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BMD-1 Airborne Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The BMD airborne amphibious infantry combat vehicle (AAICV) superficially resembles the BMP, although it is considerably smaller. The BMD-1 can be air dropped by parachute, and features a suspension that "squats" to fit into aircraft. It is a full-tracked amphibious vehicle with a BMP-type turret. Like the BMP, its main armament is a 73-mm smoothbore gun with a 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun mounted on the right side of the main gun and a SAGGER ATGM launcher mounted over the gun. The BMD, however, also has two additional 7.62-mm machine guns, one mounted in each of the front bow corners. The bow is much shorter than that of the BMP, and the upper part of the hull is shaped differently. It also differs from the BMP in having only five evenly spaced road wheels with four support rollers, and in having no rear exit doors. The driver's hatch and vision blocks are centered below the main gun. On either side of the driver, there is an additional hatch. The troop compartment has overhead armor cover and only one firing port on each side and one in the rear from which the mounted infantrymen can fire their personal weapons. The BMD has a hydro-pneumatic suspension with a variable height capability. The vehicle is powered by a rear-mounted, 240 hp, six-cylinder, water-cooled, diesel engines and is propelled in water by two waterjets in the rear.

The air-droppable BMD is considerably smaller and lighter than the BMP but has roughly the same capabilities. It is used in airborne divisions as an infantry combat vehicle. Its turret armor (maximum 25 mm) is thicker than that of the' BMP, but its hull is thinner (maximum 15 mm). An internal NBC filtration system provides protection for the three-man crew and four combat troops. Two squad members, including the squad leader, ride in the two hatch positions on each side of the driver, while the remaining three occupy the compartment between the turret and engine. The BMD is believed to have a maximum speed of 60 to 80 km/h on land and 10 km/h in water, with a land cruising range of 320 km.

Since the BMD has the same turret as the BMP, the turret armaments probably have the same limitations, except that the BMD does not have a dead space in its traverse. The passenger space is somewhat cramped, and the airborne soldiers must dismount over the sides of the vehicles, since there is no rear door.

The BMD was first seen in the Dvina exercise in the USSR in 1970 and was not seen again until the November 1973 Moscow Red Square parade. Since then, the BMD has replaced the airborne assault gun ASU-57 in the Soviet airborne forces, substantially increasing the firepower and maneuverability of the airborne division.

Although originally thought to be a light tank, the BMD may more properly be considered the airborne equivalent of the BMP infantry combat vehicle. However, except for the turret and main armament, it is an entirely new design and not a modified BMP. Excluding the obsolescent ASU-57, the BMD, at approximately 7.5 metric tons, was the lightest tracked combat vehicle in the Soviet Army.

Russian KBP offers a drop-in one-man turret, called Kliver, with a stabilized 2A72 30-mm gun, a 4-Kornet ATGM launcher, thermal sights, and improved fire control system. The Russian Volgorod Tractor Plant offers the B30 turret (a drop-in one-man turret with 2A42 30-mm gun, 7.62-mm coax MG, and a 9P135M launcher for AT-4/-5 ATGM). A Russian AG-17 30-mm automatic grenade launcher is available for BMD-1. Other options are spall liners, air conditioning, and a more powerful engine. A French SNPE explosive reactive armor (ERA) kit and others are available for use on the BMD-1. However, during dismounted troop movement, ERA would be a hazard. Thus, passive armor is more likely; and ERA application is doubtful. For amphibious use, additional armor application is unlikely. The Slovenian TS-M ATGM thermal night sight has a detection range of 4,500m and a recognition range of 2,000m. The AT-3 HE-Blast ATGM is used for killing personnel and destroying bunkers and other fortifications. The AT-3C Polk features a nose probe, an improved motor for increased velocity, lower smoke noise signature and a SACLOS launcher with improved sights.


The basic BMD was initially introduced around 1970. Between then and about 1973, it underwent a variety of minor product-improvement modifications. The final design, designated BMD-1, is most readily identified by a dome-shaped NBC filter intake on the right-center hull roof. The BMD-1 has retained the protection, mobility, and firepower characteristics of the BMD.


