Each Battle Path has a special vehicle you can assemble from blueprints and the Eclipse Battle Path will continue in that tradition, although with somewhat less emphasis on this aspect. Usually we offer a Tier 4-7 vehicle as a level progression one and a Tier 8 vehicle as a blueprint one. This time around, it’ll be the opposite – the Tier 8 Gepard will be a prize obtainable by reaching Level 19 while the blueprint slot will be reserved for Object 787, also known as the “Gadyuka.”
The Gadyuka (“Viper” in Russian) is one of the development steps that led to the creation of the BMPT “Terminator” series that is currently in Russian, Algerian and Kazakh service. But where did this vehicle come from? As usual, let’s take a look at a little bit of history.
The idea of creating a heavily armored dedicated anti-infantry vehicle was not exclusive to the Soviet Union but it was the Soviet industry that started working on it intensively as early as in mid-1980s. The experience if Afghanistan and Chechnya taught the Soviets a painful, yet valuable lesson – even heavily armored vehicles armed with cannons were vulnerable to infantry in urban environment. The massive spread of and major improvements in infantry anti-tank weapons further increased this thread to the point where for a certain time – especially in the west – it was thought that the tank would eventually become obsolete the way airships and armored trains had many decades before. Others however were actively looking for ways to tip the balance of scales in armored vehicle’s favor and one such idea was to create a heavily armored vehicle with anti-infantry armament to accompany the “classic” tanks.
Protecting your armored vehicles from enemy infantry required certain vehicle “features” not available to regular tanks. First and foremost, excellent gun elevation was essential in order to deal with targets above you in hilly or urban environment. This was one of the first things learned by the Soviet troops in Afghanistan – enemy infantry would often be hiding on hilltops where the standard BMP-1 vehicles could not fire, since their elevation was insufficient and Soviet troops were forced to utilize anti-aircraft vehicles (which were well armed but very poorly armored, sometimes vulnerable even to small arms fire) as ground support. This issue was only mitigated by the arrival of the BMP-2.
Second very important requirement was to make the vehicle resistant to infantry weapons, specifically to HEAT launchers such as the famous RPG series. This called not only for thick armor (ideally composite) but also for massive use of explosive reactive armor covering vulnerable parts of the vehicle – in Afghanistan, however, such a technology was not available en masse.
Nevertheless, between 1985 and 1986, the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant started working on a program to develop a vehicle they called “mountain tank”, producing three distinct projects between 1987 and 1996 they thought suitable for the tanks support role – Object 781, Object 782 and Object 787 (sometimes referred to as Object 745 by certain Russian sources).
The Object 781 and Object 782 projects were introduced in 1987 and were developed in Chelyabinsk under the leadership of V.L.Vershinsky. They were built on heavily modified T-72B hulls with especially the frontal part significantly reworked, but the biggest change by far was the fact that the vehicle sides now housed heavily armored watertight compartments carrying two stabilized 40mm grenade launchers and ammunition as well as other systems such as air filtering, fuel tanks and batteries. This solution significantly increased the side protection of the hull.
Of the two such modified hulls, one (Object 781) was armed with a pair of 30mm 2A72 guns (each in a separate turret and each paired with a 7,62mm machinegun) as well as an anti-tank guided missile system (Konkurs or Kornet) and either a 7,62mm or a 12,7mm machinegun mounted externally near the commander’s hatch.
The second (Object 782) had a low profile two-man turret armed with a low-recoil rifled 100mm 2A70 gun paired with one 30mm 2A72 cannon. The turret was also fitted with an additional 40mm grenade launcher (in addition to the one in the hull).
Both vehicles had large crews – the driver, gunner, commander and two grenade launcher operators plus two troops in support to fire from 7,62mm hull-mounted machineguns. The Object 782 for instance was theoretically capable of firing at 6 different targets at the same time.
Both vehicles were tested from 1987 onwards in Chelyabinsk. The Object 781 won the initial testing and was selected over Object 782 (the project of which was cancelled, although the prototype exists to this day). The development of Object 781 was rated actually very well and continued at Chelyabinsk until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. At that point the project became the victim of the post-break-up chaos and was cancelled as well. Both prototypes eventually ended in the Kubinka museum.
Even though the Object 781 research was cancelled, the war in Chechnya and the disastrous results of the tanks used in city environments re-started the fire support vehicle development. Once again, Chelyabinsk stepped up, developing a completely new vehicle between 1995 and 1996 called Object 787. One prototype was built in 1996.
