The BMP-3 infantry combat vehicle entered production in the late 1980s. About 120 BMP-3 vehicles are in service with the Russia Army and over 900 have been exported to a number of countries, including United Arab Emirates (600 vehicles), Cyprus (40), Indonesia (30), Kuwait (110) and South Korea (70).
Kurganmashzavod of Kurgan, Russian Federation manufactures the chassis and the Instrument Design Bureau (KBP) of Tula is responsible for the turret. It is a tracked, armoured, amphibious vehicle designed to engage armoured ground and air targets while stationary, on the move and afloat.
In 2007, the Russian Army placed an order with Kurganmashzavod for a number of new-build BMP-3 vehicles.
A command version, the BMP-3K, is available, which is the same as the basic BMP-3, but with additional communications and navigation equipment. A version designed for more sustained amphibious operation is the BMP-3F.
Changes in construction allow movement afloat in sea state three and firing with necessary accuracy in sea state two. The BMP-3F can endure continuous amphibious operation for seven hours. A reconnaissance version, the BRM-3K, is in service with the Russian Army.
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.
In February 2011, UAE signed a $74m contract with Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport to upgrade its 135 BMP-3 vehicles. The upgrade is expected to convert these vehicles into BMP-3M standard.
The main armament of the BMP-3 is a 100mm 2A70 semi-automatic rifled gun / missile launcher, which is stabilised in two axes and can fire either 3UOF HE-FRAG rounds or 3UBK10 anti-tank guided missiles. Effective range for the HE-FRAG round is 4,000m. Muzzle velocity is 250m/s. 22 HE-FRAG rounds can be carried in the automatic loader, total ammunition load being 40 rounds. Rate of fire is ten rounds a minute.
The gun fires the 3UBK10 anti-tank guided missile round, which consists of the 9M117 laser beamriding missile and container. This missile is used in the Bastion missile system (Nato designation AT-10 Stabber). It can engage tanks with explosive reactive armour as well as slow, low-flying targets such as helicopters.
Its range is 100m to 4,000m. Hit probability is given as at least 0.8 with armour penetration of 600mm. Ammunition load is eight rounds.
Armament also includes a 30mm 2A72 automatic gun, stabilised in two axes, which fires 3UOR-6 and 3UOR-8 rounds. Ammunition load is 500 AP (Armour-Piercing) or HE-FRAG rounds. Rate of fire is more than 300 rounds a minute and range is 1,500m to 2,000m. There is also one 7.62mm PKT coaxial machine gun and two 7.62 bow machine guns.
The BMP-3 can be fitted with the Arena defensive aids suite, developed by KBM Kolumna. The system consists of target detection and tracking radar, computer and processing unit and protective ammunition.
The system is automatic: the radar passes tracking data to the computer, which selects the number of ammunition rounds and controls firing. The selected ammunition is then expelled as a directed field. The vehicle can also be fitted with the Shtora defensive aids system which counters anti-tank guided weapons with SACLOS (semi-automatic command to line-of-sight).
The hull and turret are constructed from aluminium alloy armour. Protection also includes steel external straps fitted on the turret, side armour displacement panels and a double-bottom at the front of the vehicle.
NBC equipment includes a filter ventilation unit as well as hermetic sealing. This system is located in the rear of the vehicle, as is the ejection cooling system which, coupled with the reduced length of the gas ventilation system exhaust, serves to reduce the tank’s thermal signature.
The fire control system is automatic with manual override for both gunner and commander. It includes a 1V539 ballistic computer, 2E52 electro-mechanical armament stabiliser and 1D16 laser rangefinder. The gunner has a 1K13-2 main sight, a combined image-intensified day / night sight and PPD-1 standby day sight. The commander has a 1PZ-10 day sight and TKN-3 combined day and image-intensified night sight.
The French company SAGEM, with Kurganmashzavod and Peleng of Belarus, have developed the Namut thermal sight for the BMP-3.
This sight is based on the SAGEM Athos eight – 12 micron three field of view thermal imager and is fitted to the BMP-3 ICVs delivered to the United Arab Emirates.
The engine is the V-shaped UTD-29 diesel engine, which produces 500hp.
The transversal mount of the engine enables the wheel drive, cardan shaft for the waterjet drives and electric bilge pump to be located underneath. Transmission is hydromechanical with a hydrostatic gearbox for the steering gear and power take-off for the water jets.
The BMP-3 vehicle weighs 18.7t and is capable of a maximum speed of 70km/h and range of 600km on roads.
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