RIA Self-Guided Tour: BMP-1 Armored Personnel Carrier

By U.S. ArmyApril 15, 2019

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The BMP-1 Armored Personnel Carrier was developed by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, and the BMP-1 Model 1970 is the primary production variant. It is an amphibious vehicle designed to accompany tanks in an assault and beyond the objective. The main armament is an M2A28 73MM gun with a Sagger missile mounted on top. The BMP-1 displayed at Memorial Field saw service with the Iraqi Army during the Gulf War and was found abandoned west of Kuwait City, Kuwait.

The Russian APC

Developed by the Soviet Union for use on the front lines, the BMP-1 was designed to protect combatants from nuclear radiation, chemical and biological weapons, and conventional rounds. "BMP" stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty, Russian for "infantry fighting vehicle."

Weighing over 14 tons, the BMP-1 features rolled steel armor that is 33 millimeters thick. It is armed with a 73mm semi-automatic gun and a 7.62mm machine gun. It is also equipped with a single Sagger missile mounted above the gun barrel. The combination of armament and weapons allows the BMP-1 to both carry its eight passengers safely to their destination and provide additional close support.

More than 40,000 BMP-1 units were produced, with some exported to more than a dozen Soviet proxy states. Production of the BMP-1 began during the Vietnam War, but it was not until the Yom Kippur War in 1973 that the system was tested in live combat. Both Egyptian and Syrian armed forces used the BMP-1.

Immediately following that war, it was decided that a revision to the BMP-1 was necessary to make it more effective in a rapidly changing battlefield. This led to the development of the BMP-2. The Soviet Army produced a BMP-3 model, a heavily upgraded variant, in 1987.

Due to the low cost to upgrade the systems built into the BMP-1, it remains in service in large quantities around the world. Operators include China, India, Iran, Iraq and Vietnam. Most recently, the BMP-1 has been used in the Syrian Civil War. BMP-1s are also active in Afghanistan and have been deployed in limited numbers against the Taliban.