What exactly are the POWERFUL new cannons of the Russian armored vehicles capable of?

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MOSCOW – High rate of fire, greater range and excellent armor. These are the characteristics of the 57mm guns of the Russian BMP and BTR.

Kinzhal to Armata

From the Soviet era both infantry and parachutists were armed with three types of fast-firing guns. From 1980 the armored BMP-2, BMD-2, BMD-3, BMPT and the Ka-50, Ka-52 and Mi-25h helicopters were equipped with the 30mm 2A42 cannon. This is the most popular automatic cannon of the Russian military. The BMP-3, BMD-4, BTR-80A and BTR-82A vehicles were armed with 30 mm 2A72. The third cannon was the 2A38 used in the Tunguska anti-aircraft tank and the Pantsir-s1. During the 1980s and 1990s these weapons performed their duty well, being efficient and accurate. However, new-generation armaments should be armed with 57 mm caliber guns.

“There is a tendency to increase the power of automatic cannons, ” Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine , told RIA Novosti . Over time the need for new weaponry increases as the likely enemy modernizes his arsenal. “Targets become increasingly well defended on the battlefield, while troops are transported in vehicles capable of withstanding the impact of 30mm ammunition. Both heavy and light vehicles are equipped with reactive armor. The thickness of the armor also increased. The 30mm ammunition doesn’t do the same damage as before, regardless of the shooting distance,” added Murakhovsky.

At Armia-2019 armaments fair, some vehicles with more powerful guns were shown. As an example, the BMP T-15 vehicle in the Armata tank chassis , armed with the remotely controllable 57 mm DUBM Kinzhal cannon. Its rate of fire exceeds 80 rounds per minute, while the projectile’s initial speed reaches 1.5 km per second. It is capable of penetrating 120 mm shield put up to 60 degree angle. According to Aleksandr Krasovitsky, Director General of the Military Industry Company, DUBM Kinzhal is contemplated to arm the Bumerang armored troop carrier.

To the right of the cannon is a small one with a 7.62 mm PKTM machine gun with 1000 ammunition. The firing tower is also equipped with Tutcha tubes for launching smoke grenades. On the right side of the vehicle are two containers armed with 9M120 Ataka anti-tank missiles. On the opposite side are two electronic viewfinders. The entire combat module is controlled from a special console installed on the vehicle.

In heaven as on earth

During the fair, the AU-220M Baikal combat module was also presented at the base of a BMP-3, called Derivatsiya-PVO. The vehicle is a self-propelled anti-aircraft platform designed for the defense of ground forces. Its rate of fire is 120 shots per minute, the projectile has an initial speed of 1 km / s and a range of 12 km. At a time the vehicle can fire 80 shots. In addition to the cannon, there is a 7.62 mm PKTM machine gun with 500 shots. This armament is the complete modernization of the AZP-57 anti-aircraft gun developed in the 1940s. In addition to hitting airborne targets it can be used to attack ground positions.

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“Such guns increase the effectiveness of anti-aircraft guns against well-protected attack helicopters,” said Murakhovsky. He adds that it was necessary to create ammunition capable of changing its trajectory to be more accurate as this is difficult to accomplish with 30mm ammunition. The 57 mm caliber also increases the destruction radius caused by the shards, which makes it possible to destroy drones.

In February of this year TSNII Burevestnik company general manager Georgiy Zakamennykh said the AU-220M could be equipped in addition to land vehicles and Russian Navy vessels . Their use considerably increases the firepower of mechanized infantry units, as there are no armored transport vehicles and infantry capable of resisting the AU-220M’s 57 mm fire.

The third 57mm automatic cannon combat module is one of the variants of the DUBM Epokha. Initially it was equipped with the 2A42 30mm cannon, however, during the Armia-2017 arms fair its modernization was presented with the LSHO-57 57mm assault cannon.

Uncertain future

The LSHO-57 is designed as an automatic wheeled grenade launcher for paratroopers. However, it was never produced in series but was turned into an automatic artillery piece for armored vehicles. During Armia-2017 a modernized mock-up version of Epokha was presented on the BMP-3 chassis. In addition to the cannon, the Epokha was armed with Kornet controllable anti-tank missiles.

“Engineers cite the LSHO-57 as a moderate ballistic artillery piece designed to attack infantry,” said Murakhovsky.

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