FSA TECHNICALS (Part 1): BMP Turrets on Pick-Ups

    It was not enough for the Free Syrian Army to improvise small arms and remote control weapon stations, but they developed a number of modifications for vehicles as well.  They have not only repaired damaged tanks and put them back in service, but they have also used pick-up trucks to which they mounted different types of armament, so they could compete on a more even footing against Al-Assad’s Forces.

    This two-part series of articles is not going to discuss the 23mm anti-aircraft guns (nor the SPG-9 mounted on 4×4 pickups); we will mainly focus on the improvised technical vehicles.

    In a visit to Syria’s Freemen Brigade workshop (a part of the FSA) there was a number of pickup trucks upgraded to mount a modified BMP-1 Turrets with 73mm guns.

    I will give you a brief translation of the conversation between the reporter and one of the workshop officials. P.S. Translation coverage is from minute 00:35 to 02:45 only.

    Reporter: Is this cannon ready? Can you tell us what you are doing here?

    FSA: We modify them, they are usually struck BMPs and we re-mount them on cars.

    Reporter: So if a BMP was struck in battle you take it’s gun and assemble it on a pick up?

    FSA: Of course, because we modify and then mount them on the pickups.

    Reporter: Is this turret functioning?

    FSA: Yes it is.

    Reporter: Can you demonstrate it for us?

    Reporter: -after demonstration- Is the turret’s motor electrical?

    FSA: Electrical and manual.

    Reporter: So what modifications did you do specifically?

    FSA: The rotating motor and modifications on the pickup itself and the electric unit.

    Reporter: Do you mean the electric box/control unit?

    FSA: The control unit and new devices/hardware.

    Reporter: So is this scope was originally existing?

    FSA: No, the BMP’s scope is different than that one.

    Reporter: Why do you mount the turrets on pickups?

    FSA: Because it will be easier, faster and lighter in mobility.

    Reporter: How many of them are ready now?

    FSA: We have five finished pickups.

    The rest of the interview is about general things like the disassembled 23mm Shilka which they will use to extract spare parts from, the 120mm shells they manufacture, and the attempts to make small arms ammunition and the machinery they use..etc.  (just for your info).

    Now I will show some pictures and explain what we are seeing.

    Toyota pickup with BMP turret mounted on left with a 23mm AA Shilka on right

    red line: Turret’s horizontal manual rotating handle.
    yellow line: Gun’s elevation and depression manual adjusting handle.
    blue line: The electric control unit/joystick and buttons.
    orange line: The electric board box.

    overall rear view of the pickup and turret

    overall rear view of the pickup and turret

    a rear view of the vehicle-front view of the turret

    a rear view of the vehicle-front view of the turret

    a close up view on the controls

    a close up view on the controls

    another view on the rear , all electric hardware in scene

    another view on the rear , all electric hardware in scene

    note the scope is just above the firing chamber

    note the scope is just above the firing chamber

    a closer look on the scope mount

    a closer look on the scope mount

    Marawan Maklad

    Marawan Maklad is an Egyptian firearms and ammunition designer working for Turkish company specializing in the hunting and defense industries, and a dedicated researcher in asymmetric conflicts arms and tactics.


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