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7 Jun, 2010 03:40

Next stage Russian APCs passing final tests

The family of famous Russian armored infantry vehicles is awaiting addition – the newest member beats all previous standards and is already on the shopping lists of foreign military consumers.

Russia is currently in the midst of a top-to-bottom modernization of its entire military forces, dragging them into the 21st Century, and this vehicle is one of its first products. This one looks set to be in high demand, as were previous models, which have been used by more than 30 countries around the globe.

The latest offering is faster, more powerful and, crucially, much more effective.

“Now we have set a stabilizing fin! Now it is possible to hit a target without stopping – we had to stop before to take aim manually,” said Aleksandr Masyagin, BTR chief designer. “And we also have an automatic targeting system.”

Just as the BTR family designed the armored personnel carrier to carry troops to the battlefield, today's designers have focused chiefly on the safety of those onboard.

Chief designer Aleksandr Masyagin pointed out that “there’s neither a frontline, nor rear area in modern conflict. Shots are fired from all directions – and this carrier is protected from each side, while the previous models only had strong front protection. We take pride in our anti-fragment protection. When a carrier was hit before, or when it was mined, fragments moved freely inside and could easily wound people. Now they get stuck in the thick cover.”

Valery Buzuev has been a test-driver for many BTR vehicles for years. He says the recent modification is not one, but rather three, steps forward.

“The carrier is very easy to drive – it’s the same as driving a car. When you turn the wheel to the right, you drive to the right. Visibility is good – we used to have to stick our heads out to take a look at where we were driving. Another plus is the incredible stability and very high passing ability,” Buzuev shared.

These machines virtually have no limits – they can easily climb up hills, go through deep mud and even swim.

“If you compare our APCs with foreign carriers of the same type, they have the same capabilities, but they are much cheaper. Thus, they are sure to be competitive,” assured managing director Vasily Shupranov.

The company has a number of foreign contracts on the new model that is fast gaining a global reputation. But Russia's Army will be the first to get to try out the latest offer.