troop transport capability and is instead essentially a lightly car with turret for 14.5mm heavy machine gun on top. With a crew of four, the BRDM-2 is meant to provide reconnaissance on battlefield condition, too lightly armed and armored to do much on the battlefield as even the lightest anti-armor weapons will destroy it. It’s employment in Syria is analogous to the “technicals” employed by the opposition: fast moving, all terrain, capable of moving a heavy machine gun to a position of tactical advantage while offering slightly more protection than a dismounted infantryman. The SAA was believed to have 700 of these at the outset of hostilities.

Combat Helicopters

Gazelle The French production Gazelle is a light helicopter adapted to scouting and light attack roles, sometime operating as a host for the remaining stores of smart munitions for targeted operations against key targets, transport officials, and provide a light attack capability in support of SAA offensives. Originally intended to be armed with anti-armor missiles and employed against Israeli tanks in the event of an invasion, the Gazelle can carry medium machine guns, guided missiles or dumb rockets, and can carry three passengers. The SyAAF is believed to have 30 of these craft.

Mi-8/Mi-17 The Mi-17 Hip is a variant of the Mi-8 transport helicopter. Syria is known to possess both, and while exact figures are not clear, it’s believed to be between 80 and 130 combined. Designed as a transport helicopter it is often repurposed as a gunship, but it is infamous in the Syrian Civil War as the primary host of improvised “barrel bombs”, discussed previously our guide to unconventional weapons. Flying above conventional anti-aircraft fire range, the Mi-17 opens its rear cargo door and simply rolls the barrel bombs out the back when approximately over the target area, leading to an incredible lack of control over where the several hundred pound crude bombs explode. Capable of carrying up to 30 troops, 12 stretchers, or nearly 9,000 lbs of cargo, the Mi-17 sees work as a troop shuttle, air ambulance, and rapid resupply capability in addition to being adapted as an impromptu bomber.

Mi-25 The export variant of the Soviet Mi-24 Hind, the Mi-25 is perhaps most famous for its role in Soviet-Afghan war where it was the chariot of the Soviet infantry and functioned as heavily armored and armed air support. The Mi-25 hosts an enormous amount of weaponry, including a mixture of 12.7mm, 23mm, and 30mm cannons in single and dual configurations, winged mounted rocket and bomb pods, and window mounted machine guns, with in excess of 3,000 lbs of ordnance that can be carried on external hardpoints. Due to the nature of this aircraft’s mission and the need to be at relatively low altitude for gun strikes it is vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire, though unique in that the fuselage is armored enough to withstand 12.7mm heavy machine gun fire. The Mi-25 is capable of hauling 8 soldiers, can travel 280 miles and has a top speed of 208 miles per hour. Syria is believed to have just over 30 of these gunships.

AIRPOWER

The presence of the Syrian Arab Airforce (SyAAF) has long been attributed to the staying power of the SAA as opposition forces lacked the means to challenge SyAAF airpower initially, and even now only possess minimal anti-air capabilities, which the SyAAF has responded to be altering its operations in favor of higher flight altitudes (resulting in lower accuracy). As the war wears on, more and more Syrian aircraft have been down by anti-aircraft artillery like the ZU-23-2, captured MANPADS, and using ATGMs like the TOW missile to strike parked aircraft at government installations. Pre-war figures of 555 combat airplanes and 36 attack helicopters are decimated and it was reported in September of this year that those numbers had sunk to 295 and 25 respectively, although with no official word from Syria, it is difficult to confirm such numbers. It is likely that Russian and Iranian sources have been slowly replenishing destroyed aircraft stocks, but the SyAAF cannot continue to sustain such losses. A Syrian government victory is predicated on continued mastery of the air and the ability to reinforce and provide support for troops on the ground when besieged by opposition groups. This section will focus on Syrian government aircraft only, and will not attempt to delve into the aircraft used by coalition partners in airstrikes against ISIL.

Drones

Mohajer 4 The rise of drones in use by military forces generally covers their use in combat firing Hellfires and other guided missiles at insurgent targets in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is rarely covered is their extensive use by nearly every modern military force to gather real time intelligence via direct video feeds, and to give commanders strategic flexibility by being able to observe their forces in totality and gain better insight on what to do and where to move. In Syria, Iranian supplied Mohajer 4 drones deliver a reconnaissance capability the government previously did not have short of using valuable combat aircraft to perform time and manpower consuming reconnaissance missions. The Mohajer 4 is capable of 7 hours continuous flight time and can reach a flight ceiling of 15,000 feet, with a range of 150km, giving significant coverage, and able to reach well above anti-aircraft fire range, though at unknown cost to visibility and optics. Several have been downed in Syria, though whether by enemy fire or technical mishap is unknown.

Yasir Very little hard data is known about the Yasir drone, but it is reputed to be a reverse engineered copy of the US “Scan Eagle” reconnaissance drone, boasting loner range (200km) and greater flight time (8 hours) than the Mohajer 4, with a similar flight ceiling. It’s presence in Syria has not been confirmed, but with the uptick in Iranian military involvement, it is believed to be operated within Syria, possibly by Iranian controllers.

Non-Military Drones: While the Syrian government and its allies hold a monopoly of on military airpower in Syria, that has not stopped opposition groups from purchasing off the shelf “drones” in the form of remotely controlled quadcopters. Equipping them with GoPros and other off the shelf camera equipment, one can spend less than $800 on Amazon and acquire their own ISR capability in the form of products listed as “toys” like the DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter. Thirty minutes of flight time and able to reach several hundred feet up, such “drones” have been employed by numerous factions in the conflict, most notably by ISIL, featured in their propaganda videos over the Kurdish city of Kobani. As non-state actors co-opt this technology, the monopoly on standoff reconnaissance begins to shift in favor of smaller groups operating cheap, easy to acquire, civilian legal “drones”.

