Current production BMP-3




The BMP-3 is a Russian tracked IFV which is a continued evolution of the earlier BMP-1 and BMP-2 tracked IFVs. The BMP-3 is fully amphibious and integrates into the turret both a 30 mm auto-cannon and a 100 mm low-velocity gun which is able to fire both conventional rounds and ATGMs. The vehicle saw development through the 1980s and entered service with the Soviet Army in 1987. Over 2000 of the vehicles were built and are fielded with a number of armies around the world including Russia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Indonesia, Kuwait, South Korea, Libya, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Turkmenistan and Venezuela.

The BMP-3 weighs 41,000 pounds (18.7 metric tonnes), and is approximately 23.5 feet (7.1 meters) long, 10.5 feet (3.2 meters) wide and 7.8 feet (2.4 meters) in height. The chassis is of an aluminum / steel hybrid construction. The vehicle is operated by a crew of three, including a driver, gunner and commander. The gunner and commander are located in the turret, while the driver is positioned to the forward center. The vehicle can also accommodate a compliment of 7 troops, with two of the troops seated on other side of the driver at the front of the vehicle and the remaining five at the rear of the vehicle.

The vehicle is powered by a 500 hp diesel four-stroke liquid-cooled engine, providing a power to weight ratio of 24.3 hp/ton. The powerpack is located at the rear of the vehicle, more typical of a MBT layout than that of an IFV. This approach permits a highly sloped glacis plate, optimizing protection along the front of the vehicle, while protecting the engine front forward on-coming threats. The engine is actually located below the vehicle floor, and therefore persons entering and exiting the vehicle do so over the powerpack. There are a unique set of folding doors at the rear of the vehicle to accommodate the dismounts.

Equipped with a four-speed hydromechanical transmission system and an independent torsion bar assisted suspension, the single-stage auger-type water jets are operated through a power takeoff. The vehicle is able to attain roads speeds of 45 mph (70 km/hr), cross-country speeds of 28 mph (45 km/hr), and 6 mph (10 km/hr) in amphibious operations. With on-board fuel the vehicle possesses an operational range of 370 miles (600 km).

The BMP-3 can be produced in a number of variants, each with its own associated weapon systems, with the baseline vehicle as the IFV. This is a comparably heavily armed vehicle for its class. The turret contains both a low-velocity 2A70 100 mm rifled gun and a 30 mm 2A72 autocannon. The 100 mm gun is able to fire K116-3 “Basnya” and 9M117 AT-10 Stabber ATGMs, as well as a full range of conventional ammunition for this weapon, including the 3OF32 High Explosive – Fragmenting (HE-Frag) shell. The ATGMs have a range out to 6000 meters and the 100 mm gun has a range out to 4000 meters.

The 30 mm autocannon is provided with dual feed ammunition (i.e., two types of belt fed ammunition are available to the gunner to select between) and can fire at 400 RPM, though the weapon is typically used in short bursts. For loading of the 100 mm gun the turret is equipped with the 2K23 auto-loading system. This system loads both the ATGMs and standard 100 mm ammunition rounds through the carousel into the main gun, with 22 rounds stored in the auto-loader and the remainder in the vehicle chassis. Standard ammunition carrying capacity for the vehicle is 40 rounds of 100 mm ammunition, 8 ATGMs, 300 rounds of High-Explosive/Incendiary (HEI) 30 mm and 200 rounds of Armor Piercing-Tracer 30 mm ammunition.

Targeting of both the 100 mm gun and the 30 mm auto-cannon is performed by the on-board ballistic computer. This computer integrates data provided by a cross-wind sensor, from the main weapon stabilising system, the vehicles laser range finder, a sight/guidance device provided for the gunner, the gunner’s sight and an infrared searchlight. This system enables both weapons to be aimed and fired while the vehicle is stationary, driving or swimming.

