Russia has been pushing the envelope on sophisticated military technology in recent years, but also pushing the hype. Most recently with their claims to be developing body armor suits that will withstand hits from a .50 caliber round as I described here. But now they are reportedly deploying an odd-looking new, two-ton armored air assault ‘buggy’ that is supposedly helicopter transportable.
So this is apparently what the Lasok 4-P Mi-8AMTSH helicopter-transportable armored vehicle looks like. It reportedly weighs 2,045 kilograms with a carrying capacity of 650 kg. 2/https://t.co/jX7VJfvtAGhttps://t.co/Wu5pwXI7LW pic.twitter.com/Jdfjn0MguY
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) February 11, 2021
Defense analyst Rob Lee tweeted a photo a strange, black vehicle in the snow he described as “the Lasok 4-P Mi-8AMTSH helicopter-transportable armored vehicle…reportedly weighs 2,045 kilograms [4,508 lbs.] with a carrying capacity of 650 kg [1,433 lbs.].” Lee’s tweet refers to the latest Russian Aerospace Forces’ variant of Russia’s ubiquitous Mi-8 Hip medium-lift helicopter.
Thomas Newdick at The Drive explains how the Russians appear to have come up with the odd design:
…this vehicle’s design seems to have been driven by the decision to incorporate a V-shaped hull to protect against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or mines. This likely resulted in the unorthodox angular bodywork. However, the flimsy-looking mudguards, spare wheel mounted on the door, and the shielded blackout headlamps all seem to owe more to a vehicle design from the interwar period between World War I and World War II than what you might see on the modern battlefield.
…the Lasok 4-P was based around the specific need to be accommodated in the hold of a Mi-8, which can carry loads of approximately 8,800 pounds and, in Mi-8T form, has a height of around 6 feet, length of 17 feet 6 inches, and width of 6 feet 9 inches. As such, the Hip can normally only transport vehicles in the class of the civilian Lada Niva, or the military UAZ-469 jeep, which still needs the top of its roof removed for transit.
A press release on the website of the Innovatsionnoye Shassi, or Innovative Chassis, company, based in Samara, in southwest Russia states that: “In 2020, under the guidance of specialists from the Innovative Chassis Research Center, a prototype of a compact armored vehicle — the Lasok Airmobile Light Armored Vehicle — was proactively assembled.”
The company, according to Newdick, “says that the four-seat Lasok 4-P prototype is based on a modular layout derived from the Locust armored assault vehicle, or BShM, but incorporates a lighter four-wheel-drive chassis.” The Drive continues: “What army units needed is an armored car — all-wheel drive, compact and lightweight, built on the basis of domestic series-produced units.”
While it isn’t confirmed yet that this in fact is the Lasok 4-P, the Russian company notes that “the vehicle is intended for use by special forces, advanced combat and reconnaissance groups, patrolling, and for supporting engineering and assault units, including in mountainous and rugged terrain.”
The Drive adds that, a “production version should also have armament, in the form of a machine gun, up to 12.7mm in caliber, on a “tower installation” that can retract into the cabin when not in use. A folding armored shield will be provided for the gunner.” It will also include “remote-controlled weapons stations.”
The company also claims it “plans to develop counter-drone versions of the vehicle, which would be equipped with electronic countermeasures to disrupt the guidance systems used by unmanned aerial vehicles.”
If this, in fact, is the Lasok 4-P destined for Russia’s air assault forces, this odd new buggy could provide them valuable added capabilities. Or it could be hype. Time will tell.