The UR-77 Meteorite is a tracked mine clearing vehicle, based on a variant of the 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer chassis.
On April 5, the Russian Ministry of Defense released a video showing the Russian army deploying a UR-77 Meteorite mine clearing vehicle to attack and destroy Ukrainian positions. The shell was fired and exploded, and a large forest area was burned. The UR-77 Meteorite is a Soviet mine clearing vehicle built in the late 1970s, with a maximum fire range of about 500 meters.
This is not the first time that the Russian army has used this weapon to directly attack the Ukrainian army. During the fierce battle in the Mariupol urban area last year, the Russian army also used the UR-77 Meteorite minesweeper missile to attack the Ukrainian army fortress. In addition, the UR-77 Meteorite was also used in the Ruby Day battle in Donbass, destroying a fortified building of the Ukrainian army.
The UR-77 Meteorite is a tracked mine clearing vehicle, based on a variant of the 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer chassis. The vehicle is armed with a launcher and two mine-clearing line charges. When launched, a rocket deploys a line charge by extending it out into a line that crosses the minefield. When detonated, the charge causes a shock wave that destroys or disables all the shells or mines in an area along the line charge with a width of 6 metres and length up to 90 metres. Thus a break in the minefield is created.
Mass production of the UR-77 began in 1978 to replace the earlier UR-67 mine clearing vehicle. The design of the UR-77 Meteorite is very unique. The rear of the hull has a very large “spoon” shaped device, containing explosives, and the handle of the “spoon” contains two rockets. According to the report, “the destructive power of this machine weighing 15 tons is achieved using special rocket engines, which can throw up to 700 kg of explosives at a distance of 500 m.”
When exploding, a charge causes a shock wave that destroys or disables all the shells or mines along the area of the line charge. The UR-77 is intended to be operated near the front lines of battle but was not purpose-built to participate directly in combat. Since this is a lightly armored vehicle, other mechanized forces and artillery are required to provide cover fire when such vehicles are employed near enemy positions. It should be known that, 700 kg of explosives is equivalent to the power of 100 152mm artillery shells or 2 Iskander missiles carrying conventional warheads.