It is known that, at least in one case, such claims almost reached the creation of a new project. A few years ago, the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates, having several hundred BMP-3, considered the option of re-assembling this technology in order to transfer the engine and transmission to the front of the hull. To develop a new project was one of the German defense companies. Nevertheless, then the work ended at the stage of studying the prospects and working out the general appearance of the promising modification of Russian technology.
At the Russia Arms Expo 2015 exhibition now taking place in Nizhny Tagil, the concern Tractor Plants presented a new modification of the infantry fighting vehicle BMP-3, which differs from the basic version in the arrangement of the power plant. Seeing the needs of some armies in the world, the Russian designers decided to develop an updated version of the armored vehicle, which has a different layout. In order to increase combat effectiveness, it was proposed to use a classic layout for modern armored vehicles with a front engine compartment and a troop compartment in the stern.
The new project of the revised infantry fighting vehicle was called the Dragoon. The base for this vehicle was taken BMP-3M, which is a further development of the basic "Troika". The project "Dragoon" meant a serious change in the location of the units inside the body, in addition, it was proposed to use a new combat module. Thus, the BMP-3M "Dragoon" is a deep modernization of the base machine. Moreover, some features of the project allow us to consider it a new development, created using the developments of the previous BMP-3.
Unlike the base machine, the Dragoon has a classic layout for modern infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. In front of the case is now located engine compartment with the engine and other units. The basis of the power plant, according to advertising materials, is a multi-fuel engine UTD-32 with the power of 816 hp. Engine-coupled manual transmission, transmitting torque to the front drive wheels.
Directly behind the engine compartment is the control compartment. Due to the use of new weapons and the need to create a reserve for modernization, it was decided to place the entire crew of a combat vehicle, consisting of three people, side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Behind the engine are the driver (in the center), the commander and gunner-operator of weapons (on the sides). Their jobs are equipped with all necessary equipment to monitor the situation, control the machine and use weapons. All three crew members have their own hatches in the roof of the hull, equipped with periscopic viewing devices. Moreover, in the case of the driver, periscopes are the main way of tracking the road.
The base BMP-3 on the sides of the driver are places for two paratroopers who could not fit into the main troop compartment. In the hull of the Dragoon, this part of the habitable volume is given to the crew. The two paratroopers, in turn, are now offered to be transported on the seats located behind the control compartment, in front of the tower and the fighting compartment.
The middle part of the body of the upgraded machine is given under the combat module. According to the advertising materials presented at the exhibition, the BMP-3M “Dragoon” can be equipped with three types of combat modules, each of which has its own weaponry structure and differs from the others in the configuration of submachine units. In the case of the sample currently being demonstrated, the units of the fighting compartment, located inside the vehicle body, are placed in a rectangular casing. On the sides of the casing there are small passages that can be used by paratroopers in the front seats.
Crew Jobs. In the foreground post control
The entire aft of the hull, located behind the shoulder strap of the tower, is given for the placement of the landing force. The dimensions of this compartment allowed the installation of six seats, three on each side. The seats are attached to the sides, the fighters must sit facing each other. Access to the troop compartment is carried out using a stern ramp. A large door with a lowered ramp is provided in the hull stern sheet. This unit allows you to land fighters both during a stop and in motion at low speed. An important feature of the new layout of the troop compartment is the fact that when dismounting, the fighters hide behind the body of their armored vehicles. In addition, on the side they are protected by special armored boxes, in which some units of the machine are located.
The chassis of the upgraded BMP-3M has undergone some changes directly related to the processing of the hull layout. The machine still has six road wheels on each side. Skating rinks have an individual torsion suspension. In addition, two front and one aft pair of rollers are equipped with additional shock absorbers. For the correct distribution of the load on the chassis, the road wheels of the new machine are uneven. So, the third, fourth and fifth pairs of rollers are shifted to each other, because of which the gaps between the second and third pairs, as well as the last two pairs, have increased. In connection with the transfer of the engine, the drive wheels are now located in the front of the hull, the guides in the stern. According to the composition of the used components and assemblies of the chassis, the modernized machine, apparently, is unified with the basic “Troika”.
Despite serious improvements and rearranging, the Dragoon has approximately the same dimensions as the base BMP-3M. The chassis length is 6715 mm, the width of the wings - 3,4 m (3,15 m tracks). The maximum height on the roof of the tower (probably the most significant combat module is meant) - 2570 mm. The total combat mass of the new chassis, excluding the turret with weapons, is 15,5 t. The vehicle’s own crew is three people. In the configuration of the infantry fighting vehicle chassis can carry eight soldiers with weapons: two behind the crew and six in the stern.