Fixed Wing Combat Aircraft

MiG-21 In conjunction with the MiG-23, the MiG-21 forms the bulk of the Syrian Arab Airforce, with over one hundred in service. A fighter plane, the MiG-21 has been repurposed as a ground attack, close air support, and reconnaissance platform, operating in support of SAA offensives, to bomb opposition strong points, and to relieve pressure on besieged SAA bases. As a need for fighter craft in Syria has dwindled, and with neighboring Israel conductingairstrikes in Syria almost unopposed, the bulk of Syrian combat aircraft have been adapted into a support role for the SAA. The MiG-21 carries a 23mm cannon for strafing ground targets, and can employ slightly over 2,000 lbs in bombs, rockets, or a combination of both. The rarity of smart munitions means that the bulk of air support relies on pilot skill and accuracy, both of which are severely limited by the high altitudes pilots must fly at to avoid anti-aircraft fire and MANPADS. The MiG-21 was first rolled out in combat operations during the Syrian Civil War in July of 2012. August 21st of the same year marked the first SyAAF combat loss as a MiG-21 was shot down on takeoff by enemy anti-aircraft fire. Another MiG-21 was shot down two weeks later, by heavy machine gun fire.

MiG-23 Representing the second most plentiful combat aircraft in the Syrian air force (95 pre-war), the MiG-23 is utilized in a similar fashion to the MiG-21, fulfilling a ground attack role to support SAA offensives and relieve beleagured SAA troops. It features a 23mm cannon for strafing and can carry nearly three times the ordnance of the MiG-21, with 6500 lbs of mixed bombs, rockets, and anti-air weapons. It’s unknown if any have been shot down by the opposition, but one MiG-23 was shot down by Turkish F-16s when it strayed near Turkish airspace.

MiG-25 A high speed reconnaissance and interceptor aircraft, the MiG-25 is used by the Syrian government as an ISR asset to gather imagery of enemy formations, and forms the bulk of the remaining SyAAF capability to counter any aerial assault by another country, combining extremely high speed with anti-air missiles.

Su-24 The SyAAF possesses a limited number of true ground attack aircraft, believed to be roughly twenty by pre-war estimates supplementing its aging fleet of some fifty Su-22 fighter bombers. The Su-24 is a two man aircraft with a pilot and weapons officer, supersonic capable. that carries a 23mm cannon and up to nearly 18,000 pounds of ordnance, making it the aircraft most capable of providing sustained support to troops on the ground, through a variety of munitions, guided and unguided, with a mixture of rockets, bombs, and missiles. The limited number of Su-24 makes their employment a strategic consideration that likely requires senior SyAAF approval to be saved for named operations or to prevent bases from being overrun.

L-39 (trainer) As the Syrian war has shown, necessity is the mother of invention, or in the case of the SyAAF, the mother of adaption. The L-39 is a jet trainer aircraft that has been repurposed as a light ground attack aircraft, capable of hosting a 23mm cannon and close to 3,000 lbs of ordnance. Designed to teach pilots to fly, smaller air forces have adopted the aircraft for this purpose and then retrofitted it to host anti-aircraft missiles, bomb pylons, and cannons. Syria is believed to have 40 of these aircraft, though at least two have been destroyed by ATGM attacks on Syrian airports by opposition groups.

So, the purpose of this post is not to give any sort of analysis or insight into the why or how of the weapons used in this conflict, but rather to give a basic understanding of the what. What is used, what it is, and what it’s capabilities and limitations are. This isn’t intended to be all inclusive, nor will it cover who has what. The idea is just to be a quick reference if you see a weapon name and your unfamiliar with it or want to know slightly more about it. For the sake of continuity I will provide a Wiki link for each if you want more information.This post will cover infantry small arms, artillery, anti tank weapons, anti-air, and non-conventional weapons and will hit the high frequency items but will skip over items only rarely observed (Mosin Nagants, STG-44s) or of little consequence. I will leave the aircraft and armor of the conflict to people better versed on this topic as though I have a decent understanding of armor employment and some understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, but there are others much better acquainted.

ASSAULT RIFLES (defined as a lightweight military rifle capable of select fire that shoots an intermediate caliber round) M-16– the second most recognizable firearm on earth (after the AK47) the M-16 is foreign to Syria but appears by way of captured supplies from Iraq, private donors, Kurdish smugglers, and a host of other means. While not entirely commonplace throughout the conflict, it is widespread enough that it deserves coverage. Heavily featured among ISIL fighters and the Kurdish groups (YPG and Peshmerga), the M-16 is an American designed assault rifle that fires the high velocity but small caliber 5.56x45mm round. Commonplace is many Western militaries, the rifle has gone through numerous upgrades and advances and is produced by a host of companies and under license by other countries. It boasts a longer range than the AK-47, better armor penetration than 7.62×39, light ammunition (so more can be carried) and substantially more accurate out of the box than most of it’s Eastern competitors. It is produced in multiple variants including a carbine (M-4) full length rifle (M-16A1 through M-16A4), a designated marksman rifle (DMR) with a heavier free floating barrel, aftermarket scope, and upgraded bolt carrier group, and a mechanically different variant produced by Hechler and Koch called the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle is intended to be used in full auto much like the Soviet RPK (more on that later). It is fed by a 30 round magazine although 60 round magazines and 100 round drums are available.

AK47 The AK47 is regarded as the first full production assault rifle, borrowing heavily from the design and function of the German STG-44, it fires the intermediate caliber 7.62×39 round. Where 5.56×45 is the caliber of the Western world, 7.62×39 is the more recognizable caliber of the Eastern and developing world. The AK47 is heavier than the M-16 and fires a heavier round. It is less accurate and has a shorter range (300m effective verse the M-16s 500). It is the most common weapon of the entire Syrian Civil War and is fielded by ALL sides. It’s key selling point is that it requires very little maintenance, is very rugged, and can be cleaned with the bare minimum of tools. Very few actualAK47s exist as this was the name of the first prototypes and was only in production for a few years. The more widely fielded variants of the AK47 would be modified slightly for weight and aesthetics and go by the name AKM, made from stamped metal instead of milled. The AKM has many variants, nearly all of which can be found in Syria, including the underfolding and sidefolding stock variants, Chinese Type 56s with attached spike bayonet, and numerous more modern variants. AKs can be found in Syria from Russia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, China, Bulgaria, Egypt, and the occasional Iraqi “Tabuk” variant. It is fed by a 30 or 40 round magazine, although 75 round drums are commonplace.

