Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle
In an attempt to improve the amphibious characteristics and increase the combat power of their wheeled reconnaissance vehicles, the Soviets produced the BRDM-2. This vehicle differs from the original BRDM in that the powerplant has improved and moved to the rear of the vehicle, and that a small 14.5mm machinegun-armed turret has been fitted. This turret is identical to that found on the BTR-60PB armored personnel carrier. The original BRDM (BTR-40P) first appeared in 1959. The BRDM-2 also is known as BTR-40P-2 or BTR-40PB (hence also BTR-40P-2rkh or BTR-40PB-rkh, etc.). It was first seen in 1966 and by the mid-1980s was rapidly replacing the BRDM in the Soviet and Warsaw Pact armies. Care must be taken to distinguish the BRDM-2 from the Hungarian FUG (OT-65) and FUG-70 amphibious scout cars which also have rear engines but have twin waterjets.
The BRDM-2 series, with maximum armor of 14 mm, can be penetrated by artillery fragments and .50 caliber machine gun fire. Its tires are not protected by armor and are particularly vulnerable to puncture from fire of all kinds.
Like the earlier BRDM, the BRDM-2 is a fully armored, four-wheel drive, amphibious reconnaissance vehicle with two pairs of belly wheels and a centralized tire pressure regulation system for increased cross-country capability and a single water jet for propulsion through water. Externally, it differs from the BRDM due to a larger, box-like hull. It retains the boat-like bow of the BRDM, but the crew compartment has been moved farther forward and the engine has been moved to the rear. In the basic model, a small conical turret is mounted on the hull in a central position above the belly wheels. There are two front cupolas, and vision blocks are located centrally on both sides. The engine is larger than in the BRDM (140hp V-8 as opposed to 90hp 6-cylinder). The BRDM-2 is fitted with an IR spotlight and IR driving lights as well as an NBC filter system.
Like the BRDM, the BRDM-2 exists in several versions, the first four of which have the same roles as their BRDM counterparts:
- BRDM-2 reconnaissance vehicle is distinguished by its turret, which is the same as that mounted on the BTR-60PB. The conical turret, which mounts two machine guns (1 4.5-mm and 7.62-mm), is unusual in that is has no top hatch opening. This model carries a crew of four (commander, gunner, driver, and co-driver). It also has a land navigation system that gives coordinate readings.
- The ATGM launcher vehicle (BRDM-2) is used for the AT-2/SWATTER, AT-3/SAGGER and AT-5/SPANDREL. The ATGM launcher replaces the turret. This model is found in regimental and divisional antitank units of motorized rifle divisions and in the antitank regiment or brigade in the artillery division of a front.
- 9P122 variant with 6-rail AT-3 ATGM launcher
- 9P124 variant with 4-rail AT-2 MCLOS ATGM launcher
- 9P133 variant with 6-rail AT-3C SACLOS ATGM launcher
- 9P137 variant with 5-rail AT-5 ATGM launcher
- 9P148 variant with 5-rail AT-4 or AT-5 ATGM launcher.
- BRDM-2rkh radiological-chemical reconnaissance vehicle is fitted with dispensers for emplacing warning flags around contaminated areas. It is found in the regimental chemical defense company and at the division level in the chemical defense battalion as well as in the reconnaissance battalion.
- BRDM-2U command vehicle has no turret but carries a generator and extra radios. The increased number of antennas marks this version as a command and control vehicle. It is found in battalion and regimental headquarters of maneuver units and also is used extensively by artillery units.
- SA-9/GASKIN transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) also is based on the BRDM-2 chassis. The surface-to-air missile launching system with quadruple canisters replaces the machine gun turret on top of the vehicle and is capable of 360 degrees traverse and limited elevation. The crew of this version is estimated at four.
- Polish modernized variant has been offered in five versions, with upgrades such as: 12.7-mm MG, improved PKT MG mount, roof-mounted AT-4 ATGM, surveillance radar, improved fire control, etc.
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