The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Bradley and the BMP (Red Storm Rising)

This is a continuation of my Red Storm Rising post series, and I decided to roll out with the Infantry fighting vehicles that were used by both sides.  I first went with the Bradley on the American side, I remembered the controversy with the Bradley in the early and mid 80's, the naysayers were super critical of the Bradley but the performance during Desert Storm proved them wrong.  The Bradley's performed very well and racked up a kill ratio higher than the Abrams. 
    In the Book, the Bradleys and BMP's were used to move troops in the battlefield and in the attack as per doctrine.  One extra point mentioned in the book was the use of the TOW missiles that would either take out a tank or a BMP.  I will focus on the TOW later since the allied used it to good effect against the soviet armored formations, especially going after the command tanks or the command BMP's.. those would have antenna's and radio's.  The Soviet stressed centralized control and command and deviation from the battle plan was frowned upon greatly to the point that the KGB would step in and arrest the offender.

The Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) is an American fighting vehicle platform manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, formerly United Defense. It was named after U.S. General Omar Bradley.
The Bradley is designed to transport infantry or scouts with armor protection, while providing covering fire to suppress enemy troops and armored vehicles. There are several Bradley variants, including the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle and the M3 Bradley cavalry fighting vehicle. The M2 holds a crew of three (a commander, a gunner and a driver) along with six fully equipped soldiers. The M3 mainly conducts scout missions and carries two scouts in addition to the regular crew of three, with space for additional TOW missiles. The Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas is the Center of Industrial Technical Excellence (CITE) for the maintenance and repair of the Bradley system.

The Bradley was developed largely in response to the Soviet BMP family of infantry fighting vehicles, and to serve as both an armored personnel carrier (APC), and a tank-killer. One specific design requirement was that it should be as fast as the then new M1 Abrams main battle tank so that they could maintain formations while moving.

The M2/M3's primary armament is a 25 mm cannon that fires up to 200 rounds per minute and is accurate up to 3000 m, depending on the ammunition used. It is also armed with a TOW missile launcher that is capable of carrying two loaded missiles. The missiles, capable of destroying most tanks to a maximum range of 4,000 metres (13,000 ft), can only be fired while the vehicle is stationary. The Bradley also carries a coaxial 7.62 mm medium machine gun, located to the right of the 25 mm chain gun.

The Bradley is equipped with the M242 25 mm chain gun as its main weapon. The M242 has a single barrel with an integrated dual-feed mechanism and remote feed selection.[1] The gun has 300 rounds of ammunition in two ready boxes (one of 70 rounds, the other of 230 rounds), with an extra 600 rounds in storage (in the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle variant) or 1200 stowed rounds (in the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle variant). The two ready boxes allow a selectable mix of rounds, such as the M791 APDS-T (Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot (with) Tracer) and M792 HEI-T (High Explosive Incendiary (with) Tracer) rounds. The tungsten APDS-T rounds proved highly effective in Desert Storm, being capable of knocking out many Iraqi vehicles including several kills on T-55 tanks. There have even been reports of kills against Iraqi T-72 tanks at close range. Subsequent ammunition developments resulted in the M919 APFSDS-T (Armor-Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Tracer) round, which contains a finned depleted uranium penetrator similar in concept to armor-piercing munitions used in modern tanks. The M919 was used in combat during the 2003 invasion phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It is also armed with an M240C machine gun mounted coaxially to the M242, with 2,200 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition. For engaging heavier targets (such as when acting in an anti-tank fashion), the Bradley has a TOW missile system on board, which was changed to fire TOW II missile from the M2A1 model onwards. M2 infantry Bradleys also have firing ports for a number of M231 Firing Port Weapons (FPWs), providing a means for the occupants to fire from within the vehicle and replacing the top-side gunners on the M113-based Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicles (ACAV), though the M231 is rarely employed. Initial variants had six ports, but the side ones were plated over with the new armor configuration on the A2 and A3 variants, leaving only the two rear-facing mounts in the loading ramp. No versions of the M3 CFV carry firing port weapons, though early versions had all six firing port mounts fitted and plated over, while newer versions retain the two ramp mounted firing ports, though again plated over.

The use of aluminum armor and the storage of large quantities of ammunition in the vehicle initially raised questions about its combat survivability. Spaced laminate belts and high hardness steel skirts have been added to improve the side protection of later versions, although this increases overall weight to 33 tons. In friendly fire incidents in Desert Storm, many crew members survived hits that resulted in total losses for lighter U.S. Marine Corps LAV-25 vehicles.
All versions are also equipped with two four-barreled smoke grenade launchers on the front of the turret for creating defensive smoke screens, and can also be loaded with chaff and flares.

