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AIFSV Begleitpanzer 57

Developed as a jiont project of Thyssen-Henschel and Bofors, the Begleithpanzer 57 was a prototype armored support vehicle intended to destroy Soviet armored personnel carriers and other lightly armored vehicles. The idea was to create an escort tank on the basis of the Marder tracked infantry fighting vehicle already existing in Germany. The new combat vehicle received the designation Begleitpanzer 57, where the number "57" meant the caliber of the artillery gun used, and the Begleitpanzer literally translated from German as "escort tank". This combat vehicle was also known by the abbreviation AIFSV - Armored Infantry Fire Support Vehicle.

The development of the Marder ("Marten") combat vehicle was carried out in West Germany from 1966 to 1969 by specialists from Rheinmetall AG commissioned by the Bundeswehr. This model was serially produced in Germany until 1975, during which time about three thousand combat vehicles of this type were assembled at the Rheinmetall factories. At the time of adoption, the Marder infantry combat vehicle exceeded all known combat vehicles of this class and had a high speed of movement over rough terrain. These qualities made it possible to effectively use the BMP in conjunction with the German main battle tanks Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 as part of separate strike groups. However, the Marder had its disadvantage - relatively weak weapons.

Only in 1977, the BMP Marder 1 (the number 1 in the name of this combat vehicle appeared since 1985) was supplemented with the Milan ATGM. Up to this point in the FRG, various projects of the combat vehicle, which would have more powerful weapons and could effectively destroy the Soviet BMP-1 at any real combat distances, were being worked out. The new combat vehicle was supposed to fill in the niche of light tanks, which almost completely left the stage after the end of the Second World War.

For example, in Germany in the mid-1960s, work on creating a light tank Ru 251 was stopped. Despite the excellent dynamics and compact dimensions, the gun of this tank was considered insufficient to effectively counter existing models of Soviet armored vehicles. The concept of a armed infantry fighting vehicle seemed more viable to German designers.

The new combat vehicle was created privately by engineers from Thyssen-Henschel and Bofors without the participation of the state customer and the Bundeswehr. Representatives of these companies believed that the combat vehicle they were creating was in keeping with the trends of the times. In their opinion, an infantry support tank could occupy its own niche in the armored vehicles market. The tank of support created by them was built on the basis of the Marder, the car was created in a single copy.

Three years after the appearance of the BMP-1, the German infantry combat vehicle Marder turned out to be not only the most protected machine in its class, but also the heaviest among the mass-produced infantry fighting vehicles, its weight reached 28.2 tons, which was comparable to the average weight tank, if guided by the classification of the end of the Second World War. Later, as part of the modernization to the level of Marder 1A3, its weight increased to 33.5 tons, which was the limit value for the selected engine and the existing chassis without a noticeable reduction in mobility. The high security of the BMP complied with the views of the Bundeswehr on the requirements for combat vehicles of this class, at the same time significantly reducing the air transport capabilities of the vehicle and making it impossible to overcome water obstacles without special training.

The layout of this infantry fighting vehicle was aimed at providing maximum protection for the crew and the landing force and the most convenient and secure process for the landing / landing of troops in real combat conditions. In front of the right side of the hull was the engine compartment, to the left of it was the drivers seat, behind the mechvod there was a fighting compartment with a rotating twin turret (places for the BMP commander and gunner), behind them there was a troop compartment where 7 gunners could fit all weapons: six sat on the sides of the combat vehicle three in a row, the seventh - a non-commissioned officer (commander of the landing group) sat on the axis of the machine with his back in the direction of travel, driving the stern machine gun. For landing and landing assault was used located in the stern of the door-ramp with a hydraulic drive.

It was this particular hull and chassis that migrated to the new Begleitpanzer 57 combat vehicle without significant changes. Thus, the hull provided reliable anti-bullet protection for the crew and landing force. In the frontal part of the body, the thickness of the armor reached 20 mm (set at an angle of 75 degrees). Frontal booking was able to withstand a hit of 20-mm BOPS from a distance of 0 meters (shooting point-blank) and a 25-mm BOPS from a distance of 200 meters. Reservations for the hull and stern were weaker, but were able to provide protection against the Soviet B-32 14.5 mm armor-piercing bullets.

