BTR-4 The New Ukranian APC
So, the BTR-4 is a new Ukrainian APC, unlike the BTR-3, it's a mostly new design, not a redesign of the BTR-80. It has the advantage of a rear exit, modern uninhabited combat modules and of having a fairly large number of different variants ready for production. So far the vehicle has won 3 contracts, one for 420 vehicles from Iraq including command variants, command and control vehicles on the chassis, and ambulances, one for 100 vehicles from Kazakhstan (to be assembled locally), and one for 10 vehicles from the Ukrainian Army, but that contract seems to be in question.
However problems arose almost as soon as production started. The plant didn't have enough workers, had to hire large numbers of personnel to fill the production lines. However production quality was abysmal, the Iraqi's twice refused to accept the initial batch due to problems with the vehicles. The first and second batches of vehicles were late, and information from workers at the plant indicated that the quality of production is very poor. The third batch was supposed to have been handed over in October, but is still in production, and is likely to face similar quality issues. Kazakhstan opted to have the vehicles assembled in Kazakhstan for that reason, to avoid poor workmanship.
Finally the Ukrainian Army itself is unsatisfied with the vehicle's performance. They have presented a list of requirements for improvement. Attempts to meet them have been made with the BTR-4MV variant, but it still doesn't have the necessary levels of mine-resistance, and the engine is still in question. The 3TD engine it currently carries isn't good enough, and the Ukrainian Army wants an imported one. This may be part of the reason why the basic BTR-4E buy has been delayed. However the reasons there may also be more prosaic - lack of funds.
Meanwhile Iraq itself is considering cancelling the buy, and has already approached Russia, and South Korea, for alternatives.
Some photos and info (in Russian) on the BTR-4MV: bmpd -
Note the redesigned nose.
So the question is this: does this vehicle have a real future? So far KhBTM has started development on two new vehicles the BTR-5 and BTR-9. CAST claims that the BTR-5 will be a development very similar to the Russian Bumerang-25 vehicle, and Western APCs. The Ukrainian military is short on funds, and even if the scrounge together the money, they don't seem to want the BTR-4 as it exists right now. Kazakhstan might like the vehicle, even compared to the Russian BTR-82A which is what they're currently buying. But if they get a change to buy something more capable, they might opt for that instead (be it the Russian Bumerang, or a Western APC). And the Iraqi contract was always politically motivated. Even if it's not cancelled it could well be the only one of it's kind.
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