The Bradley is highly capable in cross-country open terrain, in accordance with one of the main design objectives of keeping pace with the M1 Abrams main battle tank. The Bradley was initially designed to float by deploying a flotation curtain around the vehicle, allowing it to "swim" at a speed of 4.5 miles per hour (7.2 kilometres per hour). Later armor upgrades have negated this capability

One of the early issues that drove the development of the IFV was the need to have a vehicle that could serve in a high-intensity conflict in Europe, which was feared might include the use of NBC weapons. To work in such an environment, an IFV would have to have a life-support system that protected from outside contaminants while allowing the soldiers to fight from inside the vehicle. The earliest specification, from 1958, called for a vehicle of no more than 8 tons, mounting a turret with a 20 mm autocannon and a 7.62 mm machine gun, with sealed firing ports for 5 infantry gunners.
The first U.S. Army IFV design was the XM734, a modified version of the M113. A commander's cupola and passenger firing ports were added. The second design was the XM765 Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle, based on the M113A1 chassis. The upper sides of the vehicle were sloped & spaced steel armor plates were added to improve protection. In addition, firing ports for the passengers were added and a M139 20 mm cannon was added to the commander's cupola.
In 1963, the U.S. and West German governments began work on the MBT-70 design and an IFV companion project was the Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle (MICV-70). The contract was handed to the Pacific Car and Foundry Company which delivered the XM701 prototype in 1965. The prototypes had the following characteristics: weight of 25–27 tons (depending on an aluminum or steel hull); 425 HP diesel engine; a 2-man turret with a 20 mm gun & 7.62 mm MG; crew of three plus nine infantry equipped with firing ports; a built-in toilet; armor that was proof against Soviet 14.5 mm MG fire beyond a certain range; a collective and overpressure CBR system; amphibious. The filtration system provided a shirt-sleeve environment until the passengers dismounted, after that they could not re-pressurize without fear of contamination, but they could plug their suits into the vehicle's filtration system. The vehicle was 9 ft high (2.7 m), 20 ft long (6.1 m), and 10 ft wide (3.0 m). After testing, the vehicle was criticized for its poor mobility and excessive weight and size -it could not be carried aboard a C-130 or a C-141 Starlifter). New specifications were written in 1965.
In 1967, the public display of the BMP-1 caused additional interest in the MICV-70 program, which concluded its studies in 1968. However, continued disagreements on specifications continued to slow down development.
At this time, the Army looked at two alternate vehicles that could be fielded more quickly. The FMC company had developed an IFV version of the M113, which had a one-man turret mounting a 25 mm gun, a sealed environment, and firing ports. The vehicle weight was 15 tons. The U.S. Army rejected it due to limited mobility, which would have prevented it from keeping pace with the proposed MBT-70. However, the design was purchased by the Dutch and Belgian governments. The other alternate vehicle was the West German Marder, which mounted a 20 mm autocannon, two 7.62 mm MGs, relatively strong steel armor, and full CBR protection. The U.S. Army rejected it due to it not being amphibious, too large and heavy for air transport, and too expensive.
XM723 prototype being offloaded from a McDonnell Douglas YC-15 during a test, 1977
The MICV program continued on and, in 1972, a new request for proposals was issued. This was won by FMC, who began construction of the XM723 prototype, which was completed in 1973. The XM723 weighed 21 tons, had spaced aluminum armor proof against 14.5 mm fire, had a crew of three plus eight infantry, firing ports for the infantry, and a one-man turret with a 20 mm gun. The commander sat inside the hull. In order to adapt the XM723 to be usable in a reconnaissance role as well as an IFV, the turret was replaced in 1976 with a two-man turret mounting a 25 mm Bushmaster cannon and TOW missiles (this was the MICV TBAT-II design). A two-man turret design put the commander in a position with a better view of the battlefield. The TOW missiles would give the vehicle a strong anti-armor capability. The value of anti-tank missiles had been well established in the 1973 Yom Kippur war. There was an added political advantage in that the TOW missiles made it an easier sell to Congress as it was a whole new capability not possessed by the M113.
We in TRADOC...decided to put the TOW on the MICV because we realized that if we did not put the TOW on the MICV, we would probably never have a MICV.
— General Don Starry, Army magazine, 1987.
In 1977, the MICV TABA-II was renamed the XM2. The scout version became the XM3. The U.S. Congress was questioning the development of the XM2 due to the high losses incurred by BMP-1s in the 1973 war and suggested the development of a more heavily armored vehicle. The Army argued against this due to concerns about cost, weight, and development time.
Almost every army you look at is ahead of the American Army, as far as taking care of our infantry. The Russians, are ahead of us, the German, are ahead of us, the Dutch are ahead of us, the French are ahead of us, the Yugoslavians are ahead of us. Almost everybody has a better infantry vehicle than the U.S. Army.