AK74/AK74SU The AK-74 is the Russian response to the M-16. Chambered in 5.45×39 it is a high velocity small caliber round that has devastating effects on human tissue and decent penetration of armor. While most of the Eastern bloc either replaced or supplemented their AKMs with the AK74 this caliber never really caught on in the Middle East. It is fairly rare to see it in Syria, though it does come up occasionally. Most frequently it’s observed with the Syrian Army where general’s bodyguards carry the famed “Bin Laden gun”, the carbine variant AK-74SU (my personal favorite firearm of all time- just got one last month in semi-auto). The AK-74 features greater accuracy and longer range, while mechanically and aesthetically it is almost identical to the AKM. The recoil is negligible allowing quicker follow on shots and the lighter ammunition coupled with exclusively plastic/bakelite magazines means much more ammunition can be carried.

MACHINE GUNS

RPK the RPK is essentially an AK on steroids, and functions as a light machine gun. Firing the same 7.62x39mm round it is mechanically the same, but is beefed up to stand up to sustained automatic fire with a heavier and longer barrel, thicker receiver, club foot stock (easier to grip for automatic fire), bipods, and on some variants a carrying handle. It is intended to be fed by 40 round magazine or 75 round drum, though it will also take the AK 30 round magazine. It is slightly more accurate and has slightly longer range than the AKM.

PK/PKM The PK medium machine gun (also called a general purpose machine gun or GPMG) was developed to be a lightweight replacement for heavier WWII era machine guns. It is man portable though often is crewed by an assistant gunner. It fires the heavier 7.62x54R round used in the Mosin Nagant rifle and Dragunov/PSL marksman rifles. At just under 20 lbs unloaded it is actually very light for a medium machine gun (the Western M240/FN MAG weighs 27 lbs) and is the most commonly seen dedicated machine gun in Syria and again is used by ALL groups. It has a relatively low rate of fire compared to many other MMGs at roughly 650-700 rounds per minute. This has the benefit though of allowing a seasoned operator to squeeze off individual shots once they become accustomed to the trigger where a gun with a higher rate of fire cannot do this.

DShK the Soviet answer to the American M2 .50 cal (12.7x99mm) is the very similar DShK (pronounced- Doosh Kuh or Dooshk) in 12.7x108mm. This heavy machine gun functions as an anti-aircraft gun when mounted on a tripod, general purpose heavy machine gun against troops or light armored vehicles, and is often featured atop armored vehicles in the commanders cupola or coaxially mounted with the main gun (meaning it fires wherever the main gun is aimed). Far and away the most common heavy machine gun of the conflict, the DShK is commonly seen mounted in the back of pickup trucks and bongo trucks in an armored gun mount, in a setup commonly referred to as a “technical” (commercial pickup truck and heavy gun). This gun is incredibly powerful and has a range of up to 2000m. The penetrating power of this round makes it ideally for firing at troops behind cover and it is routinely observed being used to punch holes in the brick structures Syrian fighters use as firing points. It’s ability to punch through light armor and down aircraft (particularly helicopters) makes it a very useful weapon for insurgencies to level the playing field.

KPV 14.5 there is no American analog to this weapon, it is a Soviet heavy machine gun slightly heavier than the DShK, calibed in 14.5x114mm. Initially offered as an infantry weapon it was pulled from infantry service due to weight and repurposed as an anti-aircraft weapon and a tankers gun. In the Syrian conflict it fulfills the exact same role as the DShK, though less common. It is also found in double and quad mounts in which configuration it belongs to the ZPU family of anti-aircraft weapons (both towed and self-propelled).

MARKSMAN RIFLE

Dragunov/ and PSL While different weapons mechanically, they serve the same purpose, fire the same round, and function similarly. Due to constant misidentification I’m lumping them together. A purist would be irritated, but if you’re reading this, you’re not a purist. The Dragunov was the rifle that won a Soviet competition for a new highly accurate heavy caliber rifle. Often referred to as a “sniper” rifle, this nomenclature varies by nature. The West would consider the Dragunov a designated marksman rifle as it doesn’t fit the range and accuracy requirements of the West, but Eastern bloc nations consider it both a DM rifle and a sniper rifle (the official name even includes the word Снайперская or Sniper) depending on the role it is filling. Aesthetically similar to the AK, the Dragunov is mechanically different (while the PSL is essentially an AK on steroids chambered for a different caliber), firing the 7.62x54R round from a 10 round box magazine. It comes equipped with various types of optics, most notable the 4x PSO-1 scope. While not as accurate as Western DM or Sniper rifles, the Dragunov is the most commonly fielded marksman rifle in the Syrian conflict and in the hands of a skilled operator can be devastating at up to 700-800m.

GRENADES

F-1 Far and away the most commonly seen grenades in Syria (and much of the Middle East) the F-1 is a WWII era fragmentation grenade based loosely off the French grenade of the same name. Unlike in the movies, while grenades are incredibly lethal, fragmentation grenades do not cause massive flames and gaseous explosions, but rather a relatively minor explosion that sends shards of metal in all directions. Anyone unprotected within roughly 5m of the grenade is likely to die and anyone within 15m is likely to be wounded (fatal and wounding zones respectively). This grenade has the stereotypical/cartoon body style with pre-segmented metal to increase fragmentation.

RGD-5 the replacement for the F-1, the RGD-5 is more or less just a modernized F-1, adopting a smooth outer shell and a different (greater) explosive composition, it offers roughly the same degree of lethality and wounding as the F-1 while utilizing the same fuze. Very common among all parties in the conflict.

ARTILLERY/MORTARS (note- there are MANY types of artillery used in Syria. I will only address the five I think are most common)

D-30 Probably the most commonly used non-Western artillery piece in the world, the D-30 is found in arsenals from North Korea to African rebels to both the Syrian army and opposition. A 122mm towed howitzer it is capable of firing accurately (with a trained crew) over 15 kilometers. It can accept a variety of ammunition and is relatively easy to use, with instructions for use available in both English and Russian with a simple google search. An untrained crew can get decent enough to shell an area (say several hundred meters square) and a trained crew could put rounds within 10m of their target. While normally it would be crewed by 5-7 people, in a pinch a single user can operate it (very slowly), useful for reducing the number of people to be killed in case of counter-battery fire. In Syria, it is quite often used by the opposition as a line of site weapon, dropping the elevation and firing rounds directly at a building or fortification.

