Monday, 24 August 2015

From Russia with Love, Syria's BTR-82As


Just days after the sighting of several BTR-80 variants among other military equipment bound for Syria onboard the Russian Navy ship Nikolay Filchenkov, an Alligator-class landing ship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, more advanced Russian-made weaponry has apparently found its way to Syria, with the sighting of BTR-82s being the latests in a series of ill-reported weapon deliveries to the war torn country.

Footage of the Lattakia offensive shows the presence of at least one BTR-82A infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) taking part in the offensive aimed at recapturing previously lost territory in North-Eastern Lattakia. The offensive is conducted jointly by the National Defence Force (NDF), Syrian Arab Army (SyAA), and the Republican Guard, the latter of which only recently deployed to the Syrian Coast in such large numbers. Along with its T-72s, BMP-2s and 152mm 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled howitzers, the Republican Guard arrived here in mid June 2015. It can be expected that the delivery of BTR-82s to Syria occured at around the same time. The arrival of the Republican Guard greatly boosted the firepower of the National Defence Force, tasked with defending the region and mostly armed with ageing weaponry that was previously stored. In fact, the NDF was even forced to use 100mm KS-19 anti-aircraft guns as conventional artillery during previous offensives.

Syria was known to have received a limited number of BTR-80s from Russia in late 2013 or early 2014 under the chemical weapons removal deal, although none of the vehicles tasked with transporting and defending the chemical weapons were ever returned to Russia. At least two different versions of BTR-80s were previously sighted in Syria, with several BTR-80s of an unknown variant spotted onboard the Nikolay Filchenkov. The previously unknown delivery of BTR-82s thus makes up either the third or fourth BTR-80 variant to have entered Syrian service.

The camouflaged BTR-82A comes with the tacitcal number ''111''. This opposed to the identification system seen on Syrian military vehicles already in service for longer periods of time. The BTR-80s delivered under the chemical weapons deal were all painted olive drab without any tactical markings. 


Delieveries of military equipment to Syria are undertaken by Russian Navy landing ships, sailing from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean on a regular basis. While opposed to the Assad regime, almost all of the military equipment delivered to the regime passes right through Turkey's largest city. Just 3 days ago, on 20 August, landing ship Nikolay Filchenkov passed through Istanbul carrying trucks and armoured vehicles on its deck. The presence of the vehicles on deck was notable, as equipment was previously only carried in the cargo bay and thus out of sight when passing the Bosphorus. This likely means that the batch of vehicles being sent to Syria under this deal was so big that it simply didn't fit in the cargo bay alone!

The long-barrelled 2A72 30 mm autocannon easily distinguishes the BTR-82A from the standard BTR-80 armed with 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine gun. The differences with BTR-80A, an older model with the same 2A72 cannon are of a more subtle nature.

The main difference is the presence of the TKN-4GA-02 night-vision device on top of the BTR-82's turret, replacing the BTR-80's TPN-3 night-vision device. A second identification point is the different exhaust, which can also be seen below.




The recent delivery of BTR-82s to Syria will not have any significant impact on the day-to-day operations on the battlefields of Syria. While fairly capable for a wheeled IFV, the BTR-82A is only protected against small arms fire and thus anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) such as the TOW will have no problems pentrating its paper-thin armour.

The delivery mainly serves as a reminder of Russia's commitment to support the Assad regime, meaning deliveries of other vehicles and weapons systems are likely in the future. With the supply of brand-new looking T-72AVs still sporting all explosive reactive armour (ERA) titles appearing infinite, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) remaining capable of supressing rebel groups and flying desperate revenge strikes on recently lost towns in addition to the string of articles of recently delivered Russian weaponry seen below, Russia's commitment to keeping the Assad regime in power continues to be greatly underestimated and might be far larger than anyone previously expected.

Special thanks to PFC_Joker, Laszlo Miko and Bosphorus Naval News.