We would have been better off in 1963 when we started to just build the MICV immediately. Are we to start over again? My guess is that if you start over again, you will have a 10 percent increase in effectiveness and 50 percent increase in cost.
— General William E. DePuy, testimony to Congress, 1977.
In 1977, Congress ordered two new evaluations of the IFV program, one by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and one by the Department of the Army, under General Pat Crizer. The GAO report was critical of the XM2's height, mobility, complexity, lack of clear doctrinal use, and lack of chemical/biological/radiological protection. Based upon this criticism the OMB deleted M2/3 funding from the budget for the 1979 financial year. In 1978, the Crizer report asserted that the basic design was consistent with doctrine and development of an IFV with superior characteristics would be costly and pose significant developmental risks. An additional study, the IFV/CFV Special Study Group, evaluated whether an improved version of the M113 could be used instead of the M2/3 IFV. Their conclusion was that extensive redesign would be necessary for even marginal improvements in M113 derivatives. In October 1978 Congress reauthorized procurement funds.
The XM2/3 passed the Army Systems Acquisition Review Council Milestone II review in 1979 and final approval for production came from the Secretary of Defense on 1 February 1980.
In 1993, one of the military inspectors, Col. James G. Burton released his book The Pentagon Wars: Reformers Challenge the Old Guard, exposing from within how the army had falsified test results during the development. This was picked up in the satirical film The Pentagon Wars released in 1998
The Bradley, named after World War II General Omar Bradley, consists of two types of vehicles, the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle. The M3 CFV was originally planned to be named after General Jacob L. Devers, but it was decided the Bradley name would apply to both, since both vehicles are based on the same chassis (they differ in only some details). The M2 carries a crew of three and a six-man infantry squad. The M3 carries the crew of three and a two-man scout team and additional radios, TOW and Dragon or Javelin missiles.
Even after the troubled development history of the Bradley additional problems occurred after production started as described in a book by Air Force Col. James Burton, which was adapted for the 1998 film The Pentagon Wars starring Kelsey Grammer and Cary Elwes. Burton advocated the use of comprehensive live fire tests on fully loaded military vehicles to check for survivability. The Army & Navy agreed and established the Joint Live fire testing program in 1984.
When testing the Bradley, however, disagreements occurred between Burton and the Aberdeen Proving Ground's Ballistic Research Laboratory, which preferred smaller, more controlled, "building block" tests. They claimed such limited (and according to Col. Burton, completely unrealistic) testing would "improve the databases used to model vehicle survivability" as opposed to full tests with random shots that would provide a far more accurate picture of its performance under real battlefield conditions, but produce less useful statistical data. In addition, Burton insisted on a series of "overmatch" tests in which weapons would be fired at the Bradley that were known to be able to easily penetrate its armor, including Russian ordnance. Burton saw attempts to avoid such tests as dishonest, while the BRL saw them as wasteful, as they already knew the vehicle would fail. The disagreements became so contentious that Congressional inquiry resulted. As a result of the tests, additional improvements to vehicle survivability were added.
The first combat unit to be equipped with Bradleys (four M2s and six M3s), in March 1983, was the 1st Battalion, 41st (Mechanized) Infantry, 2nd Armored Division. Several years later, the unit commander, Lt. Col Franklin W. Trappnell, Jr., became the Army's system manager for the Bradley program.
As of May 2000, 6,724 Bradleys (4,641 M2s and 2,083 M3s) had been produced for the U.S. Army. The total cost of the program as of that date was $5.7 billion, and the average unit cost $3.2 million.

