The design of the BMP-3 or Obyekt 688M can be traced back to the Obyekt 685 light tank prototype with 100 mm gun 2A48-1 from 1975. This vehicle did not enter series production, but the chassis, with a new engine, was used for the next-generation infantry combat vehicle Obyekt 688 from A. Blagonravov's design bureau. The Ob. 688 weapons configuration—an externally mounted 30 mm gun and twin Konkurs ATGM launcher—was rejected; instead the new 2K23 armament system was selected. The resulting BMP-3 was developed in the early 1980s and entered service with the Soviet Army officially in 1987. It was shown for the first time in public during the 1990 Victory Day parade and was given the NATO code IFV M1990/1.
The BMP-3 is designed and produced by the Kurganmashzavod ("Kurgan Machine Building Plant") some variants however are built by the Rubtsovsk Machine Building Plant (RMZ), for example the BRM-3K.
In May 2015, the Russian Defense Ministry signed a three-year contract to receive "hundreds" of BMP-3 vehicles to maintain its armored vehicle force until its replacement, the Kurganets-25, completes research and development. In the process of the BMP-s serial production, the vehicle's design underwent 1,500 amendments.
The BMP-3 saw action in several conflicts.
The BMP-3 saw action with the Russian forces during the First Chechen War.
The BMP-3 also saw action with Emirati forces in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, where it is currently deployed.
The BMP-3 is one of the most heavily armed infantry combat vehicles in service, fitted with a low-velocity 2A70 100 mm rifled gun, which can fire conventional shells or 9M117 ATGMs (AT-10 Stabber). 40 100mm-rounds and 8 ATGMs are carried. A 2A72 30 mm dual feed autocannon with 500 (300 HEI and 200 APT) rounds and a rate of fire of 350 to 400 RPM, and a 7.62mm PKT machine gun with 2,000 rounds, all mounted coaxially in the turret. The main gun elevates from −5° to +60°. There are also two 7.62mm PKT bow machine guns, again with 2,000 rounds each. The BMP-3 is capable of engaging targets out to 5,000–6,000 meters with its ATGM weapon system 9K116-3 "Basnya". The minimum engagement distance, flight time and vulnerability of the launcher are typical of command-guided, rather than fire-and-forget, ATGM systems. With conventional ammunition, such as the HE-Frag shell 3OF32, the 2A70 gun has a range of 4,000 meters.
According to the manufacturer's web-site, all weapons can be fired from the halt, on the move, and afloat with the same effectiveness. The ability to hit targets on the move with missiles was successfully demonstrated during competitive evaluations in the UAE in 1991.
The turret is fitted with the 2K23 system, which consists of an automatic loader with 22 rounds (the remaining 18 rounds are stored in the hull), a 1V539 ballistic computer, a cross-wind sensor, a 2E52-2 stabilising system, a 1D16-3 laser range finder, a 1K13-2 gunner's sight/guidance device, a PPB-1 gunner's sight and an OU-5-1 IR searchlight. The commander has a combined optical sight 1PZ-10, a day/night vision device TKN-3MB and an IR searchlight OU-3GA2. Since 2005, the BMP-3 can be fitted with a new fire control system from the "Peleng" Joint Stock Company from Belarus. This consists of a SOZH-M gunner's main sight with an integrated laser range-finder and missile-guidance channel, a Vesna-K targeting system with thermal imaging camera and automatic target tracker AST-B, an armament stabilisation system, a ballistic computer with data input sensors and a PL-1 IR laser projector.
Standard equipment includes five firing ports with associated vision blocks, an R-173 tranceiver, an R-173P receiver, a GO-27 radiation and chemical agent detector, an FVU filtration system, an automatic fire extinguisher and six 902V "Tucha-2" 81 mm smoke grenade launchers.
The vehicle has an unconventional layout. The engine is in the back of the vehicle to the right (unlike most other IFVs, which have the engine located forward in the hull). As a result, the driver is seated forward in the hull (in the center) together with two infantrymen (one on each side of the driver). The vehicle has a double bottom and the engine is located under the floor of the vehicle (troops enter/leave the vehicle over the engine). The remaining five infantrymen are seated aft of the two-man turret.
Early models were powered by a 450 hp engine UTD-29, but most BMP-3s are now equipped with the 500 hp UTD-29M version. The engine was developed at the Transmash Diesel Engine Plant in Barnaul. The BMP-3 has a range of 600 km, an altitude of operation of up to 3,000 m and it is transportable by train, truck, sea, and air. The BMP-3 engine is a diesel four-stroke, liquid-cooled design. The transmission is a four-speed hydromechanical power unit, with power takeoff to its water jets. The suspension is independent, with a torsion bar and six hydraulic shock absorbers. Steering is by gear differential with hydrostatic drive. The track adjusting mechanism is remotely controlled from the driver's station, with tension force indication. The water-jet propulsion unit is single-stage, axial, auger-type.
