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Modernized BMD-4M (Boyevaya Mashina Desanta)

The tracked BMD-4M vehicle Sadovnitsa ["Gardener"] is an upgraded version of the BMD-4, boasting a new hull, power plant, running gear and some other parts and components. It is armed with the combat module Bakhcha-U, developed by a Tula-based design bureau. It consists of two 100 mm and 30 mm guns and a 7.62 mm machinegun. The parachutable armored personnel carrier BTR-MDM Rakushka ["Shell"] is also based on the BMD-4 chassis. It is expected to substitute for BTR-D, which entered duty back in the 1970. Machineguns are Rakushkas main armaments.

The BMD-4M is the latest modification of an armored combat vehicle that can be para-dropped to provide firepower and support for airborne troops. It features a new chassis, a digital fire control system and a set of high-precision weaponry, including a 100-mm gun. The 13-ton vehicle has a crew of two and can carry six paratroopers. New BMD-4M will have 8 people instead of 7 due to the smaller dimensions of the engine-transmission compartment. In general the units and systems of BMD-4M are approximately 80 % unified with those of BMD-3. However, the designers claim that this is absolutely new vehicle.

The engine, with a power of 500 horsepower, allows the machine to reach speeds up to 65 kilometers per hour. In addition, BMD-4M is able to force a serious water obstacles, literally swimming across them. The speed of the machine can reach 10 miles per hour. Without refueling the BMD-4M can cover a distance of up to five hundred kilometers. This allows her to fight for several hours as breaking through the line of defense and retreat, if the need arises. The BMD-4M is the world's only machine that can be parachuted together with the crew - and right into the fray.

Weighing in at 18 tons it has improved buoyancy, more powerful weapons, and the armor is thinner than its predecessors - a special aluminum alloy protects the crew. BMD-4M is significantly different from previous models of this machine. In particular, it will install a heavy-duty aluminum armor. "Armor BMD-4M has properties that provide an exception occurrence of fragments inside the habitable compartment in the event of damage or large-caliber projectile cartridge" - said the assistant general manager for the Kurganmashzavod, Daniel Relin.

The main peculiarity of BMD-4M is that the original power unit and driving gear are changed to standard one, used for BMP-3. It helps to decrease the expenses of airborne assault vehicle servicing in the army. In 2008 Kurganmashzavod produced prototypes of upgraded airborne combat vehicles BMD-4 and carried out tests aiming the unification of BMD-4 with BMP-3 that are in the field of Russian army. The main special feature of these machines: specific power block and running gear are changed on batch ones used in BMP-3. This will allow to significantly reduce costs of service maintenance of airborne combat vehicles in the army, besides, will reduce their purchase cost within the frames of state defense order of Defense Ministry of Russia.

The crew of BMD-4M is two men, plus six paratroopers. The machine is equipped with 100 mm cannon, as well as 30 mm automatic cannon 2A72. As an additional weapons may be used 7.62-mm PKT machine gun, 5.45-mm RPKS-74, PTUR "Arkan", "Competition". Combat vehicle capable of landing speed on the highway - 69.4 km / h in the water - 10 km / h. Road range of 500 km.

The cost of creating the first test sample of this machine was 200 million rubles. In 2008 Russian Air Borne Forces (VDV) commissioned about 30 new BMD-4. According to the Commander of VDV general-lieutenant Valery EvtuhovichC VDV already had one battalion equipped with BMD-4. 30 machines more equals one more battalion. Further modernization of the machine was underway. From 2009 it is planned to begin batch production of upgraded BMD-4 for airborne forces at the Kurganmashzavod. According to the governmental rearment program to 2015, Kurganmashzavod will produce and deliver not only BMP-3 and its modifications but also new perspective vehicles.

The Tractor Plants Concern tasked the designers of SKBM and VgTZ to commonize the units of IFVs and AIFVs, which will allow a sizeable drop in the cost of production and vehicles' operating costs. Thus, the concern's leading companies, Kurganmashzavod and VgTZ, are turning into major manufacturers of Russian light military tracked vehicles. The degree of commonality is to be about 80 percent without affecting the weight of the Paras' combat vehicle that will retain its primary feature - air droppability. The program provides for improving mobility, protection, firepower and ergonomics, i.e. enhanced combat effectiveness and survivability. According to top Russian defence industry experts, the upgraded BMD-4 will benefit from sharing the best features of the BMP-3 that is among the best infantry fighting vehicles in its class.

As the previous vehicle, the modernized BMD-4 is adapted to make parachute landing from airplane of transport aviation together with the crew, and also to moving over the water and ground. The BMP-4M is to Spawn a range of derivatives for use by the Army and other uniformed services. This will both enable Kurganmashzavod and VgTZ to step up their output and expand their export capabilities. Power plant installation, running gear and the chassis control system with plants unified with systems of BMP-3 allowed to increase the following functional characteristics of modernized vehicle:

  • Maneuverability: cause of increasing the average traveling speed (the power of engine is 50 h.p. more)
  • Cross-country ability is better, because of the lowering specific ground pressure by the increasing of track undersurface length.
  • Reliability of PPC and running gears units (road wheels, tracks).
  • Volumetric capacity: the crew is increased from 7 to 8 men in the manned compartment because of the great compactness of the power plant compartment.
  • Controllability is better because of the usage of chassis digital informative-processing system.
  • Fire power: the fighting compartment with improved fire control system, digital control system and satellite navigation were set at the vehicle.
  • Buoyancy: the rear part of the vehicle is made without space above power pack, which increases inside volume of hull and reserve vehicle buoyancy (up to 41,5%), and different on buoyancy is not more than 2... 3.
  • Ergonomy: convenient come in/out through the rear hatch for the crew, that is sitting near the bulkhead, and the possibility to leave the vehicle through the hatches on the roof (above the draught-line) without pouring water inside.

On 21 March 2008 was the premier demonstration of the modernized BMD-4 airborne assault vehicle at Kurganmashzavod's proving ground. N.F. Ershov, the headman of General Tank-Automation Command of the Ministry of Defence, V.E. Evtukhovich, the commander of airborne troops, M.G. Bolotin, the president of Concern "Tractor Plants" and O.A. Bogomolov, the governor of Kurgan region and also, the numerous journalist fraternity: the delegates from TV-channels, Internet-portals, Informative agencies, magazines and newspapers came to Kurgan for formalization with the gadget.

Before the event, thanks to which all had come, was the excursion over assembly production, which was as a prelude. Workers scrutinized the numerous guests, and the operators with their video cameras tried to film the manufacturing process. The exhibition over Kurganmashzavod ready production created an impression. Together with BMP-2, BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles was represented the up-dated technique, which already was performed, such as TM-130 transport vehicle, MKCM-800 steer-skid loader, PK-40, PK-60 loader. After it - they went to the proving ground. The great event in the new history of homemade engineering is the demonstration of modernized airborne assault vehicle, which will stay in memory of everyone, who came there. Someone will tell about the spring sunny weather in pinery, one should admire such awesome landscape.

The other would be impressed by the grand ceremony of the representing new vehicle, when the symbolic ribbon was cut, with the firework and honor guard near BMD-4 and when they saluted to a new child of military vehicles to the accompaniment of Russian hymn. Surely, the showing firing and fast run of the mane hero under the flags of Russia and airborne troops will stay in memory of all guests. BMP-3 played not a main role, but the second one, nevertheless it was not forgotten, because exactly this vehicle was the base of modernized BMD-4.

The rework of chassis was made with maximum usage of power-plant installation units and with BMP-3 constructive elements: power pack and the systems for servicing it, control linkages, devices for pumping out water, water jet propellers of body. In general, the unification of units, plants and systems of modernized BMD-4 chassis with the same units, plants and systems of BMP-3 is 80%, but the previous weight of vehicle was saved and concerned to the lightweight category. It allows to low production expenses and exploitation expenditure. 200 million rubles were spent for realization of the project.