During the Gulf War, M2 Bradleys destroyed more Iraqi armored vehicles than the M1 Abrams. A total of 20 Bradleys were lost—three by enemy fire and 17 due to friendly fire incidents; another 12 were damaged. The gunner of one Bradley was killed when his vehicle was hit by Iraqi fire, possibly from an Iraqi BMP-1, during the Battle of 73 Easting. To remedy some problems that were identified as contributing factors in the friendly fire incidents, infrared identification panels and other marking/identification measures were added to the Bradleys.   I had commented that our leathality of our weapons had exceeded our "Mark-1" eyeball to positively ID targets.  I lost a friend in the Gulf to a "Blue on Blue" when his track was hit by a hellfire fired by an Apache Helicopter.  This issue was never considered before Desert Storm because the last big armored war experienced by the United States was WWII and to a lesser experience Korea.  The Israeli's had some issues during the 6 day war and Yom Kippur.
      In the Iraq War, the Bradley proved vulnerable to improvised explosive device (IED) and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attacks, but casualties were light with the crew able to escape. In 2006, total losses included 55 Bradleys destroyed and some 700 others damaged. By 2007, the Army had stopped using the M2 Bradley in combat, instead favoring more survivable MRAPs. By the end of the war, about 150 Bradleys had been destroyed.

The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. BMP stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty 1 (Russian: Боевая Машина Пехоты 1; БМП-1), meaning "infantry fighting vehicle". The BMP-1 was the first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) of USSR. It was called the M-1967, BMP and BMP-76PB by NATO before its correct designation was known.
The Soviet military leadership saw any future wars as being conducted with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and a new design combining the properties of an armored personnel carrier (APC) and a light tank like the BMP would allow infantry to operate from the relative safety of its armoured, radiation-shielded interior in contaminated areas and to fight alongside it in uncontaminated areas. It would increase infantry squad mobility, provide fire support to them, and also be able to fight alongside main battle tanks.
The BMP-1 was first tested in combat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, where it was used by Egyptian and Syrian forces. Based on lessons learned from this conflict, and early experiences in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, a version with improved fighting qualities was developed, called the BMP-2. It was accepted into service in August 1980.
In 1987, the BMP-3, a radically redesigned vehicle with a completely new weapon system, entered service in limited numbers with the Soviet Army.

The Red Army Mechanized infantry tactics during the 1950s were similar to World War II methods in which APCs were used as "battle taxis"; they would keep the infantry in close proximity to the battle-tanks during movement, but on enemy contact they would unload their infantry before retreating to safer areas. This was in contrast to the German doctrine of infantry fighting vehicles manifested in the Schützenpanzer Lang HS.30, where the vehicles were supposed to stay with the tanks and engage lighter targets, both to take a burden off the tanks and to support their infantry squads.
Existing APCs offered little or no protection from either nuclear or chemical weapons, as they were either open-topped or could not be sealed sufficiently. Furthermore, the infantry had to disembark to be able to use their weapons.
The requirement for the BMP, which was first drawn up in the late 1950s, stressed speed, good armament, and the ability for all squad members to fire from within the vehicle. The armament had to provide direct support for dismounted infantry in the attack and defense and to be able to destroy comparable light armored vehicles. The vehicle needed to protect the crew from .50 cal machinegun fire and 20–23 mm caliber autocannons across the frontal arc, as well as from light shell fragments at distances between 500 m and 800 m.

Firepower consisted of the innovative combination of the 73 mm 2A28 Grom gun and a launcher for the 9M14 Malyutka (AT-3A Sagger A) anti-tank wire-guided missile (ATGM). The gun was intended to engage enemy armored vehicles and firing points at a range of up to 700 metres (770 yd), while the missile launcher was intended to be used against targets that were 500 metres (550 yd) to 3,000 metres (3,300 yd) away.

Requirements were issued to the various design bureaus between 1959 and 1960. There was a question as to whether the BMP should be tracked or wheeled, so a number of experimental configurations were explored, including hybrid wheeled/tracked designs.
The tracked Ob'yekt 764 (codename Object 764) was chosen because its front-engine design provided a convenient and fast way of mounting and dismounting through two rear doors. The original prototype was built in 1964, followed by the improved Ob'yekt 765 in 1965, which was accepted by the Army in 1966, under a designation BMP-1 The 120th Guards Rifle Division was the first unit in the Soviet Union to test prototypes of the new BMP ("objekt 765") infantry fighting vehicle in January–November 1965, under the command of Guards Major Vasiliy Samodelov. Small-scale production began in 1966.

