“A Look at China’s Growing International Arms Trade“, USNI News, 5/7/2015
“The Russian Army’s 5 Most Powerful Weapons of War“, The National Interest, 5/1/2015.
“Inside the New U.S. – Japan Defense Guidelines“, USNI News, 4/29/2015
“5 Weapons of War That Should Never Be Used“, The National Interest, 4/23/2015.
“Why China’s island building is so foreboding“, The Week, 4/20/2015
This summer we’ll be shooting to the 200 yard berm.
There’s a new video that was uploaded today, April 5 2015, on Liveleak. The video is purportedly of Russian Army units practicing for the 70th anniversary of V-E Day Parade in Moscow.
The old military parades held by the Soviet Union were the Soviets’ way of introducing new military equipment to the rest of the world. Everything from tanks to missiles to strategic bombers were introduced at parades.
Russia appears to be planning to use the V-E parade for the same reason. There are several strange vehicles that appear in this video I’ve never seen before.
Let’s look at a series of screen grabs and see what we can see, shall we? Joining me will be my assistant OSINT Doge, who will help point out interesting things for me. OSINT Doge will be wearing sunglasses so that nobody can recognize him at his day job at Arby’s.
The video starts with about a company’s worth of T-34/85 tanks. Completely understandable and expected, as the T-34/85 was the Soviet Union’s main battle tank at the end of the war.
Oh hey, what is that there, just to left of the lead tank? Why, it’s a Buk surface to air missile TEL. The missiles are facing rear, in traveling mode.
You’d think that the Russians wouldn’t want to display a Buk given, you know, they killed three hundred civilians with one. You’d be wrong.
Proof, from a previous Red Square parade. Those four holes are the missile tailpipes.
Any Western leader that shows up for this parade is going to look like an idiot.
Next up is a contingent of SU-100 assault guns, also from World War II. One, outside the shot, has one of those cool “For the Motherland!” type slogans pointed on it.
Following the assault guns is our first piece of modern kit: the GAZ Tigr. I first encountered the Tigr in Battlefield 3, where I drove it very badly and basically anything could kill it.
Hey guys, I have some bad news.
There are roughly 11 Tigrs in the video. Two have two-tone paint schemes. Some look brand new, some look like they’ve been taken offroad. They all appear to sport a PKP machine gun, which is a modernized PKM.
Wait! OSINT Doge has picked something out of the video. It has five road wheels, a low backside, and lacks a turret. It looks like a prime mover for artillery of some kind.
Five road wheels and two return rollers. And it looks pretty small. Tracks look narrow.
The original DoD illustration of the BMD-1 airborne infantry fighting vehicle had two return rollers in a similar setting. Does that have anything to do with anything?
It kinda looks like a BMD-type vehicle? Maybe we’ll spot it again?
Next up is a contingent of ten BTR-80s. You can tell they’re -80s and not -90s because they have the skeletal turret. It looks like a CROWS turret, but it’s probably not automated, because, well Russians.
There are 10 BTR-80s. It’s now becoming evident that the lead vehicle of each contingent bears a red flag. Not that that means anything.
Next up are a number of 6×6 trucks. To be honest these don’t look too exciting.
They do appear to be partially armored, and they do have that shitty bluish tone to their windshield glass that suggests A.) they are bullet-resistant or B.) are meant to go fishing in.
An extensive Internet search (OK, I just typed in “Russian MRAP”) revealed the vehicle’s identity. It’s a Kamaz Typhoon, an experimental MRAP. Or rather, it was experimental. It appears to be quite operational now.
Moving on. Another MRAP. Do the Russians know something we don’t? The answer to that question is: always.
It looks like a BAE Systems Caiman MRAP.
It’s actually a Ural… Typhoon. They call this a Typhoon too. It’s actually pretty big, and capable of towing a D-30 122-millimeter towed howitzer. Check it:
OK, now it gets really, really interesting. First off we have a pair of BMP-3s. They’re visible for about a quarter of a second. Here they are, passing our friend the Buk launcher.
Note that they have six road wheels, and the BMP-3 turret.
Hello, what’s this? OSINT Doge, will you do your thing and point out the mysterious details?
– It has seven road wheels, as opposed to six.
– There appears to be a turret coyly covered with canvas. A rather small turret.
– It sits much higher than a BMP. Low slung: out the window.
– It is amphibious. Note the extendable running board.
– Fortunately for us, the cameraman stays in the same position relative to the parade, so we can make some inferences regarding size. This vehicle is considerably smaller than the Ural Typhoon, yet looking at the vehicle commander, looks like it could maybe seat 8 or 9 infantrymen in the back.
It looks pretty roomy inside. Is the suffering of Russian mechanized infantrymen over?
Is this the BMP-4?
The canvas-covered turret… frankly I’m concerned. It’s small. Small enough that it would have to be crew-less and the weapons would have to be remotely fired. Whatever gun the turret mounts seems not to be installed — unless it has a stubby barrel like a grenade launcher. But remember, every Russian weapons system has to be able to kill a tank. Period. So, maybe we’re looking at anti-tank missiles?
