Ukraine destroys Russia’s new Plustan-SN armored vehicles

The conflict in Ukraine has witnessed its first visually confirmed loss of a Russian Plastun-SN light armored vehicle. This event was reported by the Twitter account of Status-6 on November 22, 2023.

Developed as a military variant of the civilian Plastun all-terrain vehicle, the Plastun-SN (Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya, meaning Special Purpose) was designed to meet the diversified needs of the Russian Armed Forces. Showcased at the Army-2023 exhibition in Moscow, the vehicle stands out for its versatility, serving roles ranging from medical evacuation to reconnaissance and artillery support.

The Plastun-SN is equipped with a combined armor protection system, capable of withstanding bullets from 9×19 mm to 7.62×39 mm. However, its open design makes it vulnerable to aerial threats, such as drone strikes or shrapnel. It is powered by a 1.6-liter Lada petrol engine, achieving a maximum speed of 50 km/h, and features a 5-speed manual transmission. The vehicle can accommodate up to eight people. It is amphibious and capable of overcoming various obstacles, enhancing its utility in diverse military operations.

The Russian Ministry of Defense recently received 14 Plastun-SN vehicles, with plans to procure at least 50 more under a signed contract. However, the loss of one of these vehicles in Ukraine is a significant event, highlighting the challenges and vulnerabilities faced by such vehicles in modern warfare. This incident may prompt a reevaluation of the vehicle’s operational deployment and tactical utility. We reported this acquisition on Army Recognition on October 30, 2023.

The loss of the Plastun-SN in Ukraine could have broader implications for the strategy and equipment choices of the Russian army. It raises questions about the suitability of such vehicles in highly contested environments and may influence future procurement and deployment decisions.

Even though the loss of a vehicle is never good news, it is noteworthy that Russia has been developing its military industry for several months to compensate for losses in Ukraine, and it is now capable of replacing/repairing its equipment with a certain efficiency. The current conflict is more a war of position and attrition than a war of movement. The industrial capacity of the two belligerents is therefore extremely important.

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