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Top 10 Infantry Fighting Vehicles


   Which is the best Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) in the world? Which is the greatest modern IFV and why? This Top 10 analysis is based on the combined score of protection, firepower, mobility and passenger capacity. All of the armored vehicles mentioned here are well protected and incredibly deadly. Analysis is based on specifications and available data. This list includes only operational vehicles, that are currently in production. After exhaustive research I was surprised with the results.

   Currently top 10 best infantry fighting vehicles in the world are these:


Top 10 IFVs

Nr.1 Puma (Germany)


   The Puma is a recent German design. First production vehicles were delivered to the German army in 2010.

   The Puma is currently the most protected production IFV in the world. It has modular add-on armor. There is an option of three various protection levels to suit operational needs. With maximum level of protection the Puma is even heavier than a T-72 main battle tank. It can be even considered as a heavy IFV. It seems that the most protected variant withstands 120- and 125 mm tank projectiles over the front arc. Vehicle also withstands mine blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT. Furthermore the Puma is fitted with advanced threat warning system which improves survivability.

   There are some other IFVs that are even heavier, and possibly more protected than the Puma, including a German Lynx KF-41 and Russian Armata heavy IFV. However both of these vehicles are still being developed and so far received no production orders, while the Puma is an operational vehicle, which is being built in significant numbers.

   This German IFV is armed with turret-mounted 30 mm cannon and coaxial 5.56 mm light machine gun.

   Vehicle is powered by diesel engine, developing a whooping 1 073 horsepower. Some of the latest main battle tanks are fitted with less powerful engines than this German IFV.



Best infantry fighting vehicle

Nr.2 Lynx (Germany)


   The Lynx heavy IFV was developed as a private venture by the same company as the Puma, but was mainly aimed at export customers. Initial Lynx KF-31 IFV was introduced in 2016 and larger Lynx KF-41 followed in 2018. During the same year a single Lynx KF-41 was observed in Qatar during a military parade. However its status is uncertain.

   The KF-41 might be the heaviest and and most protected IFV in the world. It uses proven and readily available components wherever possible in order to reduce production and maintenance costs. As a result it is more affordable than the Puma.

   The Lynx has a modular design and can be configured for various roles. It has a common drive module with an interchangeable mission module. It can be configured as a command post vehicle, armored reconnaissance vehicle, repair and  recovery vehicle and armored ambulance. The mission module of the Lynx can be removed and replaced in field conditions within 8 hours.

   Maximum weight of the initial Lynx KF-31 was a whooping 38 t. At the time it was already one of the heaviest and most protected IFVs, outperforming the German army's Puma. The newer Lynx KF-41 is even heavier. It weights around 44 t and has a growth potential to 50 t. So the Rheinmetall Lynx is one of the heaviest and most protected IFVs. In terms of protection the Lynx KF-41 might be even superior to the German army's Puma. It protection level approaches that of older main battle tanks. It seems that the most protected variant of the Lynx withstands 120- and 125 mm tank projectiles over the front arc.



Best IFV

Nr.3 K-21 (South Korea)


   The K-21 is a South Korean infantry fighting vehicle. Its production commenced in 2008. Approximately 900 vehicles were planned to be built. It is claimed that the K-21 is twice cheaper to produce comparing with American M2 Bradley, the the K-21 offers similar level of protection, packs heavier punch and is amphibious.

   Composition of the K-21 armor is still kept in secret. It is assumed that this IFV has multi-layer armor with glass fiber, ceramic and aluminum alloy. It is known that front arc provides protection against 30 mm armor-piercing rounds. All-round protection is against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds. The K-21 can be also fitted with active protection system, similar to that used on the South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tank.

   The K-21 is armed with a 40 mm cannon and 7.62 mm machine gun. A powerful gun can easily defeat all hostile armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles. Vehicle also carries two indigenously developed ATGW launchers, but exact details and number of missiles carried are unknown. Vehicle is fitted with advanced fire control system and has good fire accuracy. Such control systems are usually found on the latest main battle tanks.

   The K-21 is lighter comparing with most modern IFVs. It was made of composite materials that are lighter than steel, in order to save weight wherever possible. This IFV uses a number of advanced high-tech systems, including battle management system, internal navigation, vehicular information systems and identification system which recognizes friendly and hostile vehicles.

   The K-21 has a hydropneumatic suspension and advanced running gear. This IFV is fully amphibious due to built-in automatic flotation bags. These floatation bags are activated, before entering the water. Only some modern IFVs are fully amphibious with minimum preparation, and the South Korean K-21 is among them.