D-74 similar to the D-30 in that it fires a 122mm projectile, the D-74 is a field gun instead of a howitzer and fires a heavier projectile a further distance (up to 23km). No longer produced, it was the mainstay of Soviet artillery corps for year (as well as heavier 152mm guns). Similar to the D-30 it requires roughly the same crew but can be operated (slowly by one). It is employed the same as the D-30 and is found in the hands of both government and opposition forces.

BM-37 82mm mortar the types of mortars in use in Syria are too many to enumerate but the most commonly found are variants of the Soviet 82mm mortar. Much like the D-30, variations of 82mm mortar systems and their ammunition can be found all over world. Where artillery relies on other direct fire, at close range, or long distance by firing at a relatively low arcing trajectory, mortar fire is intended for much closer targets and fires at an extremely high trajectory (this diagram should help explain ). This makes mortars ideal for dealing with targets that are in “dead” space, or area that cannot be hit by direct fire or the lower arc of artillery. Mortars are also generally light and easy to emplace making them ideal for urban warfare where they can be quickly moved.

BM-30 Smerch The Smerch (Russian: Смерч or “Whirlwind) is rocket artillery known as MLRS (Multiple Rocket Launcher System). What makes the Smerch noteworthy is for one, only government forces have them in any great number and for two, they are widely used to fire cluster munitions of anti-personnel or anti-tank mines. The SAA will use these systems when they have opposition groups about to break and retreat to fire minefields as an area denial weapon forcing the routed troops to either turn and fight at a disadvantageous position or risk death through the minefield. Unlike conventional minefields, there is no ability to map where these mines fall so collection of the munitions is risky and many unintentional deaths will occur afterwards. The Smerch is vehicle mounted and has a maximum range of 70km but accuracy peters off as range increases. It fires twelve 300mm rockets.

BM-21 Grad similar to the Smerch in function, the Grad is a smaller (122mm) truck mounted MRLS but by far the most common in the Syrian conflict. It is a 40 barrel launcher that can be salvoed at 2 rockets per second (20 seconds for all 40) or fired individually. Range is roughly 20km. Those familiar with WWII may compare these to Soviet Katyusha’s or German Nebelwerfer. Essentially, it is a (usually) truck drawn system with racks of rockets on back that are volley fired at a target (using a relatively low arcing trajectory like conventional artillery).

ANTI AIRCRAFT ARTILLERY

ZU-23-2 widely fielded as both an anti-aircraft gun and a direct fire weapon mounted on the back of heavier trucks, this double barreled 23mm autocannon fires an incredibly heavy round that is devesating to low flying aircraft, helicopters, medium skinned armored vehicles, dismounted infantry, and even troops behind thick cover like concrete apartment blocks. Intended for use as an AA gun, it quickly found dual use in a ground roll and that is where it is most commonly observed in Syria. 23 refers to the caliber and 2 refers to the number of barrels. Most useful in single shot where the heavy round can put to good use chipping away at defensive positions, in full auto it can fire as fast as 2000 rounds per minute (though in reality it cannot be loaded that fast). It’s effective firing range is over 2500 meters making it an ideal standoff weapon when your enemy only has small arms available, allowing for support by fire positions to suppress enemy infantry as your own infantry maneuvers on the enemy. It is common practice for this weapon to come with spare barrel to replace after heavy firing. After 100 rounds each barrel is considered too hot for further firing and is generally replaced to avoid cookoffs. The barrels are rated at between 8,000-10,000 rounds a piece before needing to be discarded. It is unlikely that this actually occurs in Syria and the barrels are probably in continuous use well after their service life.

ZSU-23-4 Shilka Much like the ZU-23-2, the Shilka utilizes the same 23mm autocannos, but mounts four instead of two and is self-propelled in a turret on a nondescript tank hull. Combined with a small radar set, the Shilka is absolutely devastating to low flying aircraft, with double the rate of fire of the ZU-23-2 (double the guns) coming in at nearly 4,000 rounds per minute. As with most other anti-air artillery however, it finds it’s biggest use against other medium skinned armored targets, infantry, and of course in the urban setting destroying fortifications and the cover infantry use to hide behind. The knowledge of this weapons existence in a given environment is enough to ensure that SyAAF helicopters will not come in range, and it’s armored hull means it can be used much closer to enemy forces with protection against small arms fire, though is still vulnerable to anti-tank weapons.

ZPU As referenced earlier, the ZPU family of weapons consists of towed and self-propelled double and quad mounted KPV 14.7mm heavy machine guns. Their functionality is the same as that of the ZU and ZSU family but with a smaller caliber.

MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems)

SA-7 Grail The Grail is one of the first Soviet produced MANPADS to gain widespread acceptance and is among the most common such weapon in the world. Utilizing a rudimentary passive infrared tracking system, the Grail has a range of 4,200m and a maximum altitude of 2,300m making it primarily useful against helicopters or low flying aircraft. The SAA owns an substantial number of these weapons but exact numbers are unknown. An unknown quantity are believed to have been captured by opposition members, but I could not find definitive proof on that.

[SA-16/18/24 Igla] A more advanced form of MANPADS the Igla is in use by the SAA and is rumored to have been captured by opposition groups. With a longer range and altitude, (5,200m range and 3,500m altitude) the Igla is useful against a wider array of aerial threats including drones, jets, and nearly all helicopters as well as faster than previous MANPADS at roughly Mach 2. Some versions have significant resistance to countermeasures including flares and jamming. Other improvements include a secondary charge to set off any remaining fuel and a vastly improved infrared seeker.

FN-6 the Flying Crossbow is a Chinese MANPADS intended for use against helicopters (or the rare low flying jet) with a range of 6,000m and a maxium altitude of 3,500 meters. These weapons are believed to have fallen into the hands of ISIL by way of Sudan who sold them to opposition groups in Syria. At least two Iraqi helicopters are believed to have been downed by the FN-6. This weapon utilizes infrared homing to find and hit its target and is designed to ignore flares, though heavy flare employment may defeat it.

