Disclaimer : This preview has been made on a development build. Changes may happen in final version
After many queries, I’ve been finally invited by the CSAT media service to test some weapons. My editor wants a paper on Tanks warfare, and i like first hand intel. Happy, I packed my gear straight away and rushed to the local airfield. After an uncomfortable flight to Stratis Island, I rented a car downtown and made my way thru the mountains, down to the Kamino Firing Range.
After a cold welcome by the local officer who certainly had better to do, a big soldier enters the room and escort me out. He doesn’t talk much but is patient enough to escort me placing camera at some interesting spot over the firing range. Despite his silence, I see his eyes carefully recording all the places where I leave some stuff. Over there, a few rocket and missiles launcher were awaiting me.
RPG-7 and Slat Armor
We first started by the basis. A traditional RPG-7, the typical weapon that you can find anywhere in the world, from the insurgents’ hands in Takistan to the unsure islands of Tanoa.
After a quick demonstration, the soldier babysitting me point his finger to an old “Infantry Fighting Vehicle”. That one must had a rough time there, and a camo netting put hastily over it is hiding all the impact he must already have suffered. Around it, I see a strange cage. I ask my host. He explains that these cage armor have been used here and there for decades now. The so-called “slat armor” is meant to defeat small rockets such as RPG round by triggering or damaging it before it reaches the main armor layer. While his speech is convincing, his face looks anxious. I’m wondering how efficient this can be, but I don’t think I’ll have the answer today.
I place the RPG-7 launcher on my shoulder. I heard many stories about these from my dad, who was a reporter at the AAN. Now, it is my time to see what it does for real. I press the trigger and watch the rocket flies straight at the vehicle.
Anti Tank Guided Missiles
The IFV is still sitting there. However, a whole section of the grid has been wiped out. I guess the base mechanics will have some work to do to patch this up. The officer shows up and yells at my escort. Safety first. I’m asked to wear my ballistic protection, which hopefully I did not forget at home.
After gearing up, the soldier hands me a bigger toy. The TITAN launcher. The officer explains me that this weapon can fire Antitank or antipersonnel laser-guided missiles up to 4km. The missile features two attack profile depending on target, one in straight path, and another will fly high, then dive on the laser mark.
They show me a destroyed village across the range. I guess they want me to fire there. I get in position and watch the guidance monitor. With the zoom, I see a tank in a firing position. I guess that it is my target. I press the “F” button on the launcher and fire. The missiles pop off my launcher, then the booster light up and I see the missile climbing upward. Two second later, the tank gets hit.
The armored beast seems to have absorbed the shock and is still there.
The last weapon is the PCML rocket launcher, which can fire 150mm guided projectiles. The rocket has a HEAT warhead and can destroy IFV and seriously damage tanks. Again, after a quick explanation by the officer, I’m aiming the tank. I hear a lock tone and fire the weapon. The PCML, like the TITAN can be shot in both straight line, and with a topdown attack profile.
Vehicle interiors, Explosive Reactive Armor
The day is well advanced and before collecting all my camera, I’m invited to board an “BTR-K Kamish”. The interior is spacious and smell like a brand-new car. The 3 crew members are seated side by side in the same compartment inside. As I can see the gunner’s hand moving the joystick, I hear the gun rotating over our head, and the camera inside the cabins shows the aim sight moving around. The gunner fires. I hear some automated loud pop over my head. On my monitor, I see impacts on some other tanks parked there. Sparks and explosions are happening everywhere. For the first time of the day, I see that soldier smiling as he presses the trigger. After several shots we are getting out of the vehicle, and we are walking over the area.
The vehicles seem covered by blocks. My escort explains it is “ERA – Explosive Reactive Armor”. As a projectile hit the ERA block, the block basically explodes, preventing the projectile to penetrate. These fancy blocks can be optionnal on tanks.
The day is well advanced and as a truck full of infantry arrives, the base commander explains me that the visit is over. I’m collecting the camera and head back to my car. I can’t wait to the next appointment, the CSAT media guy said I would shortly receive an invitation to visit the local Tank Brigade….