Best IFVs

Nr.4 CV90 (Sweden)


   Development of the CV90 commenced in the mid 1980s. The baseline CV9040 entered service with Sweden in 1993. The CV90 recommended itself as a successful design. Since its introduction the basic design was constantly improved and updated. The CV90 was built in various version. This armored vehicle was exported to Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. New versions of the CV90 continue to emerge.

   The CV90 has a welded steel armor hull. Appliqué armor can be added. It is claimed that the front arc of the CV90 withstands 30 mm armor-piercing rounds, used by the older Russian IFVs and airborne combat vehicles. All-round protection is against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds. Latest versions of the CV90 withstand blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT. Appliqué ceramic armor can be added for all-round protection against 30 mm armor-piercing rounds and improved protection against improvised explosive devices. A slat armor can be fitted for protection against tandem-charge RPG rounds.

   The original Swedish CV9040 is armed with a powerful Bofors 40 mm cannon, which is basically a modified anti-aircraft cannon. It can easily defeat pretty much all hostile armored personnel carriers and IFV and also poses threat to older tanks such as the T-55 and T-62. First batch of vehicles for the Swedish Army had no gun stabilization system, and thus cold not fire accurately on the move. Also these had only limited night fighting capability. Also there is coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. Export models of this infantry fighting vehicle are armed with fully-stabilized 30- or 35 mm cannons. These guns are less powerful, but more versatile. Also newer CV90 series IFVs have more modern fire control systems.

   This IFV was specially designed to minimize radar and infra-red signatures. It also uses heat-absorbing filters to provide protection against thermal imaging, image intensifiers and infra-red cameras. Vehicle also has quiet movement in order to improve stealth.

   With preparation this vehicle is amphibious.



Top ten IFV

Nr.5 M2 Bradley (USA)


   The original M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle entered service with the US Army in 1981. Since its introduction it was constantly upgraded. Currently US Army operate improved M2A3 version of this vehicle.

   Even though the Bradley is an old design, it is has higher level of protection than most other IFVs. The upgraded M2A3 version is fitted with explosive reactive armor of new generation. It has some degree of protection against RPG rounds. Front arc of the latest models withstands 30 mm armor-piercing rounds. All-round protection is likely to be against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds. It is planned that in the near future some of the US Bradley IFVs will be fitted with active protection systems. This will significantly improve survivability against anti-tank guided missiles and anti-tank rocket launchers.

   Vehicle is armed with a two-man turret, fitted with a 25 mm dual-fed Bushmaster chain gun. It fires armor-piercing and High-Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) rounds. There is also a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. The M2 Bradley is also equipped with a twin-tube TOW 2 anti-tank guided missile launcher, providing this vehicle a considerable anti-armor capability.

   The M2 is amphibious with the use of swim barrier. Swimming capabilities can be improved by the erection of inflatable buoyancy tanks. On water the Bradely is propelled by spinning its tracks.



Top 10 armoured fighting vehicles

Nr.6 Kurganets-25 (Russia)


   The Kurganets-25 is a next-generation Russian IFV. It was developed as a successor to the BMP-3. The whole project was kept in high secrecy. First batch of pre-production vehicles was delivered in 2015. By 2018 this armored vehicle was still tested by the manufacturer and is not yet ready for mass production. Full-scale production of this armored vehicle could begin within the next few years.

   The Kurganets-25 is a clean sheath design. It shares little common with the BMP-3. This armored vehicle has an engine at the front and troop compartment at the rear. Drawbacks of the BMP-3, such as a cramped crew compartment and cramped exit, were eliminated.

   Armor of the Kurganets is made of special aluminum alloy. There are also add-on explosive reactive armor modules. Vehicle is also fitted with countermeasures system, that reduce a chance of being hit by enemy anti-tank guided missiles. Some sources report that this vehicle can be fitted with newly-developed Drozd-2 active protection system, though this system is still untested. Overall the Kurganets-25 is better protected than the older BMP-3. However it has been reported its protection is inferior to that of the M3A3 Bradley.

   This IFV is fitted with remotely-controlled turret, armed with a 30 mm cannon and coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. Also there are 4 external launchers with Kornet-EM anti-tank guided missiles.

   Vehicle is fully amphibious.



Top 10 armoured fighting vehicles

Nr.7 ZBD-08 (China)


   The ZBD-08 is a Chinese revised and improved version of the Soviet/Russian BMP-3. First production version, the ZBD-04, entered service with Chinese army in 2004. An improved ZBD-08 followed a couple of years later. This new infantry fighting vehicle is produced in large numbers for the Chinese army.

