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The Russian Typhoon VDV Is Deadlier Than Ever

October 10, 2020

Via Zvezda/Russian media.

Considering how its arms exports are tied to national prestige this year’s ARMY fair held outside Moscow from August 22 until 28 proved an over-the-top marketing event for Russia’s military industries. Thousands of products were arrayed and displayed at the outdoor venue known as Patriot Park and a welcome sighting was the deadliest variant of the Kamaz/Remdiesel Typhoon. Labeled the “Kornet-EM” the passenger compartment of the protected 4×4 was enlarged to fit tandem anti-tank missile launchers each carrying four Kornet missiles. According to Rosoboronexport, the Russian government’s official arms dealer, a single laser-guided Kornet-EM with a high explosive (HE) warhead is able to strike targets 10 kilometers away while a HEAT can reach 8 km.

Unveiled in 2014 as a new protected transport for Russia’s elite airborne branch the VDV the Kamaz 53949, also known as the Typhoon VDV or Typhoon K, is a mine-resistant truck able to run a variety of missions. Its characteristics put it on the same niche as the Oshkosh JLTV albeit with productions numbers on a much smaller scale. But it seems Kamaz/Remdiesel did a better job adapting their truck for different roles; aside from its standard troop carrier variant there’s an ambulance, a command vehicle, and an 82mm self-propelled mortar. During the victory parade in Red Square two months ago a formation of Typhoon VDVs mounting a remote weapon station with a 30mm cannon received generous exposure. This gives the Typhoon the firepower of an infantry fighting vehicle and a lethal punch compared to legacy APCs found among NATO allies.

The Kornet-EM on display at ARMY 2020 in August is tailored for scouting and perimeter defense much like the Kornet-EM that utilizes the GAZ Tigr as its carrier vehicle. The original Kornet anti-tank missile is a very successful military export, with licensed mass-production shared with Iran, and its combat record is beyond reproach owing to several wars in the Middle East. The ATGM has undergone many improvements that enhanced its accuracy and range. A crucial difference is, unlike the heavier Khrizantema-S that’s based on a tracked BMP-3, the Kornet-EM can engage multiple rather than singular targets before it needs to be reloaded. The operator of the system uses a control panel in the cab for tracking and targeting the missiles and there’s still space for reloading eight missiles suspended on the walls of the passenger compartment. Since ARMY 2020 is all about exporting Russian weapon systems the publicity of the Kornet-EM utilizing the Typhoon VDV means it’s available for export. A noteworthy detail from the same event is the Kornet-EM was parked next to a portable missile launcher with six tubes on a pivoting mount. It wasn’t explained how this vehicle-based weapon system was supposed to be operated, although its munition combines an anti-tank missile with a rocket booster for extreme ranges, but by all appearances it’s a niche product.

The VDV have undergone an impressive transformation in the past five years. Other than switching to a new assault rifle the branch enjoys a peerless lightweight combat vehicle in the BMD-4M and its sibling, the BTR-MD that’s loaded with thermobaric anti-material rocket launchers, and have their own artillery. A historic achievement of the branch was annexing Crimea in 2014 through a sudden helicopter assault that some claim was the largest ever conducted against a European country.

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