Secondary weapons consist of a 7.62mm PKT machine gun mounted coaxially with the main weapons in the turret and two additional 7.62mm PKT machine guns mounted at the front of the vehicle on either side of the driver. These weapons are operated by the two troops who are positioned to the left and right of the driver. Each PKT is provided with 2000 rounds of ammunition. There are also firing ports and associated vision blocks located along the side of the vehicle that enable the troops positioned in the rear compartment to fire their personal firearms through.

The BMP-3 hull and turret are both constructed from welded aluminum. This is a ballistic alloy with a thickness of approximately 35 mm. The frontal arc of the vehicle is further protected by an additional armor steel plate over the blow deck, and spaced armor at the trim vane. The trim vane is a plate attached on the underside of the front of the vehicle that extends upward when the vehicle swims to keep the bow from plunging under the water line. The protection level of the frontal arc of the turret is further enhanced by the addition of spaced steel armor plating. The vehicle offers protection against 30 mm rounds over the frontal arc and small arms fire all around. The baseline armor along the sides of the vehicle can be further supplemented through the addition of add-on armor (AOA) modules, principally consisting of layers of ballistic steel. This armor is able to defeat 50 calibre armor piercing rounds. The frontal arc protection can be further enhanced through the addition of Kaktus ERA modules, able to defeat RPGs. These kits take the vehicle net weight from the baseline 18.7 tonnes to 22.2 tonnes.

Additional protection is provided by an armored and self-sealing fuel tank. This is located in front of the driver location, behind the strongest armor on the vehicle. The fuel tank, as well as being self-sealing, is further armored to resist any Behind-Armor-Debris (BAD) that may penetrate the hull from a kinetic energy or shaped-charge threat. The vehicle is also configured to be equipped with the Shtora electro-optical jammer, and comes standard with 81 mm smoke grenade launchers, an automatic fire extinguishing system, radiation and chemical agent detectors and filtration units, and the ability to generate an additional smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel directly into the exhaust manifold.

The BMP-3 saw combat during the First Chechen War and the Yemeni Civil War (2015). Though performance is not widely reported, the vehicle seems to have performed well in both conflicts.


Russian Federation

    BMP-3 – Basic version, as described.

    BMP-3M – KBP and Kurganmashzavod have upgraded the vehicle with a new engines and turret with a new ATGM system 9K116-3 Basnya. The upgraded vehicle is called the BMP-3M and the new Bakhcha-U turret which includes a new automatic fire control system with ballistic computer, new SOZH gunner’s sight with laser rangefinder and an ATGM guidance channel, thermal imager, TKN-AI commander’s vision device with laser illuminator and new ammunition loading system for ATGM. The BMP-3M is also able to fire various ammunition types, including new 100 mm laser-guided projectiles, new 100 mm HE-FRAG (high explosive fragmentation) rounds and new 30 mm APDS (armour piercing discarding sabot) rounds. Its additional auxiliary armour shields are effective against 12.7 mm armour-piercing rounds from a range of 50 m. Explosive reactive armour is available as an option. The new uprated engine is the UTD-32, which is rated at 660 hp. There are actually several different M models, some fitted with additional armour, “Arena-E” or “Shtora-1” active protection systems, air conditioner etc.

    BMP-3M Ataka – BMP-3M version with a two men turret armed with 30 mm 2A72 autocannon, and 9M120-1 Ataka ATGM.

    BMMP (bojevaya mashina morskoj pekhoti) – Version for naval infantry, fitted with the turret of the BMP-2.

    BMP-3K (komandnyi) – Tactical command variant, includes additional radio R-173, an intercom for seven users, an AB-R28 independent portable power unit, a navigation device TNA-4-6 and the “Ainet” air burst round detonation system. The BMP-3K lacks the bow machine guns and has its whip antennas mounted on the rear hull. Crew: 3+3.

