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 Rakushka’s 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... 3º.
- 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.
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