FSA TECHNICALS (Part 2): SHAM-2 Improvised AFV

    In the previous article, we looked at an overview of the FSA’s improvised technical with the BMP-1 turret mounted on it.  In this article, we will take a look at their improvised Armored Fighting Vehicles.

    The general concept is that these are basically a civilian vehicle with armor plates welded on it.  You might think like “Oh, I’ve seen ISIS using these”, but that would be incorrect because this AFV has some professional features that didn’t exist in those that ISIS was using (even when the FSA upgrades are made out of household stuff).

    Sham Media Center released a video in 2013 of an interview with one of the crew who operates one in the western countryside of Aleppo; I will briefly translate the video for you and then describe some of it’s features with pictures.

    (00:10-01:06)

    Reporter: Tell us in details about the vehicle, what are the tasks it’s intended to do and how does it function?

    FSA: This is an armored vehicle made by our mujahideen brothers here in the western countryside, we armored it and equipped it with a machine gun with cameras, three cameras in the front and one in the rear, it works in evacuating wounded fighters, raiding and storming and we can put it behind a cover for stationing in positions, and everything is controlled from the cabin.

    (01:55-04:20)

    FSA: Here is the driver’s seat, equipped with 4 monitors –above- for the front angles to the sides, the –down- left one is for forward sighting and the right one for the rear camera. Beside the driver, there is an aiming camera monitor for the machine gun with the joystick to rotate and move it up and down and there is zooming capability.

    Reporter: For how far can you zoom it ?

    FSA: 2 kilometers (1.24 miles), but usually in our battles the range lies between 500m to 1 kilometer, because we are fighting in urban combats so the long ranges usually don’t exist, but the capability is 2000m

    Reporter: So the armor here, what can it stand against ?

    FSA: It can stand against a DShK, PKS machine guns etc. it’s a vehicle used in storming and evacuating wounded or even during our combatants’ retreating after raids to cover them.

    He then manages to demonstrate the machine gun’s accuracy by shooting around (not through) a window of an abandon building and it seems to be accurately hitting its target. According the FSA member they are planning to equip it with a mini MLR as an addition to the current armament.

    Side view of the vehicle

    Vehicle’s front view

    Two thick armor plates on the side

    Note the space between the cabin and armor plates, this can be used also as an entrance door for the wounded because they wouldn’t be to climb the vehicle and enter from the upper hatch

    Note the 3 front CCTV cameras for driver’s view

    The rear view camera is attached on vehicle’s roof

    Driver’s seat, note the RCWS rotary motor to his right side

    Driver’s screen is divided into 4 monitors, the 2 on top are side cameras for a wider angle view, the left one on the bottom is the middle front camera and to the right is rear camera’s view

    The machine gun’s operator screen

    RCWS’s control joystick (want to play real CoD?)

    The power supply unit

    The machine gun’s RCWS, note the aiming camera aligned with the barrel beneath it

    PKT machine gun is the current vehicle’s armament

    Operator demonstrated the machine gun’s accuracy stating that he will shoot around the window and it seems to have decent accuracy

    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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