Small Ukrainian drones have just destroyed one of the Russian Terminator vehicles

The Russian Army’s 53-tonne BMPT Terminator tank support vehicle combines the heavily armored hull of a T-72 tank with an unmanned turret packing twin 30mm automatic cannons and launchers for four anti-tank missiles.

The Terminator is powerful enough to attack enemy positions alongside tanks and nimble enough – with its rapid-fire, high-altitude machine guns – to do battle with enemy fleet infantry.

Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport even claims that the BMPT can engage targets “Up in the air,” Thanks to its high rate of fire and two separate optical sensors – one each for the commander and gunner.

The claim sounds a bit hollow after Saturday. That’s when the Alpha group of the Ukrainian special forces Post a video The group’s explosive-laden drones depicted in first-person view as they hunt in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast, one of nine Terminators still left behind by the Russian military.

The Russian military lost its first BMPT tank, of 10 Uralvagonzavod built for the service, to an accurate artillery bombardment in eastern Ukraine in February. A file may have been lost second Over the weekend after several fast drones carrying grenades hit the Terminator in Donetsk.

If not irreparable damage, the BMPT was at least immobilized by drone strikes. When a T-80 tank reached to tow the damaged Terminator, Ukrainian drones struck the tank as well.

Cheap FPV drones, which can cost as little as $5,000 apiece, are some of the best and most cost-effective anti-vehicle weapons in Russia’s 18-month war on Ukraine. Both sides have deployed fast drones – controlled by the operator via a virtual reality headset – to damage or destroy hundreds of enemy armored vehicles.

“FPV drones … are exactly the kind of opportunity we need to minimize the risk of a Ukrainian soldier losing his life,” Ukrainian Brigadier General Yuriy Chehol told Forbes reporter Sebastian Roblin.

It’s not impossible to shoot down a two or three pound drone. But the drone’s small size, high speed — 80 mph or faster — and swarming potential present a difficult air defense problem.

No wonder the Terminator crew couldn’t prevent FPV weekend strikes: While operators of a dedicated air defense vehicle might have radar to direct their weapons, the Terminator crew has to be seen Incoming drone on distance For any chance to bring it down.

BMPT is a lot of things. assault vehicle. Infantry killer. But it is no Air defense vehicle. And that $5,000 swarm of drones proved it.

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