TechRussian reliance on outdated military vehicles raises concerns

Russian reliance on outdated military vehicles raises concerns

The anti-aircraft BTR-50 on the way to war.
The anti-aircraft BTR-50 on the way to war.
Images source: © X | Oryx

7:01 AM EDT, May 22, 2024

The Russians are using the BTR-50 transporter from the 1950s in the fighting in Ukraine. According to material published on the Forbes portal, this 70-year-old vehicle is a "ominous sign for Russia".

The Russians regularly showcase more "new" constructions in their arsenal. However, these are not always vehicles that have just left the factory. Often, they are simply modernizations of older vehicles—like the so-called turtle tank, which, although previously a difficult target for Ukrainians, eventually turned out to be a destructible object.

Sometimes, the Russian Federation resorts to ancient vehicles, which it retrieves from military warehouses and then sends to the front. This was the case with the recent transportation of several batches of T-62 tanks, which were spotted at the Kamensk-Uralsky railway station in Russia back in March. Today, there is much evidence confirming that the aggressor's army actively uses these constructions that are unsuitable for today's military industry standards.

Forbes notes that more vehicles have now appeared at the front, which are a bad sign for the entire Russian military. We are talking about the 70-year-old BTR-50 combat vehicles, which "only slightly better than the golf carts some Russian troops ride in".

BTR-50 on the front: This equipment is from the 1950s

The aforementioned armored vehicle from the last century "might not be the worst vehicle the Russian army has sent in a direct assault on Ukrainian positions, but it’s probably the oldest," Forbes states. The BTR-50 is still a better solution for ensuring crew safety than the Chinese golf carts that appeared at the front, but the presence of old BTRs exposes the Russians' problems.

“Without mechanized units fully equipped with proper combat vehicles like tanks, achieving swift and decisive penetration of defenses will be very challenging," explains the Ukrainian analytical group Frontelligence Insight. This limitation is supposed to cause "slower and more limited advances, hampering the overall progress of Russian forces".

The BTR-50s appearing at the front are believed to signify the equipment problems facing the Russians. Additionally, units equipped with such vehicles are very easy targets for Ukrainians.

Forbes also points out that the increasing use of these 70-year-old vehicles may indicate another problem for the Russians. Aid from the West for Ukraine is already on its way to the front, and the Russian Federation may plan to seize another territory before the support for Ukraine arrives. To achieve this, the use of all available weapons, including outdated vehicles, is necessary.

The BTR-50 was based on the light tank PT-76. It is powered by a diesel engine with 240 horsepower, which, combined with a 105-gallon fuel tank, allows it to travel about 250 miles on a single refuel.

The maximum speed of the vehicle is 27 mph. The armament—like the armor—of the BTR-50 is far from today's military standards. Defensive capabilities are provided by a 7.62 mm SGMB machine gun, while the armor is a maximum of 0.4 inches thick at the front and 0.4 inches thick on the sides. The minimum thickness is 0.2 inches (sides).

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