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BMP-3 Series

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Unveiled / Entered Service
BMP-3 With Bar Armour
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Steel Aces Play for free
the highly anticipated MMO tactical tank shooter for 2024.


The BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the most recent of the BMP IFV series. It was considered the most lethal IFV in the world and since its introduction with the former Soviet Army in 1987, the BMP-3 has grown into a large family of variants to meet nearly every role required on the battlefield. As of 2024, it is still in production and has been exported to nine other countries.

It has been used as a technology demonstrator to display various Explosive Reactive Armour packages and Active Protection Systems as well as prototypes with several unmanned turret systems for both the Russian Army and export clients.

BMP-3 production for the Russian Army has not been consistent, especially during the 1990's due to the economic down turn after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Instead Kurganmashzavod, the manufacturer of the BMP-3 concentrated on producing vehicles for its export clients, such as the UAE who purchased over 600 vehicles.

Since 2015, production of new BMP-3 has seen the number fielded by the Russian Army double, though the final tally is just over one quarter the number of BMP-2. According to Rostec (the manufacturers holding company) since the Russian Invasion of Ukraine in 2022, production of new vehicles and refurbishment of older vehicles has been their priority over developing new replacement vehicles. During the first eight months of 2023, production numbers of the BMP-3 exceed the number built in 2022 by 120%.

In a Feb 2023 Rostec press release, these vehicles featured both add on armour (bar and passive stand off plate) and a new dual channel (thermal) main gunners sight called “Sodem".  All other press releases thereafter omit the Sodem gunners sight.

In a June 2023 press release, Rostec implied the new Manul infantry fighting vehicle, which they call a fourth generation IFV, could be the latest version of the BMP-3 (despite 2021 media content stating the B-19 was) to be purchased by the Russian Army instead of the T-15 and Kurganets-25. It was also stated that it will feature a new more powerful UTD-32T engine. This was also confirmed on a "Hindustan Times" You Tube video.


Obyekt 688
Obyekt 688

Whilst the Russian BMP (aka BMP-1) out classed the Armoured Personnel Carriers of NATO countries, flaws in its design were high lighted in the Arab Israeli wars and later, the Soviet Afghanistan War. What had been its unique selling point, its 73mm main gun and Anti-Tank Guided Missile capability was deemed obsolete by the 1970’s and lacked the elevation required to shoot at targets in the mountain terrain of Afghanistan.

Whilst an upgrade program for the BMP-1 was under-way, so was a replacement project. The replacement in short was a reworked BMP-1 hull to accommodate a new 2 man turret, with a new 30mm chain gun with a higher elevation and an ATGM capability that had growth potential to operate improved missiles in the future. This vehicle was the BMP-2 and entered production in 1980.

The BMP-2 was a capable vehicle but still had a number of issues warranting the development of a next generation Infantry Fighting Vehicle. In the early 1980’s development started and Kurganmashzavod who had produced the BMP-2 delivered their proposed prototype Object 688. Utilising the chassis and hull from a previous project, the design was rejected due to its selected armaments.

The KBP design bureau started development of the 2K23 armament complex and trials of the BMP-3 started in 1985 and was accepted into service in 1989, with its official unveiling to the public in 1990 following a short production run.

BMP-3 Internal Layout
BMP-3 Internal Layout

The BMP-3 layout was radically different from the previous BMP models. The power-pack (engine and transmission) were moved to the rear of the hull in a lowered engine bay. The self sealing fuel tank was moved to the front of the hull. Behind this was the drivers station. To his left and right sat an infantry man who operated the bow mounted machine guns. Behind them was the two man turret.

Behind the turret was the x5 infantry seats. What was interesting was the use of individual seats and they all faced forwards, opposed to earlier BMP and APC’s which were benches facing inwards or outwards. Access was via the rear of the vehicle through two part doors that required the infantry to climb over the engine bay to climb down into the hull.



The principal main gun on the BMP-3 is the 100mm 2A70. It is a rifled, low-pressure barrel, so is not used for firing AP rounds. Instead it fires the 9M117 Bastion ATGM for its anti-tank capability. It also fires HE-FRAG rounds for anti-personnel and fortifications. Mounted in the two man turret, the turret bustle acts as an unprotected magazine for x22 rounds that are fed into the breach via an automatic loader. An additional x18 rounds are stored in the hull.

The second weapon is the 30mm 2A72 chain gun. A medium calibre weapon, it has a dual feed of x500 rounds. This is normally AP rounds and HE-I rounds.

The BMP-3 uses x3 7.62mm machine guns. The first is coaxially mounted with the principal main gun and one mounted on each side of the front of the hull. These two are operated by two of the transported infantry men.