The power plant was also inherited from the "Marder". An infantry support tank set in motion a Diemler-Benz diesel engine MTU MB 833 Ea-500, it developed a maximum power of 600 hp. The transmission and engine located in the frontal part provided the crew with additional protection. Accordingly, the front wheels were leading, rear - guides. In total, 6 support rollers were used in the torsion bar of the Begleitpanzer 57. The estimated speed of the BMP reached 75 km / h, which somewhat exceeded the dynamic characteristics of the infantry support armored vehicle (about 70 km / h), as its mass increased by almost five tons.

According to the developers, the new combat vehicle, created on the basis of the Marder, was intended for conducting reconnaissance and fire support of its infantry in confrontation with any Soviet infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. In order not to distract expensive and much more powerful Leopards for these purposes, the German designers installed a new low-profile asymmetric turret with a 57-mm automatic Bofors gun under the impressive 57x438R projectile on the BMP chassis. This turret replaced the native turret with a 20-mm automatic cannon.

The combat module was the main difference Begleitpanzer 57 from its progenitor. The combat module of the infantry support tank was a small commander's turret and the main armament, which was installed to the right of it. The main weapon was a powerful 57-mm automatic gun Bofors L / 70 Mk.1, which had a rate of 200 rounds per minute. The initial velocity of the armor-piercing shells of this gun was 1020 m / s. This was enough to fight all existing models of enemy light armored vehicles. Such projectiles also posed a serious threat to tanks when they hit the sides of the hull or the stern, not to mention the defeat of the tracks, running gear, observation devices and damage caused by the armored body of the systems. With the gun was paired 7.62-mm MG-3 machine gun, a single machine gun,

The Bofors L / 70 Mk.1 cannon was part of the Swedish universal naval artillery, the presence of a 70-caliber barrel (4577 mm) provided the gun with excellent ballistic characteristics. The gun had an air-cooled barrel, a wedge bolt with an electric descent, a hydraulic recoil brake and a spring-operated knurling. Barrel vitality was estimated at more than 4,000 shots. The armor penetration of the 57-mm armor-piercing projectile was enough to hit the BMP-1 in any projection at any combat distance.

The maximum angles of vertical guidance of the 57mm gun were 8 degrees down and 45 degrees up. Since the automatic gun was located outside the manned volume of the turret, when raising the trunk upwards, the breech went down deep into the turret, and when lowered, it rose above it. Ammunition guns was 96 shots and included both armor-piercing and high-explosive fragmentation projectiles. The crew of the combat vehicle consisted of three people - the commander, gunner and driver. The first two were located in the turret combat module: on the left was the commander's hatch, on the right the gunner's hatch, the mechanical drive point was in the left front of the hull. The commander had a stabilized round periscope at his disposal to monitor the terrain; in addition to telescopic observation devices, the gunner had a thermal imager and a laser range finder.

The machine gun armament was supplemented by the BGM-71B TOW ATGM launcher, located on the right side of the turret. The rocket fired from this setup confidently punched up to 430 mm of homogeneous armor. Ammunition Begleitpanzer 57 consisted of 6 anti-tank missiles. The presence on board of an ATGM TOW made it possible to confidently fight against enemy tanks. In this case, the crew could replace the missiles without leaving the space protected by armor. After the launch of the rocket, the launcher container became in a horizontal position close to a small round flap in the roof of the turret, through which the installation was loaded with rockets stored inside the hull.

Tests of the support tank Begleitpanzer 57 continued in Germany until 1978. The military didnt have any claims to the reliability of the sample, however, the role of the machine on the battlefield was not completely clear to them. The car lost its troop compartment, while its reconnaissance weapons were redundant for reconnaissance. To combat the main battle tanks of the enemy, the 57-mm guns were not enough, and the launcher for the TOW ATGM could also be installed on the conventional Marder infantry fighting vehicles, which was done later.

Due to the lack of interest from potential customers, the Begleitpanzer 57 remained a combat vehicle, produced in a single copy.

technical data corresponded to those of the Marder
cannon Bofors 57 mm / L70 Mk.1 ship gun with automatic loading
elevation range from -8 to + 45
ammunition supply48 cartridges 57 mm ammunition
six anti-tank guided missiles
length with cannon in 12 o'clock position 7.48 m;

AIFSV Begleitpanzer 57 AIFSV Begleitpanzer 57 AIFSV Begleitpanzer 57 AIFSV Begleitpanzer 57

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Page last modified: 09-06-2019 18:58:34 ZULU