Earlier this month, SOFREP reported on Russia’s new paratrooper deployment strategy that includes dropping troops inside their armored combat vehicles. This controversial concept is widely believed to place soldiers at unnecessary risk, as the traditional method of deploying paratroopers and their vehicles separately reduces the chances that a single parachute failure could result in the death of a vehicle’s entire six soldier crew.
The debate about whether or not Russia could successfully employ this strategy in combat operations really boils down to a few simple questions: is Russia’s military parachute equipment reliable enough to mitigate these risks? And, are Russian soldiers competent enough to ensure the equipment is used properly each and every time?
The United States, who has a long and illustrious track record of inserting military personnel into conflict regions by way of parachute, isn’t without high-profile error in this regard, as a video surfaced earlier this year of multiple Humvees plummeting from C-130 aircraft. The soldier responsible for the debacle ultimately faced charges for destruction of government property, but had those vehicles been manned at the time of their drop, those charges may have included manslaughter.
In effect, the trouble with Russia’s plan to pack these vehicles full of people and push them out the door of an airplane isn’t the technology, but the propensity for humans, even well-trained ones, to occasionally make mistakes. Take this video, for example, of one of those Russian BMD-4 personnel carriers they intend to use for these manned drops failing to navigate a right turn in a convoy.
The footage, captured by the dash camera of an uninvolved driver approaching the intersection, shows a BMD-4 in a convoy fail to make a right turn. Its driver attempts to compensate by speeding up, fishtailing the armored vehicle into a Skoda SUV with enough force to throw the little truck out of the way and deploy its airbags. Atop the BMD-4 is some kind of covered object, and it has been postulated that the object may be the cluster of parachutes used to safely land the vehicle after its dropped from the air. Further speculation has suggested that the parachute cluster may have raised the vehicle’s center of gravity, making it react differently than it might have without the mounted cluster.
Regardless of the reason (or excuse) the Russian soldier may be able to muster, this video serves as prime example of how split second decisions can lead to dramatic repercussions when behind the wheel of a 14 ton armored vehicle. A similar mistake made while boarding or deploying from an aircraft, however, would result in the death of the vehicle’s entire crew, rather than one very angry motorist.
Dash cameras have become prominent in Russia in order to combat insurance fraud, and of course, to provide YouTube with hours and hours’ worth of incredible, and often, unbelievable footage, that frequently features military hardware like tanks, fighter jets, and helicopters. In fact, here are three more videos showing those vehicles passing through or over traffic in Russia and Ukraine just to prove the point:
So, while this video may serve as evidence to support the idea that human error could turn Russia’s new paratrooper vehicle strategy into a tragedy, it might serve better as just another bit of evidence to suggest that driving on Russian roadways is often a world away from going for a spin stateside.
Image courtesy of YouTube
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