ANTI TANK WEAPONS (covering ATGM, recoilless rifles, and dumb rockets)

SPG-9 The SPG-9 is a Soviet man portable, tripod or vehicle mounted 73mm recoilless rifle. A recoilless rifle is essentially a heavy caliber weapon that fires a large round long distance utilizing a long barreled tube that negates recoil by dumping the hot gasses out the back (making behind the gun a deadly place to be). In Syria, this weapon is used to fire high explosive rounds at armored vehicles and punch holes in covered positions. Substantially more accurate and with a longer range (800m) than handheld anti-tank weapons like the RPG-7, the SPG-9 is commonly mounted on the back of pickup trucks in the “techincal” manner described with heavy machine guns. The SPG-9 is the replacement for the older B-10 recoilless rifle

B-10 Less common than the SPG-9 the B-10 is the older recoilless rifle in use with Soviet forces following the Second World War. It is functionally the same as the SPG-9 although the range is substantially less (400m) and the caliber is different (82mm). Ammunition for this weapon is much harder to source than the more plentiful 73mm ammunition for the SPG-9.

RPG-7 Arguably the most widely used anti-tank weapon in the world, the RPG-7 was designed to be incredibly easy to operate and maintain, is available in a wide range of munitions, and can be found in the arsenals of nation states, insurgencies, and even criminal gangs. The RPG-7 functions similar to a recoilless rifle, in that it funnels much of the explosive gases out the back of the weapon, but unlike the SPG-9 and B-10, the RPG-7 utilizes a “booster” to punch the warhead out of the barrel and slightly away from the operator before the main motor kicks in and speeds the weapon up to it’s maxium speed (roughly 300m a second) far enough away from the operator that it doesn’t incinerate them ( here is a diagram that shows the pieces ). Available in numerous anti-armor variations including tandem charge to defeat reactive are slat armor, the most common warheads are the very recognizable PG-7 anti-armor and the OG-7V anti-personnel (fragmentation) warhead. The weapon is highly susceptible to cross winds and has a very limited effective range (200m). It is occasionally given greater range when meant to be used for harassing fire where accuracy is less important than constant barrage, by elevating the muzzle and arcing the round, function as a (wildly inaccurate) man portable artillery piece). The RPG-7 is most commonly found with either a 2.7x telescopic site or a night vision device. The most common anti-armor weapon in Syria.

RPG-18 Nearly a direct copy of the US M72 LAW, the RPG-18 in a single shot 62mm disposable anti-tank weapon. It is substantially lighter (4 lbs to the RPG-7’s 15 lbs) and less unwieldly than the RPG-7, which allows it to be carried by numerous members of a squad instead of having a single dedicated RPG-7 gunner who may be killed or have his weapon disabled. This weapon is less common in Syria but still occasionally observed. It’s maximum range is 200m with a timed self-destruct mechanism that prevents it being fired being this distance. It is substantially slower then the RPG-7 (110m per second) but fills the operational needs in terms of armor penetration. It cannot be reloaded.

RPG-29 One of the most modern Eastern bloc man portable anti-armor weapons, the RPG-29 is probably the most lethal man-portable system commonly used in Syria. Longer and heavier than the RPG-7, it is reloadable, and fires a variety of 105mm munitions including anti-armor tandem warheads and thermobaric rounds for anti-personnel use. It can be fired from the shoulder with an effective range of 500m (2.5x that of the RPG-7) or from a tripod assembly (less common in Syria) for 800m. A wide variety of optics are available for it and it is among one of the most highly prized weapons in the Syrian conflict, capable of single shot mobility or catastrophic kills on more advanced tanks like the T-72.

M-79 The M79 is a Yugoslav made 90mm anti-tank weapon, provided to opposition members by third party groups. Unlike the front-loading RPG-7, the Osa is loaded by screwing a warhead into the back of the weapon. It is functional very similar to the RPG-29, has a 350m effective range, can accept a variety of warheads, and commonly comes equipped with a 3.5x telescopic site.

9k111 Fagot The Soviet Fagot (English: Bassoon) is a wire guided anti-tank missile, effective up to 2,500m with a 3.5lb warhead. After firing, the user guides the weapon to it’s target by a series of commands sent via electricity through the wire, allowing the user to correct moving and follow a moving target. This weapon exists in Syrian arsenals but is not as commonly seen in this conflict.

9m113 Konkurs The Konkurs was developed alongside the Fagot as a heavier warhead wire guided missile with a longer range (roughly 4,000m). It has a slightly faster speed (200m per second) and is comparable in many regards to the US TOW missile system. This weapon system is fairly common among all actors in the Syrian Civil War.

9m133 Kornet The heaviest of all Soviet crew served anti tank guided missiles, the Konkurs is not wire guided but rather laser guided. The user simply keeps the target visually sighted and the Konkurs flies along a laser pathway to the target, in a similar manner to the Fagot and Konkurs. With a 15lb warhead and a range of 5,000m the Kornet is one of the most lethal anti-tank weapons available in Syria.

TOW and Toophan The American TOW missile (and Iranian copy the Toophan, field by Hezbollah and known to have been captured by Jabhat al Nusra) is regarded as the most accurate wire guided missile fielded today. In use by numerous militaries around the world, both from a static position, from a helicopter and mounted on armored vehicle, the TOW missile launcher pushes a 13 lb warhead up to 4,200 meters and is capable of taking out the heaviest armored threats in Syria. The TOW and it’s Iranian copy the Toophan are often confused for each other as they are aesthetically nearly identical and often only identifiable on close inspection.

