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Ukrainian armed forces seen with an MT-LB equipped with a Turkish SARP DUAL combat module



During the early months of 2023, the Ukrainian armed forces have been observed utilizing armored carriers MT-LB equipped with various combat modules. In one instance, following deliveries of spare parts from NATO countries, the MT-LB armored carrier was fitted with the Turkish SARP DUAL combat module.
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MT-LB armored personnel carrier with SARP DUAL combat module (Picture source: Twitter account Ukrainian Front )


In the context of the war in Ukraine, both sides occasionally demonstrate remarkable imagination. The appearance of multiple hybrid vehicles on the battlefield has become quite commonplace like an MT-LB with a SARP DUAL mounted on him. In another case, Ukrainian soldiers adapted the MT-LBu into an infantry fighting vehicle by installing the BM-7 "Parus" combat module on its roof. But the Russians are not lagging behind either, with several eclectic vehicles, including a UAZ pickup adorned with a UB-32 rocket launcher initially intended for helicopters, as seen in a tweet by Suyi控. We will review each of these vehicles and specifically examine the components comprising this unique fleet.

Let's begin with the MT-LB, which has been enhanced with the SARP DUAL combat module. Developed by the Turkish company Aselsan, the SARP DUAL features a modular structure that allows for the installation of various weapons, including machine guns, cannons, and grenade launchers. The module can be equipped with a 7.62mm FN MAG58 machine gun, a 12.7mm heavy machine gun M2, or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher Mk19. The SARP DUAL combat module is widely used on Turkish armored vehicles and other platforms. Mounting this Turkish module on a Russian APC transforms the troop transport vehicle into a small Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). However, to fully fulfill this role, the vehicle lacks sufficient armor, only resisting small arms fire and shell fragments. Furthermore, the MT-LB is an aging vehicle, with its design dating back to the 1950s and its production beginning in the 1970s.

The BM-7 "Parus" combat module, installed on the MT-LBu, is known to be used on wheeled armored carriers of the Ukrainian armed forces. It is equipped with a 30mm automatic cannon ZTM-1 and a 7.62mm KT machine gun. Additionally, the module can be equipped with a set of 4 guided anti-tank missiles or 2 launchers and a 30mm caliber automatic grenade launcher KBP-117. This modernization has allowed the MT-LB to possess firepower comparable to that of infantry fighting vehicles, despite its relatively weak armor once again.

The MT-LBu is an elongated version of the Soviet MT-LB armored carrier, providing a larger internal capacity. It offers protection against shell fragments and light ammunition but is not fully armored. The carrier is powered by a 300hp YAMZ-238N engine and can reach a speed of 61.5 km/h on roads. The MT-LBu is also used in various specialized versions, such as command vehicles, medical evacuation, and communications.

Finally, there is the UAZ pickup mounted with a UB-32 launcher, which is an unguided rocket launcher used on various aircraft, particularly helicopters. It is designed to transport and launch 57mm S-5 rockets. The combination of this aerial equipment with a UAZ pickup seems to be not the Russians' first attempt, as we previously observed an MT-LB equipped with the same system. The effectiveness of such aerial equipment mounted on ground vehicles is yet to be demonstrated, but it is clear that the firepower of these atypical vehicles is increased.

The war in Ukraine continues to be a vast laboratory for the most imaginative minds in terms of weaponry. However, the effectiveness of these types of vehicles remains to be proven, and who knows, perhaps we will witness the emergence of the next generation of combat vehicles on this kind of terrain one day.


 

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