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Analysis: Iraqi army BMP-3 Russian-made IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle tracked armored

In September 2015, the Russian defense industry had announced that Iraq had a plan to acquire 500 BMP-3 tracked armored IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) from Russia. According to the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) Arms Transfers Database, Iraq has ordered 300 BMP-3 IFVs in 2015 that were delivered in 2018-2019.

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Iraqi Army BMP-3 tracked armored IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Picture source Iraqi DoD youtube account print screen)

In August 2018, Russia has delivered the first batch of Russian-made BMP-3 to the Iraqi army. According to Russian military sources, Iraq has received an advanced version of the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle fitted with add-on armor.

The BMP-3 is the latest generation of IFV in the BMP family. The vehicle is already in service with other countries including Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Russia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Venezuela, and the United Arab Emirates. The first export customer of the BMP-3 was the United Arab Emirates, which placed an initial order for 330 vehicles which were delivered between 1992 and 1995.

The BMP-3 is the successor of the BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFVs, which entered service with the Soviet army in 1987 and made its first public appearance in 1990. The BMP-3 is one of the most heavily armed infantry combat vehicles in the world. The BMP-3 was designed by the Russian Company Kurganmashzavod of Kurgan while the turret was designed by Tula.

According to our first analysis, the Iraqi version of the BMP-3 seems very similar to the standard Russian version. The Iraqi version is fitted with a slat armor mounted on each side of the hull as well as on the front of the vehicle. Rear and side of the turret are also fitted with slat armor. The main advantage of the BMP-3 equipped with extra slat armor, it increases the protection against the impact of high-explosive grenades from rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

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The design of the BMP-3 is divided into three main parts with the driver position at the front, turret in the middle and troop’s compartment and engine at the rear. The vehicle is fitted with a two-man turret with the commander seated on the right and the gunner on the left. The troop compartment is at the rear of the hull with entry via two doors in the hull rear opening left and right, with the left door having a firing port. As these doors are opened steps automatically fold down. Over the top of the troops compartment are large rectangular roof hatches, each of which has an integral hatch that opens to the outside of the vehicle.

The BMP-3 has a crew of three including the driver, commander and gunner. Normally, five infantrymen are carried at the rear, two either side, one behind the other and one in the center although, if required, a further two infantrymen can be carried bringing the total to seven in the rear.

The main armament of the BMP-3 consists of one 100mm 2A70 semi-automatic rifled gun/missile launcher, which is stabilized in two axes and can fire either 3UOF HE-FRAG rounds or 3UBK10 anti-tank guided missiles. The effective range for the HE-FRAG round is 4,000m. Muzzle velocity is 250m/s. 22 HE-FRAG rounds can be carried in the automatic loader, total ammunition load is 40 rounds. The rate of fire is ten rounds a minute. The gun can also fire the 3UBK10 anti-tank guided missile round, which consists of the 9M117 laser beam riding missile and container. The second armament of the BMP-3 includes one 7.62 mm PKT machine gun mounted either side of the hull, firing forwards and that can be operated by one of the front three crew members. A bank of three 81 mm electrically operated smoke grenade launchers is mounted on each side at the front of the turret.

The hull and turret are of all-welded aluminum armor construction providing protection against firing of small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The front arc is made of composite armor and provides protection against 30 mm armor-piercing rounds. All-round protection is against 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds.

The BMP-3 is motorized with a UTD-29M 10-cylinder 4-stroke liquid cooled diesel developing 500 hp coupled to an hydromechanical transmission with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. It can run at a maximum road speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 600 km. The BMP-3 is fully amphibious being propelled in the water at a maximum speed of 10 km/h by two water-jets mounted on either side low down at the rear of the hull.

Standard equipment of the BMP-3 includes NBC (Nuclear, Bacteriologic and Chemical) protection system and a dozer/entrenching blade fitted at the front of the vehicle. It also has a fire detection/suppression system in the front and rear crew compartments, turret and engine compartment. The vehicle can create a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust outlet.

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