The main role of the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (BMP) is to accompany the Main Combat Tanks (MBT) in the same battle formations, providing support and protection for their infantry mainly from enemy infantry with anti-tank weapons. The current BMP is largely based on the concept of an armored personnel carrier.
The forerunners of modern infantry fighting vehicles were the first combat carriers of the infantry, which were semi-tracked vehicles with an open top. For example, here you can call the machines of the famous family of the Second World War M14 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage produced by International Harvester, widely used by the American army. BMPs were designed for infantry mobility and equal OBT mobility and protection that unarmored trucks could not provide. Along with M14, another widespread semi-tracked vehicle was the German Army's BMP Hanomag Sd.Kfz.251, which also took part in World War II. As a rule, a medium-caliber machine gun was installed on these machines for self-defense and support of a portable infantry unit. Most of the 50's and 60's armored personnel carriers, such as the United Defense / BAE Systems family of M113s (still in service with many countries of the world), served mainly as “combat taxis” following the MBT. This vehicle transported an infantry unit under armor protection, which was dismounted for combat.
After the end of the war in May, 1945 and the creation of a new German army as an integral part of NATO, the armed forces continued to use their Panzergrenadiere concept (mechanized infantry), according to which infantry and armored vehicles operate and fight as one unit. As a result, this concept was implemented in the form of the Marder-1 BMP, which was developed by Rheinmetall and entered service with the German army in the 1971 year.
Project Marder-I set the basic parameters for the BMP. First, the gun (caliber 20 mm and more), capable of striking armored targets and installed the tower, which also housed the gunner, optoelectronics and fire control systems (FCS). The new German car also set a trend in the field of protection - at least from 12,7 caliber bullets. The car had a crew of up to three people and a troop compartment in the rear with 5-8 paratroopers. The Soviet plant in the city of Kurgan, which produced the BMP-1 in 1971 (most likely here is the merit of the CTZ, approx. Lane), developed the concept of the BMP further. The machine was installed 73-mm smoothbore gun with a low initial velocity of the projectile, ATGM, in the back of it was equipped with fire embrasures for infantry.
Working closely with MBT defines an important characteristic of the BMP. These vehicles should have similar levels of protection, which may result in the mass of an infantry vehicle being able to approach the MBT mass. A prime example here is the heavily armored Israel Military Industries (IMI) Namer BMP, which weighs 60 tons. Wheeled BMPs can also be well protected, for example, the body of the Patria eight-wheel modular armored vehicle AMV (Armored Modular Vehicle) provides protection against 10 kg mines and a frontal arc protection against armor-piercing shells.
Other defensive measures may include passive protection against direct and indirect fire, debris and explosions on mines and improvised bombs. Separated protection systems, such as lattice screens and grids from rocket-propelled grenades, have proven effective against hand-held anti-tank weapons. The head of the direction of combat vehicles at BAE Systems, Mark Signorelli, says that the crew-oriented approach to survivability (advanced in its proposal to the US Army on ground combat vehicle GCV (Ground Combat Vehicle)) has excellent prospects, including (and not last but not least due to, for example, energy-absorbing seats, which reduce the level of injuries during a mine explosion.
The concept of reducing losses and damage also fits well with fire extinguishing and explosion suppression systems. Appearing in the 80's, they are now widely used. Systems of such companies Spetrex SAFE and German Kidde Deugra automatically turn on and extinguish the fire in less than 150 milliseconds. They protect the crew and reduce damage, thereby allowing the fight to continue. Other passive sensors warn the crew of the vehicle when it is irradiated with a radar or laser, allowing you to activate countermeasures in time.
