The BMP-3M / BMP-3U, an upgraded version of the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), offers improved combat efficiency for the ground forces. It features superior fire power and protection over its predecessor. The chassis of the upgraded BMP-3 vehicle is developed by Kurganmashzavod and the turret is provided by KBP Instrument Design Bureau.
The armoured amphibious vehicle was exhibited at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2005 in Abu Dhabi, International Exhibition of Defence and Security DEFENSYS 2010 in Greece, and at Engineering Technologies 2010 forum in Zhukovsky. The vehicle was also demonstrated at the Russian Arms Expo (RAE) 2013.
The Russian Government finalised a contract for the sale of around 400 BMP-3M IFVs to Greece in March 2010. The UAE armed forces signed a $74m contract with Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport to upgrade its 135 BMP-3 vehicles to BMP-3M standard. Final testing of the first upgraded vehicle was completed in February 2013.
The BMP-3 infantry combat vehicle entered production in the late 1980s.
BMP-3M IFV design and features
The design of the modernised BMP-3M amphibious infantry fighting vehicle is based on the BMP-3 IFV, which entered into service with the Soviet Army in 1987.
The upgraded IFV can carry three crew members, including commander, gunner and driver, and up to seven troops. It is 6.71m long, 3.15m wide and 2.3m high, and has a ground clearance of 0.45m and combat weight of 22t.
The vehicle is equipped with air conditioning systems and filter-ventilator unit to offer comfortable conditions for the crew.
Armament of the upgraded IFV
The BMP-3M is equipped with a Bakhcha-U rotating turret module with two-axis stabilisation to provide enhanced combat capabilities.
The turret is mounted with a 100mm 2A70 semi-automatic gun, which has a rate of fire of ten rounds per minute and a range of 4,000m. Also mounted on the turret is a 30mm 2A72 automatic gun, which has a rate of fire of 300 rounds per minute and a range of 4,000m. The vehicle is further armed with a 7.62mm PKTM machine gun with a maximum firing range of 2,000m.
Protection features of the BMP-3M
The BMP-3M is equipped with auxiliary armour shields to offer protection from 12.7mm armour piercing bullets. Add-on explosive reactive armour (ERA) kit is fitted to protect the vehicle from anti-tank hollow charge projectiles.
The vehicle is also fitted with Arena-E defensive aid suites to automatically detect and destruct guided and unguided anti-tank missiles and anti-tank grenades.
The Shtora-1 protection system against high-precision weapons installed on the vehicle provides protection from antitank guided missiles with laser illuminator, artillery armaments with laser range finder-based fire control system and anti-tank guided missiles using semi-automatic guidance system.
Observation and fire control
An upgraded digital fire control system is equipped to enhance fire power of the modernised armoured amphibious vehicle. The gunner’s station is fitted with day, passive/active night SOZH main sight with an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) guidance channel and an integrated laser range finder. The automatic ATGM loading mechanism is equipped to reduce missile loading time.
The fire control system also comprises of a binocular TKN-AI vision device to provide day and night observation for the commander. The Vesna-K sighting system enables the IFV to engage distant targets with improved accuracy during day and night. The driver is provided with a new periscopic, binocular TVK-1 day / night vision device for improved observation.
The vehicle is also integrated with thermal imaging camera, an AST-B automatic target tracker, a ballistic computer and an armament stabiliser.
Engine and mobility of the IFV
The BMP-3M amphibious vehicle is powered by a new four-stroke, ten-cylinder UTD-32T advanced turbocharged diesel engine, which generates a power output of 600hp. The engine is fitted with a two staged air cleaner and a cooling system.
The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 70km/h on roads, a top speed of 10km/h on water, and a cruising range of 600km. The vehicle can negotiate a gradient of 35% and side slopes of 20%, and can cross a vertical obstacle of 0.8m and a trench of 2.5m.
The vehicle can conduct combat missions under various climatic conditions in temperatures ranging from -50 up to +50°C.