In this publication, we continue an inadvertently started series of articles about the artisanal modernization of domestic armored vehicles in the zone of a special military operation in Ukraine. The desire to survive at any cost and win makes Russian servicemen promptly look for and find answers to new challenges from the enemy and show front-line ingenuity by installing on the available technology additional non-standard weapons.
In previous publications, we told about how armored vehicles around the world have undergone “front-line renovation” since the First World War, and even proposed from myself some possible options.
The most promising direction seems to be the conversion of lightly armored tractors MT-LB, BTR-60 / BTR-70 and "turretless" chassis from obsolete T-55 tanks into self-propelled mortars. It is also advisable to equip old armored personnel carriers with a pair of quick-firing anti-aircraft guns of the ZU-23-2 type, which would provide the Russian military with highly mobile firing points and at the same time short-range air defense systems at the company level to combat enemy drones. If equip "motorized leagues" and armored personnel carriers with anti-tank complexes of the "Kornet" type, our motorized riflemen will receive an effective tool for fighting even with NATO-style heavy tanks.
And now it’s worth looking at very specific options for the front-line modernization of Russian armored vehicles, which fell into the lens of military correspondents’ cameras.
The telegram channel “Military Informant” posted photos of BTR-50 armored personnel carriers transported on trawls. One of the old Soviet armored personnel carriers was equipped with a ZU-23-2 rapid-fire small-caliber anti-aircraft gun. This is the same "zushka", the need for which we ourselves spoke earlier, capable of fighting low-flying targets such as drones at a distance of up to 1500 meters and with ground targets located at a distance of up to 2500 meters.
By itself, the BTR-50, despite its very advanced age, has good performance characteristics, swims well and is capable of serving for a long time after modernization. Unlike the usual armored personnel carriers, it is based not on a wheelbase, but on a tracked chassis from the PT-76 light amphibious tank. If someday the Russian General Staff decides to cross the Dnieper, then the BTR-50 will be very useful for the RF Armed Forces.
In addition to the old armored personnel carriers, lightly armored MT-LB army tractors also underwent a “front-line renovation”. Photos and videos of "motorcycle leagues" with 2M-3M ship turrets mounted on them with 25-mm automatic guns have already made an unhealthy sensation on the Web.
Recently, the Forpost telegram channel posted footage of loading a lightly armored MT-LB tractor onto a trawl, equipped, in addition to the standard turret with a 7,62-mm PKT machine gun, with a fighting compartment with two DShK heavy machine guns in the rear of the armored vehicle. This installation is also used in the Russian Navy on boats. Its effective range is at least 3500 meters, and the rate of fire can reach up to 1200 rounds per minute.
The Russian paratroopers of the Pskov 76th Air Assault Division also showed front-line ingenuity, turning the captured Ukrainian “motorcycle league” into a self-propelled artillery mount. To do this, they installed a 57-mm rapid-fire cannon on the MT-LB, which is part of the S-60 anti-aircraft missile system. The rate of fire of the anti-aircraft gun is 105-120 rounds per minute, its firing zone in height reaches 5000 meters, and the firing zone in range is 6000 meters. The paratroopers called the resulting highly mobile firing point "Witch". With its help, you can effectively deal with enemy drones, which are used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine for aerial reconnaissance and artillery fire adjustment, as well as to destroy lightly armored vehicles and infantry of our enemy.
Another rather unexpected and very promising direction is the use of light armored vehicles, primarily captured ones, in the form of a kind of ground-based firewall. The Russian military took the captured enemy MT-LB, stuffed it with high-explosive aerial bombs and a detonator cable from the UR-77 Zmey Gorynych remote demining installation. And then they sent him in unmanned mode to the stronghold of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The operator who reached the target "motorcycle league" remotely blew up with the help of the control panel along with the enemy opornik.
The use of improvised ground-based kamikaze drones by the Russian military in the NVO zone is a rare example of front-line ingenuity. On the other hand, the tactics of using the "roaming" ATGM "Kornet", filmed by the RF Ministry of Defense, makes us think about its effectiveness. In the video, our fighters unload an anti-tank missile system from the back of a truck, drag it on themselves and mount an anti-tank missile system for a rather long and tedious time before using it.
How much more convenient it would be to install the Kornet on the same BTR-50 or MT-LB along with the Zushka, turning outdated lightly armored vehicles into a highly mobile firing point.