Why the Russian army must urgently get rid of the BMP-2

Why does the main BMP remain the notorious “two”? Especially considering that NATO and other

modern infantry fighting vehicles are much better. Discuss

Table of contents

  • Why did it all go wrong
  • How they tried to make candy out of BMP-2
  • BMP trends towards the end of the Cold War to the present day
  • A question of price
  • All promising samples remain promising samples

We have already written a lot about various combat vehicles of the Russian army, but I would like to dwell on one problem that seems to be the most acute in equipping motorized rifle and tank formations - the BMP-2.

Despite all the numerous upgrades and a huge number of experimental replacement models, the Russian infantry (motorized rifles) are forced to rely mainly on this incredibly outdated vehicle.

At the same time, the Russian army not only clings toThe BMP-2, in spite of its own soldiers, mainly improves the armament of the vehicle, leaving its main problem almost untouched - indecently poor security.

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Izvestia/Mikhail Tereshchenko

Why did it all go wrong

Booking light vehicles is sometimes even a taskmore complex than, for example, tanks, where the principle has ruled for the last decades: the more, the better. By the way, because of this principle, the mass of MBT (main battle tank) today has come close to 70 tons, and will continue to set records.

BMP as a class is a much more versatile armored vehicle, there are more requirements for it:

  • there is troop compartment, eating up most of the internal space

  • armament lighter than tank, but heavierthan any other armored vehicles - automatic guns, ATGMs, machine guns (sometimes MANPADS, automatic grenade launchers)

  • high permeability, buoyancy (fetish of Soviet generals), low visibility and low silhouette

The BMP-2 embodied a vehicle that fit perfectly into the Soviet military doctrine: it had a powerful and "sniper" accurate 2A42 autocannon, was "flat like a flounder" and could swim across rivers without a ford.

Under the "buoyancy" was fitted everything thatperhaps even in the BMP-1 - hollow rollers, special gratings over the tracks in the back, which directed the flow of water back, and the whole hull looked more like a boat on tracks than land vehicles.

The “thickest” part of the reservation is the forehead of the tower in20 mm. The upper part of the hull side is 5mm, which at 64˚ of inclination gave the equivalent of 9mm. The protection of the frontal part of the hull also depended on large angles - the lower part was 15 mm, which, with an angle of 56˚ and a special hardness of the alloy, gives 33.5, as it were, "virtual" armor. The upper frontal part has the steepest angle of 82˚ with additional ribs. All this gave an "insignificant" (against the background of competitors) combat weight of less than 15 tons.

All of these features are made forensuring that motorized rifles are not particularly dependent on pontoon vehicles during crossings and at the same time can quickly advance along the European landscape cut by rivers. With such a feature, they decided that, they say, it’s much cooler, we created the perfect BMP, we drove on.

How they tried to make candy out of BMP-2

In the military doctrine of the USSR, no one modeledthe situation that a rapidly advancing motorized rifle unit would get into skirmishes with heavy weapons of the enemy, so it was considered that a lot of armor for an infantry fighting vehicle is not needed - good anti-fragmentation resistance is enough, well, withstand 12.7 (such as a Browning M2 machine gun) at distances over 500 meters. And in case of a sudden encounter with tanks, they relied on ATGMs (ATGM Konkurs or Fagot), + thanks to the low silhouette, it was possible to use the landscape and sweet terrain to protect against direct fire.

BMP-2D reinforced with armored screens

All this beautiful theory was smashed by the first realwar - Afghanistan. From an ambush, it was easy to get a line from a DShK heavy machine gun from several hundred meters, or even a grenade from an RPG. And there is no mine protection!

The machine in these conditions was completelydefenseless, the landing party preferred to ride (so that you can quickly jump off, or, in case of a mine explosion, get off with dislocations-fractures, but survive). At the same time, the military began to “smell” in the direction of buoyancy - they say, why the hell are we buoyant, do we force a lot of rivers in Afghanistan? At the same time, the protection is zero, at the same time an alternative humorous abbreviation “The Mass Grave of the Infantry” appeared.

In 1981, the Soviets were able to create a singlelarge-scale modernization with reinforced armor BMP-2D (modified). And even then, the reservation was reinforced with overhead spaced screens and a reinforced bottom to protect the crew in the event of an explosion. But the car ceased to be an amphibian, and this is ah-ah-ah, how bad and wrong, so this modification remained purely "Afghan".

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One of the upgrades of the BMP-2M (today three relatively different vehicles are hidden under this index)

Today, in 2022 in carsimproved the combat module, panorama and sighting system, added electronics, but did almost nothing to enhance protection, inadequate to the realities of today's military conflicts, not to mention the reserve for some years to come.

BMP trends towards the end of the Cold War to the present day

Quite differently, the principles of infantry fighting vehicles were treated in the United States and NATO countries.