Firing ports are made available in the side of the hull for the infantry to shoot their rifles from whilst inside of the vehicle.

Fire Control Systems

The FCS has been a bone of contention when researching the vehicle, due to the various available upgrades pre 2022 vs those stated for the 3M vehicle upgrade vs the age of the 3M upgrade vs the availability of technology post 2022 due to sanctions.

The commander operates two sights. The TKN-3MB features both a passive light channel and Infa-Red for night time and 1PZ-10 daytime sight.

The gunners primary sight is the 1K13-2, which has a dual channel daytime/Infa-Red and uses a PL-088 weapons management console to manage the weapon he is using. The BMP-3 has a ballistic computer with input from a 1D16-3 laser range finder (mounted above the main gun), wind sensor and air temperature sensor.

The gunners 1K13-2 primary sight was later replaced in 1998 with the PPN-D SOZh, which has its own built in laser range finder, which means the 1D16-3 laser range finder above the main gun was removed. The PPN-D is now standard across the Russian Army BMP-3 fleet.

All further upgraded sights are covered under BMP-3M in variants section of the page.



The BMP-3 is manufactured out of armoured aluminium ABT-102 and reportedly capable of withstanding 30mm AP rounds over the frontal arc. The sides of the hull are rated to withstand 7.62mm machine gun fire. Additional protection is given by the large fuel tank at the front of the hull that acts as spaced armour. It has a self-sealing liner, so when penetrated the hole is instantly sealed.

As standard, the vehicle comes with NBC protection and internal fire suppression systems.

Modular Armour

Since its service entry, there have been a number of packages developed to provide the vehicle with additional protection. This has come in the form of either modular boxes along the hulls side to protect against 12.7mm AP rounds, bar armour to protect against RPG-7 attack or all-round Explosive Reactive Armour kits.

ERA Packages

The first attempt to add ERA to the BMP-3 was in 1988 with “Contact” 4S20 ERA from the Cobra-S BMP-1 upgrade, which failed as the dual explosive detonation disabled the vehicle.

In 2000 the Russian company “NII Stali” developed “Mounted DZ complex for lightly armoured combat vehicles (LCVs)”. The new complex used a new explosive element “4S24”. The new ERA package was designed to offer protection equivalent of 500mm RHA against single charge ATGM and protection against 14.5mm AP heavy machine gun fire as well as 30mm Chain Gun “shells”. This system is commonly referred to as “Kaktus ERA” in the West as well as “first generation” in some publications.

NII Stali went onto develop a new ERA package called “NKDZ”. Offering the same protection values as LCVs, the 4S24 contains 2 times less explosives than in 4S20. Up dates in the package prevented any damage to the BMP-3 hull when a ERA brick was triggered, increased fire resistance and activation when struck by AP munitions. NKDZ (also refereed to as “NII Stali NKDZ” in the West) is the second generation of the companies ERA and can be identified by the angled inward slope of the hull sides ERA blocks and bar armour covering the rear of the hull and turret.

Active Protection Systems

Arena is a former Hard Kill Active Protection System developed in the 1990’s  by Russian Kolomna based “Engineering Design Bureau”. Arena-E was developed for BMP-3 export clients. It’s believed to have been trialled with UAE, but no orders placed. The system features a large circular Radar on top of the turret that detects incoming RPG and other single charge ATGM threats. A countermeasure is then launched at the threat when its close enough to the vehicle. The launcher encircles the turret and is capable of launching several countermeasures.

Shtora-1 is a Soft Kill Active Protection System. It detects and interrupts laser designation as used on tanks and ATGM by directing jammers (aka “dazzlers”) at the location the laser designator originates from. It can also then launch smoke based counter measures to mask the vehicles withdrawal to the enemy.


BMP-3 Swimming
BMP-3 Swimming

The very first early short production run vehicles featured a UTD-29 engine. For serial production the BMP-3 uses a 500hp, liquid-cooled diesel UTD-29M engine and 4-speed semi-automatic transmission.

It uses torsion bar suspension and aluminium road wheels to reduce the vehicles weight.

The BMP-3 is fully amphibious, using water jets to achieve a top speed of 10 km/h and a trim vein for stability in the water which is erected just before entering as is the air intake pipe.

Variants and Marks



The initial model of the BMP-3 as described in the above sections.



The BMP-3F is designed for amphibious landings. Whilst the standard BMP-3 has a trim vein and water jets for a top speed of 10km/h, the 3F has anti-surge vanes like the one around the turret for operations in rough seas.



The BT-3F is an amphibious Armoured Personnel Carrier with a heightened infantry compartment with a remotely operated Machine Gun. There is also a dedicated version for operating on snow in the Arctic circle.



