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BMP-2 Fighting Vehicle

The BMP-2 [BMP = Boyevaya Mashina Pyekhota - Infantry Fighting Vehicle] infantry combat vehicle, which has been in service since 1980, fought in Afghanistan, participated in all conflicts in the territory of the former USSR, in countless wars in Africa and the Middle East. Craftsmen of the Special Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering (SKBM) managed to create a reliable and unpretentious machine that can operate effectively in any climate - in deserts, in the mountains, and on the plains.

The BMP-2, fielded in the early 1980's [initially designated BMP 1981], is an improved version of the BMP-1 incorporating major armament changes. The new two-man turret mounts a 30-mm automatic gun with a long thin tube and double-baffle muzzle brake that can be used against aircraft and helicopters. The ATGM launcher on top of the turret can employ either AT-4 SPIGOT or AT-5 SPANDREL missiles, though the AT-5 Spandrel canister is normally mounted. Given the enlarged turret, there are two roof hatches in the rear fighting compartment, rather than the four of the BMP-1, and the the BMP-2 accommodates one less passenger. Each side of the troop compartment has three firing ports with associated roof-mounted periscopes.

The BMP-1 was highly vulnerable to fire from heavy infantry weapons, medium antiarmor weapons, and artillery fire. Faced with the combat inadequacies of their BMP-1 armored personnel carrier in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, and later in Afghanistan, the Soviets produced a new model - the BMP-2. BMP-2 was created on the basis of BMP-1 to further enhance the combat characteristics of the latter. The development was conducted in the ChTZ KB1972 ("Facility 769") and in KB KMZ in 1974. Adopted in 1980, the machine development of the Kurgan plant, mass production started at the KMZ from April of the same year.

The BMP-2 is a light amphibious tracked combat vehicle with high mobility and armouring. Its cross-country capabilities are improved due to employment of a different type of tracks and adjustment of the shock absorber. It is intended for destruction of various armored targets, including enemy tanks, combat helicopters and manpower. Used by mechanized units, the vehicle enables small arms fire from firing ports when on the move. Its armor provides NBC protection of the crew. It is adjusted for airlift.

There was a change in the main armament; the turret was relocated, and the infrared (IR) and other optical equipment is different. Another identification point on the BMP-2 is the addition of a third shock absorber to the second forward pair. Additionally, the new vehicle carried fewer infantrymen.

The most noticeable visible feature of the new BMP-2 is that the turret is further back, compared to the BMP-1. The BMP-2 turret ring is two meters in diameter, about one-half a meter larger than the ring on the BMP-1. The commander sits on the gunners right and has a large revolving overhead hatch. Both the commander and the gunner have three integrated periscopes. The BMP-2s radio antennae are behind and to the right of the turret. The third crew member, the driver, sits forward in the hull. In the BMP-1, the commander sat up front behind the driver, and many BMP-1 commanders used the gunners seat instead, despite the consequent problems in the turret.

The fact is that with the help of the BMP-1 complex (a 73-mm gun, coupled with it 7.62 mm machine gun and ATGM "Malyutka"), it was difficult to solve fire missions to defeat typical "infantry" targets - open, lying and especially sheltered manpower, light armored vehicles such as American BTR M113, light defensive structures, as well as to repel attacks of low-flying aircraft and helicopters.

In addition, the experience of combat use of BMP-1 showed that the 2A28 gun did not effectively combat tanks and other armored vehicles due to insufficient accuracy and short range of fire, and because of the low power of the ammunition at the target. Therefore, only ATGMs are used in BMP-1 to defeat such targets.

The BMP-1 main gun, the 73-mm 2A20 low-pressure smoothbore firing the PG-9 fin-stabilized projectile, proved ineffective due to the limited range of the round and its vulnerability to winds while in flight. Moreover, the guns semiautomatic loading system not only slowed the rate-of-fire, but also jammed frequently. And because the gun automatically moved to 3.5 degree elevation after firing, the gunners sight was moved off-target. The gun had a theoretical rate-of-fire of four rounds per minute, but this was rarely, if ever, achieved in combat. The guns limited range of elevation and depression - from -3 degrees to +33 degrees - was another disadvantage. The BMP1s coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun was similarly limited in elevation and depression.

The BMP-1 also carried the AT-3 Sagger missile, fired from a launch rail over the main gun. Reloading the missile launcher entailed nearly complete exposure for the gunner. To track the missile in flight, he had to keep the sights crosshairs on the target with his righthand joystick and traverse the turret with his left hand.

It was first shown to the general public at the military parade in November 1982. As of 1995, BMP-2 was in service with the following countries: Russia, Algeria (230 units), Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Sierra Leone , Slovakia (93 units), Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Finland (110 units), the Czech Republic (187 units), Sri Lanka, Yemen, Kuwait.

On 29 September 2017, State Corporation Rostek and the RF Ministry of Defense signed a contract for the modernization of 540 BMP-2 and BMD-2 in the framework of the new state armament program for 2018-2025. This was announced on Friday by the head of Rostekh Sergei Chemezov. On the part of the state corporation, the agreement was signed by the Deputy General Director of the Holding "High Precision Complexes" (part of Rostech), the Managing Director of the PCU Dmitry Konoplev, and from the Ministry of Defense - Deputy Minister Yuri Borisov.

"Today we signed an agreement on the modernization of 540 combat vehicles BMP-2 and BMD-2," Chemezov said. According to him, the contract implies the modernization of military vehicles under the state defense order for the needs of the Russian Defense Ministry in the framework of the state program of armaments for 2018-2025. The contract is concluded for 10 years, said Borisov. "We signed today a ten-year contract that will determine your [PCP] production activities for the production of light armored vehicles for the entire period of the new state program," he said.






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