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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian paratroopers to receive new weaponry in near future

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, December 8 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Airborne Troops will receive a variety of advanced weaponry, including BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicles (AIFV), in the next few years, the Airborne Troops commander said.

"We are expecting to receive up to 200 BMD-4M AIFV in the next few years to significantly increase the combat capability of our troops," Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov said.

"Paratroopers will also get indigenous Shakhin infrared scopes, new sniper rifles, underwater assault rifles and other advanced weaponry and gear," the general said.

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.

Shamanov said the Airborne Troops would eventually include units equipped with unmanned aerial vehicles, transport and combat helicopters to increase mobility and combat effectiveness of the troops on the battlefield.

The Airborne Troops are considered the most capable mobile assault forces in Russia. Various estimates put the current personnel at about 48,000 troops deployed in four divisions and a brigade.

According to Russia's military reform plans, the Airborne Troops will be fully manned with professional soldiers by 2011.

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