Active countering systems can be simple. For example, in order to hide a machine in the visible spectrum from enemy fire, it is widely used to install a smoke screen, both with the help of smoke grenades and with the help of thermo-smoke equipment. Dynamic protection (DZ), it is in foreign terminology, active-reactive armor ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) seems to be a more complex system, but manufacturers, such as Ensign-Bickford Aerospace and Defense, say that it is quite simple. Its unattended Breakwater and IronWall systems are reliable and secure. DZ blocks are installed on top of existing armor and explode, destroying the cumulative combat units, so popular in infantry anti-tank weapons and ATGM. Another approach in the field of remote sensing is implemented in the system of protection against RPGs using the air shell TRAPS (Tactical Rocket Propelled Grenade Airbag Protection System). The system, developed by Textron, incorporates a simple radar device and a system of modified mass-produced airbags, which is designed to disrupt the attack of a reactive grenade with minimal risk of injury to dismounted soldiers. Active protection systems (KAZ) of vehicles, meanwhile, detect an attacking projectile and intercept it in order to destroy or change the direction of flight. These complexes use radar to detect attacking projectiles and anti-shells (ammunition) to intercept them. One of the most famous is the KAZ Trophy from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries. Judging by the open press reports, this KAZ is very effective against ATGM and RPG. It was commissioned by the Israeli army and installed on the Merkava Mk 4 MBT in 2010.
The installation and integration of each of the above-mentioned systems affects the entire BMP, since a higher level of protection increases the mass of the vehicle. KAZ, by their nature, are more expensive systems, and DZ, in turn, may put personnel at risk. Even lightly spaced armor, such as an RPG grid, can have a negative impact and increase the width of the car, making it difficult to drive along narrow streets and driveways.
Tactical mobility is the second important characteristic of the BMP. Here the primary role is played by the suspension system, the specific power provided by the power unit (engine and transmission), and also the dimensions of the machine. BMPs were traditionally tracked platforms, but progress in the wheel suspension contributed to the emergence of six-wheel and eight-wheel-drive platforms. The advantages of wheeled armored vehicles lie in their ability to travel long distances and reduced maintenance. But on the other hand, a big disadvantage is their insufficient off-road maneuverability.
High power density (the ratio of engine power to the mass of the machine) provides greater acceleration, good dynamics and high maximum speed. The problem is that the greater the mass of the machine, the more power is needed and the larger the engine must be. Signorelli added that BAE Systems believes that it is necessary not to increase power without thinking, but rather to provide good engine cooling and efficient use of available power. The introduction of electric motors has many advantages in this regard. At BAE Systems, we were seriously engaged in hybrid engine technology (a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor), since it has significant advantages, including 30 fuel savings of percent compared to traditional engines and greater energy efficiency to meet the increasing demands of on-board electronics.
The size and volume of the engine have a very large impact on the design of the BMP, the greater the volume of the BMP, the larger the area to be protected. This increases the overall weight of the machine. Thus, engine manufacturers focus on compact engines and drives. For example, MTU diesel engines of the 800 series are extremely compact with their power 800 HP.
Suspension determines the ability of a machine to use engine power to overcome rough terrain. It also provides smooth movement for the crew and assault forces and partial stabilization of weapons systems. Uneven surface, high speed and weight increase the impact on the car. For example, the AMV uses effective hydropneumatic shock absorbers, struts and dampers from the Hydrogas family from the Horstman Defense System. Computer technologies allow the sensors to “read” the suspension, measure and predict the operating forces and automatically adjust the suspension parameters in order to obtain optimal smoothness. BAE Systems has adopted and used active damping technology on its CV90 infantry fighting vehicle. Dan Lindell, project manager for CV90 at BAE Systems, said that in this case the machine is 40 percent faster, more mobile and more stable, which improves the accuracy of firing.
The eight-wheel BMP RG41 manufactured by Denel combines an advanced suspension and improved protection against mines. Five modular units, bolted under the case, protect the hydropneumatic suspension, which is connected to the wide wheels and the system of centralized tire pressure control, which provides good off-road maneuverability. The RG41 also has eleven energy-absorbing seats for the crew and landing force, it has an excellent payload capacity and 11 tons and an internal volume of 14,9 cube. meters
The firepower of the BMP is determined by a complex system, including weapons, opto-electronic systems, SLA and weapon stabilization. At first, 20-mm or 25-mm guns were installed on the BMP, which were later replaced by 30-mm and 40-mm guns. This was necessary in order to fight the enhanced protection of enemy armored vehicles. The use of manned towers in the past was a common occurrence, but for BMPs this tendency also begins to change.