The hull and turret are made of a high-strength aluminium alloy, with the front of the hull being provided with an extra steel plate welded over it plus spaced armour from the trim vane. The turret is also provided with a thick steel spaced armour shield over its frontal arc. Over the frontal, the vehicle is protected against 30 mm gun rounds at a range of 200 m. In addition to "hard" protection, the BMP-3's self-healing fuel tank is located in front of the driver, directly behind the front armour plating. It is specially constructed to act as armour, effective against shaped charge warheads as well as any autocannon shells that managed to go through the front armour.
The BMP-3 can lay its own smoke screen by injecting fuel into the exhaust manifolds. A chemical agent detector, an FVU filtration system, an automatic fire extinguisher and six 902V "Tucha-2" 81 mm smoke grenade launchers are standard.
At least two distinct sets of explosive reactive armour kit are currently available, giving the BMP-3 protection from less advanced rocket propelled grenades. One of them is the Kaktus ERA kit, which has a unique design that creates minimal acoustic and kinetic backlash to the armour behind it upon detonation, thus ensuring that the occupants will not be harmed by shockwaves from the ERA block. The ERA blocks will completely disintegrate after detonation. According to Kurganmashzavod, the BMP-3 may also be fitted with additional side armour tiles, which can resist .50 caliber armour-piercing ammunition perpendicularly at close ranges. They give the BMP-3 added side protection from autocannon fire as well.
The BMP-3 also has the ability to carry a Shtora electro-optical jammer that disrupts semiautomatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) antitank guided missiles, laser rangefinders and target designators. Shtora is a soft-kill, or passive-countermeasure system.
Standard weight of the vehicle is 18.7 tonnes. If additional armor overlay (metal sheet of armor and Kaktus ERA) is installed, weight will reach to 22.2 tonnes. The body covered from the sides and the top. In such kit, it is protected against 12.7 mm machine gun rounds in the range of 100–200 m.BMP-3 – Basic version, as described.
BMP-3M – KBP and Kurganmashzavod have upgraded the vehicle with a new turret and engines. The upgraded vehicle is called the BMP-3M and the new turret includes a new automatic fire control system with ballistic computer, new SOZH gunner's sight with laser rangefinder and an ATGM guidance channel, thermal imager, TKN-AI commander's vision device with laser illuminator and new ammunition loading system for ATGM. The BMP-3M is also able to fire various ammunition types, including new 100 mm laser-guided projectiles, new 100 mm HE-FRAG (high explosive fragmentation) rounds and new 30 mm APDS (armour piercing discarding sabot) rounds. Additional passive armour protection is effective against 12.7 mm armour-piercing rounds from a range of 50 m. Explosive reactive armour is available as an option. The new uprated engine is the UTD-32, which is rated at 660 hp. There are actually several different M models, some fitted with additional armour, "Arena-E" or "Shtora-1" protection system, air conditioner etc.
BMMP (bojevaya mashina morskoj pekhoti) – Version for naval infantry, fitted with the turret of the BMP-2.
BMP-3K (komandnyi) – Tactical command variant, includes additional radio R-173, an intercom for seven users, an AB-R28 independent portable power unit, a navigation device TNA-4-6 and the "Ainet" round fuzing capability. The BMP-3K lacks the bow machine guns and has its whip antennas mounted on the rear hull. Crew: 3+3.
BMP-3F – Specially designed for operations at sea, with improved seaworthiness and buoyancy, capability to move afloat at sea state 3 and fire with the required accuracy at sea state 2. Compared to the basic model, the vehicle design features changes increasing floatability and vehicle stability: the self-entrenching equipment is omitted, a lightweight anti-surge vane and an air intake tube are introduced; the BMP-3F turret is also protected by anti-surge vanes. Water jet propellers develop a speed of 10 km/h when afloat. The BMP-3F design allows the vehicle to come ashore under rough sea conditions and to tow the same-type vehicle. A new main sight, the SOZH, which has an integrated laser range finder and an ATGM guidance channel, is installed. This version can endure continuous amphibious operation for seven hours with the running engine.
BRM-3K "Rys" (Ob.501) (boyevaya razvedivatel'naya mashina) – Surveillance variant with 1PN71 thermal sight (3.7x/11x, 3 km range), 1PN61 active-pulse night vision device ( 3 km range), 1RL-133-1 ("TALL MIKE") I-band surveillance radar (3 km man, 12 km vehicle), 1V520 computer and a TNA-4-6 navigation system. The armament consists only of the stabilized 30 mm gun 2A72 (600 rounds) and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun (2,000 rounds). Combat weight: 19 t, crew: 6. In 1993 started quantity production of BRM-3K vehicles.
BMP-3 Dragoon – New IFV version with an unmanned turret, the engine and powerplant moved to the front, and a hydraulic ramp fitted to the rear.
