The Russian Defence Ministry plans to buy 20 8×8 BTR-82A wheeled armoured personnel carriers fitted to withstand the extreme conditions found in the Arctic, according to Russia’s Izvestia daily which quotes a military source.
The move comes as Russia steps up its military, trade and exploration activities in the Arctic region where Moscow has been building transport and energy production infrastructures, as well as installing military facilities and developing the Northern Sea Route linking Europe to Asia.
The 15.4 tonne BTR-82A is an improved version of the Russian-made BTR-82 amphibious armoured personnel carrier, with better armour, spall liners mounted in the crew compartment to prevent fragments generated during an impact from being accelerated towards the occupants, upgraded night vision equipment and the Glonass satellite navigation system.
It is equipped with a 30mm dual-feed automatic cannon which can fire armour piercing-tracer (AP-T) projectiles, high-explosive fragmentation-incendiary (HEF-I) and high-explosive-tracer (HE-T) ammunition. Its secondary armament includes a 7.62mm PKTM coaxial machine gun. The turret incorporates two-axis stabilisation, sighting channels, and three forward-facing 81mm smoke grenade launchers on each side. The firing elevation ranges from -7° to +70°.
To meet Arctic conditions the vehicle’s interior climate control will be upgraded so that electronic equipment, including electronic sights, radios and other instruments continue to function in the extreme cold.
The compartment for the KAMAZ 740.14-300 turbo diesel engine which generates a power of 300hp, will be insulated, while different types of transmission and engine oil, as well as engine fuel, will be used to enable cold starts at temperatures as low as —60º Celsius.
The source quoted by Izvestia said the BTR-82A would be the Russian military’s first wheeled armoured vehicle capable of moving across stretches of waterlogged tundra, across snow up to 60cm deep and along the Arctic coast. Prior to 2015 the military used only tracked all-terrain vehicles for travelling across the country’s Arctic territories such as the Novaya Zemlya archipelago and the Chukchi Peninsula.
The BTR-82A has been in service with the Russian army since 2013. “Before the end of the year, the Military Industrial Company will supply the Defence Ministry with 20 new BTR-82As, some of which will be made in a special Arctic configuration. These will be serially made carriers that are partially modified for use in extreme Arctic conditions,” the source quoted by Izvestia said.
The Military Industrial Company, part of the Russian Machines group of companies, specialises in the production of military gear and works for both the government and private customers.