The German army chose the Rheinmetall 30mm MK30-2 / AMB gun for their new Puma infantry fighting vehicle. A cannon of this caliber allows you to have more ammunition on board compared to larger calibers. The cannon can fire an armor-piercing subcaliber and universal armor-piercing projectile with a KETF (Kinetic Energy-Timed Fuse) remote fuse with the possibility of air blasting, which reflects its main objectives. On the BM90 CVP, which is in service with the Swedish army, a 40-mm L70 gun from BAE Systems is installed. Ammunition of this caliber is used against armored vehicles, manpower, aviation and material part. Some armies prefer to have more shells in their vehicles, which is reflected in the export versions of the CV90 BMP with 30-mm or 35-mm guns, respectively, these are the CV90 / 30 and CV90 / 35 Mk.III variants.
Although manned towers remain widespread in infantry fighting vehicles, the proportion of remotely controlled combat modules (SDMs) is growing on vehicles of this category. In the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, the entire crew, commander, gunner and driver, is located inside the tower hull. Arms are controlled from the inside, the commander, the gunner-gunner rely entirely on video images and sensors. The machine has an independent stabilized periscope all-round view, controlled by the commander or the shooter. In addition, the shooter has a dependent day / night sight and a laser range finder. All videos, including videos from the five rear cameras, are displayed on crew members and airborne displays.
Regarding the advantages of the DBMS, the author of the article received a written statement from the Nexter company stating that “the DBMS does not require the same level of protection as for the crew. Consequently, with a smaller amount of metal, significant savings in mass and size are achieved, and since such systems do not penetrate into the hull, a large amount of space is saved, so more people and airborne equipment can be placed inside. However, some towers are still inhabited, for example, towers of reconnaissance vehicles. ” Ultimately, this is a combat mission issue.
The concept of “combat capability” is difficult to define, despite the fact that this is one of the most important characteristics of BMP vehicles. It directly affects the combat effectiveness with which the BMP and its soldiers perform their tasks. It includes the accommodation of the crew and the landing force, accessibility to their workplaces and personal space; volume intended for weapons and life support components in the form of ammunition, water, food and batteries. The ability to conduct combat operations also includes communication between the crew and the landing force. The realities of combat are such that the simplest task can become difficult. Cold, extreme heat, fatigue, darkness, fear, anxiety and uncertainty - all this complicates the ability to coherently perform the necessary actions.
A key aspect of combat capability is situational awareness (there is an ingenious definition of this term, which I would like to give here - “The quality of the complex perception of heterogeneous information in a single spatial and temporal volume”, approx. Lane). OTO Melara’s engineers told the author that “digitization is the best solution for enhancing the operational capabilities of combat vehicles. It allows the integration of medium-caliber weapons, optoelectronics, communications equipment and operational management systems. " The ability to freely receive, distribute, view and act on the basis of information from several sources and sensors determines a decisive advantage. Dismissing with a good level of awareness of the environment and tactical situation allows the infantry unit to deploy effectively and maintain the pace of the attack.
The activity in the field of BMPs today is divided either into the deployment of new machines, as is the case in Germany, France and Italy, or to the modernization of existing BMPs. In the second case, most of the effort is aimed at restoring the characteristics lost due to the increase in mass. For example, the mass of the American BMP of the M2 Bradley family, manufactured by BAE Systems, has grown from 25 tons to 34 tons, since these machines have gone through several upgrades over their entire life cycle. Another direction is the process of digitization associated with the rapid development in electronics and information technology.
When creating a new machine, Puma IFV, which began to enter the army in 2015, the German army directly used its Panzergrenadiere doctrine and developments on the BMP Marder-I. PSM Projekt System Management, a joint venture between KMW and Rheinmetall, will supply the 350 army of Puma machines for the 2020 year.
