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BRDM-2 (BTR-40P-2)
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.

The armored reconnaissance and patrol vehicle BRDM-2 was developed at the Special Design Bureau (SKB) of the design and experimental department of the Gorky Automobile Plant (GAS), where by that time there was already experience in creating light armored personnel carriers. Here the BTR-40 light armored personnel carrier was created, and then on its base the first armored reconnaissance vehicle BRDM. In accordance with the tactical and technical requirements, the BRDM had to force swimming water obstacles as well as overcome wide trenches and trenches without preparation. Therefore, the machine was equipped with a hermetic housing with a jet propulsion, as well as retractable rollers driven by the main engine.

The first BRDM (GAZ-40P) was operated by reconnaissance units of the SA since 1957, and serious machine deficiencies were identified. At the time of the creation of the machine at the disposal of the designers there was nothing better than the GAZ-11 gasoline engine of the pre-war development. Its power was only 90 hp The front arrangement of the fire hazardous engine increased the chances of destroying the car with frontal fire. The armament was also weak - a single 7.62-mm machine gun of the ULBM, from which the shooter was supposed to fire, half-leaning out of the hatch. It was impossible to strengthen the firepower of the machine by installing a machine gun turret with heavier weapons, since the design of the BRDM was not designed for additional weight. On February 10, 1959, the GBTU (Main Armored Directorate) issued Tactical and Technical Requirements for the development of a new reconnaissance and patrol vehicle capable of acting in conjunction with the BTR-60 armored personnel carriers, promising tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.

The BRDM-2 should have the following advantages over its predecessor, the BRDM: Great firepower. The best driving performance. Higher level of security. The presence of anti-nuclear protection system. Equipping with a radio communication system for transmitting and receiving radio commands and intelligence information. By this time, GAZ launched the production of a new GAZ-66 truck (shishiga), with an engine of 120 hp. This made it possible to make improvements to the BRDM at the expense of GAZ-66 nodes (engine, bridges, transmission, etc.).

The project received a factory designation - "GAZ-41", and the same team of designers worked on it as on the first machine. It was led by the chief designer of GAZ, VA. Dedkov, the leading designer of the machine was appointed AN. Lebedev. Armored hulls for the first two prototypes were ready by July 1960. But with other units there are delays. It was decided to introduce a new layout scheme: the control compartment in front, and the power plant - in the back. This improved visibility, as the fighting compartment shifted forward and became more spacious. The water quality of the car increased due to the installation of the engine in the rear of the hull and providing trim on the stern. The machine was armed with a KPVT machine gun mounted on an open turret. The crew consisted of 5 people - 2 crew members and 3 scouts.

The transmission for the new car was only being tested, therefore, in order to meet the required deadlines, the first GAZ-41 prototype had to be equipped with a transmission and a chassis from the BRDM. During the sea trials, this was not the best way - due to the increased engine power, the clutch burned, the gearbox teeth crumbled. After the necessary modifications, the prototype was handed over to the military for conducting field tests. They were held at the NIBT training ground in Kubinka. The military made many comments regarding the BRDM-2: Transmission did not provide the transmission of the full torque developed by the engine.

The use of bridges from the GAZ-66 led to the fact that a narrow automobile track, inherited from the "shishiga", made the GAZ-41 unstable on turns and slopes, and also prevented the movement of the car along the tank track. Placing weapons on the open turret, which did not provide sufficient protection for the shooter and rendered useless of the anti-nuclear defense system. The interior of the hull was extremely tight for the crew. The crew had to work in very cramped conditions. The commander did not have a good all-round view, as the driver had to close the driver to the right, and the cars body backwards. However, after partial elimination of the identified deficiencies, by an order of the USSR Minister of Defense dated May 22, 1962, the reconnaissance vehicle was nevertheless adopted by the Soviet Army under the designation BRDM-2.

