The longer Russia’s wider war on Ukraine grinds on, the more desperate Russian forces get for replacement combat vehicles—and the weirder those vehicles become.

MT-LB armored tractors packing obsolete—and totally unstabilized—2M-3 naval turrets. BTR wheeled fighting vehicles with UB-32 rocket pods borrowed from attack helicopters. MT-LBs sporting the same kind of rocket pod on one end … and an automatic mortar on the other.

Now this, perhaps the most bizarre of Russia’s bizarre mid-war Frankenvehicles: an MT-LB with an RBU-6000 launcher for anti-submarine rockets. A photo that appeared online on Saturday depicts one of these MT-LB-RBU-6000s on a flatbed truck—en route to the Ukraine front line, perhaps.

The RBU-6000 is a 1961 update of a British innovation from World War II: the hedgehog, a bank of 24 65-pound mortars that warships would fire up to 900 feet ahead of the ships as they ran down Axis submarines. The mortars sank straight down and exploded on impact.

The RBU-6000 is a much more capable weapon. Its 12 250-pound RGB-60 rockets—each 213 millimeters in diameter—range more than three miles. While not terribly useful in an age of anti-submarine helicopters and submarine-fired cruise missiles, the RBU-6000 still equips most large Russian warships.

On land, the RBU-6000 basically functions as a very large mortar that’s capable of firing salvos. It’s not exactly useless—nor is it unprecedented. The British and Australian armies used hedgehogs in ground-to-ground roles during World War II. Current Russian doctrine allows for the use of ship-mounted RBU-6000s in the shore-bombardment role.

But don’t count on the RBU-6000 working very well from an armored tractor. In its naval role, the RBU-6000 integrates with the Burya fire-control system. On an MT-LB, it’s likely to be manually aimed—just like the MT-LB’s other ex-naval weapon, the spray-and-pray 2M-3.

Which means the MT-LB-RBU-6000 is yet another crude, indiscriminate weapon … for an increasingly crude and indiscriminate army.

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