Centaurs are weapons of the future: why Russia decided to create its own wheeled tank.

Why are we returning to the wheel formula of the tank, if only a few years ago the military criticized itself

concept. Looks like you've changed your mind? Or come up with something new? Why does he need a wheeled tank at all? Discuss

Table of contents

  • It's all been on The Simpsons
  • And what do you not like?
  • There is? There is!

Nearly 10 years have passed sinceThe Russian army acquired a pair of Italian Centauro combat vehicles for testing, vehicles for the Russian military-industrial complex are quite exotic - wheeled tanks. It was impossible not to notice the growing tendency to put guns on the wheeled chassis of armored personnel carriers or original platforms. The cars were tested for more than a year in Bronnitsy near Moscow, after which ... after which they were returned home, they soon forgot about the tests, as well as about the project of their own wheeled tank. The command of the Ground Forces did not like the weak armor, which reliably protected the crew only from bullets and swearing.

A centaur reforged as an armored Rocinante for the Spanish army

It's all been on The Simpsons

Nothing particularly new about the idea of ​​a tank on wheels,as usual, no. Quite the contrary: the slow-moving vehicles of the First World War made it clear that it was time to create independent tank formations, and not use the tank only as a roller against barbed wire (sometimes capable of hitting firing points), acting only in the interests of the infantry and at infantry speeds. And for this you need a completely new chassis. Which will be able to develop cavalry and higher speed, and will not require repair and debugging after several tens of kilometers of march. Wheels are the first thing that came to mind for many designers from different countries.

But then military engineers were waiting for another set-up -there were no wheeled chassis with sufficient cross-country ability to cross various kinds of mud, so humanity entered the 1930s with the Great Depression, foxtrots, famine, repressions, the Spanish Civil War and wheeled-tracked tanks.

No, they didn’t forget about the original idea, experimentscarried out in all major countries. The American designer John Christie went the furthest when he created a revolutionary depreciation scheme. The use of a bell crank made it possible to give out 25 cm of suspension travel by changing the movement of the spring from vertical to horizontal. The American army, which conducted exercises in those years with wooden mock-ups of machine guns, reacted to such a decision simply - "We don't need it." But their opponents from the sinister Soviet Union were much more interested in the car. A little later, this led to a whole family of tanks BT-2, BT-5, BT-7 with artillery, diesel and flamethrower nephews. Cars squeezed speeds up to 53 km/h on tracks and up to 73 km/h on wheels, jumped from 15 to 40 meters in length to the delight of the high command - they say, let's scare the rotting capitalists with jumping tanks!

BT-5 against the Nazis before it became mainstream

But in real life, BT became the stars of Germannewsreel - burnt, abandoned by the crews of cars, tens and hundreds in a row, or dragged to the side of the road. In 1941, instead of a symbol of the triumph of the Red Army, they became a symbol of the triumph of the Wehrmacht. The tank, sharpened for actions to develop a breakthrough in depth in order to smash headquarters, communication centers, convoys, warehouses and fuel bases in the operational space, turned out to be simply useless in other aspects of the war.

Well, and the incompetence of the command andthe confusion of the first days of the war for the most part led to non-combat losses of these machines on such a scale that by 1942 there were almost a few left in the BT troops. But the Second World War was a high point for the T-34, which set the fashion in tank building for decades to come.

And what do you not like?

In 2014, Russia refused to purchase wheeledtanks, in 2016 Zvezda (essentially a subsidiary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation) publishes a devastating article and practically puts an end to the concept itself. It turns out that they changed their shoes only by 2021?

In combined arms combat, lightly armored vehiclessuitable only for reconnaissance or transporting mechanized infantry personnel on the front lines. And as an independent strike unit, it is not particularly useful than a harvester, if a turret with a cannon is welded onto the combine, of course.

Never before has the Italian army looked so brutal

Fears and dissatisfaction of the military and a number of expertsare understandable in this regard. But the question is - how long ago and how often did the armies of the advanced military powers until now have had to solve real military tasks in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Chechnya, Vietnam from the second half of the 20th (and almost the first quarter of the 21st), centuries fighting the enemy with hundreds and thousands of their multi-ton prodigy? Having dispersed through the desert within a matter of days the 5th largest army in the world of Saddam Hussein in 2003, did the US army end the war in Iraq?

