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    BTR-RD "Robot"

    Interlinked
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    Post  Interlinked on Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:51 am

    I never really understood why the BTR-RD was designed the way it was. Its missile can only be fired by an exposed operator and it only has one, so it doesn't have the fire power of BRDM-based tank destroyers despite being larger and more spacious and it is more difficult to use while under fire. It provides carries additional missile launchers for dismounts, but the standard BMD can also carry an additional launcher for the dismounts to use. There were also no thermobaric or HE missiles for the Konkurs/Fagot back then, so the platform was very inefficient against anything that wasn't a tank. Does anyone know something about the BTR-RD that can shed light on its purpose?
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    Post  flamming_python on Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:34 am

    Interlinked wrote:I never really understood why the BTR-RD was designed the way it was. Its missile can only be fired by an exposed operator and it only has one, so it doesn't have the fire power of BRDM-based tank destroyers despite being larger and more spacious and it is more difficult to use while under fire. It provides carries additional missile launchers for dismounts, but the standard BMD can also carry an additional launcher for the dismounts to use. There were also no thermobaric or HE missiles for the Konkurs/Fagot back then, so the platform was very inefficient against anything that wasn't a tank. Does anyone know something about the BTR-RD that can shed light on its purpose?

    For one thing it's air-droppable. Neither the BRDM nor any other tank destroyer is.

    For another it carries troops. So basically it's a BTR-D with an AT missile instead of a machine gun. The VDV are limited in terms of the number of vehicles they'll have with them; so having a dual-purpose vehicle of both transporting troops and destroying tanks makes sense; even if they have to sacrifice the tank-destroying capability somewhat.
    The BTR-RD actually carries up to 12 ATGM missiles inside it. So it's not only acting as an ATGM vehicle, but is basically transporting the equivalent of an ATGM squad in a pinch. That's a lot of AT firepower that can be brought to bear.

    Anything that's not a tank can be engaged by the troops themselves that are being transported by the vehicle. Even the standard machine gun of a standard BTR-D is not a serious weapon; like on the BTR series, those machine guns are just intended for self-defences against any ambushes the vehicle finds itself in - it's an APC, not an IFV.

    Finally, the BTR-RD's designation 'Robot' might provide a hint. The vehicle's ATGM launcher can be remote-controlled by a panel up to 20m away from the vehicle. So if used in a defensive position, the crew can park in cover, dismount and then hide themselves for more protection. If the vehicle is destroyed; they'll still survive.

    So overall I can see exactly the reason why it was designed the way it was; seems like an ideal solution for the VDV.
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    Post  Interlinked on Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:58 pm

    Thanks for the detailed reply. However, I still don't see how the air-drop feature prevents the BTR-RD from having a multi-shot missile launcher like the 9P148 tank destroyer. The air-drop capability never stopped the BMD-1 from having the same armament as the BMP-1, or the BMD-2 from having the same armament as the BMP-2. It would be kinda okay if the BTR-RD was classified only as an anti-tank squad transport, but it is not just a transport. The BTR-RD was used as a tank destroyer and it replaced the ASU-85 as a self-propelled gun in artillery regiments (without thermobaric or HE missiles!). Since its used in so many major roles, it's difficult to understand why its firepower is so limited.

    If it had an external five-shot launcher, it would have a lot more firepower. There is no need for the launcher to retract like the 9P148, so internal space for dismounts is not affected. Reloading the launcher would still be done manually by a guy popping out of a hatch, but it makes much more sense to be able to fire 5 missiles before retreating and reloading instead of needing to do so after every shot. In its existing state, the BTR-RD is just a BTR-D with an off-the-shelf 9P135M mounted on top, which begs the question: why don't all BTR-Ds carry a missile launcher on the top? This would allow any air-dropped company to make full use of every vehicle at their disposal.

    As for the remote fire feature - does it really exist? The missile launcher is the 9P135M, and the 9P135M doesn't have that feature as far as I'm aware. I don't doubt that it can be useful if it really exists, but the vehicle only has a single 9P135M launcher and one missile. After every shot, somebody will have to reload it. It would be much safer to do that inside the armoured hull using internally stowed missiles than to do it from the outside, where you will have no cover and you can't keep low to the ground since the missiles are on the roof of the vehicle. Also, some poor guy would have to run 20m between the hiding spot and the vehicle to reload after every shot. That's extremely dangerous.
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    Post  GarryB on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:46 am

    Thanks for the detailed reply. However, I still don't see how the air-drop feature prevents the BTR-RD from having a multi-shot missile launcher like the 9P148 tank destroyer. The air-drop capability never stopped the BMD-1 from having the same armament as the BMP-1, or the BMD-2 from having the same armament as the BMP-2.

    Note the pattern... the vehicles with automatic loading... ie BRDM don't carry troops, while the other vehicles you mentioned are hand loaded anyway... the first launchers for the BMP were manually aimed too, but later combined model that could fire faggot or konkurs could be fired from inside the vehicle... but still get out to reload...

    The BTR-RD was used as a tank destroyer and it replaced the ASU-85 as a self-propelled gun in artillery regiments (without thermobaric or HE missiles!). Since its used in so many major roles, it's difficult to understand why its firepower is so limited.

    I would say 12 missiles able to defeat targets out to 4.5km is rather more potent than any version of the ASU-85...

    Considering the standoff range and the fact that it would be used deep behind enemy lines rather than for front line stuff that was probably considered adequate.

    If it had an external five-shot launcher, it would have a lot more firepower. There is no need for the launcher to retract like the 9P148, so internal space for dismounts is not affected. Reloading the launcher would still be done manually by a guy popping out of a hatch, but it makes much more sense to be able to fire 5 missiles before retreating and reloading instead of needing to do so after every shot. In its existing state, the BTR-RD is just a BTR-D with an off-the-shelf 9P135M mounted on top, which begs the question: why don't all BTR-Ds carry a missile launcher on the top? This would allow any air-dropped company to make full use of every vehicle at their disposal.

    Likely the fact that the VDV wont be operating on the front line and are not expecting to come across that many enemy tanks...

    The BMD-4M will have gun tube launched ATGMs anyway.

    As for the remote fire feature - does it really exist? The missile launcher is the 9P135M, and the 9P135M doesn't have that feature as far as I'm aware. I don't doubt that it can be useful if it really exists, but the vehicle only has a single 9P135M launcher and one missile. After every shot, somebody will have to reload it. It would be much safer to do that inside the armoured hull using internally stowed missiles than to do it from the outside, where you will have no cover and you can't keep low to the ground since the missiles are on the roof of the vehicle. Also, some poor guy would have to run 20m between the hiding spot and the vehicle to reload after every shot. That's extremely dangerous.

    My understanding of the remote launch option was that the vehicle was sitting behind cover with the launcher angled up to fire over that cover so the vehicle is out of the targets line of sight. The remote launch position has a direct view of the target and guides the missile but because nothing has actually been launched from it there is no smoke or flame to attract attention to your location.

    Loading it should not be an issue in that regard.
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    Post  Interlinked on Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:32 pm

    A hypothetical multi-shot launcher for a hypothetical BTR-RD doesn't have to be automatically loaded, nor does it have to retract into the hull or anything like that. Also 9P148 is not automatically loaded. It must be loaded manually be the crew after it expends all missiles on the retractable launcher. For the BTR-RD, it doesn't have to retract so the crew can just load it externally from a hatch. That's good enough for any situation.

    ASU-85 was not just a tank destroyer but also an SPG to support infantry. It got replaced by the BTR-Rd in that role as well as in the tank destroyer role, but no HE or thermobaric missile was available so it could be considered both an upgrade and a downgrade at the same time.

    Even if a VDV division was not expected to face that many tanks, being able to fire missiles at bunkers and other fortifications at a high standoff range is useful. Standard RPGs carried by the infantry can bust through any concrete bunkers, but getting close enough to score a hit is suicidal even if they are transported in a BTR-D since it can't guarantee protection from .50 Cal fire at close range.

