BTR-MD "Rakushka" (Ob'yekt 955)
Russia’s airborne forces, whose numbers will be doubled by 2020, are set to take possession of two new vehicles: the BMD-4M airborne combat vehicle and the BTR-MD Rakushka (“shell”) universal armored personnel carrier. The vehicles will be ready to enter service with the armed forces by spring 2015, when dozens of them will drive through Red Square for the Victory Day parade on May 9, 2015. In the next 10 years the army will buy 1,500 units of the former and 2,500 units of the latter.
The Rakushka will become the workhorse of the Russian Airborne Forces, replacing the BTR-Ds that were acquired 40 years ago. The paratroopers have been waiting a long time for the vehicle.
BTR-MD "Rakushka" (Ob'yekt 955) is a multi-role transport vehicle variant of the the BMD-3 "Bakhcha" with a bigger hull and no turret. This type can be used to transport troops, fuel, ammunition and wounded personnel. It also serves as the basis for a new range of specialised vehicles for the Russian airborne forces, including a mortar platform, an ambulance BMM-D, a command post vehicle and a recovery vehicle. Some of the variants will have a longer chassis with 7 road wheels and probably the same 510hp engine as the 2S25.
Besides upgraded BMD-4, the Kurganmashzavod works are carrying out in the field of development of universal armored infantry vehicle BTR-MD. According to the State weapons program to 2015 "Kurganmashzavod" JSC, besides BMP-3, will produce and deliver for needs of Ministry of defense upgraded BMD-4 and BTR-MD.
In March 2007 Commander of Russia's Airborne Troops, Colonel General Alexander Kolmakov, said that paratroopers will receive in the near future the BTR-MD armored personnel carrier, the BMD-4 airborne infantry fighting vehicle, the 2S25 Sprut CD self-propelled anti-tank gun and other advanced weaponry.
The assignment to develop a new line of technology for Russia’s air force was given in 1992, but the project only commenced in September 2009, when a new technological assignment required the modernization of airborne combat vehicles and their use as models for the construction of the new Rakushka armored personnel carrier.
The vehicle was not created for a frontal attack. It is true that the Rakushka’sarsenal is not impressive: two 7.62mm guns, one of which is installed in the autonomous tower for the command gunner, and the second in the front-left part of the cabin.
The purpose of the 13.2-ton armored personnel carrier is to do "household" work: delivering troops to the front line, supplying ammunition and evacuating the wounded. For these objectives the vehicle needs to be fast, have sufficient capacity and to be maneuverable - all qualities that the Rakushka clearly possesses.
Even though its designers were limited by factors that required the vehicle to be air-transportable and floatable, they were still capable of increasing its troop-bearing capacity by one and a half times compared to the BTR-D. Now 13 paratroopers can easily fit in the Rakushka's trunk, the crew consists of two people, and the modular design of the inner space allows for attaching stretchers for the wounded and delivering ammunition.
The Rakushka uses the BMD-4 chassis, which led to a certain uniformity during production, something that is usually lacking in the Russian tradition of creating diverse multipurpose technology without worrying about the economy of the production.
The armored personnel carrier is constructed in a way that its engine is located in the rear, the middle part accommodates either the troops or cargo and the control section is in the front. The crew and the troops are protected by welded aluminium armor and two batteries of "Tucha" ("cloud") smoke grenade launchers, which offer the vehicle and troops safe passage out of the combat zone. The paratroopers' seats are attached to the vehicle body's roof in order to protect them should a mine or bomb explode underneath. Also, external air is filtered and the cabin has heating.
Not only can the Rakushka be deployed with a parachute, it can also ‘swim’ at a speed of 6 mph, surmounting marine obstacles and disembarking from landing craft in the surf. The vehicle was tested at sea in August 2014 and lived up to its name by not only disembarking on shore through 4-5 point waves, but also by surmounting 3-point waves and returning to the landing craft 550 yards from the shore.
Concern "Tractor plants" is developing a family of combat vehicles for the Airborne Troops (VDV) chassis BMD-4M and BTR-MDM "Shell." Deputy head of the department of military vehicles Concern "Tractor plants" Michael Chemezov said this 18 June 2015 at the international forum "Army 2015".
It now initiated a number of R & D on the creation of special machines based on the BTR-MDM. "Now for the Airborne Troops on the basis of this armored car developed air defense control (ROC" Barnaul-T "), artillery fire control vehicle (ROC" Andromeda "). On the basis of the BTR-MDM is proposed to develop the car of radiation and chemical reconnaissance and command-and-staff vehicle (ROC "Cassiopeia"), "- said Chemezov. He added that the troops may be an armored personnel carrier converted into a fighting machine flamethrower, machine gunners and sanitary health machine. Earlier, in the 1970s - 1980s, a similar family of combat vehicles were created on the basis of BTR-D.