   Even though the ZBD-08 externally resembles the BMP-3, vehicle has been redesigned considerably. It has a revised layout with engine at the front and troop compartment at the rear. Chinese designers managed to eliminate a number of drawbacks of the Russian BMP-3, such as cramped troop compartment and cramped exit, though at a cost of reduced amphibious capabilities. Also the ZBD-08 is a much newer vehicle, which uses modern electronics and more modern technologies, such as improved sights and fire control system. So even though the ZBD-08 and BMP-3 carry similar armament and both vehicles have similar level of protection, Chinese IFV is clearly superior.

   The ZBD-08 has a welded steel armor hull. Add-on modular armor can be fitted for a higher level of protection. It is claimed that front arc withstands 30 mm armor-piercing rounds. Sides withstand 14.5 mm rounds. Side skirts were added for improved protection. Also vehicle may be fitted with indigenous active laser protection system.

   This IFV retains complete turret of the BMP-3, which is now license-built in China. It has similar firepower and in these terms outperforms most current IFVs. Its 100 mm gun is completed with an autoloader has an effective range of 4 km. This gun can fire both ordinary projectiles and launch anti-tank guided missiles. It is compatible with Chinese anti-tank guided missiles and poses serious threat to main battle tanks. The coaxial 30 mm cannon has an effective range of 1.5-2 km. There is also a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. Also the ZBD-08 has improved sights and fire control system.

   Vehicle is fully amphibious. However on water it is not as good as the original BMP-3.



Best infantry fighting vehicle

Nr.8 BMP-3 (Russia)


   The BMP-3 was adopted by the Soviet Army back in 1987. This IFV was exported to some countries. Currently it is in service with Russia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Greece, Indonesia, Kuwait, South Korea, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

   Hull and turret of this infantry fighting vehicle are welded of aluminum alloy armor. The front arc is made of composite armor and provides protection against 30 mm armor-piercing rounds. All-round protection is against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds. Protection can be enhanced with add-on explosive reactive armor kit. Furthermore Arena active protection and Shtora countermeasures systems can be installed on this vehicle. Such systems are normally associated with main battle tanks.

   This IFV packs a formidable punch. It is armed with a 100 mm gun and coaxial 30 mm cannon. The 100 mm gun can launch anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary munitions, providing this armored vehicle a considerable anti-armor capability. The coaxial 30 mm cannon has an effective range of 1.5-2 km. There is also a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun.

   The BMP-3 was originally designed to become a light tank, but was eventually repurposed as an IFV. As a result it has some design limitations for this class of vehicles, such as a cramped troop compartment due to the rear-mounted engine. Engine was deliberately mounted at the rear in order to improve weight distribution and amphibious capabilities of the original light tank.

   The BMP-3 is among the few modern IFVs that are fully amphibious. Furthermore it is rather fast afloat.



Best infantry fighting vehicles

Nr.9 Hunter (Singapore)


   The Hunter is a new Singaporean IFV. It is an indigenous Singaporean design which uses a number of Western components. It was officially adopted in 2019.

   This IFV is fitted with a remotely-controlled turret, armed with a 30 mm Mk.44 Bushmaster II cannon. It can be also fitted with 2 anti-tank missile launchers.

   So far little information is available regarding Hunter's armor protection. However judging by its weight this vehicle is a well-protected IFVs. It was designed with blast protection in mind.

   The Hunter is operated by a crew of 3 and can carry 8 fully-equipped dismounts.



Best IFV in the world

Nr.10 Piranha V (Switzerland)


   The Piranha V is the latest and most protected vehicle of the Piranha line. It was developed by MOWAG of Switzerland and revealed in 2010. Because of increased weight and protection, versions with powerdul armament can be considered as wheeled IFVs rather than armored personnel carriers by their function. This armored vehicle is in service with Monaco.

   The Piranha V has an all-welded steel armor hull with integrated add-on composite modular armor. The baseline version provides all-round protection against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds and artillery shell splinters. Maximum armor level provides all-round protection against 25 mm armor-piercing projectiles. Vehicle has a double floor with a V-shaped hull and is well protected against landmines and IED blasts. It withstands anti-tank mine blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT under any wheel. The Piranha V is also proposed with LEDS-150 active protection system, which significantly reduces the chance of being hit by anti-tank guided missiles and anti-tank rockets.

   Vehicle revealed in 2010 was fitted with a turret-mounted 30 mm chain gun. Secondary armament consists of remotely controlled weapon station, armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun.

   Vehicle uses height-adjustable semi-active hydropneumatic suspension and has good mobility    on hard surface roads. Though it is not as capable off-road as tracked vehicles. Due to its wheeled configuration it is cheaper to buy, operate and to maintain comparing with tracked vehicles.

   The Piranha IV is not amphibious. There were plans to develop a specialized amphibious version of this armored vehicle in the future.




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