The armored vehicle VARTA is powerful, with excellent running characteristics and reliable level of anti-mine resistance and ballistic protection. It was allowed to release it to service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine last year, and it will be tested soon at the state trials.
The hostile sabotage and reconnaissance groups constitute an extraordinary danger to personnel in the context of a hybrid war, when fighting is reduced to a positional confrontation. Therefore, the need for wheeled armored vehicles with a higher-level of mine defense and ballistic stability in the ATO area, known in the world as MRAP, is growing greatly. Such is a domestic specialized armored vehicle VARTA produced by the design and production enterprise Ukrainska Bronetekhnika LLC, which is a member of the Association of Ukrainian Defense Manufacturers.
It is meant to be used for the transportation of personnel, delivery of ammunition, military cargoes and equipment. It is effective when used as command’s vehicle, to provide intelligence and patrolling, to convoy other vehicles. Depending on the purpose, it can be used in several ways: a vehicle for personnel transportation, command-and-staff vehicle, sanitary vehicle for the evacuation of the wounded, a mobile mortar complex.
The affiliation of the vehicle to the MRAP class anticipates the presence of certain characteristics in terms of personnel protection in the case of land mine blast and small-arms fire.
“Our designers, among which there are ATO members, know well what kind of machine military men need in the area of combat operations”, says the Head of the manufacturer Oleksandr Kuzma. “They have been studying carefully the current trends and world experience in the production of protected vehicles of the MRAP class and the best of it was embodied in the design of the armored vehicle VARTA”.
The increasing of the system efficiency of the complex passive anti-mine defense of the armored vehicle is achieved through the implementation of certain technical solutions, in particular, the increasing of the road clearance, which makes the profile of the vehicle look a little higher. Some experts consider it as not the best characteristic of this armored vehicle. However, the Head of the company explained that such a constructive feature is a characteristic of all vehicles of the MRAP class, which at the war, despite their important role, are still the supporting machines. The shape of the VARTA’s hull in the chassis area has a special V-shaped geometry and can change the direction of the shock wave in the case of land mine blast. The V-shaped armored capsule has to save the life of the crew members and landing troops. It will reliably protect the personnel even when the other part of the machine is damaged. Also, the armored vehicle VARTA is equipped with anti-mine seats with energy-absorbing damping mechanisms. Their purpose is to minimize the maximum acceleration resulting from the impact of the explosion energy and to prevent the traumatization of the personnel. These seats are equipped with five-point safety belts, complicated head restraints and wall mounts.
According to the Head of the laboratory of the Central Research Institute of Armament and Military Equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major Serhii Bisyk, the calculation of the level of anti-mine resilience of armored vehicle by means of mathematical modeling has confirmed that it is sufficient to protect the life of personnel in the case of land mine blast with a capacity up to 6 kg in TNT equivalent under the bottom or under the wheel of the vehicle.
The high-quality 560 steel from the Swedish company ARMOX is used for the VARTA’s armor. It corresponds to the 5th class of protection according to the DSTU 3975-2000 (provides the protection from a bullet 7.62 mm of rifle’s bullet 57-BZ-231s with a bullet BZ (AKM assault rifle) from a distance of 10 m). Also, the engine is protected with additional armor. The armored vehicle’s glass has an external mounting method that allows to replace it quickly when damaged.
The internal vehicle system also deserves attention. Thus, inside the armored capsule is installed an ultra-modern fire extinguishing system manufactured according to the NATO’s standards. It increases the chances of crew members to survive even after hitting it with a grenade of a light anti-tank grenade launcher. After all, the system detects fire in 3 milliseconds (1 sec = 1000 ms) with ultraviolet and infrared detectors and liquidates it for 250 milliseconds. The gas used for extinguishing is harmless for a human. The material of the interior decoration of the landing compartment does not emit toxic substances if ignition occurs.
The armored vehicle also has a specially developed autonomous air conditioning and heating system. It provides a comfortable microclimate inside the vehicle at a temperature outside from -40 to + 50C. The filter-ventilator unit provides cleaning and air supply to the landing compartment.
There are a satellite navigation and night vision imaging device on board.
The VARTA is built on a specialized two-axle chassis of high passage MAZ-5434 with a wheeled formula 4×4. Equipped with a diesel engine with a capacity of 270 hp or 330 hp and a 9-speed manual transmission, the vehicle dispels a maximum speed of 100 km/h on the highway. With a fuel consumption of 29 liters per 100 km, the driving distance is about 1,100 kilometers. A specially designed for operation in difficult road conditions suspension such as that used by trucks that take part in the off-road racing of Dakar’s series should also be noted.
The VARTA has tires of good cross-country ability with special armored protective caps and a centralized pumping system. The system operates automatically and, depending on the road surface, provides the necessary air pressure in the tires (for this the driver should simply turn on the corresponding switch in the control panel). In the case of tire damage, the system will continue to maintain the necessary pressure in it. However, if this damage is significant and the air loss exceeds the nominal compressor productivity, the “smart” system will simply block the pumping of this wheel. If the wheel (or even all of them) will be badly damaged, the armored vehicle will still be able to move thanks to the rubber RunFlets that allow you to run off-road on destroyed tires up to 50 kilometers.
A turning turret with a machine gun KT-7,62 mm or NSV-12,7 mm may be installed for a specialized armored vehicle VARTA. It is also possible to install a remote-controlled combat module of 7.62 mm/12.7 mm.
Finally, the cost of this armored vehicle. It is obvious that with such tactical and technical characteristics it cannot be cheap. However, the manufacturer claims that thanks to the chassis, engine and other components of the MAZ’s specification, the VARTA will be much cheaper than other domestic armored vehicles of this class built on the basis of vehicles far abroad.
Andrii LYSENKO “Narodna Armiia”