“You’re terminated, f*****!” That is the line uttered by Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in the climactic scene from The Terminator. For the three or four of you out there who still haven’t seen the movie, I apologize for not providing a spoiler alert.
Thirty-nine years later, life has imitated art in yet another embarrassment to Vladimir Putin and his so-called “special military operation.” Russia’s latest, greatest armored fighting vehicle, the BMPT Terminator, has been “terminated” in Ukraine.
BMPT Terminator Early History and Specifications
The official name for the Terminator is Боевая машина поддержки танков (Tank Support Fighting Vehicle), but it was the manufacturer UralVagonZavod, located in Nizhny Tagil, Russia, who saw fit to bestow the Terminator sobriquet on their beloved vehicle.
Still, the Terminator is actually based on the chassis of the T-72 main battle tank (MBT).
This Terminator started its design phase in 1998, assumed production model status in 2002, and officially entered into operational service with the Russian Federation’s armed forces after it purchased 10 of the vehicles in 2017.
However, even before the Terminators were officially adopted by Russia, 10 of them were acquired by Kazakhstan.
The Terminator’s design was heavily influenced by lessons learned during the First Chechen War.
Accordingly, it was designed to support armor and infantry units, with the ability to engage three targets at once.
The BMPT is 23 feet 7 inches in length, 11 feet 1 inch wide at the tracks, 11 feet 3 inches in height (including the turret), and 53 tons in weight. It holds a crew of five, and its max speed is 37 miles per hour.
Armament-wise, the Terminator sports twin 30 mm guns, four supersonic Ataka anti-tank missiles with a range of almost four miles, two AG-17D grenade launchers, and one coaxial 7.62 mm PKTM machine gun.
Initial Combat Usage
Reportedly the Terminator first saw combat in 2013 in the Syrian Civil War and anti-ISIS operations, but I have not been able to ascertain reliable, detailed verification of this.
Meanwhile, the first significant engagement in which Russian troops used this much-vaunted AFV was the Battle of Severodonetsk, part of the wider Battle of Donbas — which lasted from May 6 to June 25, 2022, the date on which the city did fall to Russian forces. It provided Putin with one of the few clear-cut military victories of his seemingly never-ending campaign, but only after enduring “fearful casualties” in the process.
Terminator Terminated In Ukraine
Fast-forward to the present month, and the Ukrainians have obtained a partial degree of revenge against the Terminator. As noted in an article appropriately titled “Hasta La Vista, Baby!”by Emma Helfrich of The Warzone:
“Members of the Ukrainian Marine Corps’ 140th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion helped destroy the BMPT, according to a post on the service’s official Facebook page. The post explains that Marines belonging to the unit shared the Terminator’s coordinates with nearby artillery forces, who then carried out the attack, stating: ’Hasta la vista, baby! Soldiers of the 140th separate reconnaissance battalion of the marines found the detonated Russian BMPT ‘Terminator,’ transferred the coordinates to the artillery units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and further adjusted the fire. So, we see that this allegedly “invincible” and “unique” combat vehicle burns just as well as the rest of Russian scrap metal. Glory to the marines! Glory to Ukraine!’ What type of artillery was used for the strike wasn’t disclosed. It also isn’t immediately obvious which of the two known Terminator variants the now-destroyed vehicle from the footage is.”
This termination of the Terminator is said to have taken place in the city of Kreminna, which is located in the contested and strategic Luhansk Oblast. Given how few of the AFVs were available to begin with, it will be interesting to see if Russia’s senior military leadership becomes skittish about risking the loss of any more of these precious machines in frontline combat.
Stay tuned, dear readers.
Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force Security Forces officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon). Chris holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California (USC) and an M.A. in Intelligence Studies (concentration in Terrorism Studies) from American Military University (AMU). He has also been published in The Daily Torch and The Journal of Intelligence and Cyber Security. Last but not least, he is a Companion of the Order of the Naval Order of the United States (NOUS).