Date of Introduction 1969
Proliferation At least 1 country
Crew 2
Troop Capacity 5 passengers (+1)
Combat Weight (mt) 13.3
Chassis Length Overall (m) 6.74
Height Overall (m) 2.15
Width Overall (m) 2.94
Ground Pressure (kg/cm 2 ) 0.57
Automotive Performance
Engine Type 240-hp Diesel
Cruising Range (km) 600
Speed (km/h)
Max Road 65
Max Off-Road 40-45
Average Cross-Country INA
Max Swim 7
Fording Depth (m) Amphibious
Radio R-123M
Armor, Turret Front (mm) 23 or Antibullet
Active Protective System N/A
Mineclearing Equipment N/A
Self-Entrenching Blade N/A
NBC Protection System Collective
Smoke Equipment VEESS
Main Armament
Caliber, Type, Name 73-mm smoothbore gun, 2A28/Grom
Rate of Fire(rd/min) 7-8
Loader Type Autoloader
Ready/Stowed Rounds 40 / 0
Elevation () -4/ +33
Fire on Move Yes, but only 10 km/h or less (est)
Auxiliary Weapons
Caliber, Type, Name 7.62-mm (7.62x 54R) machinegun, PKT
Mount Type Coax
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 1,300
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,000/400-500 on the move
Fire on Move Yes
Rate of Fire (rd/min) 250 practical / 650 cyclic, 2-10 round bursts
Caliber, Type, Name 7.62-mm machinegun, PKT
Mount Type Bow (ball-mounted)
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 1,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,000/ 400-500 on the move
Night N/A
Fire on Move Yes
Rate of Fire (rd/min) 250 practical / 650 cyclic, 2-10 round bursts
ATGM Launcher
Name 9P111
Launch Method Rail-launched
Guidance MCLOS
Command Link Wire
Launcher Dismountable Yes
Firing Ports 1 on each side, 1 in left rear door
Main Gun Stabilization N/A
Rangefinder Stadiametric
Infrared Searchlight Yes
Sights w/Magnification
Day 1PN22M1, 8x
Field of View () 15
Acquisition Range (m)
Night 1PN22M1, 6.7x
Field of View () 6
Acquisition Range (m) 800-1,000, based on light
Commander Fire Main Gun No
Caliber, Type, Name
73-mm HEAT-FS, PG-9
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 1,300
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 800, but 600 or less on the move
Night 800
Tactical AA Range INA
Armor Penetration (mm) 335 (RHA)
73-mm HEAT-FS, NFI
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 1,300
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,000, but 600 or less on the move
Night 800-1,000
Tactical AA Range INA
Armor Penetration (mm) >400 (RHA)
73-mm HE, OG-9
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 1,300, 600 or less on the move
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,300, but 600 or less on the move
Night 800-1,000
Tactical AA Range INA
Armor penetration (mm) INA
73-mm HE, OG-9M1
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 4,500
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,300, but 600 or less on the move
Night 800-1,000
Tactical AA Range INA
Armor Penetration (mm) INA
Other Ammunition Types OG-9M
Antitank Guided Missiles
Name AT-3, -3A, -B
Warhead Type Tandem HEAT
Armor Penetration (mm) 410 RHA
Range (m) 3,000
Name AT-3C
Warhead Type Tandem HEAT
Armor Penetration (mm) 520 RHA
Range (m) 3,000
Name AT-3C Imp/ Polk (Slovenian)
Warhead Type Precursor with HEAT
Armor Penetration (mm) 580 RHA
Range (m) 3,000
Name Malyutka-2 (Russian)
Warhead Type Tandem HEAT
Armor Penetration (mm) 800 RHA
Range (m) 3,000
Name Malyutka HE (Russian)
Warhead Type Frag-HE
Armor Penetration (mm) N/A
Range (m) 3,000

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Friday, January 22, 1999 1:25:08 PM