BMP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Russia)

Assessments of the BMP 1 in combat led to a decision to significantly upgrade the vehicle. Fortunately, the Isakov KB (design bureau) had already commenced studies into this and an initial vehicle, designated Obiekt 680 was developed in 1972, inspired by the German Marder. The 680 wasa testbed to examine the possibilities of introducing a lower profile, but wider two-man turret, installing the new Shipunov 2A42 30mm autocannon and a 7.62mm PKT machine gun barbette in place of the former squad commander position (who would move up into the turret). The 680 was never accepted into service but proved a useful technology

BMP 2
BMP-2
demonstrator. With the lessons of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and assessments of foreign military IFVs led to an upgrade programme for the BMP-1 and a programme to replace it in service. The upgrade programme addressed the most serious flaws, including the replacement of the Malyutka missile with either the 9M111 Fagot (AT-4 Spigot) or the 9M113 Konkurs (AT-5 Spandrel), which used semi-autonomous command-to-line-of-sight guidance similar to the US TOW, and Euromissile Milan and HOT and a battery of smoke dischargers fitted to the rear of the turret. This was known as the BMP-1P and replaced the BMP-1 on the production lines in the late 1970s. Work continued on a replacement though and two parallel efforts with the Obiekt 675 / 681 using the basic BMP-1 chassis and the Obiekt 768 / 769 using a new lengthened hull. All used a two-man turret and was probably held as a competition between the design teams at Kurgan and Chelyabinsk. It was recognised that the one-man turret on the BMP-1 had been a mistake as the commander's station was fitted with an infrared searchlight that acted as an obstruction and hence created a weapon dead zone. The squad commander also had poor visibility in the hull. The US Army had come to the same conclusion with the XM723 IFV, which had the same crew layout as the BMP - before production began it was reconfigured with a two-man turret and entered service as the M2 Bradley IFV. Two-man turrets unfortunately take up a disproportionate amount of space in the hull though and often force a reduction in squad size. The lengthened hull alternatives of the Obiekt 768 / 769 attempted to deal with the problem. The alternative versions were there as there was some uncertainty as to future armament and a long-barrelled version of the 73mm gun was developed. The four designs were thus:

Obiekt 675 - BMP-1 hull / 30mm 2A42 autocannon
Obiekt 681 - BMP-1 hull / long barrelled 73mm
Obiekt 768 - lengthened hull / long barrelled 73mm
Obiekt 769 - lengthened hull / 30mm 2A42 autocannon

All four vehicles could fire either the AT-4 Spigot or AT-5 Spandrel with the gunner remaining inside the vehicle. The Obiekt 675 was eventually chosen to become the BMP-2 in 1977. The lengthened hull was probably rejected due to tooling considerations at the main BMP plants at Kurgan and Rubtsovsk. It also settled the armament issue as the 30mm autocannon was considered to have advantages over the 73mm gun in terms of fire support to the lead tanks and dealing with the menace of attack helicopters and infantry anti-tank teams. The BMP-2 chassis is almost identical to the BMP-1 but has increased armour protection. It mounts a UTD-20 supercharged diesel engine which develops 300hp at 2,600rpm. The squad commander sits in the turret on the right, alongside the gunner and the driver sits in the front of the hull on the left. The BMP-2 has a two-man steel all-welded turret. All three have a number of fixed day periscopes and the gunner has a binocular sight (BPK-1-42) and a TNPT-1 designator. The commander's day binocular sight (Model 1PZ-3) has x 1, x 2 and x 4 magnification and he is also provided with a TNP-165A designator with a TKN-3B binocular sight with a day magnification of x 4.75 and a night one of x 4. The infrared searchlight is mounted co-axially with the 30mm gun, along with a 7.62mm PKT machine gun. The 30mm 2A42 cannon is stabilised and has an elevation of + 75 degrees. The weapon is duel feed with one choice being HE-T and the other AP-T. The gunner can select from three fire modes, single shot, low rate (200 - 300rpm) and high rate (500rpm). The BMP-2 also has the capacity to fire either AT-4 Spigot or AT-5 Spandrel missiles (exported BMP-2 have tended to have the slightly inferior AT-4 instead of the AT-5) and has a ground mount so missiles can be fired away from the vehicle. The AT-4 launcher tends to be parallel with the turret top (and is shorter) while the AT-5 launcher usually has a slight elevation. The BMP-2 carries a complement of six infantry men (compared to eight for the BMP-1) and has two roof mounted hatches (compared to four) and two rear doors. The infantry will carry their own small arms, an anti-tank grenade launcher and anti-aircraft missiles, either SA-7, SA-14, SA-16 or SA-18. The suspension is of a torsion bar type with six rubber-tyred road wheels. The BMP-2 is fully amphibious, has a full set of night fighting equipment for the commander, gunner and driver and has an NBC system. Versions of the BMP-2 include an improved version produced from the late 1980s which included a small number of changes such as a new track assembly and rubber bushes, a special mat for injured personnel and modifications to the stabilisation of the 30mm gun. The BMP-2ZS has loudspeakers fitted for PSYOPS. The BMP-2D was a late production model and included a number of features that were introduced in the field in Afghanistan such as appliqué passive armour on the turret, the provision for a mine clearing system and appliqué spaced armour on the hull. The BMP 2K is a command version and the BVP-2 was the Czech Army version of the BMP-2. There is also the engine upgrade available from Transmash (UTD-23 diesel engine developing 360hp at 2,600rpm) and the Kliver one-man turret. There are three upgrade packages available, one from the State Scientific and Technical Centre of Artillery and Rifle Arms of the Ukraine. This involves the replacement of the 30mm cannon with the locally produced 30mm KBA-2 cannon and the installation of a 30mm AG-17 grenade launcher on the left side of the turret. The fire control system has been upgraded with the addition of a 1PZ-3 sight for the commander and a TKN-45S Agat stabilised day / night sighting system for the gunner. The Joint Stock Company Kurganmashzavod also markets two upgrade packages one of which includes the 30mm AG-17 grenade launcher, air conditioning system, thermal night sight for the gunner developed in conjunction with SAGEM of France and Peleng-Belomo. The other upgrade package includes the 30mm AG-17 grenade launcher, the installation of the BPK-3-42 gunner's sight with laser rangefinder or BPK-M sight with thermal imaging module, PMW driver's universal night periscope, upgrade of the fire control system, the UTD-23 engine, upgrade of the suspension and track, added armour, new firefighting system and new air conditioning system. These upgrades increase the weight of the vehicle so that it looses its amphibious capability. The BMP-2 is in service with Russia, Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Czech Republic, India, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Ukraine and Yemen.

Hull length: 6.74m. Hull width: 3.15m. Height: 2.45m. Crew: 3+7. Ground Clearance: 0.42m. Weight: 14,300kg (combat) Ground pressure: 0.65kg/sq.cm Max speed: 65km/h. Max range (internal fuel): 550 - 600km on road. Armament: 30mm 2A42 autocannon, 1 x 7.62mm MG coaxial, 1 x launcher rail for AT-4 Spigot or AT-5 Spandrel anti-tank guided missiles.

Zaloga, Steven J. BMP Infantry Combat Vehicle, 2nd Ed, Concord Publications, 1990, Hong Kong.
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Zaloga, Steven & Sarson, Peter. BMP Infantry Fighting Vehicle 1967 - 1994, Osprey UK, 1994, London, New Vanguard Series No. 12.
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How to cite this article: Antill, P. (30 March 2001 ), BMP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Russia), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_bmp2.html

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