"Basurmanin" goes into operation
Modernization of old equipment becomes a trend of the Ministry of Defense
First-generation infantry fighting vehicles, which have undergone factory upgrades, appear to be starting to enter the army. Evidence of this was the demonstration of the BMP-1AM at the static site of the international scientific and technical forum "Army-2020", and it was allocated a place among other types of armored vehicles in service with the Land Forces of the Russian Federation.
In addition, photos of a train in the area of the Barnaul railway station carrying at least 20 BMP-1AM appeared on the Internet. Visually, they differ from the serial configuration by replacing the squat turret with a short-barreled gun with a high combat module from the BTR-82A with a 30-mm automatic cannon.
There is no official information about the acceptance of the BMP-1AM for supply yet. However, on June 4, 2019, at a conference call of the military department, its head Sergei Shoigu said: “This year, the troops should receive over 400 new and modernized units of armored vehicles, including T-72BZM tanks with domestic sighting and observation systems, T-90M "Breakthrough-3", T-80BVM and BMP-1AM infantry fighting vehicles ".
According to the table with the technical characteristics of the full-scale exhibit in Kubinka, the external dimensions remained the same, except for the height. It has grown by almost half a meter, up to 2550 mm. The number of the crew (three people) and the number of seats in the troop compartment (eight servicemen) remained unchanged.
The base engine UTD-20 is replaced with a more resourceful version of the C1 (as in the BMP-2) while maintaining the maximum power of 300 hp. (industry offers other solutions as well).
The mass in combat equipment has grown to 14.2 tons, but the maximum speed on the highway (65 km / h) and the fuel range (550 km) remained.
The old radio station R-123M gave way to the modern R-168-25U-2, one of a dozen versions of such equipment from the digital complex "Aqueduct", designed to meet the needs of tactical level army units for stable and well-protected radio communications.
Power of fire
Instead of a turret with a 73-mm smooth-bore gun 2A28 "Thunder", a combat module with a 30-mm automatic cannon 2A72, stabilized in two planes, was installed. For its time, "Thunder" had good qualities, especially in the defeat of fortified enemy positions on the battlefield, including pillboxes, bunkers, etc. A PG-15V shot with a PG-9V cumulative grenade could even knock out a tank. By now, however, the armored vehicles of the NATO bloc countries have received multi-layer spaced armor with increased anti-cumulative properties.
By today's standards, the "Thunder" has a low muzzle velocity and accuracy of fire, and its installation in a small turret imposed strong restrictions on the aiming angles, especially vertical. In addition, the reserves of previously produced shells have been exhausted, and it is illogical to resume the release of shots of a unique caliber, which, in addition to the BMP-1, was used only by the LNG-9 easel grenade launcher. Therefore, rearmament with a very common and well-proven 30-mm machine gun is a rather forced measure for reasons of unification and ammunition.
Thus, in terms of the force of fire from a barrel weapon, the BMP-1AM caught up with the BTR-82A and BMP-2. Replacing the classic turret with a modern combat module also improves visibility for the commander and gunner-operator. And high firing accuracy is provided by a new fire control system, which includes a sight with a night channel for shooting in the dark.
At the same time, the maximum elevation angle of the barrel increased to 74 degrees, and now you can shoot not only at ground targets, but also at air targets. And it is also more effective to operate in urban combat conditions, when you need to fire on the upper floors.
To combat armored enemy targets, the 9K115 Metis anti-tank missile system is used. The launch is carried out at a target located at a distance of up to 2 km, penetration - 950 mm of armor.
The first public appearance of the BMP-1AM took place a couple of years ago during a dynamic display at the Alabino training ground, held within the framework of the IMTF Army events. Telling the audience about this participant, the organizers of the event added their own name "Basurmanin" to the alphanumeric designation.
Such an unusual choice of the name has caused speculation that the product is supposedly intended mainly for export. The appearance of the word "basurmanin" in Russian refers to the Middle Ages; the population of Russia called them the belligerent foreigners of the Muslim faith.
Following this logic, one could assume that the target audience was the countries of the Near and Middle East. In total, they received several thousand BMP-1, and many remain in service to this day. Since 1966, at the production site in Chelyabinsk (since 2011, the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant is part of the Uralvagonzavod corporation), more than 20 thousand of these machines have been assembled, two-thirds of which were exported.
Many BMP-1 and BMP-2 are in service with India, including a significant number assembled under license. Delhi has long been making plans to modernize its fleet of infantry fighting vehicles with the participation of foreign firms and the widespread involvement of local companies, but so far no option has been identified that is acceptable in terms of price and quality.
The presence of solvent customers in the world set up domestic developers and manufacturers of armored vehicles to develop proposals for the revision of old samples with the hope of receiving orders both from abroad and from their own army.
