Russia to create self-propelled antitank gun on Boomerang platform

Russia is to create a self-propelled antitank gun on the Boomerang platform in the near future, said Alexander Krasovitsky, CEO of the Military-Industrial Company which designs the weapon. "We plan to make a wheeled tank. It is our know-how on the same (Boomerang) platform but with a bigger caliber gun. We will speak about it in the near future," he told the Zvezda TV channel.

Russia to create self propelled antitank gun on Boomerang platform
The Boomerang constitutes the basis of the future self-propelled antitank gun (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The Boomerang-mounted gun can have a combat module with a 125mm gun similar to the one on Sprut-SDM1 vehicle for the airborne forces, Editor-in-Chief of the Arsenal Otechestva (Arsenal of the Fatherland) magazine Viktor Murakhovsky thinks: "I believe it is a combat compartment used on the floating self-propelled Sprut-SDM1 antitank gun produced for the airborne forces. It has a 125mm gun. The weight and size of the compartment make it fit for Boomerang as it is in the same weight category as Sprut," he told TASS.

Murakhovsky believes R&D to integrate the combat compartment into Boomerang can be accomplished in two-three years. The vehicle will be a light wheeled tank if it is armed with 125mm gun.

The expert said the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) (Russia suspended it in 2007) ranks wheeled vehicles as tanks if they meet the following criteria: the caliber gun exceeds 75mm, the weight is over 16.5 tons and the turret rotates 360 degrees. It makes 18-ton Sprut a light tank and the Boomerang with a new combat compartment will follow suit.

As for pros and cons of tracked and wheeled platforms, Murakhovsky said the wheeled ones of such weight have longer inter-maintenance resource and lower operational costs, their units can be used in civilian vehicles and they are usually floating. Tracked vehicles have higher operational costs, lower inter-maintenance resource, but they are better in all-terrain characteristics, heavier in class and better protected.

The analogue is the US M1128 MGS on the Stryker wheeled platform. When the US fleet of light infantry brigades was determined on the basis of the Stryker in the early 2000s, it was decided to equip the basic vehicle M1126 only with 12.7mm M2HB machinegun. Fire support has to be provided by self-propelled artillery guns M1128 MGS (Mobile Gun System) with modified M68A2 gun in the unmanned turret. Each battalion of Strykers counts nine M1128 units, which are insufficient for fire support in general combat.

The Boomerang 8x8-wheeled armored vehicle is to replace BTR-80/82. It was showcased during preparations for the VE-Day parade in May 2015 in BMP K-17 configuration with a 30mm gun and antitank guided missile launchers in the combat module. BTR K-16 configuration is to be designed on the Boomerang basis armed with a combat module with 12.7mm machinegun.