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11 comments:

  1. From the video that the snapshot was captured there is a conversation in Russian at the 2:00-2:20 mark.You can hear someone saying "Davaj"which is Russian for move also the accent is very different from the Arabic language so there is either Russian advisers or soldiers that are leading the attack.Also would make sense as the BTR-82A is a very advanced system with a digital firing system so maybe a Russian crew is operating it.You should hear closer on that part.Also the BTR-82A could be a very useful weapon as it has a very nice nightvision capability which can come in handy for night operations something the Syrian army lacks.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This russian solders and says "Давай, давай ещё" ("Come on, let's More")

      Delete
    2. 2:02 Давай! Give me
      2:06 (неразборчиво) inaudible
      2:09 Ещё раз! once again
      2:12 Ещё давай! again give me

      Delete
  2. Putin starts handing out T-72Bs, and then we'll see some big improvements. Hell BMP-3Ms with Shtora and Arena tacked on would greatly boost Assad's might.

    Even T-55MVs with Drozd added on to them would up the game.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another great report! I looked up some statistics, and I was surprised to read that Russia reduced the height of the BTR-80A by .4 meters (compared to the BTR-80), but that the newer BTR-82 recreates the height of the old BTR-80. They must have had a reason to sacrifice the lower profile.

    May I ask 2 follow up questions?

    - Do you have any idea why Russia has provided the BTRs as a gift when it seems like deliveries of major weapons systems have all been pursuant to sales contract? (You even posted a copy of a large purchase order here on the website.)

    - Here you say that the arrival of the BTRs will not have a significant impact. Months ago, in response to a question, you similarly opined that if Putin sent BMP-3s to Assad, they would not make much of a difference. Is there any IFV which would make a difference if it were delivered in large quantities?

    ReplyDelete
  4. ''Another great report! I looked up some statistics, and I was surprised to read that Russia reduced the height of the BTR-80A by .4 meters (compared to the BTR-80), but that the newer BTR-82 recreates the height of the old BTR-80. They must have had a reason to sacrifice the lower profile.''

    Wut.

    ''- Do you have any idea why Russia has provided the BTRs as a gift when it seems like deliveries of major weapons systems have all been pursuant to sales contract? (You even posted a copy of a large purchase order here on the website.)''

    Who said these BTRs were gifted?

    ''- Here you say that the arrival of the BTRs will not have a significant impact. Months ago, in response to a question, you similarly opined that if Putin sent BMP-3s to Assad, they would not make much of a difference. Is there any IFV which would make a difference if it were delivered in large quantities?''

    Anything with an automatic cannon not being operated by the SAA or NDF.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Who said these BTRs were gifted?"

      I thought you said it. When discussing Russian weapons systems deliveries or servicing for Syria, you always provide information on the history of the sale. In this case, you don't mention any sales contract. You simply say that the BTRs were delivered, and you place the delivery in the context of Russia's political commitment to Assad:

      "The delivery mainly serves as a reminder of Russia's commitment to support the Assad regime, meaning deliveries of other vehicles and weapons systems are likely in the future."

      I read that to mean that the BTRs were sent free of charge. If they were simply sold, the delivery wouldn't be a reminder of Russia's commitment, it would simply be performance under a sales contract. Also, Syria is broke. So it seemed unlikely that it would make an expensive purchase of BTRs. But perhaps Russia has sent these vehicles on credit?

      Delete
  5. "Another great report! I looked up some statistics, and I was surprised to read that Russia reduced the height of the BTR-80A by .4 meters (compared to the BTR-80), but that the newer BTR-82 recreates the height of the old BTR-80. They must have had a reason to sacrifice the lower profile."

    Do you mean the height of the suspension? The turret on the BTR-80A means the vehicle is much higher than the 80.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to apologize. I think the source I was looking at when I made that comment confused 2 of the models. I've rechecked and it appears that the BTR-80 is 2.41m in height. The BTR-80A is 2.8m in height, and the BTR-82 is approximately 2.8m in height. And that would make sense, given larger turrets on the 80A and the 82.

      Delete
  6. well ks 19 is a pretty good piece of artillery indeed. the btr 82 has a renewed composite (kevlar) armor and it is not meant to resist anti tank missile, no Ifv is (except some few esamples). Waste tow missile against btr 82 would be pretty dumb indeed, The 2s3 is not necessarily meaning of the presence of rep guard, though it is possible they are deployed over there, because other brigades of the saa are in posses of such piece of equipment. weak article you surely did some good ones but not this one sorry. Except for the cargo ship part that was pretty exclusive news

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  7. If the Russians sent in large numbers of T-72s with Arena style protection, then things on the battlefield would dramatically change. Assad won't be able to recapture lost territory, but it would be difficult for rebels to penetrate and capture new chunks of land.

    ReplyDelete