BREM-L "Beglianka" (Ob.691) (bronirovannaya remontno-evakuatsionnaya mashina) – Armoured recovery vehicle with five-tonne crane and 20/40 metric tonne capacity winch. Photos Photos 2
9P157-2 "Khrizantema-S" – Anti-tank version with Khrizantema (AT-15) system with radar and laser guidance. The 9P157-2 carries two 9M123 missiles on launch rails, which are extended from a stowed position, the radar is also stowed during transit. The missiles are re-loaded automatically by the tank destroyer from an internal magazine with 15 rounds (missiles are stored and transported in sealed canisters) and can also accept munitions manually loaded from outside the vehicle. The manufacturer claims that three 9P157-2 tank destroyers are able to engage 14 attacking tanks and destroy at least sixty percent of the attacking force. The dual guidance system ensures protection against electronic countermeasures and operation in all climatic conditions, day or night. NBC protection is provided for the crew (gunner and driver) of each 9P157-2 in addition to full armour protection equivalent to the standard BMP-3 chassis and entrenching equipment. The 9M123 missile itself is supersonic, flying at an average speed of 400 m/s or Mach 1.2 and a range of between 400 and 6,000 meters. Photos Entered service in 2005. More than 10 sets of new anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) complexes "Khrizantema-S" on the crawler, which replaced the complexes "Shturm", entered the artillery units of the Southern Military District, based in Ingushetia, in November 2012.
9P163M-1 "Kornet-T" – Anti-tank version with Kornet (AT-14) missile system. Some sources call it the 9P162. The Kornet is similar in function to the Khrizantema missile system. The 9P163M-1 carries two 9M133 missiles on launch rails, which are extended from a stowed position during transit. Missiles are re-loaded automatically by the tank destroyer from an internal magazine with 16 rounds (missiles are stored and transported in sealed canisters). Nuclear, biological and chemical protection is provided for the two crew members (gunner and driver) in addition to full armour protection equivalent to the standard BMP-3 chassis. The guidance system of the 9P163M-1 allows two missiles to be fired at once, the missiles operating on different guidance (laser) channels.
2S18 "Pat-S" (Ob.697) – Self-propelled version of the 152 mm howitzer 2A61 "Pat-B". This was only a prototype, further development led to the 2S31.
2S31 "Vena" – Fire support vehicle with a 120 mm mortar. Entered service in 2010.
DZM "Vostorg-2" (dorozhno-zemlerojnaya mashina) – Combat engineer vehicle with a dozerblade and excavating bucket. Prototype.
UR-07 (ustanovka razminirovaniya) – Mine clearing system. The UR-07 might replace the UR-77 "Meteorit". It has the same chassis as the BMP-3 but a bigger steel hull with two launch ramps in the rear. The ramps are used to fire rockets towing hose-type mine-clearing line charges to clear mine fields.
UNSh (Ob.699) (unifitsirovannyj shassi) – Basic chassis for specialised variants.
KhTM (khodovoj trenazhor) – Driver trainer.
Hermes or TKB-841 – Air-defence vehicle with high-velocity missiles and radar system. Prototype.
UDAR – Unmanned ground vehicle based on the tracked chassis of the BMP-3 with the center hull raised to fit the Epoch Remote Control Turret.
The turret of the BMP-3 has been fitted to the Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle. Azerbaijan – 100 BMP-3M.
Cyprus – 43 delivered in 1995–1996.
Indonesia – 17 BMP-3F have arrived on 26 November 2010. Another 37 BMP-3F delivered in January 27, 2014.
Kuwait – 118 delivered in 1995–1996. A new contract was signed in 2013. Contract was executed on September 30, 2015. Currently it has about 200 in service.
Russia – 720. Russia's Defense Ministry has ordered 200 new BMP-3s.
South Korea – 33 delivered in 1996–1997 to pay off Russian debt, and another 37 in 2005. Moscow is currently seeking their return.
Libya – 14 9P157-2 tank destroyers in service.
Ukraine – 4 in storage.
United Arab Emirates – 250 for Abu Dhabi and 402 for Dubai (of which 391 delivered in 1992–1997) with "Namut" thermal sight and other modifications. They are under further upgrade with modular armour "Kaktus" and UTD-32 engine.
Turkmenistan – 4
Venezuela – 130 BMP-3M, 10 BREM-L and some BMP-K ordered, first deliveries in 2011, completed in 2012.
Morocco: 60 BMP-3 ordrerd from russia to supplement the T-72BV
Iraq – Application for 500.
Saudi Arabia – Application for 950.
Philippines – The Philippine Marine Corps is also interested for the BMP-3F.
Greece – The Hellenic Army ordered 450 BMP-3 from Russia as part of a €1.7 billion deal, but cancelled the order in 2011.
India – In 2012 Russia offered a transfer of the BMP-3 technology to the Indian Army if it would cancel its homegrown $10 billion Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program, but in November 2013 India rejected the offer.