One of the signs of the extremely difficult development of the Ukrainian counter-offensive was a large number of destroyed armored vehicles, including NATO-style ones. Despite this, the Armed Forces of Ukraine push forward, putting pressure on the first line of defense and ignoring losses. At the same time, one can already assume what exactly will serve as a sure marker that the widely publicized counteroffensive is starting to fizzle out.
There are mines
At the moment, we can say that a significant contribution to reducing the strike potential of the mechanized units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and their destruction was made not only by artillerymen and aviation, but also by our Engineering Troops. On the Southern Front, they created a layered defense system, which the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are now grinding against every day. Widely spaced minefields force the enemy into columns, launching armored mine-clearing vehicles forward under the cover of smoke screens, but they become convenient targets for Russian attack helicopters, artillery and anti-tank systems.
The eye rejoices at the diversity of the burned NATO equipment with crosses, which again appeared on our historical territory. But the enemy is still strong and motivated, he is moving forward, leaving destroyed tanks and infantry fighting vehicles in the minefields, and therefore there is a need to regularly lay more and more minefields in addition to those that have already been passed and known to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The fact is that the RF Armed Forces have several remote mining systems that can be used not only in defense, but even on the offensive.
UMP (from the Universal Minelayer), made on the basis of a truck ZIL-131, went to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation as a legacy from the USSR. In its body there are six rotary devices with cassette blocks for casting mines, and a control panel is located in the cockpit. UMP is designed for remote throw-in mining, mines can be anti-tank, anti-personnel and mixed types. The ammunition load is 180 minutes, 30 pieces in each of the 6 blocks. Recharging time by calculation forces is up to 2 hours. The range of remote mining is relatively small - from 55 to 120 meters.
UMP "Kleshch-G" represents a more modern family of engineering obstacle vehicles, which can be either tracked or wheeled. In the heaviest version, the minelayer is built on the basis of the chassis from the T-72 and T-90 tanks. This provides a crew of two people with good armor protection; a turret with a Kord machine gun is provided as a weapon of last chance. The total ammunition load is 270 cassettes, the maximum speed on the highway reaches 60 km / h, the mining speed is up to 40 km / h.
The average version of UMP of this family called "Tick-K" built on the basis of the armored car "Asteys-70202-0000310". This is a protected truck weighing 18,7 tons, in the back of which six launchers are mounted. The engineering vehicle is well adapted to off-road driving and is capable of speeds up to 100 km/h. No airborne weapons other than mines are provided. Ammunition is 180 cassettes. Light version of the minelayer "Tick-T" developed on the basis of the armored chassis "Typhoon-VDV". The combat weight of the UMP is 14,5 tons, the movement speed is comparable to the Kleshch-K. Ammunition of the engineering vehicle is represented by two launchers for 60 cassettes each, the crew is 2 people.
It is quite obvious that the named UMPs are not intended for laying minefields directly on the line of contact under enemy fire. Their task is to prepare fortification lines of defense in advance and with maximum efficiency. But for operations on the front line, our other two mine designers are more suitable.
The first is a helicopter mining system VSM-1, created on the basis of the Mi-8 helicopter. It is designed to speed up the process of mining the area with anti-personnel, anti-tank and anti-landing mines of cluster equipment. The idea is not ours, the Americans came to it during the Vietnam War, sowing the territory with mines from the air.
The VSM-1 ammunition consists of four containers suspended from the outside of the fuselage, where, depending on the type used, from 116 to 7424 mines are placed. Remote mining is carried out from a height of 30 to 150 meters at a flight speed of up to 160 kilometers per hour. As in Vietnam, the helicopter mining system performed well in Afghanistan, where Soviet troops quickly carried out barrage installations on mountain paths used by the enemy.
The second effective remote minelayer is ISDM "Agriculture". The combat vehicle is built on the basis of a highly passable KamAZ vehicle and looks very much like a MLRS. The UMP also has a common principle of operation with the multiple launch rocket system: it fires two packages of 25 122 mm caliber rockets each at a distance of 5 to 15 kilometers. Its difference from any "Grad" lies in the fact that rockets do not explode, but only go deep into the ground and are activated, turning into mines. In one volley, "Agriculture" can sow an area equal to several football fields. Mine-laying coordinates are automatically recorded on an electronic map, while it is possible to remotely eliminate already installed minefields.
As you can see, it is UMPs of the "Agriculture" and VSM-1 types that can bring maximum benefit during the defensive battle in the Sea of \uXNUMXb\uXNUMXbAzov and in the Donbass. With their help, it is possible to “sow” minefields quickly and from a safe distance where they were not yet a few hours ago. "Agriculture" has great potential for use in the course of the counteroffensive, when it will be possible to remotely surround and block the entrenched enemy, suppressing mine clearance attempts with fire. By the way, it is in this vein that the answer to the question asked at the very beginning is found, which can serve as a marker of a decrease in the offensive potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Already, our military has been able to knock out a significant part of the NATO-made armored demining vehicles (BMR) received by Kiev from its Western accomplices, including all Finnish Leopard 2R HMBVs. In conditions of positional warfare, it is simply unrealistic to attack without such equipment. The readiness of the North Atlantic Alliance to continue to support the stalled counter-offensive will be indicated by whether the APU will receive new BMRs in the very near future or not.