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Upgraded BMP-1 IFV spotted for First Time on Ukrainian Battlefront

On November 27, 2023, recent images of a BMP-1TS from the Ukrainian armed forces, equipped with the Spear combat module, were leaked online, marking a significant advancement in Ukraine's military capabilities modernization. The upgraded BMP-1TS, an enhanced version of the Soviet-era infantry combat vehicle, has been developed by the Kyiv-based research and production company Promintex since 2014 and was first presented at a parade in Kyiv in 2021.
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The upgraded BMP-1TS, an enhanced version of the Soviet-era infantry combat vehicle, has been developed by the Kyiv-based research and production company Promintex since 2014. (Picture source: Ukrainian Social Media)

This combat vehicle is currently deployed in the Northern Region of Ukraine, particularly within the fifth assault brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces. The BMP-1TS, an upgraded version of the BMP-1,  is distinguished by its Spear combat module, which includes a 30 mm automatic cannon, a 117 mm KBA-30 automatic grenade launcher, and a Barrier ATGM anti-tank missile system with R-2 laser-guided missiles, designed by Ukrainian companies.

"Spear" is built on a new welded turret made of armor plates of varying thicknesses. The turret has a sloped front plate with a large embrasure, a developed rear niche, and a pair of cylindrical casings for equipment on the sides. It offers 3rd-level protection according to NATO standards - armor that can withstand a shot from a 7.62 mm armor-piercing bullet at any angle.

The combat module carries advanced cannon weapons. A 1 mm ZTM-30 automatic cannon with a casing frame (Ukrainian version of the Soviet 2A72), a 117 mm KBA-30 automatic grenade launcher (AGS-17 variant), and a PKT machine gun are placed on a single oscillating installation in the frontal embrasure. The turret provides circular horizontal guidance; and vertical - in the range of -5° to +45°.

Generally, the missile weapons are provided in the form of the Bar'er anti-tank complex, not present in the video. Missile transport and launching containers are mounted in pairs on the cylindrical lateral casings of the turret. The launchers have received a light armored covering from the outside.

A "Kazhan-3K15" optoelectronic equipment block is mounted in the left lateral casing of the turret. It has a day channel with a wide and narrow field of vision and is also equipped with an uncooled matrix thermal imager and a laser rangefinder. In the second casing, there is an additional chamber. The fire control system includes a Sintez two-plane stabilizer, a ballistic computer, a target tracking machine, Barrier ATGM devices, etc. At the operator-gunner's workplace, there is a remote control with a monitor and the necessary controls.

The "Spear" combat compartment is controlled by an operator, whose place is located in the center at the rear of the turret. Access inside is provided by a hatch in the roof. Around the hatch, several periscopes allow for viewing the front hemisphere. In this case, the main means of observation is the optoelectronic system.

The module's ammunition load includes 300 30x165 mm shells; all are ready for use. There are 116 shots for the grenade launcher, incl. 29 munitions of the first stage. The machine gun can immediately use 350 cartridges with a total set of 2100. Six 902V Khmara smoke grenade launchers are fixed on the sides of the turret.

In addition to these advanced armaments, the Spear is equipped with a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun as a secondary weapon. The armor of the single-seat combat module is designed to withstand 7.62 mm armor-piercing bullets, thus increasing crew protection.

It appears that the Ukrainian army had a small number of BMP-1TS vehicles, specifically around 10 units. These were showcased during the Independence Day parade in Kyiv.


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