The BMP-3M is very much a generic designation for a period of time when a number of different upgrades were implemented, rather than just a single modernisation package and later upgrades given a different designation.

Around the late 1990’s a new autoloader for the ATGM loader (held x3 missiles) was developed that could be retrofitted into the existing turret basket.

Another upgrade was the IUSSH-688 “Larisa” electronic chassis control system. According to some publications, the 3M is supposed to be fitted with the NII Stali ERA package called “NKDZ”.

PPND B03S03 Sodema gunners sight
PPND B03S03 Sodema gunners sight

The BMP-3M was also supposed to have a new turret, the Bakhcha-U as used on the BMD-4M. The turret is supposed to come with fully updated sights and other features, but are not always present on vehicles identified as the BMP-3M.

Some BMP-3 were fitted with the Vesna-K Gunners sight. This had a thermal channel and built in laser range finder. It can be identified by its two separate windows in the sights external housing. Each window has a curved top and bottom as well as a wide gap between them both.

The PPND B03S03 Sodema gunners sight is the most recent sight technology upgrade. Again it has a thermal channel (Catherine-FC thermal imaging module), built-in laser ranger finder and built-in ATGM guidance module.

BMP-3 Berezhok

BMP-3M Berezhok Turret

The BMP-3 Berezhok is another technology demonstrator showing the ability to mount the Berezhok turret on the BMP-3. The new turret has been designed to update Russian and other countries BMP-2. The turret features the 2A42 30mm chain gun, coaxial machine gun and x4 Kornet-M ATGM launchers.

BMP-3 Dragun

BMP-3M Dragun Prototype Infantry Fighting Vehicle
BMP-3M Dragun Prototype Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The BMP-3M Dragun prototype was unveiled in 2015 and featured a completely revised internal hull layout and unmanned turret READ MORE

BMP-3M Manul

BMP-3M Manul Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The BMP-3M Manul Prototype was unveiled in 2020. It features the BMP-3M Dragun hull and unmanned Bumerang-BM turret with additional side modular hull armour READ MORE

BRM-3K with AU-220M Baikal turret system

BRM-3K AU-220M
BRM-3K AU-220M

In 2016 the BRM-3K reconnaissance vehicle was presented with the 57mm AU-220M Baikal turret system. This was simply a tech demonstrator as the turret has no additional reconnaissance equipment.

BMP-3M 9M120-1

Unveiled in 2017, this is a BMP-3M fitted with a traversable dual 9M120 Ataka ATGM launcher on the turret roof. Its not clear how many spare ATGM are carried and where they are stored in the hull.

B-19 Epokha

B-19 Epokha
B-19 Epokha

The B-19 is a fairly recent model unveiled in 2021. It features the Epokha unmanned turret on a modified hull. In 2020 Janes reported that the Russian Ministry of Defence’s TV Zvezda had said that the Russian Army was to receive the B-19 with the Epokha unmanned turret. READ MORE



The BMP-3M-Vityaz was first seen in 2015 and features both a new gunners sight and Commanders Independent panoramic Sight.

B-17 Kinzhal

BMP-3 with Kinzhal unmanned turret
BMP-3 with Kinzhal unmanned turret

First seen in 2022, The B-17 is a BMP-3 fitted with the same Kinzhal remote weapon station also fitted on the T-15 Armata.


BMP-3 Variants

BREM-L Recovery Vehicle


The BREM-L is the recovery version of the BMP-3 family of vehicles. It features equipment to recover damaged or broken vehicles on the battlefield. Dedicated Page Coming Soon

9P157-2 “Khrizantema-S”

9P157-2 Khrizantema-S
9P157-2 Khrizantema-S

A dedicated ATGM tank destroyer, the vehicle features a x2 man crew, firing M123 Khrizantema ATGM from a dual launching arm. The arm retracts into the hull for reloading from an automatic loader that contains 15 spare ATGM. Dedicated Page Coming Soon

BRM-3K “Rys”

BRM-3K “Rys”

The BRM-3K is the reconnaissance variant of the family. Utilising a BMP-3 hull with a modified turret with advanced sighting technology. Dedicated Page Coming Soon

2S31 Vena Self Propelled Mortar

2S31 Vena Self Propelled Mortar
2S31 Vena Self Propelled Mortar

A turreted 120mm mortar system mounted on a BMP-3 hull. Dedicated Page Coming Soon

9P162 Kornet-T

9P162 Kornet-T
9P162 Kornet-T

A dedicated ATGM tank destroyer, the vehicle features a x2 man crew, firing Kornet ATGM from a dual launching arm. The arm retracts into the hull for reloading from an automatic loader that contains 16 spare ATGM. Dedicated Page Coming Soon

