Russian marines to get BMP-3F infantry fighting vehicles

Russian ministry of Defense has planned to arm Russian marines with BMP-3F infantry fighting vehicles for coastal and landing operations, including firing from water. Experts believe the new vehicles will increase the firepower of marines several fold. They will be able to engage in local conflicts and in clashes with modern armies. The final decision will follow the trials of BMP-3F at the current Caucasus-2020 exercise, the Izvestia daily writes.
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BMP-3F amphibious IFV (Picture source: Army Recognition)

BMP-3F is a modification of the BMP-3. It has a better floating capability, a lighter water-repelling shield, a telescopic water intake pipe, and a water-repelling shield on the turret. It can sail on Force 3 sea with one-meter high waves and conduct precision fire in force 2 sea with 50cm-high waves. The maximum road speed is 70 km/h and floating speed 10 km/h. The amphibious vehicle can sail for seven hours.

It is armed with a 100mm gun that can also launch antitank guided missiles, a 30mm 2A42 automatic gun, three 7.63 machineguns of which one is coaxial with the gun. BMP-3 has the strongest armor of all the vehicles operated by motorized rifles, paratroopers and marines. The front armor can resist a hit by a 30mm shell. Side armor protects against bullets and splinters

In Soviet time, marine brigades were armed with BTR-80 APCs and amphibious PT-76 tanks. After the latter were decommissioned, the marines operated only armored personnel carriers. Today, they have BTR-82s armed with a 30mm automatic gun. In 2018, the Defense Ministry decided to reinforce the marines with armored fighting vehicles. So, their brigades received tank units. However, these heavy vehicles cannot be used at the first stage of amphibious assault when it is necessary to land on adversary-controlled coast and seize a foothold : “The main battle tanks can be used when a foothold has been seized,” expert Viktor Murakhovsky said. “Marines badly need a floating seaworthy vehicle with powerful weapons. BMP-3 properly performed in combat and its 100mm gun destroyed sheltered targets. There are guided missiles to fight armor. Compared to an APC, a tracked BMP-3 has higher all-terrain capability,” he said.

The new vehicles will increase marines’ firepower several times, expert Dmitry Boltenkov said. “BMP-3 is actually a light tank. An armored personnel carrier cannot be compared to it, as it cannot fight adversary heavy weapons. But the new combat vehicles will make marines able to fight tanks,” he said.

The naval BMP-3 modification was designed over ten years ago, but it was not supplied to the troops. Indonesia was the only country operating BMP-3F with its Marinirs. The first contract for a development batch of 17 vehicles for marines was signed in 2009. Another 37 vehicles were procured in 2012. Indonesian marines noted the high firepower of BMP-3F, its low silhouette, effective water jet, reliability and easy maintenance. “Indonesia has at least two battalions with the vehicles”, Murakhovsky said. “It is an island country and Indonesian marines have tested all the capabilities of BMP-3F. They landed from warships and sailed on the vehicles between islands,” he said.

Russian marine formations have been strengthened of late and their missions expanded. Russia currently has five marine brigades and one regiment, the Izvestia said.

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