Nexter chose an eight-wheeled platform for its next-generation BMP. The VBCI machine (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie - an armored vehicle for infantry combat) entered service with the French army in 2008, in 2010, 630 VBCI platforms were ordered. In 2014, Nexter showed an improved version of the VBCI 32 ton mass with improved protection, a reduced turning radius 20 meters and additional internal volume for the landing. Deliveries of this option to the French army were to begin in 2015.
Italy has also chosen a wheeled platform - this is the Freccia machine manufactured by the Iveco / OTO Melara consortium. The Italian army ordered 253 vehicles in the 2005 year, and in 2010 the second batch of 381 vehicles was ordered in several variants, including the BMP, commander, mortar transporter and reconnaissance vehicle. Freccia has proven itself in operations in Lebanon and Afghanistan. It is in service with medium brigades, while its tracked "cousin" from Iveco / OTO Melara Dardo is armed with heavy brigades of the Italian army.
The first BMP-3 was released by the Russian company Kurganmashzavod in 1987. The machine has a weapon unit, consisting of 100-mm gun-launcher and 30-mm automatic gun. It is in service with the armies of seven countries; The last buyer was Indonesia, which received the 17 BMP-3F (model with improved amphibious qualities) in November 2010 of the year and 37 machines in January 2014 of the year. In May 2015, the Russian government placed a three-year contract for "hundreds" of cars. Ultimately, the BMP-3 should be replaced by the Kurgan-25 family of vehicles. For the first time, new cars were shown to the public at a military parade in May 2015. The development of tracked BMP 25 tons of tons completed, are undergoing its tests. It is not clear how many cars and when they go into service, although it was reported on the possible date 2018 year.
A total of 789 BMP FV510 Warrior and its variants for the British army, as well as 254 machines in the version of the Desert Warrior for the Kuwaiti army were manufactured. The British Army is currently upgrading its Warrior vehicles to extend their service life to 2025. Its WCSP (Warrior Capability Sustainment Program) consists of three subroutines: MPS (Modular Protection System), EEA (Enhanced Electronic Architecture) and WFLIP (Warrior Fightability Lethality Improvement Program - program to improve the combat qualities of the BMP Warrior). In accordance with the latest program on the 449 Warrior machines will be installed a tower from Lockheed Martin with a 40-mm cannon with telescopic ammunition developed by CTA International (a joint venture of Nexter and BAE Systems). The upgraded Warrior should be deployed in the 2018 year and is expected to remain in service until the 2040 year.
Modernization of the American Army’s M2 Bradley BMP includes an Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) program. The ECP program, coordinated by BAE Systems, began in the 2014 year and will run until the 2017 year. In the first stage (ECP-1), the emphasis is on improving protection and survivability with additional armor, improved suspension, installing anti-explosion seats and rearranging the internal volume. The ECP-2B routine is scheduled to start in 2016; here efforts will be focused on increasing the lethality, integration of new and improved sensors, including an advanced thermal imaging sight. And finally, there is a program for network integration and digitization. Under the ECP program, it will be improved over 2000 BMP M2A3 with the extension of their service life to 2020 year.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Scott Debolt of the Doctrine Development and Combat Training Command of the US Army reported that in June 2015 companies were given contracts worth 28 million each for research on advanced technologies that could be used in developing BMPs to General Dynamics and BAE Systems. . It is expected that the results of these studies on the initial phase of the program for the FFV (Future Fighting Vehicle) advanced combat vehicle will be presented in the 2016 year. As part of the FFV initiative, a new machine will eventually be developed, which will replace the M2 Bradley family. Over the next five years, "these companies and army laboratories will determine what can be achieved" regarding the project on the advanced BMP. At the beginning of this year, the chief of the General Staff of the American Army acknowledged that in past programs (first of all, the canceled program for the Ground Combat Vehicle ground combat vehicle) they tried to "create a perfect machine with too high requirements." The purpose of these conceptual studies is to eliminate the repetition of a similar situation and ensure achievable requirements.