In the interests of the Russian armed forces, a variety of vehicles and automotive equipment are being created. One of these projects is being developed at the Tekhnika Design Bureau and is called Sarmat. Its task is to create a light special vehicle capable of transporting soldiers or small loads on different routes. Experienced "Sarmatians" have already been tested and even shown to the public.
The emergence of projects of the "Sarmat" family is directly related to the events of recent years. The experience of various operations has shown that the armed forces, together with other equipment, require light vehicles with high mobility and maneuverability characteristics. This technique is able to ensure the work of various departments in different conditions.
To solve this problem, the Ministry of Defense turned to the Moscow Design Bureau "Tekhnika". The bureau received a general technical assignment and began to work out the appearance of the future army vehicle. Despite the availability of technical specifications, the development was carried out at the expense of the design organization.
The first result of the new ROC was the project of the Sarmat-1 all-terrain vehicle. In this project, they decided to do only with the preparation of design documentation. The Ministry of Defense got acquainted with it and adjusted the task for promising equipment. At this stage, new requirements appeared in terms of characteristics, as well as a clause on the use of only domestic components.
In accordance with the new requirements, "Sarmat-1" was redesigned, which resulted in the project of a light special vehicle LSTS-1943 "Sarmat-2". This time, the experimental equipment was built and tested. In addition, the prototype car was shown to the public at the Army-2018 exhibition. According to the test results of the prototype, the project assignment was changed again.
The new version of the technical task was implemented in the form of the product LSTS-1944 "Sarmat-3". This machine is larger and heavier than its predecessor, but carries an increased payload and differs in other characteristics. The first demonstration of such an all-terrain vehicle took place at the Army-2019 exhibition.
According to the available data, "Sarmat-3" is now being tested in a test site. The machine must show its characteristics and capabilities, after which the military will determine its future. OKB "Tekhnika" expressed confidence in the success of the tests. However, the exact data on the progress of the inspections is not yet available.
The first prototype in the new family was built according to the second project - LSTS-1943 or "Sarmat-2". This project offers a lightweight two-axle four-wheel drive vehicle with ample opportunities for transporting goods or installing weapons. At the same time, the machine is distinguished by a certain simplicity and does not need particularly complex components. It is argued that such a design, among other things, is highly maintainable.
The lightweight vehicle is made according to the bonnet layout with a central cab and a rear cargo area. The cockpit is open. Length - 3, 8 m, width 1, 8 m, height - 2 m. Gross weight - 2100 kg with a lifting capacity of 600 kg.
The power unit is built on the basis of a VAZ-2123 105 hp gasoline engine. Transmission includes center and cross-axle differentials with blocking. The chassis is built on the basis of axles with spring suspension. The car develops a speed of 130 km / h on the highway, the 4x4 wheel arrangement provides movement over rough terrain.
The Sarmat-2 cockpit can accommodate four fighters with weapons. Instead of a solid roof, the machine uses bumper bars. They can also be used to install one or another infantry weapon. First of all, provision is made for the installation of existing machine guns of normal and large caliber, but the possibility of using other weapons is not excluded.
It is known that during the tests, the LSTS-1943 car showed fairly high performance, but its capabilities did not fully suit the customer. The terms of reference were revised towards increasing the main characteristics.
According to the changed assignment, the project LSTS-1944 "Sarmat-3" was developed. The general architecture of such a machine remained the same, but part of the design feature changed, which led to an increase in a number of parameters. So, the car became larger and heavier, and at the same time increased the carrying capacity. The length of "Sarmat-3" has grown to 3, 9 m, width - up to 2 m. Gross weight - 3.5 tons with a lifting capacity of 1.5 tons.
Based on the test results of the previous all-terrain vehicle, the customer demanded to alter the power plant. The gasoline engine had to be replaced with a diesel one. Unfortunately, engines of this type with the required set of characteristics are not produced in Russia, and therefore OKB "Tekhnika" was forced to use a Chinese-made 153 hp motor. How this issue will be resolved in the future is unclear.
With the available imported engine LSTS-1944 shows higher driving characteristics. So, the maximum speed on the highway increased to 150 km / h. The power reserve is 800 km. Rough terrain mobility is ensured by a good chassis design and remains the same.
Several body configurations are offered with different uses of the available volumes. Due to this, the machine can be installed from 2 to 8 seats. In particular, the rear of the body can be used for mounting seats or for mounting a cargo platform. Preserved devices for the installation of various weapons.
Challenges and prospects
Light special vehicles "Sarmat" are designed to equip various units that have special requirements for their equipment. In a number of situations, special forces of the armed forces or other structures do not need armored vehicles, but light and mobile vehicles with the required carrying capacity and some weapons.
All-terrain vehicles of the "Sarmatov" type can be used in all situations when a quick transfer of people and cargo is required to a given area in any terrain. In addition, they can be used in raids on enemy rear lines or in operations in specific theaters of operations. For example, in the Syrian events, not only armored vehicles show themselves well, but also lightweight models.
To date, several types of light transport for special forces and other structures have been developed in our country at once. One of the last in this direction are two samples of the "Sarmat" family. Now LSTS-1944 "Sarmat-3" is undergoing the necessary tests, according to the results of which the customer will draw conclusions.
The development organization believes that the third version of its all-terrain vehicle will successfully cope with the checks. Indeed, the original "Sarmat-1" was twice significantly reworked taking into account the requirements of the customer and now, most likely, meets the needs of the army as much as possible. In its current form, the LSTS-1944 vehicle can carry a whole detachment with weapons and cargo, as well as support it with fire.
However, the situation with the engines remains unclear. The experienced "Sarmat-3" is equipped with an imported diesel engine, which may require replacement. How this problem will be solved is unknown. Perhaps the Ministry of Defense will allow replacing the diesel with a gasoline engine. Scenarios with the start of the development of the required motor or with the mitigation of the requirements for the project are also possible. In any case, the issue of the engine requires a solution - without this, the Sarmat-3 project will face the most serious problems.
In general, without taking into account the actual problem of the engine, the projects "Sarmat-2" and "Sarmat-3" look interesting and promising. Such a technique is really needed by the Russian power structures, and in the foreseeable future it may go into series. However, for this, you first need to solve the existing problems, as well as conduct tests and debugging.
Work on the Sarmat family of light vehicles has advanced quite far and yielded some of the desired results, which is cause for optimism. However, due to some difficulties, the future of the project is still not fully clear. Probably, it will be determined in the very near future.