The Ministry of Defense of Belarus has reported on the ongoing tests of the new Volat V2 armored personnel carrier, also locally referred to as the BTR V-2 in a russian manner.
The project has seen little progress, however. Since the initial demonstration of Volat V2 in June 2021, it barely appeared in the news. Even now, while announcing new tests have taken place, the ministry pulls out footage from the archive to include in the video report.
The idea of Volat V2 appeared in the 2010s, but practical steps were taken only in 2020. This was a clear signal that belarus has no interest in russian vehicles of the same class: neither in the BTR-82 nor in the new Bumerang which hasn't yet graduated from the experimental testing stage of development.
Even after the limited supplies of the BTR-82A (around 30 units) started in September 2021, Minsk appears committed to its independent armored personnel carrier project, now reignited.
Quite possibly, the reasons lie in how the russian APC has performed since the arrival, or uncertainties that russia will be capable of supplying any weapons in the future.
After all, compared to the BTR-82A, the Volat V2 offers a more interesting approach to modernizing Soviet armor. Volat V2 offers a complete redesign of internal layout. The power plant was placed in front, and the landing squad now accommodated in the rear. On top of that, the belarusian variant got a new hydropneumatic suspension.
With all these upgrades the 22-ton Volat V2 boasts better protection and more room for future refinements and derivatives.
In terms of protection, this vehicle technically outperforms even the BTR-22, officially known as "BTR-82A (improved)," unveiled in August 2023. Promoted as a budget-friendly alternative to Bumerang, it preserves the original BTR-60 suspension, which limits the combat weight to 20 tons.
In light of these comparisons, Minsk's decision to pursue its own armored personnel carrier, objectively superior to current russian offerings, appears strategically sound.
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