BMPT Terminator

The BMPT «Terminator» — a «judgement day» project for the enemy armoured vehicles

In the early 2000s, a tank support combat vehicle, probably one of the most controversial samples of the Russian military equipment has been presented to the world. The people has never seen anything like a tank chassis equipped with a whole range of various weapons instead of the usual cannon.

The spectacular name «Terminator» given to the BMPT considerably increased its popularity (by the way, the experienced SU-37 fighter received the same name). No one even thought that in the famous movie «terminators» were believed to be exclusively humanoid combat robots which are unrelated to planes or armored vehicles.

Design history

During the Second World War, a new type of military equipment at that time, a self–propelled anti-aircraft weapon has been often engaged for fire support tasks. In the USSR, for example, the American M17 anti–aircraft guns — a quad of 12.7 mm machine guns on the chassis of an armored personnel carrier have been widely used. However, no conclusions on their efficacy have been done then.

BMPT Terminator

In the 80s, the Soviet Union got involved in the war in Afghanistan. The counter-partisan actions in the mountainous country revealed that most of the Soviet military equipment could badly cope with them. The elevation angle of the tank cannon did not allow providing effective fire on enemy ambush on high ground.

The BMP-2 with a 30 mm automatic cannon and the Shilka anti-aircraft self-propelled gun with the quad 23 mm guns were the best weapons in such conditions. However,the light bulletproof armour of the AVs made them very vulnerable.

Then there appeared an idea of creating a combat vehicle which, on the one hand, would have a level of protection comparable to a MBT, and on the other hand, could faster detect close range hand-held RPGs and suppress them more effectively. By 1989 three prototypes on the chassis of the T-72 tankwere built in Chelyabinsk.

The prototypes of the «tank support combat vehicle» were distinguished by a range of weapons – one of the BMPTs was equipped with a 100 mm cannon launcher, the other was equipped with a twin 30 mm autocannons.

However, the project was closed after the USSR collapse and the design bureau at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant closure.

In the mid-90s, Russian troops suffered huge losses during the storming of Grozny. In this operation the ZSU «Tunguska» was used to cover the tanks, but with no effect. Again they recalled the concept of a heavily armored BMPT. In 1998, the work under the code name «Ramka» started on Uralvagonzavod.

In 2000, the first prototypes being «Object 199» were presented. In 2006, the tank support combat vehicles passed the official testing. The name «Terminator» emerged then, subsequently replacing the official code of the BMPT — «Ramka».


The Terminator BMPT is built on the chassis of the T-90 tank. Thus, the welded body made of rolled steel armor remained unchanged. The upper frontal sheet is made of combined armor, additionally protected by the dynamic protection «Contact-5». Thus, the equivalent thickness of the frontal armor of the BMPT is about 800 mm when hit by armor–piercing shells and about 1100 mm when hit by cumulative ammunition.

The sides (as well as the stern) of the Terminator are covered with protective screens and anti-cumulative grilles.

The Terminator engine is a 12-cylinder diesel V-92 with a capacity of 1001 hp, transversely mounted at the stern of the BMPT.

The main difference between the BMPT and the MBT is the absence of a turret and a carousel of the automatic loader. Instead a light module with weapons carried outside is installed. The entire ammunition is also located outside the armor volume of the Terminator.

The commander of the BMPT and the gunner are sitting in the armoured space. Yet, the commander of the BMPT not only has the ability to display a «picture» from the gunner’s sight on his display or independently deploy the tower in the chosen direction – he is able to completely replace the gunner and use the Terminator weapon at his discretion.

BMPT Terminator

In addition, two additional «job seats» appeared in the BMPT case — the gunners of 30 mm grenade launchers sit on both sides of the driver-mechanic. To monitor the situation and aim grenade launchers at the target, they use stabilized Agat sights with day and night channels. An electronic ballistic computer is also built into them.

The improved modification of the BMPT-72 (aka «Terminator — 2»), which appeared in 2015, is somewhat different from the original model.

The protection level has increased as the dynamic protection «Contact-5» has been replaced with the next–generation system — «Relict». The placement of weapons in the combat module has undergone a change. The grenade launchers along with the gunners and their sights were abolished.