The BMP went into production with the Soviet Army in 1966. The first series (Ob'yekt 765 Sp1, "specification 1") was produced until 1969. It was replaced by the improved production model, the BMP-1 (the Ob'yekt 765 Sp2), which was produced from 1969 until 1973. This, in turn, was replaced by the Ob'yekt 765 Sp3, which was a modernized, 200 kg heavier version that was produced from 1973 to 1979. A number of improvements were made to the reliability of the chassis, engine and transmission during mass production. The last version of the BMP-1 IFV (BMP-1P, Ob'yekt 765 Sp4), which was produced from 1979 to 1983, was armed with a more powerful ATGM launcher 9P135M-1 for the ATGM "Konkurs"/"Fagot". The main manufacturer of the BMP-1 and its different variants was the Kurgan Machine Building Works (Kurganskiy Mashinostroitelyniy Zavod), but PRP-3 artillery reconnaissance vehicles were produced by the Chelyabinsk Tractor Works (ChTZ) and PRP-4/PRP-4M artillery reconnaissance vehicles were produced by the Rubtsovsk Engineering Works (RMZ). Upgrades of the BMP-1 were performed by KMZ as well as by tank repair workshops of the Ministry of Defence during scheduled and major overhauls. More than 20,000 BMP-1s and vehicles based on it were built in the USSR.
BMP-1 with eight passengers
BMP-1s were produced under license by Czechoslovakia (BVP-1), Romania (MLI-84) and India.[19] Since 1986, the People's Republic of China has produced its own unlicensed copy called the Type 86 (WZ 501). The number of Type 86 IFVs and vehicles based on it is around 3,000.[4] It is still in service with the People's Liberation Army. From 1997, Iran produced its own modification of the BMP-1, the Boragh, which resembles the Chinese WZ 503.
Rear view of a plinthed BMP-1 in Lebyazhye, Lomonosovsky District, Leningrad Oblast
Czechoslovak BVP-1s were produced by VOP 026 Excaliburarmy.

In the mid-1970s, after analysis of the use of light AFVs during the Yom Kippur, Angolan and Vietnam wars, a modernization program was begun that resulted in the BMP-1P (Ob'yekt 765 Sp4). The main changes were the replacement of the largely ineffective 9M14M Malyutka ATGM with the more reliable, longer range and more powerful 9P135M or 9P135M-1 ATGM launcher. It was located on a special pintle mount on top of the turret roof, that could fire the SACLOS guided 9M113 and 9M113M Konkurs-M ATGMs, which increased armor penetration to 670 mm (26 in) and had an extended range of 4,000 m (4,400 yd). The 9P135M-1 launcher was also capable of firing 9M111 and 9M111-2 Fagot ATGMs. The Malyutka loading hatch was usually welded shut and the mounting bracket was removed. The new missiles were somewhat difficult to use since the gunner had to stand in his open hatch, exposing himself to hostile fire. It is possible to detach the 9P135M(1) ATGM launcher from the turret and use it from the ground. The BMP-1P was equipped with neutron weapon protection covering and a new fire-extinguishing system for protection against napalm. Later BMP-1Ps were fitted with an array of six 902V "Tucha" 81 millimetres (3.2 in) calibre smoke grenade launchers at the rear of the turret. Some were also equipped with the track-width KMT-10 mine plow. The BMP-1P replaced the BMP-1 in production in 1979 and many BMP-1s were upgraded to the new standard during the 1980s.

The BMP-1PG model added a 30 mm (1.2 in) AGS-17 "Plamya" automatic grenade launcher on top of the turret on the left side, for which it carries 290 grenades. Some BMP-1s had the AGS-17 added during major repairs (Ob'yekt 765Sp8).
A non-amphibious BMP-1D (the so-called 'Afghan' variant), was built in 1982 for assault units in Afghanistan. It had 5 mm thick appliqué steel armor plates on the hull sides with holes for side firing ports as well as armor plate under the commander's and driver's seats for added protection against mines. It also had large steel armored skirts fitted to the sides of the hull covering the suspension. Firing ports were added into the top hatches of the troop compartment and a stowage box was placed on the roof at the rear of the hull on some vehicles. The 9S428 ATGM launcher was often removed and replaced by an AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher.