(Authors Note: This was originally written in February 2015. The situation for Syrian military armor has taken a turn drastically for the worse since that time. The uptick in ATGM proliferation and the capture of SAA armor should be looked, especially in the context of the offensives in Idlib, Hama, Aleppo, and Daraa)
As the most tank-heavy military in the Middle East, by a heavy percentage, the SAA entered the Syrian Civil War with a tremendous amount of armor. Open source numbers put their pre-war numbers at roughly 4,500 Main Battle Tanks (2,000 T-55, 1,000 T-62, 1,500 T-72), 2,000 BMPs (almost entirely BMP-1s, though the Republican Guard boasted some 100 BMP-2s), 4,731 other armored vehicles (including self propelled AA, self propelled, artillery, armored cars, APCs, and armored AA missile platforms), along with 2,518 transport and logistics trucks, and unknown thousands of jeeps and small vehicles. Of these, a large number of vehicles are either mothballed, broken down for parts, or simply inoperable, with many conflict experts saying the real number of MBTs at the outset of the conflict was 2,500, BMPs at roughly 1,000, and the remainder an unknown entity. Even still, this number of armored vehicles is an enormous amount that outpaces most other military forces in the world (at the start of the conflict, Syria had the 5th largest tank army in the world).
In four years of war, most notably the last three, the number of main battle tanks has shrunk by nearly half with conflict blogger Oryx claiming that of 2,500 MBTs,roughly 1,500 remain[1] as of November 2014 and of the estimated 1,000 BMP-1s in service, Oryx claims that 350 have been destroyed[2] and approximately 175 captured by the opposition, as of January 2015. With over half of the BMP fleet, a mainstay of SAA battle doctrine, destroyed or captured, and approaching half of all MBTs destroyed or captured, how much longer can the SAA sustain these losses before the armored strength of the SAA is depleted and more tanks and armored vehicles exist in opposition hands than the government? My rough estimate: 2 years.
In 2015 alone, there have been roughly 100 ATGM strikes on Syrian armor (spread between tanks, APCs, and heavy equipment like bulldozers). From posts on this subreddit alone, I’ve counted 65 ATGM (all types) strikes since February just here on the forums, but that doesn’t account for how many of those strikes weren’t catastrophic hits. Here is a post with 32 strikes from between Feb 10 and Mar 19[3] . Roughly 100 tanks and BMPs have been struck by an ATGM. An untold number have been destroyed by another tank, or destroyed by other AT means (RPGs, AT cannon, mines, IEDs, SVBIED. If I had to guess I would add 20+ to that number of tanks damaged or destroyed since January, based solely on recollection of video and photos of tanks being destroyed by other means. As far as captured…
Several BMP-1s were captured at Brigade 82 in late January, along with a ZSU-23-4 quad barreled 23mm AA vehicle, and two AA missile vehicles. In Feburary, a T-72 and two BMP-1s were captured in Daraa area during the offensive. In Aleppo, a BMP-1 and a T-72, and two T-55s were captured by Islamic Front during that counter attacks, (Bashkuy specifically). In March, I didn’t keep good track of what has been captured, although I know in Idlib at least two BMP-1s, two armored cars (BRDM-2 I think), and a small number of logistics trucks were captured. Most recently (a few days ago), a T-72 and three BMP-1s were captured from Hezbollah/SAA forces in the Qalamoun (might have that wrong, it might be Qunaitirah).
The SAA has been losing vehicles at an alarming rate, with approximately 138 vehicles captured, destroyed, or damaged by opposition offensives, ATGM strikes, tank on tank, or other AT weapons. Given the combined 2,000 tanks + BMPs remaining in the Syrian inventory, if losses were to continue at this rate, the SAA can sustain approximately four more years of fighting before the entire tank inventory is used up (without massive replenishment). Of course in reality, if tank losses continue at this rate, replacing them on the battlefield will become a question of retaining enough for defense in secured areas, or continuing to atrophy over the long term through destruction and capture. It is likely that two more years of this rate of destruction would reduce Syrian tank inventory by at least half, and require massive rearmament by an outside power (such as a former Soviet state which has not made the same agreements as Russia with regards to not supplying Syria with more tanks).

A Russian Army’s combat infantry vehicle crew takes part in The Suvorov Assault competition at the International Army Games 2015 at Alabino base outside Moscow.

Military engineers have been competing in taking hardware across a river and crews on armored personnel carriers (APCs) have been holding breath-taking competitions as part of the ongoing International Army Games.

The contest for the APCs, called the “Suvorov Onslaught” (after the famous Russian 18th century commander Aleksandr Suvorov), has seen teams from China, Russia and Venezuela taking part.

A Chinese Army’s combat vehicle infantry crew (front) takes part in The Suvorov Assault competition at the International Army Games 2015 at Alabino base outside Moscow.

The crews have been driving Russian-made BMP-1 and BMP-2 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles armed with 76mm Grom cannons (BMP-1) and 30mm automatic cannons (BMP-2), as well as 7.62 machine guns on both vehicles.

Like the Russian Tank Biathlon, it is being held at the Alabino military training grounds, a huge territory with simulated rugged terrain in the Moscow region.

A Russian Army’s infantry combat vehicle crew takes part in The Suvorov Assault competition at the International Army Games 2015 at Alabino base outside Moscow.

Simultaneously, sappers from Belarus, China and Russia took part in the Open Water contest. They were doing various types of ferrying exercises, from constructing a pontoon bridge to transporting military hardware using special amphibious vehicles.

Army engineers loaded their amphibious transport vehicles with military trucks and ensured secure transportation from one bank to the other of BMP-2 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles (unit weight 14 tons) and T-72 main battle tanks (unit weight 42 tons).

A Russian Army’s infantry combat vehicle crew takes part in The Suvorov Assault competition at the International Army Games 2015 at Alabino base outside Moscow.

Organized by the Russian Defense Ministry, the International Military Games include the Tank Biathlon, AviaDarts air force competition, the Caspian Cup naval contest and the Suvorov Onslaught, where military personnel test their land and aerial skills.

A Venezuelan Army’s infantry combat vehicle crew (front) takes part in The Suvorov Assault competition at the International Army Games 2015 at Alabino base outside Moscow.

The contests are being held at 11 different locations across Russia. More than 2,000 foreign troops, 57 teams from 17 nations are taking part in the games, with 400 foreign observers attending the events.

A Chinese Army’s combat vehicle infantry crew takes part in The Suvorov Assault competition at the International Army Games 2015 at Alabino base outside Moscow.

All nations are using weapons presented by the hosting side, except for the Chinese.

A Venezuelan Army’s combat infantry vehicle crew takes part in The Suvorov Assault competition at the International Army Games 2015 at Alabino base outside Moscow.

