Russian army to get "African" vehicles

Before the end of 2014 the first group of 30 Typhoon-K cab-over engine vehicles was transferred to the military by Kamaz. Source: Vitaly Belousov / RIA Novosti

Before the end of 2014 the first group of 30 Typhoon-K cab-over engine vehicles was transferred to the military by Kamaz. Source: Vitaly Belousov / RIA Novosti

Russia continues its implementation of the Concept for the Development of Military Vehicles through to 2020. As part of this program troops have received the first 30 Typhoon-K armored personnel carriers produced by the Kamaz company. The trucks are better known as the winners of the Paris-Dakar Rally.

Soviet military advisers in the People’s Republic of Angola during the 1980s loved to have their photographs taken in front of vehicles captured from the so called South African Defense Force, which were significantly higher than a man. This was logical as neither the USSR nor their opponents, the USA, whose army Soviet officers studied in detail, had anything like it.

Casspir, the ancestor of the Typhoon

In a full scale war a truck is the perfect target, which simply was not acceptable for use in large numbers. But in Angola, Soviet officers were not dealing with the US Army but with apartheid supporters from South Africa, and the forces of both sides were relatively small in the vast Angolan savanna. South African forces used Casspir vehicles, that later would be called the MRAP. In fact, this is a high wheeled armored personnel carrier, "tailored" to protect troops and cargo from land mines, bombs and can withstand enemy fire in the event of ambush. For all these tasks, the Soviet BTR-70 was poorly suited and often caught fire after an ambush. Soviet soldiers wanted to get their own Casspir, after all, they were preparing for a full scale war, but had to participate in regional conflicts in Angola, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and the Middle East

So far no full scale war has taken place, and with the conclusion of the cold war divisions around the globe have become even more visible than ever.  And the US has even had to make use of the technical achievements during the apartheid era of their former allies in South Africa. In regional conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has actively used an improved version of the Casspir, which has received the name of Buffalo.

Russia in the 1990s was not up to resolving technical problems – it was just capable of preserving the basis of Russia’s nuclear deterrent and feed its soldiers, but the experience of the insane number of casualties in the Chechen War was a shock to both society and the generals who began to actively demand vehicles that could act against irregular military forces. The experience from the war in Georgia in 2008 only confirmed these demands and in 2010 as part of the Concept for the Development of Military Vehicles through to 2020 appeared a reference to “the development of a highly integrated group of armored vehicles.” We have previously written on several occasions about the Tiger family of light vehicles, which have now become the norm for Russian soldiers, but it is only now that a large armored troop carrier along the lines of the Casspir has appeared at the soldiers’ disposal.

Maximum protection

The project became the child of Russia’s leading enterprises in several branches of science and industry. Initially within the framework of the project troops received the UVZ produced armored Ural-63095, and shortly before the end of 2014 the first group of 30 Typhoon-K cab-over engine vehicles was transferred to the military by Kamaz. The new vehicle has received the highest protection rating of 6a according to Russian classifications and even exceeds its requirements. According to NATO’s internationally better known STANAG classification it is something between 3b and 4. The vehicle is guaranteed to withstand an explosion under its wheels or under the main body of the equivalent charge of 8 kg of high explosive (HE) and during testing was able to protect the test manikins from 10 kg HE. Furthermore, representatives from Kamaz have announced that the combined steel and ceramic armor will withstand attack from B-32 armor piercing bullets, which already meets the requirements for STANAG class 4 protection.

To reduce the effects of an explosion on the vehicle’s crew and troops, seating is attached to the module’s roof, furthermore, the cabin within all vehicles is equipped with an HLF-100 device that filters all external air.  

The vehicle weighs 25 ton, is equipped with a 450 hp engine with automatic transmission and can transport 16 soldiers. The cabin is provided with two screens which can be used for driving should the windscreen be damaged. Furthermore the vehicle has received the GALS-D1M action information and control system to monitor and regulate the engine’s operation, calculating the vehicle’s roll, tilt, roads, speed, location, the independent hydro-pneumatic suspension allows the driver to change the ground clearance within 400 mm, using a remote control. Five video cameras enable the driver to constantly maintain 360 degree vision and monitor the vehicle’s condition.

Individually producers have noted the unique bullet-proof glass developed by Magistral Ltd. During tests carried out at the Steel Research Institute, they were able to withstand KPV 14.5mm caliber, while firing at a distance of three inches. In this case, the transparency of the glass is 76%, which corresponds to the world’s best standards.

The Typhoon project is only just beginning with the first installment. A whole range of specialized vehicles are being prepared based on the Typhoon-K. The Kamaz-63969 is soon to be produced, which is also a 6x6 but has a side-ramp and a remote controlled gun.

The text was updated on January 10. RIR apologizes for factual inaccuracies.

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