VPK presented new version of its BTR-87 APC

Russia`s Military-Industrial Company (VPK) has upgraded its BTR-87 armored personnel carrier (APC). The modernized vehicle was demonstrated at the Army 2018 international military-technical forum held in Kubinka near Moscow on August 21-26.

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The first gen of VPK's BTR-87 at Army 2017(Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin )

Unlike the baseline model, the new variant of the BTR-87 is fitted with the 32V01 remote controlled weapon station (RCWS) developed by the Burevestnik institute (a subsidiary of Rostec`s Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) corporation) instead of a modified manned turret of the BTR-82A APC. The 32V01 RCWS is armed with a 2A42 30 mm automatic cannon and a Kalashnikov PKTM 7.62 mm coaxial medium machinegun. The variant of the station integrated onto the modernized BTR-87 carrier has additionally received two ready-use Ataka-T (NATO reporting name: AT-9 Spiral-2) anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and four Tucha-family smoke dischargers. The baseline 32V01 weighs approximately 1.5 t (with ammunition) and carries 300 30 mm rounds (including 200 high-explosive fragmentation (HE-Frag) and 100 armor-piercing (AP) ones) and 1,000 7.62 mm cartridges. The armament suite has an elevation angle between -10° and +60° and a traverse angle of 360°. The station`s sensor package incorporates a TV camera, thermal imager and laser rangefinder. "The station can engage a ground target at a distance of up to 4 km, using the cannon, and at a distance of up to 1.5 km, using the coaxial machinegun. The station can optionally use air-burst rounds," a source from Burevestnik said. The upgraded carrier has also received an auxiliary power unit with a power output of 8 kWt.

The baseline BTR-87 8x8 APC weighs 16,000 kg and has a ground clearance of 475 mm. The vehicle`s crew totals two and it transports up to eight soldiers with individual equipment and weapons. The BTR-87 is powered by a YaMZ-53602 diesel engine with a power output of 312 hp, which produces a maximum road speed of 90 km/h and a maximum swimming speed of 10 km/h. The powerpack is coupled to a mechanical transmission, which could be replaced by an automatic one. The APC is fitted with an independent torsion bar suspension.

The BTR-87 was unveiled at the Army 2017 international military-technical forum in Kubinka near Moscow. The APC has its troop compartment relocated to the rear, while the frontally mounted engine provides additional ballistic protection. The carrier was fitted with a baseline BPPU manned turret, the combat effectiveness of which was enhanced through the medium of installation of four ready-use Kornet (AT-14 Spriggan) ATGMs.

The BTR-87 is believed to be intended for export sales, as the Russian military is being rearmed with the BTR-82A APC, which will be replaced (or augmented) by the newest Bumerang 8x8 armored fighting vehicle. It should be mentioned that the BTR-87 could have positive market outlook, owing to its high cost-effectiveness ratio: the vehicle offers the firepower of an infantry fighting vehicle at a price of an APC. Both variants of the carrier (BTR-87 mod. 2017 and BTR-87 mod. 2018) can use heavy anti-tank weapons (Kornets and Ataka-Ts, respectively) and are armed with 30 mm automatic cannons. According to VPK, "the BTR-87 can carry a wide range of manned and unmanned weapon stations"

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