At present, the development level of armoured vehicles signifies to a large extent the military potential of the country's land forces. Infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) are the most widely-used type of the land forces' hardware. Constant upgrade of the combat vehicles fleet is performed by means of developing novel combat assets and modernization of existing armoured vehicles.
The service life of the armoured vehicles is rather lengthy, amounting to 30 -40 years. Many countries of the world are retrofitting the majority of their combat vehicles. The US is currently refurbishing its Bradley M2A2 IFV up to the M2A3 configuration.
The Russian-made BMP-2 IFV being the main CV of the land forces in many countries was put into service in 1980 and appeared to be superior to the majority of its foreign counterparts in terms of combat characteristics. Currently, the BMP-2 still complies with the modern requirements as regards its armour protection and riding performance.
Analysis of current status and developmental tendencies of armament and fire control systems suggests BMP-2's weapon system lagging behind the modern state of the art as regards several combat characteristics:
Guided weapon firing on the move and when afloat is not possible because of the wire guidance of the Konkurs missile.
The Konkurs weapon system features low rate of fire due to launcher reloading. There is considerable loss of time during the reloading procedure, and the operator can get injured by fragments and small arms fire.
Night firing can be conducted only by means of the automatic gun and the PKT machine-gun to the range of not more than 800 m.
Non-automated FCS of the BMP-2 (the absence of the on-board computer, modern sights and target autotracker) makes it impossible to perform accurate firing and constrains the effective range of fire by the 30mm gun to 1100-1400 meters. Considerable errors while firing on the move are caused by insufficient stabilization accuracy of the line of sight implemented by the BPK-2-42 sight rigidly connected with the weapon.
Firing from the automated gun with 30mm rounds with flat trajectory does not allow engagement of hidden and entrenched manpower.
Firing at air threats conducted by means of the 1PZ-3 target aspect sight basically has only psychological effect because the kill probability against a typical aerial target does not exceed several hundredths.
The lethality of the combat vehicle is determined by the weapon system, and it is improvement of the weapon system that enables to achieve the highest enhancement of combat effectiveness. The BMP-2 has large potential of evolution of the weapon system. KBP Instrument Design Bureau has solved the problem of enhancing the fire power of current BMPs that ensures their superiority over all existing IFVs.
The retrofitting is performed on the basis of the standard BMP-2 turret with the 2A42 automatic gun (while retaining the hull and internal layout of the turret) within a short period of time. In terms of design it includes the following:
installation of two armoured launchers of the Kornet-E anti-tank guided missiles on the sides of the turret. Each launcher is for two ready-to-fire missiles and is fitted with stand-alone electromechanical elevation laying drives;
installation of the gunner's combined sight (instead of the BPK-2 sight) with an independent LOS stabilization system. The sight includes optical, thermal imaging and laser range finding channels, as well as the missile guidance channel;
installation of the digital onboard computer with a system of sensors;
installation of the TV/thermal automatic target tracker;
installation of the 30mm grenade-launcher with an autonomous drive from the gun and a magazine of up to 300 grenades;
installation of the commander's panoramic sight with an independent LOS stabilization system, which includes TV and laser range finding channels.
It's worth to mention the realized principle of modular arrangement of the proposed fighting compartment. The customer according to his own requirements under the limited financing can select the upgrade package variant: full or partial package. The sighting equipment and armament (panoramic commander's sight, second ATGW launcher, grenade launcher) are installed additionally in the relevant locations of the armoured cupola and are connected with FCS by the cable joint to the connectors in the armour of the armoured cupola.
The upgraded BMP-2 with the advanced B05Ya01 fighting compartment has the following advantages as compared to the standard BMP-2:
- Thanks to the day-and-night FCS it provides the precise firing by all types of ammunition including newly developed, guided and unguided rounds against moving and stationary targets, engagement of all targets nomenclature in stationary position, on the move and afloat by day/at night including automatic gun firing at ranges up to 4000m, Kornet-E ATGM - up to 5500m and automatic grenade launcher - up to 2100m.
- Kornet-E ATGW armour penetration increase up to 1000-1200mm provides the reliable engagement of advanced ERA-protected tanks (Leclerc, Abrams, Leopard). Besides the HEF warhead of the missile destroys concrete fortifications and pillboxes. Targets engagement beyond the enemy's effective response fire guarantees the upgraded BMP-2 victory in the fighting with tanks and IFVs.
- Four (4) ready-to-fire guided missiles positioned in two (2) stabilized launchers of the upgraded BMP-2 significantly increase the ATGM fire rate. Here it is not necessary to reload the ATGM launcher during the battle that increases the survivability of the loading soldier and CV in whole because it doesn't stop for ATGM reloading becoming the easy target on the battlefield.