Engine UTD-32 power HP 816 should provide a new combat vehicle with a high specific power and, as a result, good mobility regardless of the type of installed combat module. Thus, the average speed when driving on a highway is declared at the level of 60 km / h. If necessary, the machine will be able to cross the water obstacles by swimming, moving with the help of jet propulsion. The maximum speed on the water does not exceed 10 km / h. The declared fuel range on the highway is 600 km. On the water, the Dragoon will be able to move for 7 hours.
At the exhibition Russia Arms Expo 2015 presented a sample of the BMP-3M "Dragoon" with a remote-controlled cannon-machine-gun combat module. In promotional materials, this system is referred to as BM 100 + 30. Such a combat module is a tower of a characteristic form with beveled front sheets, in which a full set of weapons is installed. The module has turret devices: a part of its units is located inside the base of the base machine, in a rectangular casing. The dimensions of this casing allowed to leave small aisles at the sides of the machine, which should be used by paratroopers.
The BM 100 + 30 combat module is equipped with an 2-70 launcher with a 100 caliber mm. 30-mm automatic gun 2А72 is paired with this tool. Finally, to defeat manpower and unprotected targets, the combat module carries a PKTM 7,62 mm machine gun. Guidance of all receiver systems is carried out using common drives. Armament is equipped with a stabilizer. On the left cheekbone and on the roof of the turret of the module there are two sights connected with the commander and gunner control panels. On the right cheekbone of the tower mounted smoke grenade launcher.
The dimensions of the turret and under-turret units of the module allow to transport rather large ammunition. In the automatic loader for the 2-70 launcher, 22 shots are located, as well as 3 guided missiles. The ammunition of the automatic gun 2А72 consists of 500 shells. The use of armor-piercing tracer, frag-tracer and high-explosive-incendiary shots is possible. According to the developer’s advertising materials, the standard 2А72 cannon ammunition consists of 305 fragmentation and 195 armor-piercing shells. In the boxes for the machine gun is placed up to 2000 cartridges.
It is noteworthy that the combat module presented at the exhibition is not different in composition from weapons of the BMP-3 turret. However, unlike it, the new module is made uninhabited and equipped with remote control systems. Thus, in terms of combat characteristics, it hardly differs from the base tower, but has the advantage of being smaller and reducing risks for the crew, which is now protected by the vehicle’s armored hull.
BMP-3M "Dragoon" has a standard shoulder strap diameter, which allows equipping this vehicle with other types of combat modules. So, on the poster with information about the project the possibility of using the BM 57 and BM 125 modules is indicated. The BM 57 system is also known as AU-220M. This module with a 57-mm automatic gun was first introduced at the beginning of this year, and at the current Russia Arms Expo exhibition it is demonstrated as part of the BMP-3 Derivation combat vehicle. The BM 125 product is proposed to be equipped with a 125 mm smoothbore tank the gun. Thus, the new chassis based on the Troika can be the basis for both infantry fighting vehicles and light tanks or specialized self-propelled guns.
According to domestic media reports, the experimental model of the BMP-3M "Dragoon" will have to go through the entire test cycle. In this case, there are grounds for assumptions about the imminent start of the mass production of such equipment. The news agency "Lenta.ru," with reference to an unnamed source in the military, writes that the Ministry of Defense has already become interested in "Dragoon". The specific forms of such interest, however, are not yet specified. Any conclusions about the prospects of the new technology will be possible only after the completion of the tests.
Officially, an infantry fighting vehicle created as part of the Dragoon project is considered an upgraded version of the BMP-3M serial. Nevertheless, the main features of the project allow us to talk about the creation of a completely new machine, in the design of which existing components and assemblies are widely used. One way or another, the Dragoon project is of great interest from a technical point of view, as a result of which it can have great prospects in the international market of armaments and military equipment.
Currently, infantry combat vehicles BMP-3 existing modifications are in service with foreign 11 countries. The appearance of a modification with a modified layout may increase this list. In addition, countries already operating the Troika may show interest in the Dragoon, which will contribute to a high degree of unification of the two machines. Thus, the project of modernization of the existing BMP-3М over the next few years may become one of the most interesting and promising Russian proposals on the international market for weapons and military equipment.
However, the upgraded BMP must first go through a full cycle of tests. Checks of the updated car will start in the foreseeable future and take some time. According to their results, the Russian ministry will have to draw certain conclusions. In addition, the completion of the inspection will allow to introduce a new car to potential customers from foreign countries. Thus, the serial production of the "Dragoon" - if it starts - starts only in a few years. In the meantime, it remains to study the submitted materials and make our assumptions about the future of an interesting project.
On the materials of the sites: