Back in August we took a look at an improvised vehicle built by Ukrainian troops near Mykolaiv. It paired an MT-LB tracked armoured fighting vehicle with an MT-12 100mm anti-tank gun. Now engineers from Ukrtransgaz – Ukraine’s state-owned gas pipeline company, have taken that concept and developed an improved version of the home made self-propelled gun.
On Monday 26 September, Ukrtransgaz shared a post on their facebook page about the new vehicle saying:
“Our colleagues were approached by the soldiers of the TpO [Territorial Defence Forces] detachment with a request for the manufacture of such an installation. The idea of combining an armored personnel carrier and a cannon into an improvised self-propelled gun was borrowed from the Mykolaiv military, which in August produced and successfully tested the first such installation in battle. So they decided to “improve” the trophy Russian MT-LB with the Ukrainian Rapira for their own needs.”
Ukrtransgaz noted that the vehicle took a team of six engineers two weeks to construct. Beneath the facebook post the company also shared a short, sadly low resolution, video of the vehicle being tested. TAB reached out to Ukrtransgaz for a better version of the footage but sadly they didn’t have one available.
The team behind the gun had assistance from an unnamed ‘specialized university’ who helped increase the gun’s elevation, which is normally capped at +20°, and in theory increase the gun’s range. It’s unclear which ammunition is being used with Ukraine’s MT-12s, whether it’s APFSDS or HEAT.
The company states that the vehicle is ready for operations and has successfully passed tests on the range, ready to be deployed. They also note that the team intends to manufacture at least two more such self-propelled guns.
Examining the Ukrtransgaz SPG we can see that the roof of the MT-LB has again been cut back but the the mounting of the gun is slightly higher and armour protection has been built up around the sides for the gun crew. From the footage shared we can see that theres room for around six troops to sit in the rear of the vehicle. Unlike the earlier Mykolaiv-built vehicle there does not appear to be the pair of hydraulic supports to stabilise the vehicle when firing.
Update 15/12/22: A video from the Ukrainian government’s United24 project showcased a further example of the homemade MT-LB mounted anti-tank gun vehicles. This time mounting the older T-12 100mm anti-tank gun, the T-12 is the predecessor to the MT-12 and uses the same family of ammunition. The vehicle seen in the video is on operations around Bakhmut, acting as a self-propelled gun. It lacks the armour shield to protect the gun crew seen on earlier examples of the homemade MT-LB based vehicles but it does have the supporting struts at the rear of the vehicle.
Update 23/12/22: Another interesting undated video of one of Ukraine’s MT-LBs with a 100-mm gun MT-12 mounted. Note the movement of the vehicle on firing, this example has the support struts at the rear of the vehicle, to minimise this and remove the need to re-lay the gun, but they have not been deployed. Unlike the version seen in the 15 December update this version utilises the MT-12s original gun shield but does not have additional protection added.
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