    BMP-3F – Armed with the standard 2K23 turret. Specially designed for operations at sea, with improved seaworthiness and buoyancy, capability to move afloat at sea state 3 and fire with the required accuracy at sea state 2. Compared to the basic model, the vehicle design features changes increasing floatability and vehicle stability: the self-entrenching equipment is omitted, a lightweight anti-surge vane and an air intake tube are introduced; the BMP-3F turret is also protected by anti-surge vanes. Water jet propellers develop a speed of 10 km/h when afloat. The BMP-3F design allows the vehicle to come ashore under rough sea conditions and to tow the same-type vehicle. A new main sight, the SOZH, which has an integrated laser range finder and an ATGM guidance channel, is installed. This version can endure continuous amphibious operation for seven hours with the running engine.

    BT-3F – Amphibious version based on BMP-3F with the original turret replaced by a smaller remote weapon station with either 7.62, 12.7 or 14.5mm machine gun. It can accommodate a crew commander, driver, gunner, and 14 troops, and can use optional ERA armor.

    BRM-3K “Rys” (Ob.501) (boyevaya razvedivatel’naya mashina) – Surveillance and reconnaissance variant with 1PN71 thermal sight (3.7x/11x, 3 km range), 1PN61 active-pulse night vision device ( 3 km range), 1RL-133-1 (“TALL MIKE”) I-band surveillance radar (3 km man, 12 km vehicle), 1V520 computer and a TNA-4-6 navigation system. The armament consists of the stabilized 30 mm autocannon 2A72 (600 rounds) and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun (2,000 rounds) or AU-220M Baikal remote weapon station with 57 mm BM-57 autocannon and 7.62mm PKMT machine gun. Combat weight: 19 t, crew: 6. In 1993, Russia started quantity production of BRM-3K vehicles.

    BMP-3 Dragoon – New IFV version with an unmanned turret which can be armed with a variety of combat modules, including standard BMP-3’s Bakhcha-U turret with a 2A70 100 mm cannon, a 2A72 30 mm autocannon and a PKTM 7.62 mm machinegun, the AU-220M Baikal remote weapon station module with a 57 mm BM-57 gun and a module with a 125 mm 2A82-1M tank gun, the new 816 h.p. turbocharged UTD-32T engine and powerplant moved to the front, and a hydraulic ramp fitted to the rear. It is reported that its trials were finished in October 2017.

    BREM-L “Beglianka” (Ob.691) (bronirovannaya remontno-evakuatsionnaya mashina) – Armoured recovery vehicle with five-tonne crane and 20/40 metric tonne capacity winch.

    BMP-3 “Khrizantema-S” (9P157-2) – Self-propelled anti-tank version with 9M123 Khrizantema (AT-15) ATGM system with radar and laser guidance. The 9P157-2 carries two 9M123 missiles on launch rails, which are extended from a stowed position; the radar is also stowed during transit. The missiles are re-loaded automatically from an internal magazine with 15 rounds (missiles are stored and transported in sealed canisters) and can also accept munitions manually loaded from outside the vehicle. The manufacturer claims that three 9P157-2 tank destroyers are able to engage 14 attacking tanks and destroy at least sixty percent of the attacking force. The dual guidance system ensures protection against electronic countermeasures and operation in all climatic conditions, day or night. NBC protection is provided for the crew (gunner and driver) of each 9P157-2 in addition to full armour protection equivalent to the standard BMP-3 chassis and entrenching equipment. The 9M123 missile itself is supersonic, flying at an average speed of 400 m/s (Mach 1.2) and a range of between 400 and 6,000 meters.[55] Entered service in 2005. More than 10 sets of new anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) complexes “Khrizantema-S” on the crawler, which replaced the complexes “Shturm”, entered the artillery units of the Southern Military District, based in Ingushetia, in November 2012.[57] Khrizantema vehicles are fielded with artillery units.