Buoyancy?In a war where there is a large land army, they first strike with aircraft and high-precision weapons. And in small local conflicts, nothing - you can wait for the pontoons, or you can look for a ford for the crossing. M2 Bradley for this received a lifting cover made of tarpaulin and installed watercraft. Although in subsequent modifications, the Americans abandoned these features.

M2 Bradley

But the following tasks are much better solved:

  • Booking - 25 mm of aluminum alloy armor from all projections, and later all this was increased first by shielding, and in the latest upgrade today, the M2A4 received a BUSK dynamic protection kit.

Frontal projection brought to the level of protection from 25mm sub-caliber feathered BOPS (armor-piercing feathered sabot projectile) from 300 m. And yes, keep in mind: despite the fact that the BMP-2 has the same 2A42 cannon in the ammunition nomenclature and BOPS, but in the Russian army they are more likely to be composed legends than actually anyone has ever seen them in person.

With "amphibious" done away with pretty quickly, andthe combat weight grew from the initial 21 tons to 36 tons in more modern versions. On the other hand, the crew and troops could not be afraid of either shelling from the DShK (and even from the KPVT, which the BMP-2 can withstand only at the end from extreme distances), or from the RPG-7. There was absolutely no need to ride on the armor.

  • landing - you can leave the car through the spacious rearramp, like in a cargo plane. The height of the hull is half a meter higher than that of the BMP-2 (2900 cm versus 2450 cm), but thanks to this, the infantry does not sit “in three deaths” on the benches, but feels great on safety seats - if the car is blown up even by a powerful land mine, people will survive and with a high degree of probability will retain combat capability.

M2A2 landing through the ramp

The Swedish Strf 90 andthe German Marder, and the British Warrior - all have long exceeded 30 tons in mass, or a little less. The Israelis went even further with their heavy infantry fighting vehicle Namer based on the Merkava, in which the armor protection became almost tank-like, with dynamic and active reinforcement.

We wrote about the German Puma last year, thereprotection is epicly good, with attention to thermal stealth so that thermal imaging equipment sees such BMPs only at close range. For what? To lower the risk of catching an ATGM with a homing head.

A question of price

Swedish Strf 90 with 40 mm Bofors autocannon

It is important in the fact that the BMP-2 remainsthe main infantry fighting vehicle in the Russian army. Even its most modern modernization cost only less than 30 million rubles, while the normal price for Western infantry fighting vehicles was the amount of 4-5 million dollars (400-600 million rubles at the current exchange rate), and the German Puma is more expensive than even our new MBT Armata.

But in matters relating to the survival of their own soldiers on the battlefield, the price cannot play a decisive factor.

BMP-3, unfortunately, did not go far frompredecessors. Yes, thicker armor, especially in the frontal projection, holds KPVT, and even 30 mm BOPS. But protection against RPGs is hardly better. Versions with dynamic protection "Cactus" were only for export, and Arena active protection systems were not installed even on tanks, where could BMPs be ...

Moreover, the BMP-3 in all modifications is onlyonly ~ 20-25% of the number of BMP-2s in the troops. And taking into account the fact that in some places MT-LB are used as infantry fighting vehicles, the percentage is even lower. That is, Russian motorized rifles do not have at all capable of competing with foreign models and truly modern-protected infantry fighting vehicles.

BMP-3 with DZ Cactus (presumably Saudi Arabia)

All promising samples remain promising samples

  • Kurganets-25 - a platform from Kurganmash (an enterprise that createsall infantry fighting vehicles in the Russian Federation), could not even solve the issue of the rear ramp (landing platform), although in terms of basic protection this platform is already quite steep and reaches NATO models. And promising in terms of dynamic body kit, if you remove the amphibious option.

But the military is not satisfied with the height of the car (nightmarish"high" BMP turned out), she was even given the nickname "a dream for a grenade launcher." As if the main defense against grenade launchers today was a low silhouette, and not modern dynamic protection systems. In the 2020s, where thermal imagers and flying drones largely decide the outcome of the battle (you don’t have to look far for examples), relying on visual stealth is pure retrograde in the style of “grandfathers fought like that, so it will go today.” The visual visibility of combat vehicles is already being hammered a little everywhere.

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Kurganets-25, BMP "Object 695"

Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

  • T-15 - a promising heavy infantry fighting vehicle on the Armata platformfrom Uralvagonzavod. Even more technically cool thing. But, firstly, a heavy infantry fighting vehicle cannot become the main one, and secondly, how many and when they will appear in the troops is a big question.
  • Boomerang - a wheeled platform for armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, so far it only flaunts at parades.

In total, in the bottom line, the Russian infantry, even in 2022, is protected from force at the level of the First Chechen Special Operation, and in the foreseeable future the situation will not improve.

BMP Boomerang K-17, with combat module "Berezhok"

Vitaly Kuzmin

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