After nearly a decade of development, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces have finally received 70 production models of the Typhoon-M 8x8 armored vehicles. These are being used to enhance security around ICBM bases. Typhoon-M is also known as the BPDM 15TM56M, and is described as a security vehicle able to detect a wide variety of threats and suspicious activity around these missile bases, which are in thinly populated rural areas.
Typhoon M carries a crew of four and is equipped with ELINT (Electronic intelligence) and ECM (electronic countermeasures) equipment. In short Typhoon can detect nearly all electronic transmissions in the vicinity of the ICBM base and use its ECM equipment to jam or degrade those signals. Typhoon-M is also equipped with the same thermal vision device and ground surveillance radar found on the latest T-90 tanks. There is a RWS (remote weapons system) armed with a 7.62mm machine-gun for self-defense or dealing with an immediate threat to ICBM facility equipment. Also carried is a Eleron-3SV UAV. This is a battery powered, 4.3 kg (7.49 pounds) UAV travelling at speeds of from 70 to 130 kilometers an hour. Flight endurance of up to 2 hours, and maximum altitude of 5,000 meters (16,000 feet). It is launched by throwing it and can land by flying close to the ground and shutting its engine off. Eleron-3SV carries a day/night vidcam and can transmit video back to the operators from up to 15 kilometers away.
In short Typhoon-M is designed to carry out electronic and visual day/night surveillance and reconnaissance missions around the missile bases. That’s why Typhoon is also called a counter-sabotage vehicle as the primary mission is to prevent any kind of hostile tampering with equipment at the missile launch facility.
Typhoon-M is based on the BTR-82A 8x8 armored vehicle, which is part of the BTR-80 family of vehicles. These are cheaper and more reliable than tacked armored vehicles. In 2013 an updated version of the BTR-80, the 15-ton BTR-82A entered service as an improved, upgraded vehicle and enhanced armored vehicle. Both BTR versions are normally armed with a 30mm autocannon in a turret plus a 7.62mm machine-gun. The BTR-82A also has a fire suppression system and a floor built to better protect the three crew and seven passengers from mines and roadside bombs. The hull incorporates a Kevlar layer to provide better protection against shell and bomb fragments. The BTR-82A has an improved engine, electronics, and is still amphibious.
While the United States abandoned wheeled armored vehicles after World War II, Russia kept theirs and constantly improved their BTR series. The BTR-80 appeared in 1986. While not as heavy, or as high tech, as the American Stryker, the BTR vehicles are popular with many nations, especially for use by police and paramilitary forces, including ICBM launch facility protection.