But wait! There are some vehicles with bigger turrets! And gun barrels protruding!
Now that looks like a 30-40 millimeter automatic cannon! A closeup:
You can even see a little muzzle brake on the tip.
OK, tanks up next. (Spoiler: no Armata. Or maybe the Armata is yet another retread of the 72/80 design. Because why the hell not.)
It’s just a bunch of T-90s. No biggie, we’ve been looking at this tank — or something that looks like it — since the late 70s. Even the cameraman looks like he could GAF.
No discernible upgrades nor would we necessarily expect them, since the Russians are apparently pouring all their money into the Armata.
Next up are the Airborne Forces! BMD-4s roll by. But we know all about them, so whatever.
Now, something unusual. What is this?
These vehicles came immediately after the BMD-4s. From the headlamps down, they appear identical to BMD 3/4s.
No turret, and the back end looks a little lower. This is in fact the mystery vehicle we saw earlier. Best guess is that it’s some kind of armored personnel carrier for the Airborne Forces, maybe to carry MANPADS or ATGW teams across the battlefield.
Now for something truly massive. These things lumber out, two by two. They’re similar to Soviet/Russian self-propelled howitzers we’ve seen before.
It looks a lot like the 2S19 “Msta“ 152mm self-propelled howitzer.
– Side skirts look different.
– Msta bore evacuator in same location, barrel caliber and length appear identical.
-Base of the barrel is rectangular on our new mystery gun, rounded on Msta.
– The glaringly obvious: the canvas covering the entire turret. What’s up with that? How secret could a new self-propelled howitzer turret be? Does it glow with Cherenkov radiation? Are the Russians just trolling us?
– 5 baffles on the muzzle brake, not three like the Msta. Like the KPA Koksan gun, actually. Here, look:
Maybe Kim Jong-Un traded five baffle muzzle brake technology for Kh-35s?
Update: Twitter user adam seven writes that the mystery self-propelled howitzer is the 2S35 Koalitsiya. Apparently the prototype had two barrels, but the production version will have only one. Looks good to me.
Now, the parade takes a darker turn. That is, unless you like nuclear weapons, in which case rock on wit’ yo bad self. (Italicized because this is not a language I normally speak.)
Next…four 9K720 Iskander missile systems. Short-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying conventional, nuclear, all types of warheads.
Next, another mystery. The cameraman seems to think it’s boring, because he gives them only the briefest of glances and the photo below is the best I can grab.
Personally I think an Iskander transporter-erector-launcher with a canvas-covered missile bay is really, really interesting.
What could they possibly be hiding under that canvas tarp?
Next up: several Tor tracked surface to air missile systems. Specifically, 9K332.
Chassis looks like it was derived from the T-72, but with an extra road wheel.
Next, more Buks. Because Russia and we had nothing to do with that thing.
More surface to air missiles. Pantsir-S1 wheeled TLARs.
Ask the Syrians how well those things work.
Better yet, ask the Israelis why they don’t.
Moving on. The big boys of the SAM world. S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missiles.
Do you ever remember the U.S. showing off an ICBM during a parade? No, because America has class. At least when it comes to being discrete about the ability to kill millions of people. Russia on the other hand… behold the Topol-M mobile ICBM.
Intercontinental range, 200 meter CEP, 1 800 kiloton warhead. Want to see what a 800 kt warhead can do to my city, San Francisco? Cue Alex Wellerstein’s wonderful NUKEMAP here.
The Russian designation is RT-2PM2. That’s pretty close to R2D2. It’s like the Russians are trying to ruin Star Wars.
Update: Alicia Dressman passes on a Russian link that says the missile is actually the RS-24 Yars. According to the article, the missiles are from the Teykovsky Missile Division.
Now…one last vehicle. It appears to be a variant of the BTR-90. Curiously, the entire upper half is covered in canvas.
It’s a little weird that this vehicle, whatever it is, comes after the Topol-M. It’s… anticlimactic. Plus, there’s only so many things you could put on the top of a light vehicle such as the BTR-90.
It could be — and this is only a theory of course — the vehicles are stand-ins for the Armata tank. Maybe the T-90s are just stand-ins for their replacements the Armatas. Maybe the Russians took a cue from Steve Jobs and his “One more thing… ” shtick, and will show the Armatas at the end.
Or maybe the Armatas aren’t coming at all.
Another thought: that new IFV we saw does not look like a common chassis for a main battle tank. No self-respecting Russian general would put a main gun on that and claim it’s the successor to the legendary T-34. It would be the equivalent of a hipster wearing his girlfriend’s jeans.
The video abruptly ends at this point. We don’t know if there were things before the video or after it ends. The video appears to be one continuous clip, but I could be wrong. We don’t know where it was taken, either.
But it’s fun to look at this stuff and speculate. Thanks for reading, from me and OSINT Doge!
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“Locked and Loaded: North Korea’s Scary Chemical Weapons Arsenal“, The National Interest, 3/26/2015