2S38 BMP-3 Derivatsiya

BMP-3 Derivatsiya
BMP-3 Derivatsiya

Armed with a 57mm main gun. Used to shoot down drones, aircraft and missiles. Dedicated Page Coming Soon

BMP-3 Sosna SAM

BMP-3 Sosna SAM

A dedicated anti-aircraft, Surface to Air Missile launcher mounted on a BMP-3 hull. Lanches laser guided 9M337 Sosna-R missiles. Dedicated Page Coming Soon

9S932-1 reconnaissance and command vehicle

9S932-1 reconnaissance and command vehicle

9S932-1 reconnaissance and command vehicle, formely built on older vehicle chassis and captured by Ukrianian Forces, has now entered production on the BMP-3.

Vikhr reconnaissance-assault unmanned ground vehicle

Vikhr reconnaissance-assault unmanned ground vehicle
Vikhr reconnaissance-assault unmanned ground vehicle

A remotely operated vehicle. Has dual function of reconnaissance or fire support from a 30mm chain gun or ATGM’s. Dedicated Page Coming Soon


Please Note: All given numbers and dates are from the Sipri Arms transfers database.

Azerbaijan – An estimated 118 vehicles were ordered in 2011 of the BMP-3M with Bakhcha-U Turret with the Vesna-K Gunners sight. Deliveries ran from 2013 – 2015.

Cyprus – A total of 44 vehicles were ordered in 1995 and deliveries were completed in 1996.

Indonesia – The first order for 17 vehicles and x1 BREM-L was placed in 2008 and were all delivered in 2010. A second order was placed for 37 vehicles in 2013, which were also all delivered in the following year. These vehicles are the BMP-3F and owned by the Indonesian Navy.

Iraq – Its believed that only 31 BMP-3M with PPND B03S03 Sodema gunners sight and Bar armour were ordered in 2015, which were all delivered in 2019.

Kuwait – Despite buying Desert Warrior from the UK, Kuwait initially ordered 142 BMP-3 in 1994 (as well as 46 BMP-2) which were delivered in 1997. The second order was placed in 2009 for 70 vehicles and a final third order for 33 vehicles in 2014, with final deliveries in 2015. Pictures of the vehicles clearly show both the older BMP-3 and BMP-3M with a Commanders Independent Sight mounted on the turret rear.

Russia – Its not fully clear how many vehicles are in service due to its age, losses in the ongoing 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine as well as those older vehicles being overhauled and newly manufactured vehicles in 2022/23 to meet the demands of the war, but its believed to be between 600 to 700 vehicles. Its worth noting that many of the Russian BMP-3, as well as those overhauled and recently manufactured lack the latest thermal imaging PPND B03S03 Sodema gunners sight due to trade sanctions against Russia and also lack any of the available ERA packages opting for cheaper Bar Armour.

South Korea – 30 vehicles were supplied in 1998 and an additional 37 vehicles in 2006.

Turkmenistan – Their army operates a limited number of Russian military tanks and vehicles, including 6 BMP-3.

Ukraine – Unspecified number captured from Russia during the ongoing 2022 Russian Invasion.

Venezuela – Operating a number of different Russian fighting vehicles, 123 BMP-3 and 5 BREM-L were ordered in 2009. All vehicles were delivered by 2013.

UAE – The first major export client, the UAE ordered 250 vehicles in 1992 and 402 in 1994. An unspecified number have a new independent commanders sight mounted on the turret rear.

During the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, some UAE BMP-3 have been fitted with bar armour, whilst others have been fitted with the 1st generation ERA. In addition, the BMP-3 turret has also been installed on the UAE’s Patria AMV 8×8.

Combat History

First Chechen War – Footage exists of the BMP-3 both providing fire support and being recovered after one being destroyed.

Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen – UAE has deployed the BMP-3 during the ongoing conflict.

2022 Russian Invasion Of Ukraine – Russia has deployed a number of the BMP-3 during the invasion. An unknown number have been put into service by the Armed Forces of Ukraine after being captured and were also used by the Wagner Group.


Main Gun
100mm 2A70, 30mm 2A72
ATGM Capability
9M117 Bastion
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun
Ammunition Storage
x40 100mm, x500 30mm
500hp, liquid-cooled diesel UTD-29M
Top Road Speed
600 km
Road Range
600 km
Fuel Capacity
Vertical Obstacle
Water Capability
Trench Crossing
Side Slope
Length Gun Forward
Length Hull
Ground Clearance
18.7 Tonnes
NBC Protected
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Spaced
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Laminated, Spaced, Bar, Modular, Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA)
Active Protection Systems
Commander, Gunner, Driver