BTR-MDM Rakushka (Shell-M or Objekt 955)
In 2013 an improved BTR-MDM was revealed, even though the first production vehicles were not yet delivered to the Russian airborne troops. The BTR-MDM Rakushka (Shell-M or Objekt 955) is a further development of the BTR-MD tracked, airborne, multi-purpose, fully-amphibious armored personnel carrier (APC). The BTR-MDM is used as tracked armored personnel carrier for mechanized Airborne Forces (VDV) and is based on the BMD-4M (Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle) chassis. The BTR-MDM APC is based on the BTR-MD Rakushka vehicle developed and manufactured by JSC VgTZ Volgograd machine-building company, a part of the machine building industrial group Concern Tractor Plants. The BTR-MDM is fully amphibious and could be also proposed to the Russian Naval Infantri. The BTR-MDM was unveiled for the first time at the 9th International Exhibition of Arms, Military Equipment and Ammunition Russian Arms Expo which was held from 25–28 September 2013 in the city of Nizhny Tagil, Russia.
The BTR-MDM was designed with intention to have a maximum possible internal volume. The BTR-MDM is of all-welded aluminum construction providing the crew with protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. Protection of this vehicle is very light due to weight limitations. This air assault transporter can carry 13 fully-equipped troops, plus the crew of two. The driver is seated in the middle. Occupants enter and leave the vehicle via rear door and roof hatches. There are firing port provided for the troops to fire their weapons. This APC can also carry at least three stretchers, ammunition or fuel instead of the troops.
Fitted to the BTR-MDM combat vehicle is a roof-mounted, autonomous fire control turret in the left side of the cabin. The turret is armed with a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun. A PKMT 7.62 x 54mm machine gun is mounted on the ball joint for protection from small explosives. Two smoke grenade discharger are mounted to each side at the front of the vehicle.
The BTR-MDM Rakushka uses the same powerpack and suspension as the BMD-4M airborne armoured infantry fighting vehicle. The BTR-MDM armoured vehicle runs on liquid-cooled, multi-fuel, four-stroke, naturally-aspirated UTD-29 engine, which has a maximum power of 500hp. Coupled to the engine is coupled is a four-speed, hydro-mechanic transmission system with a power take-off drive pump. The vehicle is propelled by two single-stage, axial, screw-type water jets with guide vanes fitted on either side of the vehicle. The vehicle is also equipped with an adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension giving a ground clearance between 130 and 530 mm, although for normal road travel it is 450 mm. The ground clearance is adjusted by the driver from his seat and it takes 10 seconds to lower or raise the suspension.
The Russian military successfully tested a new airmobile armored personnel carrier during large-scale drills in central Russia. The APC was parachuted with a crew onboard – a daring technique used only by Russian troops. Over 200 armored vehicles and some 2,500 servicemen took part in the joint drills of Transport Aviation and Airborne Troops, which concluded on 17 July 2018. One highlight of the exercise was the airdrop of a new APC – complete with a crew on board. "The drills went well. The personnel is ready to carry out combat missions. The airdrop of the BTR-MDM with the test crew inside is a historic event," chief of Military Transport Aviation Lieutenant General Vladimir Benediktov told reporters. No other military in the world has successfully implemented the risky technique, instead of parachuting vehicle crews separately from their machines.
Dropping vehicles with a crew inside allows them to get combat-ready within minutes after the airdrop. The unique technique was conceived and implemented by the legendary commander of the Airborne troops, Army General Vasiliy Margelov. The very first airdrop of its kind was performed back in 1973 with Margelov's son, Aleksandr, personally taking command of the test vehicle. The elder Margelov wanted to go himself, but the Soviet leadership did not permit it.
The BTR-MDM armored personnel carriers (APC) were adopted by the Russian military back in 2015, but they've never been airdropped with a crew inside until this latest exercise. The vehicle and its crew safely parachuted from an altitude of over 1,800 meters (over 5,900 feet). The new machine weighs nearly 14 tons and houses two crewmembers and 13 paratroopers. Its predecessor, the BTR-D, weighs only eight tons.
In 2018 the Russian airborne forces received first MRU-D automated air defense control systems, based on BTR-MDM chassis. This unusual vehicle is fitted with Barnaul-T system and provides targeting data for MANPADS teams armed with Verba systems. Firing data is transferred directly to operator’s sight. There are some firing port provided for the troops to fire their weapons.
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