The People’s Liberation Army of China brought four Type-96 tanks for the Tank Biathlon, four infantry combat vehicles for the Suvorov Onslaught competition, 120mm self-propelled mortar-howitzer PLL-05 systems to participate in the Masters of Artillery fire contest and Russian-made Su-30MKK strike fighters for the Aviadarts.

India and Russia are discussing the projects on joint production of helicopters, ships, tanks and aircraft, Tass reported, citing an official statement released today the Indian Ministry of Defense

“Among the projects that are being discussed with Russia – production of tanks, aircraft, ships and other equipment,” – noted in the Defense Ministry.
The ministry also said that in May, the government’s Council for Defence Procurement approved the acquisition and the subsequent joint production of Russian helicopters in India. “The contract is not yet signed,” – states the report.
About what kind of military products in question does not say.According to Tass it could be a co-production of Russia and India 400 multi-purpose helicopters Ka-226T, 3 to 6 modernized frigates of the “Talwar» (Talwar) Project 11356, as well as new tanks on the platform of “Armata”. Negotiations on the last project is in the initial stage.
Russia and India already have a joint venture for the production of supersonic cruise missile “Brahmos» (BraMos). By 2014, the total amount of orders missiles Indian armed forces has exceeded $ 6 billion. Source Meanwhile, “at the castle in chief” :

In the battle for Anad airbase in the province of Lahj north of Aden in addition to Leclerc tanks. Now there are reports and witnesses of 155-mm self-propelled guns from the manufacturer South African Denel G6 production, provided by the army of the United Arab Emirates. Thus, it is obvious that the UAE is the main striking force sent by Saudi forces for the coalition and with the support of the local “people’s committees” that perform the role of infantry, they hope to force “Ansar Allah” further from Aden and Taiz.

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Huthis are now actively recruiting new fighters among tribal militias of the northern tribes, their mobilization potential is large enough, but their transfer to the southern front is very difficult because of the bombing and destroyed roads and bridges in the mountains.

The shelling positions of the Saudi troops on the border with Yemen of 122 mm D-30

Tribes expressed support for a revolutionary leader Abdul-Malik al-Husi and the movement of “Ansar Allah”

Russian Defense Ministry will provide a view of the state defense order new Russian tank “Armata” and howitzers “Coalition-SV” in a protected and fenced area of the international exhibition of arms Russia Arms Expo RAE-2015.

“Some of the exhibits at the Uralvagonzavod RAE 2015 will include its latest development: 2S35” Coalition-SV “, the T-15 and T-14” Russia Arms Expo 2015 will be held from 9 to 12 September in Nizhny Tagil.

“The Department of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation to ensure the state defense order agreed decisions of the General exhibition organizers to present the exhibits” Uralvagonzavod “in a guarded and fenced area. Among the exhibits at Uralvagonzavod RAE 2015 will include its latest development: 2S35” Coalition-SV “, the T-15 and T -14 “, – said in a statement.

Perspective T-14 “Armata” was first shown to the public at the Victory Parade on Red Square in Moscow on May 9 and was highly appreciated by Russian and foreign specialists. The main difference from the existing analogue machines in that it has an isolated crew. It can shoot 125 mm tank gun capable of burning a meter of steel.

Additionally, will be shown; Russian 152-mm self-propelled howitzer 2S35 Brigadier link “Coalition-SV”, as shown in the Victory Parade, designed to destroy tactical nuclear weapons, artillery and mortar batteries, tanks and other armored vehicles, anti-tank weapons, manpower, air defense and missile defense, control centers, as well as to destroy field fortifications and obstructing the maneuvers of enemy reserves in the depth of his defense.

Promising Russian armored combat tracked vehicle on a universal platform track “Armata” T-15 “Barberry” is intended for conducting maneuvering fighting against any opponent in the composition of the tank and mechanized infantry units as the main multi-purpose combat means in terms of use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Technical Reference

Tank T-14  (index GBTU – Object 148) – the main battle tank, equipped with a 125 mm smoothbore gun 2A82 (with optional 152-mm 2A83) with remote (uninhabited tower), a fully digital control. 

In front of a very powerful frontal armor is protected from all sides isolated crew sitting in a row. Gun control will be carried out remotely.

The tank can withstand frontal hit from most modern and advanced types of anti-tank shells and missiles. The representative of “Uralvagonzavod” said that the supply tank to the troops will begin in 2015. The tank will hold up to 40 rounds of various purpose autoloader, and will have machine guns and sights, surpassing existing designs to be able to fire on the move and so on. Some developments, including the “arrangement of monitors,” Tank will acquire promising developments from the T-95 and Black Eagle, while it will be much cheaper than their “ancestors”. 

According to some reports, Russians plan to equip the tank diesel engine 1500-2000 hp, 125-mm smoothbore gun with remote inhabited compartment for ammunition. However, most of the tactical and technical characteristics of the tank remain vague. Rollers are borrowed from the T-80, due to lower weight, so less weight per tonne platform. 

Specifications 

Combat weight, t 55
Crew. 3 persons
Ground clearance, mm 500
The caliber and brand of gun 125mm 2A82-1M
Engine power, hp. with. 1500
The speed on the highway, km / h 75

Technical Reference 


2S35 “Coalition-SV”  – Russian project of self-propelled artillery installation of class self-propelled howitzers. At the beginning of 2015 made ​​8 units to participate in the anniversary Victory Day parade in 2015 in honor of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

Originally, the ACS will be the development of 2S19 “MSTA-S”. However, in the process of creating a new ACS by setting fire control system, new weapons, robotic complex uninhabitable tower was obtained a new generation of self-propelled guns. The original version was developed in ACS option to increase the rate of fire, as seen at the parade May 9, 2015 as the basic version of the ACS has been shown in more reliable and cheaper single-barreled version.


From the public statements that the new ACS has a range of 2 times greater than that of “MSTA-S” and most severe SAU NATO. Common shells range is 30-40 km, and 70 km – active and reactive. In comparison, the hardest SAU US M109A6 «Paladin” has a range of 22-30 km, depending on types of ammunition, and the previous record for the shooting rockets active-German PzH2000 ACS has the maximum distance of 56 km.

