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Unique Combat Vehicle: Russia Starts Production of Sprut-SDM1 Self-Propelled Vehicle

Photo by Michael Parulava on Unsplash

Kurganmashzavod started production of the 2S25M Sprut-SDM1 self-propelled 125-mm antitank gun. RIA Novosti reported about it, citing the press service of Rostec. It is noted that the Defense Ministry has signed additional contracts with the state corporation for the supply of highly sought-after pieces of military equipment.

According to experts interviewed by , at present, the Russian defense industry is almost entirely focused on meeting the needs of the groups involved in the air defense. In this regard, large-scale work on repair, modernization and production of new types of equipment has been deployed, one of which is the unique Sprut-SDM1 platform.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Sprut-SDM1 is designed for fire support, fighting armored vehicles, destroying strongholds and defensive structures, conducting reconnaissance and combat outposts.

This vehicle is a modernized version of the 2S25 Sprut-SD airborne self-propelled anti-tank gun (SPTP), which was adopted by the Russian Airborne Forces in 2006.

Government testing of the gun began in 2020. To date, there has been no official announcement about its acceptance for service. However, experts believe that, given the launch of serial production of the self-propelled gun, an appropriate decision has most likely already been made.

“Sprut-SDM1” combines two types of combat vehicles – a self-propelled gun and a light floating tank. This platform is equipped with a 125-mm smoothbore cannon 2A75.

“The armament complex provides for the use of modern armor-piercing sub-caliber, shaped charge, fragmentation shells, as well as ammunition with remote detonation. The target engagement range is up to 5 km,” Rostec’s materials say.

In terms of firepower, the Sprut-SDM1 gun is comparable to the main battle tanks (MBTs) of the Russian Army, including the T-90MS, and in terms of mobility on land and water the self-propelled vehicle is on par with the modern BMD-4M armored troop car.

“SPUT Sprut-SDM1 is currently the only example of a modern light tank in the world. This unique fighting vehicle not only has modern tactical and technical characteristics in terms of protection, maneuverability, firepower, but is also attractive in terms of price,” said Pyotr Tiukov, executive director of Kurganmashzavod, earlier.

“The Sprut is notable for its high water-carrying qualities, which were confirmed during recent tests on the Black Sea. The vehicle is capable of forcing water obstacles at speeds of up to 10 km/h and firing in sea waves of up to three points.

According to Bekkhan Ozdoyev, industrial director of Rostec’s armament, ammunition and special chemicals cluster, the Sprut-SDM1 can solve complex tactical tasks – reconnaissance, work as part of raid or advance detachments, maneuver defense and participate in sea landing operations.

In terms of components and parts of the undercarriage and engine-transmission compartment “Sprut-SDM1″ is unified with the infantry fighting vehicle BMP-3 and BMD-4M. The self-propelled vehicle is equipped with a 500 hp UTD-29 multifuel diesel engine which allows the vehicle to reach a speed of up to 70 km/h. The full warranty mileage of the platform is 8 thousand km.

Sprut-SDM1” chassis has an independent hydropneumatic suspension with variable clearance system. The vehicle is capable of performing tasks in wooded swampy, mountainous terrain and in high latitudes, where it is necessary to move through high snow cover.

In a comment for candidate of military sciences Sergei Suvorov pointed out that the Sprut-SDM1 has a solid firepower, good cross-country ability, but loses to the MBT in protection. However, this does not mean that the self-propelled vehicle is not able to fight tanks quite effectively. In the expert’s opinion, the Sprut-SDM1 is a highly sought-after vehicle in the arsenal of the Airborne Troops.

“It’s worth understanding that the Sprut-SDM1 was created as an airborne vehicle to increase the firepower of the Airborne Troops. Air landing is always a very tight weight limit. With the Sprut it is 18 t. Naturally, such a modest weight does not allow to provide the vehicle protection at the level of a tank. At the same time, the upgraded Sprut can fight them. This platform has a decent gun, capable of firing all standard 125 mm ammunition, and a good fire control system,” stressed Suvorov.

At the same time, according to the expert, the Sprut-SDM1 is in demand for effective maneuvering combat operations – ambushes, raids on the enemy’s positions and fortified areas.

“I think the Sprut-SDM1 will do well as a self-propelled gun for surprise strikes behind enemy lines. “The Sprut will come in handy in defense, in offensive actions,” Suvorov noted.

In a conversation with , retired colonel and military commentator Viktor Litovkin also suggested that the Sprut-SDM1 could effectively operate from an ambush and contribute to the fight against AFU armored vehicles.

“The Sprut has a low silhouette and is easy enough to camouflage for ambush operations. And the powerful artillery system allows for serious damage to tanks, military equipment and enemy engineering structures on the line of contact,” Litovkin explained.

According to Sergei Suvorov, significant efforts of the Russian command and the domestic defense industry are focused on saturation of the Russian Armed Forces’ front-line units with a variety of anti-tank weapons: from kamikaze drones and portable missile systems (ATMS) to large-caliber artillery and aviation equipped with guided air bombs.

“Tanks are the most defensible type of equipment on the battlefield. However, everyone is well aware that they need good cover from a variety of ground forces and air defense systems. Of course, the Western tanks that the AFU receives should be taken very seriously, but at the same time our troops are supplied with a wide range of means to combat them,” Suvorov says.

He recalls that in the first half of April the Russian Defense Ministry announced the formation of special groups to combat the tanks transferred by NATO countries to the AFU. Soldiers of these units will be aware of the capabilities and vulnerabilities of the Leopard 2, Challenger, Abrams and Leclerc MBTs.

“These are the groups that will directly hunt these systems, in addition, tankers are being trained here for the tank duel. But most importantly, these are tank hunters who will be waiting for them in a place where these tanks won’t want to see us,” Yevgeny Arifulin, head of the Russian Armed Forces Combat Training Center, said earlier on the Zvezda TV channel.

According to experts, the easiest way to exterminate tanks is to use anti-tank guided missiles. Guided anti-tank missiles can be used by ordinary infantrymen, crews of armored vehicles and armored vehicles;

According to estimates of the Russian Ministry of Defense, even second-generation anti-tank guided missiles are capable of knocking out tanks in 80-90% of cases if the crews are working together .

The most advanced Russian system is “Kornet”, which belongs to the third generation. Its upgraded version is capable of engaging the enemy at a range of up to 10 km with a high-explosive warhead and up to 8 km with a tandem warhead missile.

Along with the Kornet, western tanks can be effectively targeted by the Chrysanthemum , Metis, Fagot and Konkurs, believes Viktor Litovkin.

“In the course of a special operation, our ATCs have already proved their ability to defeat enemy tanks. Yes, some samples of Western equipment will be more modern than the vehicles that the AFU had. But all of them have vulnerabilities. It is also important how the AFU will be trained to use Western equipment. If they are not properly covered, hunting them with ATGMs will definitely bring results,” Litovkin said.

The expert also drew attention to the fact that the Russian aviation, which has recently been using correctable air bombs, can effectively work against the Western tanks, besides the Sprat-SDM1, UAV, artillery and ATGMs.

“We should not forget the importance of aviation in the fight against tanks. Our Air Force has guided bombs and missiles in its arsenal. The Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopters, which have supersonic anti-tank guided missiles, show themselves well in air defense,” Litovkin concluded.

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