Interestingly, the BRDM-2 was not immediately launched into mass production, as it usually happened with the adopted samples. Such an incident was caused by uncertainty with its armament. The military categorically did not accept the placement of the KPVT machine gun on an open turret, so the designers tried to equip the BRDM-2 with a turret with a pair of KPVT and PKT machine guns, which was developed for GAZ armored personnel carrier BTR-60PB.

In the end, the customer's machine was satisfied - thanks to a more powerful engine, it demonstrated the parameters of maneuverability and water flow, surpassing the first BRDM, significantly increased firepower. However, the landing-landing in the car continued to remain uncomfortable - it was made through two hatches in front of the hull roof, which made the crew vulnerable. In April 1963, an experienced BRDM-2 with a tower armament installation was demonstrated to the then USSR Minister of Defense Marshal R.Ya. Malinovsky.

According to the results of the high display, the visibility from the BRDM-2 was improved - for the intelligence officers, additional viewing devices were installed on the sides. Launching BRDM-2 was carried out during serial production. It must be said that at that time the BRDM-2 project turned out to be somewhat pushed aside due to the fact that the main efforts were directed at preparing the serial production of the BTR-60PB armored personnel carrier. As a result, the first pre-production BRDM-2 came out of the assembly shop only in December 1964. Further serial production gained momentum very slowly - in 1965 only 80 BRDM-2s were built, and in 1966, instead of the planned 600 cars, only 440. But the BRDM-2 showed longevity wonders, having held out in production for 25 years - until 1989 . Total was released about 9.5 thousand. BRDM-2, almost half of them served as a chassis for specialized machines. Until 1967, GAZ in parallel with the BRDM-2 continued to produce the BRDM - as a chassis for special vehicles.

The reconnaissance vehicle is equipped with a wheeled chassis. All wheels have a pressure adjustment system, which can be changed when stopping and while driving. Suspension machine spring, on each bridge there are two hydraulic shock absorbers.

One feature of the BRDM-2 are four additional wheels that can be used to overcome the trenches and trenches. All-wheel drive intelligence vehicles (both main and additional) are leading. In the aft part of the BRDM-2 there is a water jet that allows the car to reach speeds of up to 10 km / h. A steering wheel is installed on its outlet pipe, which allows the machine to maneuver on the water. Changing the movement of the screws provides the reverse of the BRDM-2. Water reflective shield improves water safety.

In NATO countries, the BRDM-2 of the late series was designated the BRDM-3, although in the Soviet Union they were not allocated with special indices. The first demonstration of the BRDM-2 to the general public took place in 1966 during a military parade on Red Square in Moscow. BRDM-2 arrived in the intelligence and staff units of the Soviet Army, as well as in the liaison and chemical troops. They were used in the internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, border troops and marines of the Navy. In the states of each Soviet motorized rifle or tank division, twenty-eight BRDM-2s were assigned: twelve in the reconnaissance battalion and four in each regiment. A large number of BRDM-2 (about 6000 cars) was delivered to the Warsaw Pact countries. In some countries, their own designations were introduced for the BRDM-2.

Production BRDM-2 ceased in 1989, however, this machine remains in service with the armies of many countries. To date, most of the equipment and assemblies of the machine, developed 30-50 years ago, are obsolete. Therefore, at different times, many BRDM-2 modernization programs appeared. With appropriate refinement, the BRDM-2 may well meet the requirements of modern combat, performing both reconnaissance functions and as a platform for various specialized vehicles.

BRDM-2 (BTR-40P-2) - Variants

In the process of mass production, various improvements were made to the design of the BRDM-2. Externally, the cars of the early, middle and late series could be identified by the type of design of air inlets on the roof of the engine compartment. In the early machines, the two flap air vents had a trapezoidal shape and were covered with lids that opened backwards (like the BTR-60). On the machines of the medium series, the air intakes had a rectangular shape and were covered with blinds. The late version of the BRDM-2, which was launched in the 1970s, had six convex mushroom-shaped caps over the air inlets, which were similar in design to the BTR-70. They protected the engine compartment from ricocheting bullets, shrapnel, and combustible mixtures. On such machines, and installed a tower with a surveillance device in the roof.

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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