The war in Ukraine will continue to generate video after video on social media as the conflict continues to grind on.
The sad reality for Russian President Putin is that every time he losses a new military asset, it will be recorded for all the world to see.
And that will be pretty embarrassing – and the shame will continue on for maybe years to come.
‘Unique’ Weapon Targeted by FPV Drone in Ukraine
What has been described as a “unique” Russian vehicle was targeted and possibly destroyed by Ukrainian first-person view (FPV) loitering munitions near the settlement of Vuhledar in the Donetsk Oblast.
The vehicle appeared to be a BTR-80 that was armed with a pair of 57mm UB-32 unguided aircraft rocket pods.
Though both sides have constructed a number of so-called “Frankenstein vehicles” in the ongoing war, this is among the more unique platforms employed by the Kremlin’s forces.
Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) shared a video on social media of the BTR-80 as it came under attack from two FPV drones, while the open-source military intelligence watchers also posted a close-up image of the vehicle that showed the unique layout of the modified wheeled armored personnel carrier.
Ukraine’s Drone Warriors
Units of the Ukrainian 72nd Mechanized Brigade had reportedly operated the drones that were used in the recent strike. The brigade, named after the “Black Zaporozhians Cavalry Regiment” had played a critical role in the defense of Kyiv following Russia’s unprovoked invasion in 2022, and more recently, it has been engaged in the fighting in the Donbas region – where it helped counter Russia’s winter offensive earlier this year.
The 72nd Mechanized Brigade has been operating the state-of-the-art DJI Matrice 300 reconnaissance drone since August 2022, and the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been employed to track Russian vehicle movements while aiding in the targeting of loitering munitions. The Black Zaporozhians have proven themselves as Ukraine’s drone warriors.
The BTR-80 in the Crosshairs
Though this is the first such modified BTR-80, it is unclear why or even when the vehicle was equipped with the 57mm UB-32 unguided aircraft rocket pods. There is speculation that it was meant to target ground positions or to serve as an air-defense platform against low-flying aircraft including drones, but it seemed to have failed spectacularly in the latter role.
Russia was reported to have as many as 1,500 BTR-80s in its arsenal at the start of the war, while 158 have been confirmed destroyed – and Kyiv’s forces have captured at least 60 according to data from the open-source military intelligence group Oryx. Ukraine has also lost at least 46 of the vehicles.
Even though the BTR-80 was designed to transport motor rifle units, it doesn’t actually offer much in the way of armor, which is only intended to provide protection from small arms ball ammunition, and small bomb splinters. It is also armed with only a 14.5mm KPVT machine gun or 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon.
The 8×8 wheeled amphibious APC can also transport seven passengers. It was first deployed in combat during the Soviet-Afghan War but was later developed into the larger and more capable BTR-90.
#Ukraine: A “unique” Russian vehicle was targeted by FPV loitering munitions of the Ukrainian 72nd Mechanized Brigade near Vuhledar, #Donetsk Oblast- a BTR-80 with a couple of 57mm UB-32 unguided aircraft rocket pods was damaged by two FPV drones. pic.twitter.com/lKL3kdJ6im
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) June 19, 2023
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.