BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Russia)
The BMP-3 was accepted for service in 1990 and while of a similar size to other IFVs it is more heavily armed than any previous IFV as it mounts a 100mm 2A70 rifled gun, 30mm 2A42 cannon and a 7.62mm PKT machine gun. The Kurgan KB (who had produced the BMP-1 and 2 designs) designed the vehicle working under A Blagonravov. It had its origins in an aborted light tank design programme in the mid-1970s which saw both the VDV (Airborne Assault Force) and the Ground Forces looking to replace vehicles with a new light tank. Two competitive designs were offered. Obiekt 685 from the Kurgan KB (design bureau) and Obiekt 934 from the BMD (Boyevaya Mashina Desantnaya - Airborne Combat
Vehicle) design bureau in Volgograd under A Shabalin. Neither designs were in vain however, as the designs went on to form the basis of new vehicles for both the Ground Forces and the VDV. This was followed in the late-1970s with the Ground Forces expressing an interest in obtaining a new generation IFV. The Kurgan KB developed Obiekt 688, which was initially armed with a 30mm 2A42 cannon and two anti-tank guided weapons (ATGW) in box launchers and resembled the earlier Obiekt 680 design. The 688 used a new chassis though, derived from the 685 and a new engine, the UTD-29 that had a flat V6 configuration so that it could sit in the rear of the hull and the crew exit over it.
The weapons configuration was rejected, as it offered no new advantages over the BMP-2. An alternative was worked out, whereby the BMP-2 turret would be modified to accept the new 2K23 armament system which consisted of the 100mm 2A70 rifled gun, 30mm 2A42 cannon and a 7.62mm PKT machine gun with an associated loader and fire control system. This new version was accepted for service as the BMP-3. Both the hull and turret are made of all-welded aluminium armour and are well sloped. The hull floor has a double layer that is spaced and the turret front has appliqué armour added. The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle in the centre and has five day periscopes. As in the BMD there is an additional crew member on both sides of the driver who have a hatch with a single day periscope and who operate a hull-mounted 7.62mm PKT machine gun. The turret is in the centre of the vehicle with the commander seated on the right and gunner on the left. The commander has a single-piece hatch with day periscopes and day/night sight. The turret mounts the 2K23 main armament system which consists of a 100mm 2A70 rifled gun, a 30mm 2A42 cannon and 7.62mm PKT machine gun and is stabilised in both planes. The 100mm gun is capable of firing conventional rounds but can also be used to launch the 9M117 Basnya (AT-10 Stabber) missile, the system being known as the 9K116-3 for the BMP-3. The missile can also be fired from the MT-12 100mm anti-tank gun (the system being designated the 9K116 and the missile the Kastet by the Russians, and is also known as the AT-10 Stabber by NATO), the T-55 MBT (Russian designation 9K116-1 and known as Bastion, again called the AT-10 Stabber by NATO) and the T-62 MBT (designated 9K116-2 and known as Sheksna to the Russians, and designated the AT-12 by NATO). The 9M117 missile is a laser beam riding variety. The gunner has a 1K13-2 sight with a x 8 day channel and x 5.5 night channel, a 1V539 ballistic computer and 1D16-2 laser rangefinder. He also has a secondary PPB-2 day sight with a magnification of x 2.6 and the commander has a dual 1P3-10 sight with x 1.2 and x 4 magnification. The troop compartment is in the rear of the hull and there are two doors to allow entry and exit at the rear and two large rectangular roof hatches, each with a smaller hatch. Normally a squad of seven men can be carried (two either side of the driver and five in the rear) but this could increase to nine in an emergency. The engine is the UTD-29M V6 diesel (500hp) mounted low down at the rear of the hull. The road wheels (six each side) have individual hydropneumatic suspension.
The BMP-3 is fully amphibious and is propelled by two water jets and comes with an NBC system and a fire detection / suppression system. The BMP-3 can be carried by a Mi-26 heavy lift helicopter and can be dropped by parachute using a special platform. Optional equipment is available for example, operations in hot climates and thermal imaging equipment. The KBP Instrument Design Bureau have released details of an upgrade package with three variants, A, B and C. the A variant is essentially an ammunition upgrade with a new laser guided round (9M117M1 Arkan missile) and new 100mm and 30mm conventional ammunition and a new digital computer. Variant B includes the A upgrade as well as a fire control system upgrade with an integrated gunner's sight (BZS1 which includes thermal imaging, laser-guidance, laser rangefinder and auto-tracker) and an enhanced gun stabilisation system. The C variant is the most advanced with a newly designed turret, which has a new high-resolution fire control system (which includes the integrated gunner's sight and a new parabolic sight with TV channel, laser rangefinder and display for the commander), new ammunition storage and a single reloading system. Upgrades that are also available for the BMP-3 include the Arena active self-defence system (originally designed for installation on main battle tanks such as the T-80) and explosive reactive armour (ERA). Other variants include the BMP-3 Germes (or Hermes) ATGW system which is based on the BMP-3 chassis but with a new turret that incorporates a radar system and six Vikhir-S missiles with a variety of seekers. The BMP-3F has been developed for the Naval Infantry and lacks the self-entrenching blade that is normally fitted and is equipped with a large snorkel. There is also the DZM engineer vehicle (also known as the Vostorg) that has a modified hull with a front mounted dozer blade fitted to clear battlefield obstacles. There is also an indirect fire variant based around a twin 120mm AMOS mortar system. GLS (a subsidiary of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann of Germany) has proposed that the BMP-3 be fitted with the complete Wildcat turret mounting twin 30mm cannons, optical tracking system which incorporates Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), a laser rangefinder and Siemens 2D radar. Finally, there are reconnaissance (called the Rys or BRM), driver training,120mm 2S31 Vena self-propelled mortar, Kornet-E anti-tank system, Krizantema anti-tank system and command (BMP-3K) vehicles. The BMP-3 is in service with Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Russia, UAE and Ukraine. Around 800 have been built, the majority for export sales abroad.
Hull length: 6.72m. Hull width: 3.23m. Height: 2.45m. Crew: 3+7. Ground Clearance: 0.19m - 0.51m. Weight: 18,700kg (combat) Ground pressure: 0.61kg/sq.cm Max speed: 70km/h. Max range (internal fuel): 600km on road. Armament: 100mm 2A70 rifled gun, 30mm 2A42 autocannon & 1 x 7.62mm PKT MG coaxial, 2 x bow mounted 7.62mm PKT machine guns.
Zaloga, Steven J. BMP Infantry Combat Vehicle, 2nd Ed, Concord Publications, 1990, Hong Kong.
Zaloga, Steven & Sarson, Peter. BMP Infantry Fighting Vehicle 1967 - 1994, Osprey UK, 1994, London, New Vanguard Series No. 12.
How to cite this article: Antill, P. (6 April 2001), BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Russia), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_bmp3.html
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