Russian Army urban combat experience in the First and Second Chechen Wars resulted in a need for a new type of armored combat vehicle for the support role. The vehicle would be paired with Russian tanks and other frontline fighting vehicles and provide additional offensive capabilities in-the-field all the while retaining the protection and mobility of a tank and Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). In 2011, the BMPT (recognized as the "Terminator") was revealed, the heavily armed and armored tracked system being based on the existing chassis of the classic Soviet-era T-72 Main Battle Tank (MBT). The vehicle is manufactured by Uralvagonzavod.
The BMPT is neither tank nor IFV as it lacks a heavy-caliber turreted main gun to serve as the former and does away with troop-ferrying facilities to serve as the latter. Instead it is a true support vehicle featuring a standard crew of five, weighing in at 53 tons (short), and showcasing a bevy of armament options suitable for engaging both heavy- and light-weight enemy vehicles at range as well as defending allied tanks against enemy infantry attacks. Primary armament are 2 x 30mm 2A42 series autocannons coupled with 4 x 130mm "Ataka-T" Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launchers fitted to the turret - these provide considerable firepower against armored targets at range. Secondary armament comes in the form of 2 x 30mm AG-17D "Plamya" 30mm automatic grenade launchers for suppression of enemy infantry and the vehicle also carries 1 x 7.62mm PKTM for extremely local defense. Armor protection is a combination arrangement involving composite, steel, and reactive armor. Dimensions include an overall length of 23.6 feet, a width of 11 feet, and a height of 11.2 feet allowing the vehicle to be transported by railway, heavy duty truck, or certain transport aircraft.
As the vehicle utilizes the existing T-72 running gear, it has six double-tired roadwheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket found at rear and the track idler located at front. The upper track section is well protected through side skirt armor plates. Drive power is from a single Model V-92S2 diesel-fueled engine supplying 1,000 horsepower. Coupled with the torsion bar suspension, this provides the vehicle with a maximum road speed of 37 miles per hour and an operational road range out to 340 miles. Off-road travel is also possible though with reduced performance characteristics. Ground clearance is a useful sixteen inches.
The need for such a heavy-class vehicle originally arose through the Soviet commitment in the Soviet-Afghanistan War where BMP vehicles proved highly susceptible to close-range, guerilla-style ambush attacks. These vehicles also lacked the flexibility and versatility needed in combating a more fluid, though rather primitive, enemy force. Design work on a solution began in the 1980s and several prototype vehicles were reviewed. The need was further pressed home with combat experience in the First Chechen War where fighting in city streets proved the norm. Again, existing BMP type vehicles failed to provide the necessary engagement capabilities and crew protection being sought by commanders in-the-field.
This led to further work on additional prototypes which ultimately begat the Object 199 model. Unveiled in 2000, the vehicle entered serial production in 2002. Very well-armed and armored, the BMPT was, rather interestingly, passed on by the modern Russian Army - authorities citing the Cold War-era T-72 origins as the primary reason. Instead, the vehicle has found its first export operator in Kazakhstan with interest being generated by the governments of Algeria, Azerbaijan, and Peru. The Russian Army will instead move on securing a new generation of armored fighting vehicles most likely tied to the new T-99 "Armata" family line which includes the T-14 MBT and the T-15 IFV (both detailed elsewhere on this site).
Uralvagonzavod has offered a "Terminator 2" package to retrofit existing T-72 MBTs for the Heavy Armored Support Vehicle (HASV) role. Despite its Cold War roots, the T-72 maintains healthy active numbers with many operators across the globe - from Algeria and Angola to Vietnam and Yemen.