The military build-up in Syria continues to escalate. Task and Purpose is reporting that Russia has now sent in one of their latest tanks, the BMPT-72, to further support their troops on the ground. The BMPT-72 is a formidable vehicle built from refurbished T-72s, Russia’s main battle tanks.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stopped by the Russian base at Hmeymim to get a look at the new tanks. The Syrian civil war will be used as a testing ground for the new tanks.

The BMPT-72 has been nicknamed the Terminator 2. It lacks the heavy gun of the T-72, but makes up for it with a wide variety of weapons, including 30 mm cannon and four  Ataka-T antitank missiles.

The heavy machine guns allow for the tank to take on infantry and light vehicles. The antitank missiles are more suited for heavy artillery.

Russia seems to be positioning the Terminator in a support role. An earlier version of the concept, which debuted in the 1990s, was built on a larger frame and carried a crew of five. While substantial, it was slower and less nimble than the new version, which has a crew of three.

The new Terminator 2 is ideally suited for fighting terrorists. The T-72 has a hard time engaging small, fast targets. Insurgent fighters with rocket propelled grenades proved effective against the tanks. Now, though, the tanks will have an advantage. The Terminator 2’s guns will be ideal for engaging mobile bands of fighters.

Task and Purpose presents the case of a single battle in Chechnya.

“The concept of the ‘tank support combat vehicle’ arose after Russian experiences in Afghanistan and Chechnya, where numerous Russian tanks fell victim to insurgents armed with antitank rockets and missiles. The most notorious incident occurred in the Chechen capital of Grozny on New Year’s Eve, 1994, when large columns of Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers were ambushed and wiped out in the city streets by Chechen fighters armed with antitank rockets. That terrible night alone may have cost the Russians as many as four hundred armored vehicles and a thousand dead.”

 

The new tank protecting tank should prove to be a “versatile and mobile weapon for protecting tanks,” as Sputnik News reports. “According to the initial conception, vehicles of this type should be used alongside tanks on the battlefield and destroy any potentially dangerous target.”

It is an interesting concept. Alone, the Terminator 2 would be vulnerable against any army with significant artillery. Yet these new tanks will be paired with the rest of Russia’s sizeable tank fleet. The combination looks most daunting.

The video below shows just how daunting the use of tanks can be in an urban environment.