The Russian Federation’s BMPT (Tank Support Fighting Vehicle), known as the “Terminator,” has traveled back in time to ensure the future for the machines—but the vehicle has come back from “financial neglect.” First introduced more than twenty years ago the platform has never been fully embraced by the Russian Military, but it has gone through a number of upgrades.
The tracked armored fighting vehicle (AFVs) was developed and manufactured by the Russian-based defense contractor Uralvagonzavod; its primary role is to support tanks and other AFVs in urban areas. It was designed based on combat lessons gained during the Soviet-Afghan War and later the First Chechen War.
The Terminator moniker is unofficial, but it fits given its guardian/hunter role in urban environments, where it can provide fire support for the armor in an offensive, including the task of fighting enemy personnel armed with man-portable anti-tank weapon systems.
Heavily armed and armored for combat in close tight streets the original platform was built on the chassis of a T-72 main battle tank (MBT), and it was armed with four 9M120 Ataka missile launchers, two 30 mm 2A42 autocannons, two AG-17D grenade launchers and a single coaxial 7.62 mm PKTM machine gun. The anti-tank missile system can reach targets of up to six kilometers, while the Terminator is speedy for its size, and can reach speeds of up to 60 kpm. It is operated by a crew of five.
Despite its potential, in 2010 the Defense Ministry abandoned plans to financially support the platform’s development.
Terminator – Return of the Russian AFVs
This month, DefenseNews reported that the Russian military has received the latest batch of the support vehicles for testing after the Terminator had been previously neglected. It reportedly proved its effectiveness during recent Russian combat operations in Syria and the Russian Defense Ministry gave the platform another look.
Russian state television showed the latest version of the vehicles, which are reportedly based on the T-90 chassis, in service with the 90th Tank Division while deployed in the Chelyabinsk region of the Urals.
“The uniqueness of this car is its ability to follow three targets at once with all of its weaponry systems,” Col. Andrey Sigarev, the deputy commander of the tank division, told Channel One television.
Military experts were reported to suggest that a single Terminator could replace a motorized rifle platoon of forty soldiers and six armored vehicles. Whether that is pure bolster isn’t clear, but Russia’s military has only received eight of the updated vehicles, and those will be tested during military exercises.
It has already been described as a “universal soldier” and the Terminator AFV can fight independently against insurgent forces armed with weapons ranging from small arms to grenade launchers and anti-tank missiles, and hold its own against tank platoons equipped with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Austrian accent not included.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.