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Infantry fighting vehicle


The BMP-1 IFV created a stir in the West by its combination of mobility and firepower

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1966
Crew 3 men
Personnel 8 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 13 t
Length 6.74 m
Width 2.94 m
Height 2.15 m
Main gun 73-mm gun
ATGW 9K11 ATGM launcher
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm
Ammunition load
Main gun 40 rounds
ATGW 4 missiles
Machine guns 2 000 x 7.62-mm
Engine UTD-20 diesel
Engine power 300 hp
Maximum road speed 65 km/h
Amphibious speed on water 7 km/h
Range 600 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.7 m
Trench 2.2 m
Fording Amphibious


   Development of the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle commenced in 1960. It entered service with the Soviet Army in 1966. The BMP-1 was first shown publicly in 1967 and created quire a stir in the West by its apparent combination of mobility protection and gun/missile firepower. This infantry fighting vehicle was produced in large numbers. In its day the BMP-1 was the vehicle that others were measured by and the type was churned out in thousands in the former Soviet Union. It was widely exported to the Soviet allies. The BMP-1 was also produced in China, Czechoslovakia and Romania. From those four nations sprang a whole host of variants to meet just about every combat requirement from artillery observation to armored engineering vehicle. This IFV has seen combat during many wars. The BMP-1's still remain in service in large numbers.

   Time was to demonstrate that, despite its many innovation, the BMP-1 was not the wonder vehicle it first appeared to be for its low silhouette had to be paid for by a cramped interior for the occupants and the main armament was not as powerful as was at first thought. Also this vehicle had some other design flaws.

   This infantry fighting vehicle has a one-man low-profile turret. Armament of the BMP-1 emerged as a magazine-fed low velocity 73-mm smoothbore gun. This gun is non-stabilized and has poor accuracy at longer ranges. It has a maximum aimed range of 1 300 m, but direct range of fire is only 765 m. Also it can not engage air targets and has limited elevation. The gun is fed by a semi-automatic loader. Maximum rate of fire is 8-10 rounds per minute. A total of 40 rounds are carried for the main gun. There is also a coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. Initial production vehicles had a barrel-mounted 9M14 Malyutka (AT-3 Sagger) wire-guided missile with an indifferent performance. On many later models the missile was completely removed. Since 1979 a BMP-1P was produced. It was fitted with a more advanced Fagot (AT-4 Spigot) or Konkurs (AT-5 Spandrel) ATGW launcher. Each infantry fighting vehicle also carried Strela-2 man-portable launcher with short-range air defense missile.

   The BMP-1 has a welded steel armor hull. It provides all-round protection against 12.7-mm rounds and artillery shell splinters. Front arc of this IFV offers partial protection against 20-mm rounds. There is also an automatic fire extinguishing system and NBC protection system.

   This infantry fighting vehicle has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver. Commander is located behind the driver. Vehicle also carries an infantry squad of 8 fully-equipped troops. It has two rear entry doors, roof hatches, firing ports and other measures which made the BMP-1 a true infantry fighting vehicle, which not only carries infantry into battle, but supports dismounts on the battlefield with its weapons. But the limited internal dimensions of the BMP-1 were always a drawback.

   This infantry fighting vehicle is powered by an UTD-20 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 300 hp. Engine is located at the front. Engine and gearbox can be easily replaced in field conditions. This IFV is fully amphibious. On water it is propelled by its tracks.

   There have been many detail changes during the BMP-1's production life and, despite production having ceased, new upgraded variants continue to appear. Many of these variants are purely local modifications to meet some local needs. Many vehicles were fitted with extra armor or had more powerful engines installed, while the Chinese produced their Type 86 copy.

   The BMP-1 proved to be a rugged and serviceable vehicle. Its production ceased in 1983. The BMP-2 is a further development of the BMP-1. It appeared in the late 1970s and had some of the drawbacks eliminated.




   BMP-1P improved version produced between 1979 and 1983. This late production model was fitted with Konkurs (AT-5 Spandrel) anti-tank missile launcher instead of the previous Malyutka;

   BMP-1K command vehicle;

   BMP-1KSh command and staff vehicle, with a gun removed and fitted with a telescopic mast;

   PRP-3 Val artillery reconnaissance vehicle;

   PRP-4 Nard artillery reconnaissance vehicle;

   BRM-1 armored reconnaissance vehicle;

   BREM-2 armored recovery vehicle;

   IMR Zhuk combat engineering vehicle;

   BTZ-3 armored refueller;

   RM-6 armored repair vehicle.


Video of the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle









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