- The use of TV/TI target autotracker makes it possible to increase by 3-6 times the tracking accuracy as compared to the manual mode. The man is excluded from the aiming contour, the firing results do not depend upon the gunner's psychophysical condition that is especially important under the stress conditions of the battle. The precise target tracking becomes the guaranteed performance which reduces the gunners training requirements and training period itself. The target autotracker gives the totally new quality to the FCS realizing the "fire-and-forget" principle when guided missile firing. In this case the missile cost is greatly reduced as compared to the missile with the homing head acting as target autotracker.
- Kornet ATGW firing with elevation above LOS practically excludes the missile detection by the enemy.
- ATGM laser guidance system with missile TV-lining in the beam guarantees high immunity to all types of jamming because the jam source cannot be in the IFV rear and can not have the same codes.
- Salvo firing by two Kornet-E ATGMs in one beam is provided to penetrate the targets active protection and to have 100% engagement of some highly important targets.
- The automatic gun and grenade launcher fire accuracy (by all types of ammunition) is highly increased thanks to consideration of the most important firing factors: range to the target (to be measured by the laser rangefinder or introduced manually), CV and the target velocity and direction, wind speed, temperature and air pressure, charge temperature, round muzzle velocity deviation from nominal value, target elevation angle, roll and pitch angle, round ejection angle. Thanks to the digital onboard computer the fire settings are produced automatically. The effective firing range of 30mm rounds of the automatic gun is increased from 1100-1400m to 1800-2000m.
- The BMP-2 AD fire effectiveness is also greatly increased: the kill probability when firing from automatic gun against usual air targets like "helicopter", "assault aircraft" is increased by several times and is close to kill probability of specialized AD missile-gun close-in systems, with less ammunition expenditure. Therefore the BMP universalization principle is successfully realized by giving the AD capabilities without additional costs.
- The manpower is effectively engaged at ranges up to 2100m including behind terrain slopes and in trenches thanks to low ballistic weapons (AG-30M automatic grenade launcher with new GPD-30 grenades).
- Potential of combat operation of the IFV's commander extends owing to installation of the panoramic TV sight with technical vision. Such a sight is installed in the BMP for the first time. The commander has panoramic field-of-view in azimuth. The field-of-view in elevation is extended to 60°. The LOS maximal angular velocity increases from 5-6 to 20 degrees per second. This allows to increase the number of targets detected by CV in 2.5 times and also to raise the accuracy of target designation for the gunner in 10 times and completely duplicate the commander's operation as well as to fire against aerial targets in the automatic mode.
Modernization of the BMP-2 answers the purposes of advanced IFVs in the next 20-30 years, and the modernized BMP-2 can be successfully used till 30-40-ties of the 21st century.
Modernization of the BMP-2 is comprehensive and results not only in ordinary improvement of some characteristics of the weapon system but makes it possible to create a CV with fundamentally new performance, which successfully competes with other CVs in the military market.
Calculations of the effectiveness of the improved and organic BMP-2 in combat conditions both as independent unit and while supported by tanks showed that the required number of vehicles can be reduced by a factor of 3.8 while keeping the same level of probability of successful mission fulfilment.
In terms of lethality the upgraded BMP-2 reaches the level superior to the possibly best IFVs like Bradley (USA) and Marder (Germany). The technical solutions used in the design of the Б05Я01 fighting compartment allow the BMP-2 to outperform in terms of combat potential the American M2A2 Bradley IFV by a factor of 2.4 and its latest upgraded version M2A3 by a factor of 1.87, and the cost of the BMP-2 retrofitting is much less.
The new weapon system is a part of the Б05Я01 fighting compartment, which, being a part of the BMP-2, passed all kids of trials with positive results according to programs coordinated by the Russian MoD. At present KBP performs serial production of the BMP-2 modernized fighting compartment.
The main part of the light weight CVs park of the land forces in some foreign countries is constituted by BMP-2 IFVs which are manufactured at local plants.
The proposed version of BMP-2 modernization was successfully demonstrated outside Russia. In 2004 a foreign crew trained within a day and a half conducted firing trials and showed the results comparable to those of the Russian crew. The trials were held with the BMP-2K commander's vehicle, which was re-equipped by joint efforts of Russian and foreign specialists within 15 days at a local plant without preliminary production preparation.
The Russian party delivered the FCS, Kornet-E anti-tank guided missile launchers, grenade launcher unit and cable set. Foreign specialists together with the Russian specialists dismounted the standard fighting compartment, upgraded the armoured cupola, and prepared mounting seats for installation of the weapons, FCS units including sights.
The fighting compartment was assembled, adjusted, the acceptance trials were held and the fighting compartment was mounted on the standard chassis of the local-made BMP-2. After firing at a shooting-range the upgraded BMP-2 was accepted. In 2003, 2004 and 2005 the upgraded BMP-2 successfully passed demonstration trials in various countries of the world.
Thus the advantage of the BMP-2 IFVs equipped with the Б05Я01 (B05Ya01) fighting compartment is high fire power and proven technology of the BMP-2 modernization. Moreover, retrofitting of combat vehicles can be performed not only at serial-production plants, but also at plants, which repair armoured vehicles.