Ukraine Is Building Armored Battle Buses

Posted: November 24, 2014 by gamegetterII in Uncategorized

Here’s how a post-Soviet military improvises when it gets into a war it never prepared for.

The Ukrainian army is fielding armored battle trucks that look like something from Mexico or Kurdish Syria. Known as Raptors, the new trucks are for Ukrainian national guard troops fighting pro-Russian separatists in the east.

There are several versions, though they’re all based on six-wheeled KrAZ trucks—except covered in armored glass and plates capable of stopping 7.62-caliber machine gun rounds. The trucks should also keep their occupants protected from mines that weigh up to 13 pounds.

Plus, the Raptor can shoot on the move. The trucks have room inside for up to 24 soldiers and gun ports for about half as many.

It’s an example of Ukraine’s ever-more-improvised army. Add it to the list of crowdfunded hardware and radio-controlled hobby planes to quadrotor drones—a low-cost means of artillery reconnaissance.

When Ukraine’s army mobilized in the spring to fight the separatists, troops who couldn’t hitch a ride in armored vehicles rode into battle inside soft-skinned cars, buses and armed, camouflaged pickup trucks known as technicals.

This put the soldiers at grave risk from ambushes—if the separatists could catch them inside their vehicles.

At top—Ukraine’s Raptor battle bus. Above—what the inside looks like. It has both internal heating and air conditioning, too. Ukraine Interior Ministry photos

The Ukrainians are repeating the same process the American military went through in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lightly-armored Humvee vehicles proved extremely vulnerable to improvised explosives, so the Pentagon pumped out thousands of wheeled, up-armored MRAP trucks.

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