New and modernized. Combat vehicles for the arctic units of the Russian army
At present, the Russian army is actively building and developing its Arctic grouping of troops. For effective work in the region, the grouping needs special samples of combat and other equipment, adapted to work in a harsh climate. The first samples of this kind, created specifically for the Arctic, are already entering service, and new ones are expected to appear in the foreseeable future.
As part of the general strengthening of the Arctic grouping, the production and delivery of several types of combat vehicles has begun. Due to the special requirements of the Arctic and other factors, we are talking about both the modernization of existing equipment and the production of completely new products.
In 2019, the coastal forces of the Northern Fleet received the first batch of deeply modernized T-80BVM main tanks. Previously, this technique was in storage, after which it underwent repairs and a significant update, and then ended up in the polar parts. In 2020-21 similar processes continued, and by now there are several dozen modernized tanks in the arctic units.
Reportedly, as a result of modernization, the T-80BVM receives new fire control equipment, as well as modern communication and control equipment. Due to this, the main combat and operational indicators are growing. In addition, it is envisaged to retain the gas turbine power plant, which simplifies the operation of equipment in cold climates and allows obtaining maximum performance in a wide range of conditions.
Almost simultaneously with the modernized tank, the Tor-M2DT anti-aircraft missile systems, created specifically for the Arctic, went to the troops. Since then, at least 12 of these vehicles have been sent to combat units, and now they are participating in providing the air defense of the troops.
Tor-M2DT is a self-propelled air defense system based on existing components. To ensure high mobility in different landscapes, the DT-30PM two-link chassis was used. A standard combat module of the Tor-M2 complex is installed on the rear hull of such a transporter. In terms of combat characteristics, such an air defense system corresponds to the "conventional" products of the "Tor", and in terms of mobility it dramatically surpasses them.
Currently, several new projects of combat vehicles for various purposes are being developed. The most successful ones have already reached the stage of factory and state tests, and in the foreseeable future they should be expected to enter the troops.
One of these developments is to improve the state of the polar air defense system. Back in 2017, the Pantsir-SA air defense system, based on the existing Pantsir-C1, was demonstrated for the first time. According to the latest reports, this sample is still being tested and will be able to enter service in the future, but the timing has not been specified.
SAM "Pantsir-SA", like the northern "Tor", is built on an articulated tracked chassis DT-30PM. During the construction of such a complex, the chassis receives a new rear body of reduced size, on which a large-sized combat module is located. The new module received other on-board equipment, incl. modernized guidance radar. Also, the cannons were removed from it, thanks to which there was a place for additional missiles. The ammunition load of the air defense missile system is now 18 missiles.
Another promising project is being created in the interests of artillery units. Now in the northern direction are used "conventional" self-propelled guns of the ground forces with all objective restrictions. The new project of the self-propelled artillery gun 2S39 "Magnolia", created in the framework of the ROC "Sketch", should improve the mobility and fire capabilities of artillery. Now such a CAO is undergoing state tests, which should be completed next year.
SJSC "Magnolia" is also being built on a two-link chassis DT-30PM. A fighting compartment with a turret similar to the unit of the 2S31 "Vienna" armored vehicle is installed on the rear hull. The tower is equipped with a 120-mm artillery system 2A80 of the "gun-shot" type, which combines the functions of a cannon, a howitzer and a mortar. Thus, the "Magnolia" combines high mobility in all landscapes with the flexibility of combat use.
With unclear prospects
In parallel with military construction in the northern direction, new projects of equipment for the Arctic are being developed. Various samples of this kind are regularly shown at domestic exhibitions in the form of models or full-size machines. However, not all new projects have a clear future. Some of them have been stuck on the show floor for years, while other projects are in their early stages and their results are not yet known.
Since the middle of the last decade, a "fire support and escort vehicle" called "Toros" has regularly appeared at exhibitions. This is an option for a deep modernization of the MT-LBu serial conveyor, providing for the modification of the chassis, the installation of a dozer blade and the use of an improved climate system. A unified cannon and machine gun module from serial armored personnel carriers is installed on the roof of the hull.
The "Toros" product was repeatedly shown to the military, specialists and the public, and the advantages of this machine were also named. However, such "advertising" has not yet yielded the desired results, and the likelihood of getting contracts is constantly decreasing. In all likelihood, the Ministry of Defense will not buy Torosy.
Another promising project, mentioned in recent years, has a chance to reach the series and deliveries to the troops. It is known under the code "Knight" and provides for the development of a specialized BMP. The successful continuation of the development of this project has been repeatedly reported, but no technical details and timing of the work have yet been given.
Due to the lack of official information, various versions, assessments and rumors are circulating. According to them, the BMP "Knight" will be tracked and can be built according to the traditional or two-link scheme. She will be able to transport up to the infantry squad in comfortable conditions, despite the low temperatures overboard. The armament complex is likely to include a small-bore cannon and a machine gun.
In the process of development
The development of the Russian Arctic grouping and the reinforcement of troops in the northern direction is carried out in several ways. One of the main ones is the renewal of the fleet of combat vehicles of all classes through the modernization of available samples and the creation of new ones. Several major trends can now be noted in this area.
New and modernized. Combat vehicles for the arctic units of the Russian army
First of all, attention is drawn to the fact that the Arctic units are still using relatively old equipment, and this state of affairs will persist for the next several years. The existing MT-LB, "Akatsia" and "Tunguska" will continue to serve and will make a feasible contribution to the defense.
At the same time, purchases and supplies of modernized and completely new samples will be carried out. Such processes have already led to the emergence of combatant MBT T-80BVM, SAM "Tor-M2DT", two-link transporters, etc. Over time, the absolute and relative amount of modern / updated technology will grow with understandable results for combat effectiveness.
In the medium and long term, completely new armored vehicles of different classes will enter the Arctic. These will be new anti-aircraft systems, self-propelled guns, infantry fighting vehicles, etc. Thanks to this, it will be possible to write off morally and physically obsolete products - and without any losses in combat and operational capabilities.
Thus, the Arctic grouping of the Russian army is in the process of construction and development, incl. in the context of combat vehicles. The first positive results of such programs can be seen already now. And in the future, as new projects and programs appear and are being implemented, the situation will change for the better again. And the northern borders of the country will be covered by a grouping of troops of sufficient strength and with equipment corresponding to the characteristics of the region.