The answer is obvious.The peoples who divide high-tech into what can kill kafirs and what is the machinations of the shaitan solve their military and political issues by completely different methods, and that is why they manage to bring to life the myth of David and Goliath over and over again.

By the way, today there are wheeled tanks in the armies of the United States, China, France, Germany, Italy and a number of others, and only the Russian Federation among the major military powers is lagging behind in this segment quite seriously.

Stryker M1128 MGS sneaking

Why these machines, contrary to the position of the conservative army lobbies, are steadily taking their toll:

1. A tracked tank is not capable of making long marches on its own:

  • Transported in a railway echelon or on a tractor. Loading / unloading a tank battalion cantake hours, and even need a railway platform. At the same time, wheeled tanks can march to any distance on their own, and even with the ability to join the battle at any time.

  • The cruising range of tracked tanks is much less. And fuel consumption is 2-3 times higher than wheeled ones.Accordingly, this equipment cannot do without a fuel and repair infrastructure, and this means additional dozens of trucks and tankers, ARVs, tons of fuel daily and only in the interests of a tank battalion / regiment. A great gift for partisans and enemy DRGs. This means that in order for everything to be safe, you need to bring more equipment and personnel for escort and security.

– 40-60 tons caterpillar cars while marching on your own turn any asphalt canvas into a pile of rubble, thereby practically rendering them unusable.But at the same time, it would be desirable to keep the roads for all the same supply and support units, for the transfer of infantry, and for conducting at least some kind of economic activity of the population, which must either be fed or evacuated.

2. Armored opponents are easier to destroy today than they used to be Modern ATGMs, cumulative,tandem-cumulative and other ammunition today can easily cope with dynamic protection up to 1200 mm, that is, today not a single tank has guaranteed protection against being hit by a Fagot / Kornet or Javelin. Even if we are talking about Abrams with uranium-ceramic blocks of additional dynamic protection, or other vehicles both in the NATO bloc and in the Russian army. In addition, to use such means, working on the principle of "fire and forget", you do not need to train for an ATGM operator for a super-long time. In short, the one who shoots first wins - in such conditions, the survival of the vehicle depends to a greater extent on the means of reconnaissance, surveillance and detection of the enemy, and the protection of combat vehicles is shifted to active defense systems, such as the domestic KAZ "Arena" or Israeli "Trophy".

3. Heavy cannon armament wheeled tank makes such machines more useful and more versatile in combat in comparison with the obviously weaker infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. At the same time, wheeled tanks are not required to replace either infantry fighting vehicles or armored personnel carriers, but can simply interact with them usefully.

Chinese ST-1 has already become a bestseller in Africa

The wheeled tank seems to be the new basis for mobile strike groups, both in local conflicts today and in major wars of the future.

Wheeled tank units due to mobilitywill be transferred as soon as possible to any point of the conflict as quickly as possible, without additionally inflated transport, fuel and repair base. A wheeled tank can operate both in rough terrain and in urban locations, with dense buildings and just a residential / industrial area, without destroying everything in a row and preserving the transport infrastructure for further use, including for its own army.

Finally, such machines eat two to three times lessfuel, cheaper to manufacture, easier to operate (those who have dealt with caterpillars at least once in the army will understand what it is about) and driver training (for a start, category C rights are enough, and recruits and potential contract soldiers from among civilians drove where easier than finding tractor drivers who have not yet drunken themselves in the vast expanses).

French AMX-10RC. In the city, if necessary, you can wrap up for cigarettes

There is? There is!

Modern Russian platform K-16/K-17Boomerang (K-16 BTR and K-17 BMP, equipped with a 12.7 mm machine gun and 30 mm automatic cannon, respectively), due to the use of the YaMZ-780 engine, is one and a half times more powerful than the Italian Centauro and Chinese ST-1 wheeled tanks, and the French The AMX-10RC and the American "Stryker" in the tank version are already doing almost twice. At the same time, his suspension is new and more perfect.

At the same time, even today, machines on this platformmuch better than foreign counterparts in terms of security, this is not dull bulletproof armor for you, as is usually the case with competitors. And at the same time, in the future, they can be equipped with a cannon turret with a 125-mm gun and a block ATGM Kornet. Now, if they do this, the Russian army will have the best car in the class.

K-17, still growing