Russian BMPT-72 tank support fighting vehicles to receive 30mm shells with controlled airburst

BMPT-72 (or Terminator-2) tank support fighting vehicles recently delivered to the Russian armed forces will be able to fire 30mm shells with controlled airburst, the press office of Russia’s Tecmash Group told TASS. The development of a system with munitions of this type is at the final stage, the press office added. The Tecmash Group is a subsidiary of Russia’s Rostec state hi-tech corporation.

Russian BMPT tank support fighting vehicles to receive 30mm shells with controlled airburst
The BMPT-72 or Terminator-2 during a rehearsal of the VE-Day 1945 parade at the Alabino training ground (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)

Western munitions of this type are designed to hit sheltered manpower and destroy missiles and small-size unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). "Work is nearing completion to develop a system with 30mm controlled airburst shells for tank support fighting vehicles", the press office said, without specifying the munition’s design.

Today, the tank support fighting vehicle can fire 30mm shells with an ordinary contact fuze, which explodes when hitting an obstacle. Earlier, small-caliber 35mm and 30mm shells with controlled airburst were developed by Switzerland’s OC Oerlikon. The shell contains fragments that are ejected by a small ejection charge at a time calculated by a special fire control system. Thus, shells of this type can be activated above enemy trenches to destroy sheltered troops with a mass of fragments. Such shells can be used to eliminate aerial targets, including small-size unmanned aerial vehicles or missiles.

The data on the activation time is entered by a programming unit mounted at the end of the barrel. Such shells can be used by German Puma infantry fighting vehicles. Their 30mm shell contains 162 cylindrical submunitions. The fragments fly to the target, using kinetic energy received together with the shell during the shot, and the task of the ejection charge is to spread the fragments in the form of a circle (the shell cannot incorporate both a powerful blast charge and a sufficient number of fragments due to its size).