Russia’s top tank producer, UralVagonZavod, has developed a concept for a new amphibious tracked armored vehicle, called the BMMP, for the country’s naval infantry units. The modular design would be a marine compliment to other recent Russian armor developments, including the T-14 tank and the Kurganets-25 infantry fighting vehicle, and comes amid Kremlin plans for new amphibious assault ships .
Earlier in May 2018, an undated Russian-language powerpoint presentation appeared online detailing the BMMP concept. OmskTransMash , a subsidiary of UralVagonZavod , is reportedly primarily responsible for the development of the vehicle. The briefing is no longer available from the original source, but Archive.org has mirrored a significant portion of the document.
UralVagonZavod’s brief says Russia needs to replace its “inferior” amphibious vehicles to keep pace with development in other countries, specifically citing the U.S. Marine Corps’ now-canceled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), the Chinese ZBD 2000 , and the Italian Arisgator as examples of advanced developments. At present, Russian naval infantry units rely primarily on wheeled BTR-80 and BTR-82AM armored personnel carriers for mobility and fire support. UralVagonZavod noted that these often have trouble in soft sand or snow once they hit land. Russia’s naval infantry also have tanks and tracked self-propelled artillery, but these vehicles require landing ships and craft to bring them directly to the beachhead.
The brief also mentions the tracked BMP-3F infantry fighting vehicles, which has additional modifications to improve its performance in the water specifically for amphibious operations where it has to swim from ships offshore to the beach. Though it remains another potential option and is in service in Indonesia, Russia has not actually bought any of these vehicles. A rendering of the BMMP without its tracks. The new BMMP would use a common tracked chassis that would offer good mobility on land combined with water jets to propel the streamlined vehicle at high speeds in the water. When it enters the water, the crew would extend a retractable bow plane in the front and deploy a blade at the rear to improve handling. It only takes 40 seconds to extend or retract these components, according to a report from Jane’s .
At present, the Chinese ZBD 2000 is the only such vehicle in active service anywhere in the world to use a similar propulsion method paired with a hull design optimized for amphibious operations. After the U.S. Marines scrapped the EFV program in 2011 due to delays and cost overruns, the service changed course and began pursuing a new wheeled amphibious vehicle and upgrades for existing tracked AAV7-series types .
The underlying impetus for vehicles such as the ZBD 2000 and the EFV is the increasing range of shore-based defenses , particularly anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles, along with their associated sensors. In any future amphibious operation, ships will have to deploy forces increasingly further away from the beach in order to better defend themselves and their supporting surface and air elements from those weapons or avoid their reach altogether. At the same time, then, this […]