    I assume that the operator for the remote launch option has his own sights and control system to guide the missile? The 9P135M is a SACLOS launcher after all and it needs to have it's tracking optic pointed directly at the target which is not possible if it is aimed at the sky. Any idea what the device used for the remote launch is called?
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    Post  GarryB on Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:37 am

    ASU-85 was not just a tank destroyer but also an SPG to support infantry. It got replaced by the BTR-Rd in that role as well as in the tank destroyer role, but no HE or thermobaric missile was available so it could be considered both an upgrade and a downgrade at the same time.

    As a self propelled gun its role would be replaced more by NONA with its 120mm mortar and of course the newer model IFVs had 100mm rifled guns to support troops.

    Even if a VDV division was not expected to face that many tanks, being able to fire missiles at bunkers and other fortifications at a high standoff range is useful. Standard RPGs carried by the infantry can bust through any concrete bunkers, but getting close enough to score a hit is suicidal even if they are transported in a BTR-D since it can't guarantee protection from .50 Cal fire at close range.

    120mm gun/mortars and 100mm rifled guns were more than adequate replacement for 57mm and 85mm guns...

    I assume that the operator for the remote launch option has his own sights and control system to guide the missile? The 9P135M is a SACLOS launcher after all and it needs to have it's tracking optic pointed directly at the target which is not possible if it is aimed at the sky.

    There were remote launchers and for some mounts you simply removed it from the vehicle to fire the missiles...
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    Post  Interlinked on Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:43 am

    GarryB wrote:
    As a self propelled gun its role would be replaced more by NONA with its 120mm mortar and of course the newer model IFVs had 100mm rifled guns to support troops.

    Fair point, but there is a 50/50 mix of BTR-RDs and Nona-S's in any given artillery regiment. ASU-85 was a multi-purpose spg that could be used for long range indirect fire support, direct fire support, and anti-tank action. It got replaced by two distinct specialized weapon systems. Obviously the combat capabilities of VDV divisions went up when the BTR-D and its variants were introduced, all I'm saying is that the BTR-RD could be better or more flexible.

    BTW here is what I mean when I said that there are issues regarding safety during reloads:

    BTR-RD "Robot"  Pic_64

    120mm gun/mortars and 100mm rifled guns were more than adequate replacement for 57mm and 85mm guns...

    I was talking about equipping all if not most BTR-Ds with an 9P135M missile launcher so that the organic firepower of the infantry is improved.

    There were remote launchers and for some mounts you simply removed it from the vehicle to fire the missiles...

    Any idea what the remote launcher is called?
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    Post  GarryB on Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:45 am

    Obviously the combat capabilities of VDV divisions went up when the BTR-D and its variants were introduced, all I'm saying is that the BTR-RD could be better or more flexible.

    I am not saying you don't have a point but I suspect it was cheaper to go with the simpler mount and that some times they carried troops instead of ATGMs.

    I would say in most cases a hull down position would be found and the ATGM launcher would be used at max range possible... ie 4-4.5km, so the risk of enemy return fire wont be enormous. These missiles are wire guided so the launch vehicle will not be able to move while the missile is in flight because a snagged wire that breaks means the missile hits nothing.

    The fact that they use Faggot/Konkurs suggests they want the extra range, as Metis is lighter and more portable... and rather cheaper yet with much better armour penetration performance.

    I was talking about equipping all if not most BTR-Ds with an 9P135M missile launcher so that the organic firepower of the infantry is improved.

    Actually a conversion to Kornet would be a rather bigger and better step... much greater range... much higher missile flight speed so shorter engagement time, and no wire so in theory the missiles could be fired on the move even if they needed to be manually reloaded.


    Any idea what the remote launcher is called?

    Sorry... no.

    The BRDM-3 had the retractable 5 tube launcher that could fire AT-4 and AT-5 missiles and could also be remote controlled... that would probably be a good place to start looking.


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