Several organizations were involved in the modernization of the BMP-1 and BMP-2. Over the course of a couple of decades, they have collectively developed a wide range of options - from fairly simple to very radical. But the attention of customers was attracted only by two of them: the relatively inexpensive for the BMP-1 and the somewhat more expensive for the BMP-2. Prototypes of BMP-1AM and BMP-2M were put forward together to a firing position as part of a dynamic display of equipment during the Army forum. The next episodes were with the participation of BMP-3, BTR-82A and BMD, etc., which provided the audience with the opportunity to form a personal impression of the capabilities of all these machines and each separately, as well as compare them with each other. And foreign buyers should decide on their own choice of a way to modernize Soviet and Russian-made infantry fighting vehicles.
Pros and cons
As already mentioned, "Basurmanin" is a budget modernization, which allows to extend the age of old technology (the basic design of 1965) by another 10 years. The Russian army retains up to a thousand BMP-1. Replacing them with the same number of brand new BMP-3s from the factory will require an amount of about 82-86 billion rubles, if the calculation is based on figures from open sources about the batch purchased in 2019 through the state defense order. Meanwhile, such machines are exported at much higher prices; a batch of one thousand units will cost a foreign client $ 2.5 billion. In a word, a one-to-one replacement does not take place primarily for economic reasons.
The appearance of "Basurmanin" in the Russian troops will certainly arouse increased interest abroad, because many countries have made it a rule to purchase for themselves only serial products purchased by the army of the manufacturing country. The overall export potential is great, given the several thousand BMP-1s in long-term storage warehouses. In case of appropriate agreement, before delivery to a foreign customer, they can be removed from storage and subjected to appropriate work in the factory.
Experts criticize the Basurmanin for its low security and mobility (at the level of the serial BMP-1), as well as for its modest ability to fight tanks. The vulnerability to enemy fire can be reduced by installing additional protection in the form of hinged / overhead screens, following the example of the corresponding kit for the BMP-2M. True, this will lead to an additional decrease in mobility.
A radical way to increase the thrust-to-weight ratio can be the installation of a new UTD-23 turbocharged diesel engine capable of delivering 400 hp, which is 100 "horses" more than the standard UTD-20. Industry representatives sometimes talk about a more powerful power plant in relation to the conventional BMP-1AM, although there are no facts confirming the customer's decision on this matter yet.
An increased power engine and a gearbox suitable for it are one of the main requirements of the Indian military department for the program to modernize the fleet of Russian BMPs. It is explained by the conditions of a hotter climate, as well as the need to conduct operations in high altitude conditions. If a foreign customer pays for the relevant work, this will become an additional incentive for the Russian military.
Strengthening anti-tank weapons is not a new topic, they have been engaged in it since Soviet times. As more advanced anti-tank missiles were created, they were tried on on the BMP-1. Initially, the car was armed with "Baby", since 1979 - "Fagot". Modernization options offered by Russian firms included the installation of an MB2 fighting compartment with a Konkurs ATGM (Muromteplovoz), a Cleaver or Bereg module with a Kornet ATGM (KBP JSC). The latter is equipped with a digital automated fire control system with various sensors (including thermal imagers) for hitting targets day and night from a 30-mm cannon and ATGM at a distance of up to 8 km.
The main problem is related to the installation of additional protection, a new engine and missiles - high financial costs, incomparable with the residual value of the BMP-1. However, this is not the only point. The infantry fighting vehicle was conceived by the military and designers as a means of transporting squad personnel along roads and / or rough terrain in order to deliver them to the place of combat missions, and after dismounting - support with fire.
Half a century ago, Soviet military doctrine focused on large-scale offensive operations by tank and motorized rifle formations with massive air and artillery support. Numerous BMP-1s were to operate in a single deployed formation with tanks. Although its design made it possible to fire from machine guns, it was believed that, sitting in a combat vehicle, the infantry would not be able to perform the tasks assigned to it. To do this, motorized riflemen need to dismount several hundred meters before the front line of the trenches and then operate under the cover of armored vehicles fire, which would suppress enemy firing points with cannon and machine-gun fire.
The task of destroying enemy tanks was not assigned to the BMP-1; she could only defend herself by hitting an armored enemy with 73-mm cannon and ATGM fire. It was impossible to achieve a direct hit by the "Baby" in motion - only from a stop (in defense - from a place). Having consumed one missile, the crew could prepare for a re-launch by manually placing the next "Baby" on the guide located on the tower, for which it was necessary to open the hatches and get out.
According to the purpose, the armor protection of the BMP-1 was chosen on the basis of impenetrability "head-on" from a small-caliber automatic cannon, and "into the side" - from a large-caliber machine gun. After the appearance of the BMP-1, Western countries developed improved ammunition, which reduced its security. Nevertheless, as the experience of local conflicts shows, armor today can withstand shots from grenade launchers, machine guns and machine guns of 7.62 mm caliber, and also protects against fragments of anti-personnel mines, hand grenades and mortars of up to 82 mm caliber.
In a word, the BMP-1 is still capable of performing the main tasks assigned to it when it is put into service. Therefore, in fact, it continues to be in service with the Ground Forces. Modernization in the "Basurmanin" version will not give her a "second youth", but will only prolong the active service life, slightly increasing the functionality and ability to act in the conditions of modern armed conflicts.