The Russian BMP-3 IFV Development
The BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the newest of the BMP (Boevaya Mashina Pehoty “Infantry Combat Vehicle”) series and is the most heavily armed IFV in the world. Development started in the early 1980’s and was shown for the first time in public during the 1990 May Day parade and was given the NATO code IFV M1990/1.
The BMP-3 was designed and produced by Kurganmashzavod (“Kurgan Machine Building Plant”) and some variants are built by the Rubtsovsk Machine Building Plant (RMZ).
The Russian BMP-3 IFV Layout
The Commander and Gunner are located in the turret, the driver is central in the front of the hull. On either side of the hull is a trooper who can operate their respective above mentioned 7.62mm MG. The remaining 5 troopers (this meaning a total of 7 troopers are carried) sit in the rear and sides of the turret. The crew have night vision equipment.
To overcome the biggest complaint about the BMP-½, that is the fuel tanks were in rear doors and very easily cooked off, the engine was moved to the rear of the vehicle and the fuel tanks were repositioned in to the underneath of the floor of the vehicle. This has created a smaller rear troop compartment, so the rear 2 doors have steps which fold out for the troops to exit the vehicle. They also have roof hatches.
The Russian BMP-3 IFV Firepower
The main gun is a stabilised rifled 100mm 2A70, which fire HE-Frag rounds. It can fire the laser guided 9M117 Anti-Tank Guided Missile, which can hit targets whilst on the move. The main gun has an auto-loader.
The second gun is the 2A72 30mm auto cannon that is mounted along the main gun. It has a rate of fire of 350 to 400 rounds per minute and 500 founds are carried.
A total of 6000 rounds of 7.62mm are carried on the vehicle. 7.62mm Machine Guns are located:
Coaxial to 100mm Main Gun
Bow Machine Gun mounted on the left at the front of the hull
Bow Machine Gun mounted on the right at the front of the hull
It has a modern and effective fire control system consisting of a ballistic computer, wind sensor, a laser range finder, gunner’s and commanders sights, a day/night vision device and an IR searchlight.
The Russian BMP-3 IFV Mobility
The engine is the UTD-29M diesel, which generates 500hp. This provides for a top road speed of 70km/h and an operational range of 600km/h. It has a fully amphibious capability and is propelled in the water by two rear water jets.
The Russian BMP-3 IFV Protection
Aluminium construction giving protection against large calibre Machine Gun fire across the frontal arc and 7.62mm rounds on the side. It has smoke grenade launchers to generate a smoke screen to withdraw. It has an NBC filtration system and fire suppression system in the crew compartment.
The Russian BMP-3 IFV Variants
BMMP: Russian Navy version fitted with a BMP-2 turret.
BMP-3F: Marine version. Improved seaworthiness and buoyancy for amphibious landings. capability to move afloat at sea state 3 and fire with the required accuracy at sea state 2.
BMP-3K: Command and Control. Additional communications equipment carried and has who antennas on the hull rear.
BMP-3K Rys (Lynx): Aka BRM, Reconnaissance vehicle entered service in 1993. Has specialist sighting equipment, radar and navigational equipment.
KhTM: Driver training vehicle with larger turret for instructors
BREM-L “Beglianka”: Armoured Recovery Vehicle, crane and winch
2S31 “Vena”: Self Propelled Gun, 120mm mortar mounted in a turret using BMP-3 hull
9P157-2 “Khrizantema-S: Anti-tank version. Has an extendable arm in the hull with a X2 tube launcher, which fire 9M123 Khrizantema anti-tank missile. Aka AT-15, has a range of 6km. Arm retracts in to the the hull to reloader the launcher.
UR-07: Mine clearing system.
9P162 aka 9P163M-1 “Kornet-T”: Anti-tank version. Loader is re-loaded automatically from an internal magazine with 16 anti-tank missile.
The BMP-3M upgrade – KBP and Kurganmashzavod have upgraded the vehicle with a new turret and engines. The upgraded vehicle is called the BMP-3M and the new turret includes a new automatic fire control system with digital computer, new BZS1 gunner’s sight with SAGEM thermal imager and laser illuminator, TKN-AI commander’s periscope with laser infrared illuminator and new ammunition-loading system.
The BMP-3M will also be able to fire ammunition types including new 100mm laser-guided projectiles, new 100mm HE-FRAG (high-explosive fragmentation) rounds and new 30mm APSDS (armour-piercing discarding sabot) rounds.
Additional passive armour protection is effective against 12.7mm armour-piercing rounds from a range of 50m. Explosive reactive armour is available as an option. The new uprated engine is the UTD-32, which is rated at 660hp.
The Russian BMP-3 IFV Operators
Azerbaijan – 100+
Cyprus – 43 delivered in 1995-1996
Indonesia – 54 BMP-3F
Kuwait – 120
Russia – Estimates run from 120 to 720
South Korea – 70 to clear national debt
Sri Lanka – 45
Libya – 14 9P157-2 tank destroyers
Ukraine – 6 Inherited, only 2 as of 2014
United Arab Emirates – 598 with “Namut” thermal sight and other modifications (delivered in 1992-1997) Might be further upgraded with modular armour “Kaktus” and UTD-32 engine.
Turkmenistan – 4
Venezuela – 130+ BMP-3M in a number of variants
In 2010 Russian Gen. Popowkin made a public statement where he criticized the BMP-3 stating that the troops used to ride on the top of the vehicle as the inside was seen as a coffin and that a replacement for the BMP-3 should be developed.
Greece – In the beginning of 2008, the Greek ministry of national defense submitted a formal request for the purchase of 450 Russian BMP-3 over a period of 15 years for 1.2 billion Euros. However Greek officials questioned the order of a vehicle that the country of origin publicly condemned and saw the order being suspended/cancelled in 2010. In the early part of 2011, the Greek Newspaper To Vima stated that the Russian Ministry of Defence sent a letter to the Greek Ministry of Defense Evangelos Venizelos, that they had accepted that there is now no possibility of implementing the sale of BMP-3’s to Greece.