Author Topic: UGV - Unmanned Tanks in Ukraine  (Read 1223 times)

Offline apophenia

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UGV - Unmanned Tanks in Ukraine
« on: February 09, 2023, 10:40:29 AM »
Unmanned Leopard 1s in Ukraine: Part 1

The last to join NATO's 'Leopard 1s for Ukraine Group' was Canada which offered 30 (out of 52 x stored) Leopard 1A5s. Of this offering, 21 were ex-Canadian Army Leopard C2 models. The remaining 9 were Leopard C2A1s with ceramic-faced MEXAS-M appliqué armour kits. [1]

Canada's Leopard C2s were something of a hybrid - consisting of Leopard C1 (aka Leopard 1A3) hulls mated to upgraded Leopard 1A5 turrets. These ex-Bundeswehr turrets were fitted with the EMES-18 fire-control system and re-armed with L7A1 guns (taken from the C1 turrets). Since these vehicles differed from 'standard' Leopard 1A5s, the ZSU initially chose to re-brand the Leopard C2s as Kuhuar ('Cougar', after the Canadian big cat).

For simplicity, in the end, the C2s entered ZSU service as the Leopard 1A5-K (K for Kanada). [2] However, the name Kuhuar was retained for those intended for conversion to remote-control by AvtoKrAZ. The simplest 'RC' conversion was the turretless Kuhuar Tk (Telekerovanyy = Remote-controlled) - the prototype of which was based on a Leopard C2 hull. [3] Four of the Leopard C2A1 hulls were also converted as Kuhuar Tk-30s - indicating that they featured 30 mm-armed turrets. [4] The latter were remotely-operated Cockerill 1030 turrets armed with 2A42 guns salvaged from destroyed Russian BMPs.

The Kuhuar Tks were designated as 'breakthrough armour' (bronemashyna proryvu) for use where conditions were too dangerous to deploy the more capable, manned Wisent 1MCs. All Kuhuar Tks were fitted with Pearson ploughs for both sweeping roadways clear and smashing through obstacles. The turreted Kuhuar Tk-30 was to perform the same role but with much increased self-defence capabilities.

Illustrated is the fourth and final Kuhuar Tk-30 conversion. This vehicle would be lost in the ultimate assault on Wagner Group positions inside Severodonetsk.

___________________________

[1] The 15 x MEXAS-M (Modular Expandable Armor System - Medium) kits had been supplied through EODC - the Canadian subsidiary of IBD Deisenroth (Ingenieurbüro Deisenroth). The Leopard C2A1 also featured add-on mine-resistant armour plates for the hull undersides.

[2] The ZSU had realized that there was no 'standard' Leopard 1A5. To denote the differences (mainly for maintenance purposes) the gun tanks were designated as Leopard 1A5-B (for Bel'hiya or Belgium); Leopard 1A5-D (for Daniya or Denmark); Leopard 1A5-H (for Hollandiya or the Netherlands); Leopard 1A5-K (for Kanada); and Leopard 1A5-N (for Nimechchyna or Germany)

[3] The 'production' conversion Kuhuar Tks would actually be based on turretless Leopard 1A5 hulls donated to Ukraine by the government of Belgium.

Note: My image is modified from a photo of a Meng Leopard C2A1 kit complete by Tim Wu: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/2qzGvY

___________________________
Froglord: "... amphibious doom descends ... approach the alter and swear your allegiance to the swamp."

Offline Robomog

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Re: UGV - Unmanned Tanks in Ukraine
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2023, 11:59:55 AM »
Neat conversion  :smiley:


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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: UGV - Unmanned Tanks in Ukraine
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2023, 02:02:18 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline apophenia

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Re: UGV - Unmanned Tanks in Ukraine
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2023, 09:37:11 AM »
Unmanned Leopard 1s in Ukraine: Part 2

The IBD MEXAS-M appliqué armour of the Canadian Leopard C2A1s was gauged adequate for the expected short lifespan of the bronemashyna proryvu vehicles. However, MEXAS was obviously obsolete for manned vehicles. Accordingly, RMF Karpaty of Noviy Rozdil (near Lviv) was assigned production of Leopard 1 uparmour kits to a Myshalev bureau design. A modified form of this 'Karpaty Komplekt' would also be mounted on the next-generation remote-control Leopard 1s.

As the name suggests, the Ruda-Rys' (Bobcats) were created from shortened Leopard 1A5 hulls. This cut-down hull suited the turretless 'telekerovanyy' (remote-controlled) tanks very well but such extreme modifications were dictated by necessity. A few of the Canadian Leopard C2s and several Belgian Leopard 1A5s arrived in Czechia with structurally-serious cracks in their hull belly plates. Most were put aside as sources of spare parts. But a select few were chosen for conversion to remotely-controlled demolition tanks.

The prototype conversion was a shortened Leopard C2A1 with its hull sectioned to avoid cracks - while reducing the suspension to five roadwheels per side. Appropriate to the Canadian origins of this shortened vehicle, the ZSU chose the name Ruda-Rys' (Bobcat). Controls were a tweaked version of the AvtoKrAZ system. The prototype retained much of its IBD MEXAS-M armour kit. The 'production' conversions -compromised of a few Leopard C2s but mainly Belgian Leopard 1A5s delivered without turrets - would feature the superior protection of the 'Karpaty Komplekt'.

The key to the Ruda-Rys' was its new nose. The 'tarannyy luk' (ramming bow) was a steel mass attached to the Leopard's lower glacis plate. As a incidental, this helped restore the vehicle's c/g but its real purpose was to act as a battering ram to any obstacle lighter than the Ruda-Rys' loaded weight of 38.5 tonnes (when fitted with the 'Karpaty Komplekt' armour). In development, this battering ram was increased in size and became more pointed. That prow re-shaping helped the 'tarannyy luk' to better slice through building walls and similar, 'soft' obstacles.

Illustrated (left) is the prototype Ruda-Rys' conversion. This vehicle was used for trials until being deployed operationaly to Crimea. The prototype would be expended while breaking through the lines of the 'restored' 155th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade in the outskirts of Simferopol.

Illustrated (right) is an unmarked 'production' Ruda-Rys'. Note that the ineffectual 76 mm grenade launchers of the prototype [1] have been replaced by 122 mm thermobaric rockets in 'pop up' rooftop boxes.

________________________________________

[1] The standard 76 mm smoke grenades were modified to carry captured AGS-40 bursting charges. Even in a volley firing of all eight rounds, these '76/40' rounds had little effect on dug-in infantry. The 122 mm rockets were, in effect, sub-scale and short-range derivatives of Russian TOS-1 thermobaric rounds.
Froglord: "... amphibious doom descends ... approach the alter and swear your allegiance to the swamp."

Offline Story

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Re: UGV - Unmanned Tanks in Ukraine
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2023, 01:00:41 PM »
I'd buy that for a dollar.

Offline Gingie

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Re: UGV - Unmanned Tanks in Ukraine
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2023, 01:58:50 AM »
Love it! The whole thing, from backstory to artwork. Would love to share on the Canadian What-if FB group.

Offline apophenia

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Re: UGV - Unmanned Tanks in Ukraine
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2023, 06:37:18 AM »
Thanks folks!

Love it! The whole thing, from backstory to artwork. Would love to share on the Canadian What-if FB group.

Oh, that would be fantastic Graeme. And please do share any FB comments/critiques/rubbishings here as well  :smiley:
« Last Edit: March 05, 2023, 11:54:35 AM by apophenia »
Froglord: "... amphibious doom descends ... approach the alter and swear your allegiance to the swamp."