"For many years, Kurganmashzavod collected strong staff, intellectual potential, cause of these factors the collective of plant can successfully cope with the most difficult tasks, - said Oleg Alekseyevich Bogomolov, the governor of region. - 20 years ago, one needed five years for creating such vehicle, from designing it to testing at the proving ground. Kurganmashzavod made it during one year. I wish, that such successful appearance of the new vehicle turns into its successful future."

V.E. Evtukhovich, the commander of airborne troops started his speech from thankful words to all labour staff of our JSC, which brightly coped with the task. "A new page of airborne troops up-dated history is opened today, said he, - Modernized BMD-4 in several times dominates the previous generation of military equipment. The complex is unique because it concentrates all technological and constructional resolves. It allows providing the superiority of Russian airborne troops over our competitors in problems of fighting strength, speed, maneuverability, and the possibility to make an assault landing with parachute in the nearest decade. Thank to the governance of Russian Armed Forces, Concern "Tractor Plants", to all staff of Kurganmashzavod. I hope, that the new BMD will be in different military units of Russian airborne troops next a year.

During the briefing, V.E. Evtukhovich said that the vehicle has very high potential, which has been confirmed by military checking and by practical exploitation of fighting module at the other chassis; these have taken place at different proving grounds. All individual capacities of modernized BMD-4 were confirmed and new conceptual approaches to matters of its tactical usage were embodied. "We are planning the complex test of modernized BMD-4 in accordance with the program, which is agreed with General Tank-Automation Command of the Ministry of Defence and airborne troops in the year 2008. As the result of tests, we will take a decision about serial manufacture, which could be started next year. In accordance with the accepted "The governmental program for armament up to the year 2015 ", it is planned to reequip at 60% by airborne assault vehicle of new generation.

In March 2008, the production of first prototypes of modernized BMD-4M airborne assault vehicle was finished at Kurganmashzavod. This unified military vehicle, which has no analogues in the world, and allows improving the firepower and maneuverability of Russian army airborne sub-unite. The main peculiarity of BMD-4M is that the original power unit and driving gear are changed to standard one, used for BMP-3. It helps to decrease the time of airborne assault vehicle servicing in the army and decrease the price of production within government defence order of Russian Federation Military Department.

The Kurgan Region-based enterprise might not be able to deliver a number of upgraded combat vehicles, which the Russian airborne troops are now switching to, to the army due to financial reasons. According to head of troops Vladimir Shamanov, the rearmament of the troops was being carried out in strict accordance with the set regulations. First of all, this involves upgrades of the BMD-1 (combat vehicles 1), BMD-2, and Nonnas, the self-propelled guns, through automation. However, the problem relating to fulfilling the state defense order for the year 2011 was unresolved in terms of ten BMD-4M vehicles and ten BMD-4M-based unified armored trucks. Kurganmashzavod did not actually promise to produce the vehicles in question. The enterprises financial condition looked unsettling, so no one can be completely certain that, should the money be provided, the order will actually be fulfilled, Vladimir Shamanov said. The General added that they were currently negotiating with the enterprise and that he was hoping to achieve an agreement.

In August 2012 First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation A.Suhorukov said: "BMD-4M did not respond to the requirements of the Ministry of Defence. How can you buy something that does not meet the requirements of the Ministry of Defence?". Sukhorukov said that the armored vehicle does not meet the requirements for mine protection. "On the BMD-4 the top hung armor just led to a weighting of this machine by two tons," - said the first deputy minister. The General Staffs rejection of the BMD-4M was substantiated by the fact that now the main task of the Airborne is fighting irregular formations, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, where insurgents undermine the road and operate mainly from ambushes. Therefore, in the United States have developed armored MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) for this role.

Vladimir Shamanov did not agree with the General Staff: "It's all a fairy tale. The proposed technique for general purpose forces do not close on the parameters close to the BMD-4M. We were told that it does not fit, but did not say what is the solution. Personally, I do not know, and our opinion no one asked. Arguments that the landing must confront irregular forces - insurgents, guerrillas - have no justification. Our opponent is the same - regular, diverse, well-equipped and trained army. It does not matter whose," - he said.

Kurganmashzavod said "protection from mines can not be absolute, the opponent can always put a bomb more power than the intended protection of the machine. Defend technique can only set of measures, such as training of commanders and personnel, engineering exploration routes, the use of special engineering machinery, etc." Kurganmashzavod said that the structural unit of the enterprise "Special Design Bureau of Machine Building" had developed several measures to improve the level of armor protection.

In late 2012 it was reported that purchase an upgraded airborne combat vehicle BMD-4M had been discontinued in the state defense order. Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov said that the price of the vehicle was three times the terrestrial analogs, and the BMD-4M had weak armor and protection against mines. Russian Airborne Troops Commander Colonel General Vladimir Shamanov said he would achieve a resumption of the supply of BMD-4M. Colonel-General Shaman said, "If I am offered more advanced weaponry that will finally begin the process of upgrading, then I give up on the BMD-4M. But knowing the capabilities of our defense and that vehicle, I would say: there are no alternatives to the BMD-4M."

The Airborne Forces would receive the first five BMD-4Ms for final testing before the end of 2013, followed by another five BMD-4Ms and 10 Rakushka armored personnel carriers in the first half of 2014. A decision to adopt the long-awaited BMD-4Ms was made at the beginning of December 2012 despite an earlier statement by former deputy defense minister Alexander Sukhorukov that the vehicle had not met requirements and would not be bought by the military.

Col. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, commander of the Airborne Forces, told journalists on 11 May 2013 The main aim of Air Force command is the general rearmament of troops in the shortest time possible, in the next three to five years. Three airborne combat vehicles should be able to be transported in and air dropped from one plane. At the same time, the armored protection and weaponry of the airborne combat vehicles must conform to the most cutting-edge requirements, Shamanov said. The commander said that the new BMD-4M corresponds to these requirements. It is not perfect, of course, but it has enormous potential to be polished and modernized in the future both its chassis and its weaponry, he said.

By 2013 a total of 123 BMD-3 and 60 BMD-4 airborne combat vehicles were in service with the Russian Airborne Troops, with the rest being outdated BMD-2 models. The Russian military expected to acquire at least 1,000 BMD-4Ms under the current rearmament program until 2020.

The Russian Defense Ministry is to receive more than 250 airborne troops combat vehicles BMD-4M and armored personnel carriers BTR-MDM Rakushka over three years to come under a contract with the Tractor Plants concern, its first vice-president and co-owner, Albert Bakov told TASS 13 May 2015. "We have a three-year contract with the Defense Ministry for providing BMD-4M and BTR-MDM. More than 250 vehicles are to be delivered to the airborne troops," Bakov said.

According to earlier reports, the first batch of the new vehicles was provided in early March 2015. Then it was expected that Russias paratroop units would receive a total of 62 BMD-4M and 22 BTR Rakushka by the end of the year.

Concern "Tractor plants" is developing a family of combat vehicles for the Airborne Troops (VDV) chassis BMD-4M and BTR-MDM "Shell." Deputy head of the department of military vehicles Concern "Tractor plants" Michael Chemezov said this 18 June 2015 at the international forum "Army 2015".

"On the basis of BMD-4M developed a self-propelled anti-tank missile system (SPTRK)" Cornet-D1 ", - informed Chemezov. On the basis of "Octopus-SDM1" will be created a 120-mm self-propelled guns (SAO) "Zauralets-D," said Chemezov. "Then it supposed to develop 152 mm gun on the same chassis," - he added.

According to Chemezov, on the basis of a new military equipment for airborne troops developed a new generation of weapons. "Currently being development work to create a robotic combat complex" Kungas "on the basis of BMD-4M," - he said.




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