Issue 36. November - December 1999
Anatoly Ilyin, staff editor
Free article version
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The experience of recent decades demonstrates that the nature of combat operations in military conflicts has changed considerably. Of crucial importance is up-to-the-minute information supplied to troops on the battlefield and mobility of small units, especially in populated areas and on rough terrain where maneuver of armored vehicles is hampered. Mobility is also vital for peacekeeping units, border guards, rescue services, Interior Ministry units, etc.
WWII demonstrated that small units equipped with reliable cross- country motorcycles offer a relatively inexpensive and effective way to increase mobility. Therefore, they were widely employed in the Soviet Army. Later on, they were almost completely forced out by heavier vehicles. Now it has become clear that motorcycles are necessary for the army.
The Uralmoto JSC has developed and tested a special version of a cross-country motorcycle, the IMZ-8.107 model, with a driven sidecar wheel. It can be most effectively used by reconnaissance and patrol groups, as a mobile liason means, as well as a multi-purpose means of transport. Its small dimensions and maneuverability, higher than that of any army jeep, make the motorcycle most suitable for combat operations in populated areas. The crew comprises two or three men, the driver included, while the weight of cargo or additional equipment amounts to approximately 25 and 100 kg, respectively.
The main weapon of the IMZ-8.107 motorcycle is a 12.7mm machine gun which can engage low-flying air and lightly armored ground targets as well as fight hostile manpower at a range of 1,500 to 2,000 m. The "openness" of the motorcycle allows all-round aimed fire from personal weapons of the crew members protected by individual body armor.
At the Nizhni Tagil arms exhibition a two-man motorcycle crew made a great show during the demonstration of its riding ability and machine gun firing at targets at a range of 1,200 m.
If need be, the motorcycle can be armed with a grenade launcher (light antitank grenade launcher or AGS-17 Plamya automatic grenade launcher), ATGMs (Konkurs, Fagot) and even a recoilless gun, allowing the engagement of armored targets at ranges of up to 3 km.
The high dynamics, cross-country ability and maneuverability are ensured by a powerful engine, transmission and running gear. A short base (1,500 mm) and large wheels (19'') with cross-country tires enable it to move easily over rugged terrain. The design and arrangement of the accessories (based on the motor vehicle principle) guarantee a high operational reliability and maintainability with optimal performance characteristics. The most important operational feature is the use of engine and transmission oils widely employed for motor vehicles