Two 30 mm 2A42 automatic guns of the Gryazev and Shipunov designs are installed in the combat module of the Terminator BMPT. The guns, first used on the BMP-2, have a modifiable rate of fire (low – 300 rounds per minute, high – 550 rounds per minute). In the «standard version» they have selective power allowing instant change of ammunition type under use. On the BMPT the ammunition supply has become single–tape, each of the guns is equipped with different shells (left — armor-piercing, right — fragmentation).

BMPT Terminator

A common armor-piercing projectile ZUBR6 is able to pierce a 40 mm armour sheet at a distance of 700 m. The ZUBR8 subcalibre projectile has a higher penetration – it can penetrate 50 mm armor at 1 km distance. The most modern, but sparsely distributed sub-caliber projectiles with an increased core length can penetrate over 100 mm of armor.

Thus, the Terminator guns can even penetrate the side and stern armor of tanks. To perform the core tasks – suppress infantry positions – ZUOF8 fragmentation ammunition containing a bursting charge of about 50 g of hexal is used. The ammunition of the guns is 900 rounds.

The first prototypes of the BMPT had well-known anti-tank missiles «Konkurs» installed.

The final version of the Terminator received the Ataka ATGM, originally developed for attack helicopters. Four launch containers for these 130 mm caliber missiles are mounted on the BMPT combat module.

With the help of missiles with a cumulative warhead, the Terminator can hit tanks (armor penetration is estimated at 950 mm). A modification with a thermobaric charge can be used to hit fortifications and group targets. The BMPT has an upgraded version of the «Ataka» with laser beam guidance. In addition, a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun is installed in the module, its ammunition is 2000 rounds.

«Terminator» AG-17D grenade launchers are a modification of the automatic grenade launchers «Plamya». Although the sights of the grenade launchers are stabilized, the grenade launchers themselves do not have stabilization. Their ammunition includes 600 fragmentation grenades of 30 mm caliber. The rate of fire of each grenade launcher can reach 400 rounds per minute, while the blast radius of each grenade is about 4 m.

BMPT Terminator

Since the fuse is triggered instantly when encountering an obstacle, and no other types of grenades other than fragmentation grenades have been developed for the AGS-17, it cannot be used for combat protected targets. The BMPT-72 armament differs from the first Terminator mainly by the lack of grenade launchers. In addition, the launchers of the Ataka missiles were moved to armored containers.


Despite regular demonstrations of the Terminator at exhibitions and relevant reports on the countries interest in BMPT, in the first decade of the 21st century, only Kazakhstan purchased them. It was a very small batch – only ten pieces. Later there were negotiations on continued supplies and on the organization of joint assembly, but their actual results remain unknown.

The only foreign country really interested in BMPT was Algeria, a long-term buyer of domestic defense products, one of the first customers of T-90 tanks.

At home, the «Terminator» was gain success at first. Initially, they planned to adopt the BMPT by 2010, deploy serial production and equip at least a company with tank support combat vehicles. The plans failed to be achieved on time. They offered not to build new chassis for the BMPT, but to redo the outdated T-72s into «Terminators» – nothing came of this either.

BMPT Terminator

However, in 2017 there were rumors the Russian troops used BMPTs in Syria (no details were reported), and in 2018 ten «Terminators» were announced to start military tests.

Project evaluation

Most of the publications covering the Terminator were frankly too enthusiastic. During the demonstration shooting, the targets disappeared in impressive clouds after ammunition and grenade explosions. However, the BMPT also had opponents. At the mean time, the general concept and the need to support tanks were not criticized. The question was as follows: how will the Terminator cover tanks with the existing weapons?

Indeed in an urban combat the more or less trained anti-tank grenade launchers would attack from ambush, trying to stay in a safety zone. For example, from the upper floors and roofs.

At the same time, the elevation angle of 30 mm guns in the BMPT is 45 ⁰ – against 70 ⁰ of in the BMP-2 and 60 ⁰ – in the BMP-3.

It turns out that when attacked from above, the Terminator will be even more helpless than the vehicles it is supposed to support. Also a declination angle of five degrees plus a high line of fire creates a large dead zone in the «lower hemisphere». At the mean time, BPMT does not have any weapons similar to turret machine guns on tanks.

The density of fire has also not been increased, since two guns are used to fire different projectiles. There were doubts on the combat value of grenade launchers. In a city combat they could become a good means of self–defense — if they had circular firing.

BMPT Terminator

«Terminator» grenade launchers can only hit the targets in front of the vehicle. Taking into account the fact that the AGS-17 was developed to conduct defensive fire in area frames, it turns out that BMPT can destroy open targets straight ahead the best.

In a battle in an open area, an infantry support combat vehicle would work a little bit better. Tank-threatening infantry, the Terminator is supposed to protect the tanks from, can be armed with guided missiles with a firing range of about 3 km. The firing range of the notorious AGS-17 does not exceed 2 km.

In theory, the BMPT cannon fire could reach the ATGM squad at 4 km, but it should be a clearly visible cluster of infantry standing at full height, and not a hidden and camouflaged squad.

It is obvious that the Terminator can protect the allied tanks from enemy rocket launchers only with its own guided missiles.

Omitting the fact that ATGM is an expensive weapon, it should be mentioned that there are only four of them at BMPT, the containers are installed openly and can even be hit by bullets and shrapnel. It’s worth to recall BMP-3 machine capable both to launch guided missiles from the gun barrel and «cover» targets with conventional high-explosive shells. One of the early prototypes of the BMPT had exactly the same weapons.

It was reported that the Terminator could simultaneously fire at four targets. Obviously, it meant a situation in which the gunner would fire from a cannon at one target, the commander would launch a rocket at another target (but located in the same direction), and both grenade launchers would fire at one target straight ahead of BMPT.

BMPT Terminator

How fair was the criticism of the BMPT, one can conclude by reconsidering the differences between the BMPT-72 from the earlier version. Terminator missiles were removed to protected containers, and grenade launchers were abolished. Wasn’t it because they were recognized as useless? At the same time, the manufacturer’s website does not provide any information on the pointing angles of the second «Terminator» module, so it is unknown whether they have changed.

Tactical and technical characteristics

Let’s see the main parameters of the Terminator BMPT — a vehicle still having no analogues.

  • Weight, tons: 48
  • Length, meters 6.9
  • Height, meters 3.4
  • Armament ATGM «Ataka», 2×30 mm cannon, 2×30 mm grenade launcher, 7.62 mm machine gun
  • Maximum speed, km/h 65
  • Operational range, km 550

Thus, the BMPT is actually a vehicle that corresponds a tank in weight and dimension parameters, mobility and security, but at the same time it is armed, at best, as an IFV (automatic cannon, guided missiles). It is not very suitable in interaction with tanks (unlike motorized infantry).

It needs to be noted that some IFVs are even well better armed – some modifications of the Swedish CV-90, for example, are equipped with a 40 mm Bofors gun. Indeed, a 40-50 mm caliber cannon could give, on the one hand, a good rate of fire, on the other hand, provide a better shooting range and ammunition impact. But there were simply no such guns in the USSR, except for outdated 57 mm anti-aircraft guns.

However, nowadays such weapons have already been developed, and if a new generation of BMPT is equipped with them, then the Terminator will finally demonstrate its full capacity.

The Terminator BMPT, as well as its upgraded version of the BMPT-72, are engaged in the online computer game «Armored Warfare». However, due to the peculiarities of game mechanism, it is difficult to rely on the demonstration of the «Terminator» characteristics. Suffice it to say that tank support combat vehicles play the role of anti-tank vehicles in the game.

«Terminator» is perhaps the most controversial project of the domestic defense industry.

Although the BMPT was developed to perform specific tasks, it is still impossible to certainly say whether it can effectively perform these tasks.

At the meantime, promotional materials diligently ignore the original «specialization» of the Terminator, presenting it as a kind of «universal» vahicle capable to replace almost a motorized rifle company along with an infantry fighting vehicle. I’d like to believe that in the future the concept of a tank support vehicle will be clearly realized.