The majority of tracked armoured vehicles of the Russian Ground Forces (GF) will soon be replaced with wheeled vehicles, GF commander colonel general Vladimir Chirkin has revealed.
Chirkin was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that the country's Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to soon begin the research and development work for the production of wheeled vehicles.
According to the Chirkin, the equipment being replaced includes self-propelled guns, air defence systems and light tanks, according to the general; he also said that one of the main reasons for the replacing was the longer service life of the wheeled vehicles.
"The service life of the tracked vehicles until a major overhaul is up to 30,000km, while that of the wheeled vehicles is up to 1 million kilometres," Chirkin said.
In addition, the wheeled vehicles are expected to allow the military to minimise rail-road transport during redeployment.
Ground forces are set to take delivery of the first batch of 57 Italian Lynx light multirole armoured vehicles (LMVs) from Iveco Defense Vehicles before the end of the year.
Signed in December 2011, the $24m contract covers purchase of a total of 60 vehicles, along with the semi-knocked down assembly in the central Russian city of Voronezh following deliveries.
In addition, the country's state arm exporter, Rosoboronexport, is working with France to jointly develop a new armoured infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), for use by the Russian Army.
Rosoboronexport deputy chief Igor Sevastyanov said that the vehicle would feature a French base, but would be integrated with Russian weapons and turrets; it is expected to be complete in the coming 18 months as reported by RIA Novosti.
The Russian Army currently operates Tigr Gaz-2330 light armoured vehicle, BMO-T heavy armoured personal carrier, as well as BTR-90, BTR-82/A, BTR-80/A, and BTR-70M1986/1 armoured personnel carriers (APCs).
Image: Iveco Lynx LMV is a four-wheel-drive multirole armoured vehicle. Photo: courtesy of Suradnik13.