    9P163M-1 “Kornet-T” – Anti-tank version with Kornet (AT-14) missile system. Some sources call it the 9P162. The Kornet is similar in function to the Khrizantema missile system. The 9P163M-1 carries two 9M133 missiles on launch rails, which are extended from a stowed position during transit. Missiles are re-loaded automatically by the tank destroyer from an internal magazine with 16 rounds (missiles are stored and transported in sealed canisters). Nuclear, biological and chemical protection is provided for the two crew members (gunner and driver) in addition to full armour protection equivalent to the standard BMP-3 chassis. The guidance system of the 9P163M-1 allows two missiles to be fired at once, the missiles operating on different guidance (laser) channels. The first Kornet-T missile carriers were delivered in 2003 to replace the Shturm-S, and the first batch of 20 vehicles entered service in 2012. The Kornet-T is used by motorized units.

    2S18 “Pat-S” (Ob.697) – Self-propelled version of the 152 mm howitzer 2A61 “Pat-B”. This was only a prototype, further development led to the 2S31 Vena.

    DZM “Vostorg-2” (dorozhno-zemlerojnaya mashina) – Combat engineer vehicle with a dozerblade and excavating bucket. Prototype.

    UR-07 (ustanovka razminirovaniya) – Mine clearing system. The UR-07 might replace the UR-77 “Meteorit”. It has the same chassis as the BMP-3 but a bigger steel hull with two launch ramps in the rear. The ramps are used to fire rockets towing hose-type mine-clearing line charges to clear mine fields.

    UNSh (Ob.699) (unifitsirovannyj shassi) – Basic chassis for specialised variants.

    KhTM (khodovoj trenazhor) – Driver trainer.

    Hermes or TKB-841 – Air-defence vehicle with high-velocity missiles and radar system. Prototype.

    2S31 Vena – Self-propelled mortar carrier equipped with a 120 mm mortar based on BMP-3 chassis. It entered production in 1996 and service in 2010.

    2S38 ZAK-57 Derivatsiya-PVO – Self-propelled air defense vehicle based on BMP-3 chassis fitted with a 57 mm autocannon and passive reconnaissance and target tracking equipment. It is designed to shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles, air-to-surface missiles, aircraft, helicopters, and MLRS rockets. 2S38 is equipped with a TV/thermal-imaging system with automatic target lock-on and tracking capabilities, a laser rangefinder and a laser guidance system. The optical and electronic target acquisition system can spot an aircraft at 6.4 km (4.0 mi) and using sectoral observation can detect aircraft over 12 km (7.5 mi) out. The cannon is fast enough to destroy targets traveling 500 m/s (1,100 mph; 1,800 km/h; Mach 1.5). Laser-guided, air burst and specialized anti-drone munitions for ZAK-57 are in development. Its guided projectiles have four wings folded in the casing and controlled by the actuator in the projectile’s nose section, using the energy of the airflow to steer themselves to the target.

    UDAR UGV – Unmanned ground vehicle based on the tracked chassis of the BMP-3 with the center hull raised to fit the DUBM-30 Epoch armed with 2A42 autocannon, 7.62mm PKMT machine gun, and Kornet-M ATGM.

    Vikhr UGV – Unmanned ground vehicle based on BMD-3 equipped with a smaller turret armed with 2A72 autocannon, 7.62mm PKMT coaxial machine gun and six anti-tank guided missiles 9M133M Kornet-M, three on each side of the turret. It can carry separate aerial and ground drones.

    Prokhod-1 – Unmanned mine-clearing vehicle based on the BMP-3 chassis. It is equipped with the anti-mine TMT-C trawl, and a remote weapon station turret with a 12.7mm machine gun.


1 thought on “BMP-3

  1. Is there a single source on world AFV development with this kind of information, including number of production vehicles?
    Are there sources, or a single source on tables of organization of the major countries?
    JANE’S is one for the first, maybe. A book like Dave Isby’s on the Soviet Army would be ideal.
    These articles of yours have been very informative. I am an older wargamer who in the 80’s was involved, as a civilian, in running games using the WRG rule set. That was when Thermal imaging devices were first being deployed and our gaming group running ORIGINS 1979 and 1981. TIME article on the 81 convention. I think we grasped the change thermal imaging made in daylight engagements before the U.S. Army.
    Keep up the excellent writing.


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