The Russian military has deployed BMPT-72 Terminator-2 armored fighting vehicles (AFV) in Syria to test them on the battlefield. BMPT stands for «tank support fighting vehicle» – the weapon that has no analogues in the West. In late June, the vehicle was demonstrated to Syrian President Bashar Assad by Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov during the president’s visit to Khmeimim, the air base used by Russian military and protected by the AFVs and T-90 main battle tanks (MBTs).
The Terminator-2 was developed based on the lessons the Army learnt from Afghanistan and Chechnya to be used alongside with their main battle tanks (MBTs) in the same unit in combat. It is designed to protect and support MBTs, especially in urban areas. The BMPT-72 provides suppressive fire against enemy anti-tank guided weapons and static weapon emplacements.
Built on the chassis of the T-72 MBT, the BMPT-72 carries no troops. It is fitted with state-of-the-art guided weapons systems to engage infantry and light armored vehicles with its cannon, and tanks and buildings with its guided antitank missiles.
Regular tanks are not that effective in urban combat. The Terminator-2 is a great alternative as it possesses a rapid enough rate of fire to react to any enemy vehicles in its surrounding. The four missiles can effectively knock out heavily armored targets. Thanks to the guns able to elevate and depress, the vehicle can hit targets located at building tops and other tall structures. Normally, two main battle tanks are accompanied by a BMPT. Two BMPTs would accompany a tank in mountainous or urban environments.
The armament includes two 30-mm 2A42 automatic cannons, which fire high-explosive shells up to 4000m and up to 2500m using armor-piercing shells, four laser-guided Ataka-T anti-tank missile systems and one coaxial heavy machine gun with a remote reloading mechanism. The turret has a 360-degree traverse. The cannons are electrically stabilized on both axis for firing on the move and can be elevated by –5 to +25 degrees. The ammunition load of the cannons consists of 850 rounds in two belts.
The vehicle carries anti-tank and anti-personnel versions of the Ataka missiles. The missile's operational range is up to 6km. It travels at a supersonic speed of 550m/s. The Terminator-2 can hit aerial low-level targets flying at speeds of up 400km/h.
The AFV has a crew of three: a vehicle commander, a driver, and a gunner. The driver sits in the center of the forward hull, while the gunner and commander positions are at the rear. NBC protection is provided to the crew to ensure survival against radiation and biological weapons.
The commander is provided with panoramic sight and the gunner's position is fitted with day periscopes. The sighting channel allows the gunner and commander to detect ground and aerial targets at ranges up to 7,000m day and night in any weather conditions. The fire control system (FCS) includes a thermal channel, an optical channel, a guided ATGM channel, and a laser rangefinder. It can identify a tank-sized target at a 5,000m in daytime with the sighting channel and 3,500m with the thermal channel. The ballistic computer is electronic and fully digital with a set of weather and topographical sending units.
The Terminator 2 is equipped with night vision, a laser range finder, as well as an integrated laser controlled missile guidance system.
The BMPT-72 mounts "Relikt" explosive reactive armor (ERA). It includes steel armoured hull and turret. The protection is further enhanced with the addition of multipurpose and modular explosive reactive armor on the forward hull and sides of the vehicle. The side skirts are equipped with dynamical protection and latticed screens, which provides protection against RPGs.
The vehicle possesses the System 902A automatic smoke grenade launchers on both sides of the turret, which serve as camouflage and provide protection against infrared weapons. Upon receiving the detection warning, smoke grenades are launched to block laser range finders. The vehicle is fitted with new radar absorbing camouflage system.
The combat weight is 44t. The length and width of the vehicle are 7.2m and 3.59m respectively. The combat vehicle's propulsion system includes either a V-84MS, four-stroke 12-cylinder multifuel diesel engine with liquid cooling and gear-driven centrifugal-type supercharger, or a V-92S2 four-stroke 12-cylinder multifuel diesel with liquid cooling and turbocharger. The V-84MS engine generates 840hp power and the V-92S2 is rated at 1,000hp. The mechanical power train of the BMPT-72 consists of a transmission gear unit, two final gear boxes and coaxial final drives. Transmission is provided by seven forward gears and a reverse gear.
The maximum speed of the Terminator2 is 60km/h over highways and a cruising range of 550km with external fuel tanks. The BMPT can cross a trench that's as long as 2.7 ± 0.1m and overcome vertical obstacles as high as 0.85 m. It can cross water obstacles with a depth of 1.2m without preparation and 1.8m with five minutes of preparation. When installed with a snorkel kit, this vehicle is able to cross rivers up to five meters in depth.
There are plans to develop Terminator-3 on the basis of the country’s latest Armata tanks.
This is a formidable weapon no other country has. As the recent battles for the cities, including Ramadi, Fallujah, Aleppo, Mosul and Raqqa, show, it takes many months to liberate a big urban area from Islamic States militants. The destruction and civilian casualties are great. The Terminator-2 is the tool to enhance the efficiency while carrying out the mission of taking a town or a city from terrorists. The BMPT-72 is especially effective against the Islamic State vehicle-driven suicide bombers moving at great speed. The Terminator’s high-velocity rapid-fire cannons and very advanced fire control system make it the most effective weapon to counter them. The terrorists in Syria are in for a big surprise.