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BMP-55

Heavy armored personnel carrier

BMP-55

The Ukrainian BMP-55 heavy APC is a conversion of ageing T-55 medium tanks

 
 
Country of origin Ukraine
Entered service -
Crew 3 men
Personnel 10 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (without armor) 28.5 t
Length 6.2 m
Width 3.21 m
Height 1.95 m
Armament
Machine guns 1 x 12.7-mm (150 rounds)
Mobility
Engine 5TDF diesel
Engine power 700 hp
Maximum road speed 70 km/h
Range 600 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.8 m
Trench 2.7 m
Fording 1.4 m

 

   The BMP-55 heavy armored personnel carrier was developed by Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau as a private venture. It is also referred as the AFV-55. Development commenced in 2000. Vehicle was publicly revealed in 2007. In 2009 this vehicle was trialed. It is claimed that in 2009 this heavy armored personnel carrier was ready for production. However as of 2014 it received no production orders.

   The Ukrainian BMP-55 is based on refurbished hulls of T-55 medium tanks. This vehicle was developed for export customers, as there are no T-55 tanks in service with Ukrainian Army. However many of T-55 tanks are in service and in storage with various countries around the world. Today even upgraded T-55 tanks pose little threat to modern main battle tanks. So Ukrainian manufacturer offers to convert these ageing tanks into heavy infantry fighting vehicles. Since the late 1980s Israel operates Achzarit heavy APCs that are also converted form T-54 and T-55 tanks. Similar conversions are also proposed by Russia (BTR-T) and India (Tarmour). However there were no production orders for the Ukrainian BMP-55, Russian BTR-T and Indian Tarmour. Only the Israeli Achzarit was produced in quantity.

   The main role of heavy armored personnel carrier is to carry troops on the battlefield under enemy fire. Sometimes these machines are referred as battlefield taxi. Vehicles of this class have a much higher level of protection than conventional APCs. These are invulnerable to heavy machine gun fire and in some cases withstand hits from anti-tank weapons.

   Regarding general configuration the BMP-55 follows conversion process adopted by the Jordanian Temsah heavy APC. The T-55 tank has engine and transmission at the rear. It became an issue when designers tried to make a troop compartment at the rear. A simple solution was found to swap front end of the vehicle with the rear. So the vehicle drives backward comparing with the original T-55. Turret was removed and free space was converted into the troop compartment.

   Protection of the BMP-55 was improved. Vehicle has a low profile hull. Front mounted engine provides additional protection for the crew and dismounts. Explosive reactive armor was added. Front arc withstands hits from 90-mm armor-piercing projectiles. Sides can withstand hits from RPG-7 grenade launcher. Rear end of the vehicle provides protection against 14.5-mm armor-piercing rounds. The BMP-55 withstands mine blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT anywhere under the hull. Vehicle also withstands explosions of 155-mm high explosive rounds at 25 meters.

   This heavy APC is armed with remotely controlled 12.7-mm machine gun. Anti-tank missiles can be fitted. Also other weapon options are also available.

   The BMP-55 has a crew of three and can carry up to 10 troops. Troops enter and leave the vehicle via rear doors. Also there are roof hatches for observation, firing and emergency exit.

   Original engine of the T-55 was replace by a 5TDF multi-fuel diesel engine, developing 700 hp. The same engine was used on the T-64 main battle tank. This engine has compact dimensions and has high power output due to its opposed design. However this engine has a short service life and proved to be unreliable.

   It is worth noting that alongside the BMP-55 Ukrainian Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau also developed another BMPV-64 heavy armored personnel carrier. It is converted in a similar way from the T-64 MBT. This vehicle also received no production orders.

 

Video of the BMP-55 heavy armored personnel carrier

 
BMP-55

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BMP-55

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BMP-55

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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