ACS has the ability to work in the “barrage of fire” (eng.  Multiple  Rounds  Simultaneous  Impact , at the same time getting a few rounds) when the number of consecutive shots made ​​with the expectation that the shells came almost simultaneously to the goal that is achieved through a high-speed pneumatic loading system. 

For self-defense ACS has a remote-controlled machine gun and bulletproof and Ballistic book. The crew and the computer system of fire control are more bronekapsuly as other BBM platform “Armata”.

Most likely, the tactical unit ACS “coalition” can receive target information from the T-14, as indicated in his comments TRC “Star”: “Due to the AFAR,” Armata “is positioned as … complex military reconnaissance and targeting.” Harmonization of data of all the Armed Forces combat vehicles to the brigade guaranteed standards and technologies “ACS TK” developed concern “Constellation”. The family of combat vehicles “Armata” (ACS, “coalition”, the T-14, T-15, BMP, etc.) necessarily completed a new version of “ASU TK” with the means of communication with the new fifth-generation module UPTK that manages real fight time.

Development

The first model sample of ACS was presented in 2006 on the basis MSTA-S self-propelled guns.

In early 2010, Russian Defense Minister said that the project is not funded by the state, as the established practice of the developers in the early stages of weapons were through self-finance for development. Similarly, “Coalition-SV” in the same way fund development “Carapace-C1.” 

In August 2012 the newspaper “Izvestia” published information that the artillery unit “Coalition-SV” is planned to be installed on the platform “Armata” (currently used T-90 chassis

In 2013, two prototypes of ACS were made “Coalition” in 2014 planned production of 10 more units to participate in the parade May 9, 2015 – in honor of the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

Modifications

  • 2S35 “Coalition-SV”  – the basic variant, weapons – Howitzer 152-mm gun turret in the desert.
    • Articulated ACS.
  • 2S35-1 “Coalition-SV-SH”  – April 4, 2013, OJSC “KAMAZ” published a picture of one of the elaborations appearance wheeled variant having the code “Coalition-SV-CABG.” As a base used truck chassis KAMAZ-6560. The prototype wheel ACS is in the process of manufacture. It was assumed, on 25 September 2013, a prototype version of the wheeled self-propelled guns will be demonstrated at the exhibition Russian Expo Arms in Nizhny Tagil, but that did not happen. In contrast to the first prototypes 2S35, 2S35-1 has one gun caliber 152 mm.

The performance indicators

Classification Self-propelled howitzer
Combat weight, t to 48
Crew. 3
History
Manufacturer Russia
Years of Production 2014
Years of Operation It planned in 2015
The number of issued, pcs. 12
Reservation
Armor type rolled steel, bulletproof
Equipment
The caliber and brand of gun 152-mm 2A88
Type Gun rifled howitzer
Barrel length, caliber not more than 52
Ammunition gun 50-70
The firing range, km 40-70
Machine guns 1 mm x 12,7-Kord

Technical Reference

T-15 (Index GBTU – Object 149 , “Barberry” ) – Advanced Russian armored combat tracked vehicle on a universal platform track “Armata”. The term state tests – 2016-2017, after their completion will begin mass production. It will be the first in the Armed Forces of heavy Russian BMP (at heavily armored T-14).

Structure

BMP is based on heavy tracked platform “Armata”. It was first demonstrated at the Victory Parade in Moscow in 2015.

Engine and chassis

The engine has a capacity of about 1500 hp (Probably Chelyabinsk A-85-3A) and service of its system, and the mission will be located between the frontal armor protection and habitable capsule. High power will allow to accelerate the heavy car to speeds of over 70 km / h.

Chassis – most likely front-drive wheel. The active suspension allows the car to travel at high speed over rough terrain and to reduce crew fatigue and increase accuracy.

Equipment

Arms heavy infantry fighting vehicles located in a desert fighting compartment “Epoch” circular rotation located above the troop compartment. Photographs seen indicate use of 30-mm 2A42 automatic gun with selective ammunition supply and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun, and two twin launchers for anti-tank systems “Cornet”. It was reported that ammunition will consist of 500 rounds for the gun, 2000 rounds of ammunition for machine gun and four anti-tank missiles or anti-aircraft missile 9M133 9M133FM-3.

Protection

The front protection will have a combined maximum protection to ensure the protection of the crew, not only from the bullets, shrapnel and small-caliber projectiles, but also from powerful ammunition tank guns and anti-tank missiles. V-shaped bottom will substantially strengthen and reduce the likelihood damage from crew or land mines. Tower crew compartment “Epoch” T-15, as well as Tower of the crew compartment of the tank T-14 on the platform of “Armata” is uninhabited and separated from the capsule with the crew. The defeat of the tower and the undermining of its ammunition not dangerous landing and the crew.

Destination

Intended for maneuver warfare against any opponent as part of the tank and mechanized infantry units as the main multi-purpose combat means in terms of use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Antitank system designed to defeat modern tanks with active protection.

BMP has a strong support for the work in the mode of the air defense system of close combat with an emphasis on the destruction of the UAV and anti-tank helicopters class Apache.

The performance indicators

Classification     TBMP      
Combat weight, t 50
Crew 3
Troopers, people. 8
Developer UKBTM
Manufacturer Uralvagonzavod
Armor type Combined multilayer
Equipment  
The caliber and brand of gun 1 × 30-mm 2A42
Machine guns 1 × 7,62-mm PKTM
Other weapons 4 × ATGM Kornet-EM

DPR forensic analysis reveal how Ukrainian Tanks are able to shell the center of Donetsk from a distance of up to 20km.

The “International military games 2015” – “Masters of artillery fire” will be the “Dance of the trunks” with tanks. How it will look on August 3, at a ceremony on July 29, journalists were able to watch as they were invited.


The program will open with a speech by the Mounted Police. Opening ceremonies will include helicopter pilots, demonstration pf firing of guns “Grad” and other modern weapons. The competition will be held from August 1 to 15 at the site “Wide Karamysh” in the Saratov region. The participants will be the team of Angola, China, Belarus, Venezuela and Russia.