It was basically a T-72AV hull and turret (with the Kontakt-1 reactive armor as the tank designation suggests) but instead of the usual 125mm cannon, the vehicle was armed with a pair of high-elevation 30mm 2A72 guns mounted on the sides of the turret (along with a pair of 12,7mm machineguns). The 30mm guns were also paired with two banks of 80mm S-8 unguided rockets (originally developed for helicopters) to provide additional firepower. The banks had 6 rockets each.
The guns and rockets could elevate to +60 degrees and depress to -8 degrees, allowing the vehicle to easily engage targets on buildings. The optics consisted of:
- 1A40 main optics
- TPN-3-49 night optics
- 1P3-10 anti-aircraft optics
- TKN-3 commander optics
The vehicle weighed some 47 tons and, just like the original T-72AV, had a crew of three men. The internal layout was similar to the T-72AV and so was the armor, although the Kontakt-1 elements covered more area, especially on the sides. The gun mantlet area was plugged by a welded steel cover and additional ERA elements. It was powered by the 780hp V-46-6 diesel engine with the same mobility as the T-72AV (the maximum speed was 60 km/h).
The vehicle was sometimes also referred to under the informal nickname “Gadyuka” – this was, however, never official. The trials that took place between April 4 and April 10, 1997 at Kubinka have shown excellent results, but the Viper too was to be cancelled – for the strangest of reasons.
Initially, many high-positioned Russian officers supported the vehicle (including the chief of GABTU, Colonel-General S.A.Maev, former Marshal of the Soviet Union V.L.Kulikov and the main Ministry of Defense military advisor, Army General M.M.Zaytsev). The military started advertising the vehicle on television and radio, trying to gain as much support for the new vehicle class as possible. This did not sit well with the overseeing institutions, which accused the participants (including the vehicle designers themselves) of “publishing Russia’s military secrets”.
An investigation was held and the entire process resulted in numerous personal changes in the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant company as well as the cancellation of the Object 787 development. The accused designers were forbidden from pursuing the project further and the only prototype was transferred to Kubinka.
The Object 787 farce did slow the development of this class of vehicle considerably but it did not stop it. The Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant was out of the picture now and stopped developing this type of vehicle altogether, focusing only on actual tractor building. The idea, however, did not die and was intensively discussed between I.N.Rodionov (the Russian minister of defense between 1996 and 1997) and other members of the military. Eventually, Uralvagonzavod from Nizhny Tagil would take over the development and the process would eventually become the BMPT series predecessor, Object 199 “Ramka”.
In Armored Warfare, the Object 787 Gadyuka will be a Tier 6 Premium Tank Destroyer.
Like we mentioned above, it’ll be possible to assemble the Gadyuka from blueprints available for Battle Path mission completion (also a returning feature) as well as from the Battle Path Shop.
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The Gadyuka concept is rather simple. It’s a close range brawler – essentially a T-72AV with autocannons and rockets instead of the main gun and one Tier higher. Logically, while the protection stays the same (the Gadyuka doesn’t have an APS, just smoke grenade launchers), the balance will shift towards firepower.
There are two main weapon systems that can be switched between – the two 30mm 2A72 autocannons (which are generic Tier 6-7 30mm guns balance-wise) and two 6-tube 80mm rocket launchers, the very same launchers the MT-LB S8 uses, just without the fancy cylindrical container. Each side of the turret will have one gun-rocket mount with excellent depression and elevation (-8/+60 degrees).
You’ll be able to switch rapidly between firing either both guns or both rocket launchers but beware – both weapon systems will be fairly inaccurate given the fact they are lined to fire in parallel. The mobility will be similar to the T-72AV (which isn’t bad for an MBT or a tracked TD) and the viewrange and camouflage values will basically be MBT-like as well.
Click the image to open a larger version
By now, it should be clear what the intended playstyle for this vehicle will be one. It’ll be a brutal close-range fighting machine with a lot of short-range burst but poor long-range performance. As such, it’ll be best used in urban areas where an enemy vehicle may appear right in front of you, in which case he’ll get to enjoy a rocket burst followed by the withering fire of two 30mm autocannons. In other words, an Armored Warfare equivalent of a shotgun blast.
We hope that you’ll enjoy the Gadyuka and, as always:
See you on the battlefield!