The BTR-82A is an upgraded version of the BTR-80 wheeled armored vehicles that were put into service in 1980. Designers modernized more than 1,000 elements in the BTR-82A, the appearance of which was only natural, says defense expert Viktor Baranets of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
"This was caused by the necessity to swiftly upgrade the Russian Army’s mothballed armored vehicles, a process that in reality takes plenty of time. Another aspect is the Russian Defense Ministry’s drive to avoid purchasing foreign armored personnel carriers and focus on buying domestically made vehicles instead. At present, the BTR-82A can rightly be touted as one of the best armored carriers in the world."
Unlike the old versions, the BTR-82A has a shoot-on-the-move engagement capability. The armored carrier is equipped with a new stabilized day/night fire control system and a laser range finder which allows the commander of the vehicle to duly detect enemy targets. Viktor Baranets again.
"The BTR-82A’s advanced fire control system adds significantly to the vehicle’s fire effectiveness. The hull of the BTR-82 is made of a fragment-protective laminated synthetic material. To increase the comfort of the crew, the BTR-82A is equipped with an air-conditioning system."
The firepower of the BTR-82 includes a 30 mm rapid-fire gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun. The BTR-82 is capable of running at a maximum speed of 90 km per hour on the road. The vehicle can hit a variety of ground targets and destroy helicopters at a distance of up to 2.5 kilometers, says Konstantin Sivkov of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems in Moscow.
"Additionally, the BTR-82A can be equipped with the Kornet class anti-tank system that is capable of destroying heavy armored vehicles at a distance of up to four kilometers, something that adds substantially to infantry’s combat operations. Also, the vehicle is fitted with a reinforced multi-layer floor which provides protection against mines and improvised explosive devices."
In terms of export supplies, the BTR-82A is able to successfully compete with the French-made armored personnel carrier that is 7 tons heavier and has a not-so-sophisticated armament. Several BTR-82As are expected to take part in the May 9 Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow.