KYIV ($1=36.90 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — The war in Ukraine has been going on for ten months now, after the Russian armed forces invaded Ukraine on February 24. Although Russia defines this as a “special military operation”, in reality, it is a war and an invasion.
Ukraine continues to receive weapons, military materials, and supplies, as well as medical supplies. The USA, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Poland, and several other countries are the main suppliers of Ukraine. There are dozens of other countries that periodically and intermittently supply Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself from the Russian invaders.
In those ten months, the public saw dozens of very “custom-made” or customer-modified weapon systems. Before the war, some of these configurations were even considered impossible. From a water bottle used on a fuel tank in a Russian drone, to a naval weapon system installed on a land vehicle.
The modified BMP-1
A video circulating on social media shows one of the latest customer solutions. Ukraine uses everything that can be used from a destroyed weapons system. Thus, the video shows the last “unexpected and incredible modification” – two air missile pods installed on the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle.
It is not clear from the social accounts that spread the video when it was recorded and where. But the two aerial missile capsules are clearly visible, which according to sources may be from Mil Mi-8/17 or Mil Mi-24 helicopter or Su-25 attack aircraft. The vehicle is a BMP-1 of Soviet design, but a closer look shows that it may be the BMP-1KSh command post and staff vehicle modification.
Opinions about the “new weapon system” differ. Some comments under the shared video said it was another example of a “stupid decision” and a waste of military resources. However, others are of the opposite opinion. For example, this modification is “another good example of bespoke & novel tactical weapons created from captured Russian materiel.”
It’s no secret that in different parts of Ukraine, there have been specialized workshops that carry out similar modifications for months. In these workshops, seemingly incompatible weapon systems are assembled. BulgarianMilitary.com wrote some time ago that one of the most successful “customer modifications” in Ukraine is the integration of portable hand-held anti-tank missiles on buggies.
Strange, but not new
The two air missile pods on top of a ground vehicle seem odd at first glance. However, those familiar with military history and post-World War II conflicts will shake their heads and say that this modification is not new.
There are photographs from military conflicts showing the mounting of two to four air missile pods on various vehicles. Most often they are armored personnel carriers, but there is evidence of mounting on a tank. Similar modifications are also seen in some regional conflicts in the Middle East. An example of the most commonly used modifications of this type is the Yugo War in the 1990s.
We will not go into detail about the land vehicle. More interesting are the two air missile pods. Most likely these are the 57mm UB-32 model. They are a Soviet-era design, but are still in use and manufactured in Russia, although they have been modified several times since the end of the Cold War.
The UB-32 can launch S-5 missiles. Fully loaded rocket pots can fire up to 32 rockets. Part of the product’s name comes from this functionality. The launcher is 208 cm long with a total diameter of 46.4 cm. The weight of the empty launcher is 103 kg, and when loaded it reaches 265 kg.
The S-5 missile was developed during the Cold War as well, but the design was based on a German WWII missile. This is a missile designed for air combat. I.e. it hits aerial targets. The warhead is a highly explosive conventional warhead. Its latest version the S-5U and was developed in Russia in 2019. There is no information on the range of the missiles fired from the ground vehicle. Some sources claim, but this is just speculative information, that its maximum range from the BMP-1 is just over 2 km.
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