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    Russian army to get new combat vehicles in 2008 - paper

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    Russia's Defense Ministry has ordered new tank support combat vehicles to boost firepower of the Ground Forces armored units, a Russian newspaper reported.

    MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Defense Ministry has ordered new tank support combat vehicles to boost firepower of the Ground Forces armored units, a Russian newspaper reported.

    The Uralvagonzavod Plant, based in Nizhny Tagil in the Sverdlovsk region, has long been developing a concept for a unique combat vehicle (Russian acronym BMPT) to provide fire support and protection for tanks on the battlefield, however its implementation has been subject to delays.

    "We have received the first orders for new BMPT combat vehicles," the Vzglyad business newspaper Thursday quoted Uralvagonzavod Director General Nikolai Malykh as saying.

    "We will produce the first two vehicles next year," Malykh said.

    The BMPT, dubbed the Terminator, is built on the basis of the most mass-produced T-72 battle tank. The new combat vehicle features enhanced armor protection and is equipped with powerful armament capable of destroying anti-tank capable ground and air targets and infantry, while operating in a common battle formation.

    БМПТIts main armament consists of two 30-mm 2A42 automatic cannons, a coaxially-mounted 7.62-mm PKTM machine gun with an electromechanical drive, and four launchers with laser-guided Attack-T anti-tank missiles.

    Russia's Ground Forces Commander, Colonel General Alexei Maslov, earlier said that the army expected to deploy a company equipped with tank support combat vehicles by 2010.

    Several foreign countries have already expressed an interest in buying the Russian-made BMPTs.

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