Armoured Vehicles of the Russian Airborne Troops

   

Pravda Report

 

Published on Mar 26, 2013

The Russian Airborne Troops or VDV (from "Vozdushno-desantnye voyska", Russian: Воздушно-десантные войска, ВДВ; Air-landing Forces) is a military branch of service of the Russian Military, on par with the Strategic Rocket Forces and the Russian Space Forces. First formed before World War II, the force undertook two significant airborne operations and a number of smaller jumps during the war and for many years after 1945 was the largest airborne force in the world. The force was split after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, losing divisions to Belarus and Ukraine, and has been reduced in size.

Armoured Vehicles

Unlike the rest of the mechanized units, which use variety of APCs and IFVs such as the BMP series, BTR series and MT-LB, the VDV uses exclusively BMD family vehicles. There are over 1,800 armored fighting vehicles, mostly BMD-1 (since 1969) and BMD-2 (since 1985). There were also over 100 BMD-3 (1990) that were partially upgraded to BMD-4 level. All of them are amphibious, moving at around 10 km/h in water. BMD-4 is also capable of full, continuous fire while in the deep water, unlike any other vehicle with such heavy weaponry (100mm gun and 30mm auto cannon).

There is also a turret-less variant of the BMD-1, the BTR-D, which is used as troop carrier and severs as the basis for specialised versions such as anti-tank, command and signals. The BTR-D will partially be replaced by the new multi-purpose APC BTR-MD "Rakushka" that will also come in several different versions. As part of the 2011 state defence order (GOZ), 10 BMD-4M and 10 "Rakushka's" have been ordered, but according to the VDV's CinC General Colonel Shamanov, Kurganmashzavod did not give a guarantee it would produce them. The Russian Defense Ministry adopted the BMD-4M in early December 2012. They are planning to receive 10 BMD-4M vehicles and 10 BTR-MD vehicles for final testing by mid-2013, with commissioning by the end of 2013. The Russian Airborne plans to acquire 1,000 BMD-4Ms through 2020.

A Russian BTR-80 and a United States M2 Bradley in Bosnia.

Russian Airborne brigade-level units will soon receive SPM-2 GAZ-233036 Tigr armored cars. They may also order experimaental Kamaz Typhoon armored infantry transports, following modifications to meet the demands of the airborne.

Artillery

The airborne self-propelled artillery guns ASU-57 and ASU-85 have been withdrawn. They had light armour and limited anti-tank capability, but provided invaluable fire support for paratroopers behind enemy lines (the caliber of the gun is the number next to ASU designation in mm).

Also withdrawn were the multiple rocket launch systems RPU-14 (8U38) of 140mm and the BM-21V "Grad-V" (9P125) of 122mm on GAZ-66, as well as the 85mm gun SD-44.

Today the VDV operates the following systems:

2S9 Nona 120mm self-propelled gun-mortar.
2S25 Sprut-SD 125mm self-propelled artillery/anti-tank gun based on BMD-3 hull.
D-30 (2A18) 122mm howitzer and anti-tank weapon, towed by truck, not amphibious, unique capability to make 360 degree turns as it is deployed on tripod
ZU-23-2 23mm air-defence gun, is either mounted on the BTR-D, or can be towed by a jeep or truck as it has wheels. Since 2011, some ZU-23s are being replaced by the Strela-10M3.

The VDV is equipped with numerous types of airborne capable trucks and jeeps, for example the Ural-4320, the GAZ-66V and the GAZ-2975 "Tigr" for transporting cargo, specialist crews and equipment (e.g. mortars, ammunitions), but not infantry (all fighting paratroopers are transported in armoured vehicles). Currently the GAZ-66 is being replaced by the KAMAZ-43501. pravda


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