In an effort to bolster the ‘Self-Reliant India’ Government initiative, domestic defence suppliers have made armament upgrades to 693 BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) in the Indian Army’s inventory.

According to GlobalData intelligence, India operates 2,500 BMP-2 Sarath vehicles – India’s version of the original Russian BMP-2 IFV.

This is just one platform among a much larger list of Russian-made systems that the sub-continental nation employs, in addition to as many as 1,650 T-90S main battle tanks as well as three S-400 missile defence systems, which have long been subject to American rebuke.

India’s BMP-2s will upgrade to the BMP-2M variant, which includes night enablement, gunner main sight, commander panoramic sight and fire control system (FCS) with automatic target trackers.

The contract was signed on 13 March 2024 with Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (AVNL), a state-owned company based in Chennai, a coastal town in the south-east of the country.

AVNL has developed an indigenised solution for providing existing BMP-2/2K with night fighting capabilities and FCS based on the integration of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Chennai-developed sight and FCS.

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The BMP-2M IFV was originally designed and developed by the Russian defence manufacturer, Kurganmashzavod JSC. The upgraded vehicle is being offered in two different configurations, which include BMP-2M (sb4-2) and BMP-2M (sb4-3). The Indian Ministry of Defence did not disclose which variant it has opted for, or whether its local suppliers offered a uniqe, national configuration.

The Russian Ministry of Defence signed a framework with the company in 2016 to acquire 540 M variants, a deal that will conclude in 2027.

Its armament is equipped with a Berezhok (B05S011) combat module integrating four 9M133 Kornet series anti-tank guided missiles. The missiles are launched from the twin launchers mounted on either side of the turret.

The turret is also armed with a 30- millimetre (mm) 2A42 automatic gun, a 7.62mm PKT coaxial machine gun and a 30mm AG-17 automatic grenade launcher.

The hull of the IFV is protected by appliqué armour, which enables the vehicle to withstand 12.7mm B-3232 rounds and high-explosive anti-tank missiles.

BMP-2M is equipped with a multi-channel optical system for stabilisation of view during firing. The vehicle has an advanced target detection system, a laser range-finder and a thermal imaging system to improve the accuracy of target detection and mission efficiency. The target detection ranges of the vehicle during the day and night are 5,000 metres (m) and 3,000m respectively.