The fall of the USSR in the ‘90s split the former socialist republic into independent countries, the way it was, mostly, before WWII and Stalin, of course. Russia emerged as a military superpower from the rubble, and today, the Russian Armed Forces have the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. It is the second most powerful military in the world as well, with the world’s largest tank forces.
A lot of the Russian military's might comes from its ground vehicles. In 2020, Russia spent $61.7 billion on military expenditures, the fourth-highest in the world. So, as the world watches the news and events, let’s take a look at the scariest ground vehicles that are part of Russia’s massive arsenal. Some of these are bound to appease the militarist in you, whilst the others are guaranteed to give you some nightmares.
10 VPK-7829 Bumerang
The Russian Bumerang is a military vehicle designed to work along with T-14 Armata, and it’s scary enough just to see. There are two versions of this vehicle. The BTR-7829 K-16 Bumerang is an armored personnel carrier (APC) with a remote weapon station holding a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun.
The VPK-7829 K-17 Bumerang is an infantry fighting vehicle, and has 30 mm or 57 mm autocannons on it, to become a weapon of mass destruction. Given the current economic sanctions on the Russian Federation, not too many are available. Point to note, the Bumerang can traverse water as well.
The Kurganets-25 is similar to the Bumerang, but this one has some anti-tank missiles as well for maximum protection from, well, enemy tanks. The Active Protection System on it also shows that Russian means business when it comes to war.
The Kurganets-25 is a major win for Russia’s arsenal as it brings up its mechanized land vehicle fleet to match contemporary standards. These come in both APC and IFV versions and have modular armor that can be changed when facing different threats.
The BAT-2 is a fast combat engineering vehicle based on the T-64 and is just one of the many scary vehicles in Russia’s arsenal. It’s very intimidating to look at, as it carries a dozer blade, a soil-ripper spike, a two-ton crane, and a crew compartment for eight people.
It’s a rather monstrous 40-ton vehicle, that can basically flatten a dense forest and make its way through, as it has in the Donbas separatist regions in the recent past. The BAT-2 clears a path for smaller tanks but also relies on them for safety as they cut a swathe to wage a war.
7 T-14 Armata
The T-14 Armata is one of the most formidable tanks in the Russian arsenal, and seeing it come towards you, indicates the end of the world is nigh. While it looks scary, it does have a few fielding problems, which means Russia still relies on its predecessors, the T-80 and T-90A.
The problem with the T-14 is the auto-loading systems that are still slow, especially as compared to the contemporary tanks from the other countries. That said, they bear a smoothbore gun, one with massive muzzle energy, and can wreak havoc on enemy lines.
6 BMPT “Terminator”
The BMPT Terminator is tank support, an armored fighting vehicle, as in an AFV, for urban areas. The Terminator is more a moniker than an official name and comes heavily armed and armored. It has four 9M120 Ataka missile launchers, two 30 mm autocannons, two grenade launchers, and one co-axial 7.62 mm machine gun.
Its main mission is to zero on and destroy enemy tanks, which it does by riding on the chassis of a T-90 tank and replacing the turret with a hellfire-batch of weaponry, making it a deadly addition to Russia’s arsenal.
5 Typhoon MRAP
The Typhoon is a family of Russian Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicles, designed to transport troops as well as have modular weaponry for specialized roles. Through the installation of various special equipment, the Typhoon can also turn into self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery, unmanned aerial vehicle carrier, as well as double up as a crane, tow truck, and more.
It can take on tough temperatures, ranging from -50 up to +40 degrees Celsius. All ‘Typhoon’ class vehicles are based on Kamaz all-wheel-drive chassis and can ride on just about all-terrain, including water.
4 Uran-9 Combat Robot
The Uran-9 Combat Robot is the result of Russia’s experiment with robotics and drone technology, and it’s an unmanned, remotely-operated tank in Russia’s arsenal. While it’s small, enemies should not go by its size, considering it packs a punch.
Meant to support ground troops, it can also double up as a scout or recon vehicle, going ahead of the troops to avoid casualties. It can also be a rescue vehicle and carries plenty of firepower with anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, a machine gun, and a 30mm cannon.
3 S-500 Air Defense System
This is the deadliest aircraft killer in Russia’s arsenal, and perhaps that of the world. The S-500 is a land vehicle, a truck, that carries a surface-to-air missile. While the S-300 could take out the F-15s, the new S-500 has the capability of taking down an F-35 and even a B-2 stealth bomber.
Since Russia cannot compete with countries like the US when it comes to expensive aircraft, it simply devises a cheaper way of taking down enemies from the sky, and the S-500 has to be the scariest looking land vehicle in Russia’s formidable arsenal.
2 GAZ Vodnik
The GAZ Vodnik, as in the GAZ-3937 and its modified version GAZ-39371, is a Russian high-mobility multipurpose military vehicle. In itself, it’s a heavily modified GAZ-2330 "Tigr". The moniker, Vodnik, stands for “capable of swimming in water”.
It’s a hybrid vehicle that can be put to any kind of use, much like a chameleon, and this adds to its general scariness. It is used by the Russian army for personnel transportation, installation work, as well as transportation of trailers with cargo and equipment.
1 BPM-97 Vystrel
The BPM-97 translates to as the Battle Vehicle of the Border Guard, and earns the moniker Vystrel, as in gunshot. It’s a Kamaz-based MPAP but used mainly by commanding officers, or by medical personnel on the field. IT comes with Typhoon-level armor protection so riding over a mine is no biggie.
It can go over mountains and plateaus and manage a range of temperatures as well, plus it comes with all the resilience of the Ural Mountains. Just one of the many scary vehicles in Russia’s arsenal, ever-growing as it is.
Sources: nationalinterest.org, army-technology.com