Weapons of War - BMD-2 Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Weapons of War - BMD-2 Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle


The BMD-2 (Boyevaya Mashina Desanta) airborne infantry fighting vehicle was introduced by the Soviet Union in 1985 as a replacement to its predecessor, the BMD-1, featuring a new turret and some changes to its hull. Since its inception, it has become a key vehicle of the Russian military, remaining in service to this day a whole 32 years later. Here, we will explore its fine history, as well as its key features and usage within our own unit.



History

The Soviet Union initially operated BMD-1 airborne IFVs and BMP-1 IFVs after the outbreak of the Soviet-Afghan War in 1979. Despite their armament providing strong firepower against enemy tanks, they lacked sufficient firepower against unarmored vehicles and infantry, most notably due to a poor elevation angle of its main cannon.

To combat these issues, the units fighting in Afghanistan began receiving BMP-2 IFVs: its newly installed autocannon with a much higher elevation angle solved many problematic drawbacks of the 73 mm 2A28 "Grom" gun that the Soviet Union had been using on the BMD-1 and BMP-1 IFVs. With the addition of a few extra features, notably the 9P135M-1 ATGM launcher, the Soviet airborne forces decided to begin arming their vehicles in a similar fashion.

Initially, there was an issue with the hull on the BMD-1 being too small for the turret that the Soviet Union wanted to carry across from the BMP-2. Two new vehicles were designed in response to this, with the BMD-2 being conceived from modifying the turret on the BMD-1 to fit onto an altered hull. The second vehicle was made much bigger to fit the turret on the BMP-2, which later became the BMD-3. It was designed from 1981-1985, entering service in the same year in which the design period ended.


Technical Features

imageThe main change of the BMD-2 IFV was its main turret, being installed with a 30 mm 2A42 multi-purpose autocannon and a 9P135M-1 ATGM launcher (shown right), with three 7.62 mm machine gun turrets capable of holding a total of 2,940 rounds for secondary armament. It weighs 11.5 tonnes (12.6 tons), having a length of 7.85 m (25.8 ft) and a width of 2.94 m (9.6 ft). The BMD-2 has a crew capacity of eight soldiers, with the main change from the BMD-1 being that the commander no longer operates the left bow-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun due to being reserved by primary duties.

Its engine runs at 241 hp (180 kW) at 2,600 rpm, being an identical one to that of the BMD-1. Despite this, the BMD-2 has a reduced operational range of only 450 km (279.617 mi) on road, compared to the BMD-1’s 600 km (370 mi); both of these vehicles have a road speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). Additionally, just like the BMD-1, the BMD-2 is operational on water. Lastly, it has an aluminum armor thickness of 15 mm on the front of the hull, 10 mm on the rest of the hull, and 7 mm on the turret, leaving it resistant to shrapnel and small arms fire.


Usage in the 29th Infantry Division

The vehicle sees regular action in the 29th, being used in its Charlie company based around Arma 3. Its most prominent usage was at the 2017 Charlie Battle of the Squads tournament, where each team was given a BMD-2 to use however they wished to secure victory. Its heavy armor, as well as its strong armament, made it a key feature of the competition, with each squad having to devote a large portion of their time basing their training on dealing with the vehicle.


Above: The BMD-2 as seen in Arma 3


Real-life Usage and Legacy

The vehicle sure has stood the test of time, and continues to be as destructive as when it was first conceived in 1981. Unfortunately, despite this, it was unable to completely replace the BMD-1 due to the Soviet Union’s economic downfall in the 1980s. The BMD-3 soon followed a few years after, but the BMD-2 saw huge action in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Russian Georgian war of 2008, and the Ukrainian War in Donbass, which continues to the present day. There are currently about 850 BMD-2s in active service and more than 1,500 in storage for the Russian Airborne Troops as of 2013, and 78 as of 2005 for Ukraine.


Written by PFC Laird.
Edited by WO1 Brewer.
Formatted by PFC Laird.

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