Due to experience in Afghanistan, a new version with enhanced fighting capabilities, the BMP-2, was introduced in 1980. It had a new two-man turret armed with a 30 mm 2A42 multi-purpose autocannon and a 9P135M-1 ATGM launcher capable of firing SACLOS guided 9M113 Konkurs and 9M113M Konkurs-M as well as 9M111 and 9M111-2 Fagot ATGMs.
Later modernization plans included mounting the turret of the BMD-2 IFV on to BMP-1s, but the vehicle never left the design phase. Recent proposals for the modernization of BMP-1s include mounting new turrets armed with a 25 to 30 mm (0.98 to 1.18 in) autocannon, or a TKB-799 Kliver one-man weapons station with a computerized fire control system, armed with a missile pod (which can be armed with either four 9M133 Kornet (AT-14 Spriggan) or 9M133F Kornet ATGMs or 9K38 Igla (SA-18 Grouse) SAMs), a 30 mm 2A72 dual-purpose autocannon and a 7.62 mm (0.300 in) PKTM coaxial machine gun (BMP-1M).
See BMP-1 variants article for a complete list of BMP-1 modifications and variants based on it.

Main article: 2A28 Grom
Detailed view of the BMP-1's turret at Bolling Air Force Base.
Main armament is the 73 mm 2A28 "Grom" low pressure smoothbore semi-automatic gun. It is fed from a 40-round magazine located around the turret ring. Cyclic rate of fire is 8 to 10 rounds per minute, with the gun returning to an elevation of +3° 30' to reload after each shot if the autoloader is used. The gun can be reloaded by hand if necessary. Some units removed the autoloader altogether when new vehicles were delivered, but the mechanized ammunition conveyor magazine was kept. High-explosive ammunition, introduced in 1974, can only be loaded manually, from a conveyor.
The 2A28 'Grom' smoothbore gun fires the same PG-15V projectiles as the SPG-9 infantry light recoilless gun, but with a smaller propellant charge. The PG-15V HEAT warhead can penetrate 280 to 350 mm (11 to 14 in) of steel armor – more than enough to penetrate the frontal armor of NATO MBTs of the 1970s, such as the US M60A1, the British Chieftain or the German Leopard 1.[28] The modernized PG-9 shell is able to penetrate up to 400 mm (16 in) of steel armor. Under battlefield conditions, it has a maximum effective range of 500 m (550 yd).
OG-15V high explosive ammunition was made available only from 1974.The warhead has twice the weight of explosives as the anti-armor PG-15V; it is intended for use against troops or soft targets.
A coaxial 7.62 mm PKT machine gun is mounted to the right of the main armament for which the BMP-1 carries 2,000 rounds.
The 2A28 'Grom' gun and PKT coaxial machine gun cannot be accurately fired while the vehicle is on the move over rough ground as the turret is unstabilised.

Mounted on the gun mantlet, the ATGM launcher is capable of firing the 9M14 Malyutka, (NATO: AT-3A Sagger A); the 9M14M Malyutka-M (NATO: AT-3B Sagger B) and the 9M14P Malyutka-P (NATO: AT-3C Sagger C), all of which are intended to be used against enemy MBTs and other AFVs at distances from 500 to 3,000 m (550 to 3,280 yd). These ATGMs can penetrate up to 400 mm (16 in) of steel armor (NATO standard at the time). 9M14P missile can be used in manual mode only, like older missiles, without advantages of semi-automatic guidance.
The BMP-1 carries four ATGMs with their launching rails as a standard (two inside the turret and two inside the hull). In theory, a fifth missile can be carried on the launcher. The missiles are loaded onto a rail launcher through a small rectangular hatch in a turret's roof behind the launcher. Each 9M14M weighs 10.9 kg (24 lb), a 9M14P is 11.4 kg (25 lb). These missiles can only be fired in daylight because of the lack of a night sight. A guidance device used in the BMP-1 has the code 9S428. Besides such advantages as interference immunity and simple control equipment, wire-guided ATGMs are hampered by significant disadvantages, such as: a relatively low flight speed, response delay, the inability to load a new missile until the previous one has reached its target and a very long minimum range (500 m (550 yd)). Successful operation of the ATGM while the vehicle is on the move requires a very skilled gunner.

Those BMP-1s still in Russian service that were not modernized to BMP-1P standard, can now use 9M14-2 Malyutka-2 (NATO: AT-3D Sagger D) ATGMs (developed in 1995), which have either a tandem shaped-charge or high-explosive thermobaric warhead.
The BMP-1 was a threat to NATO APCs, light AFVs, and even MBTs of its time, by use of its main gun or ATGM. Nevertheless, the strong anti-tank focus of its armament didn't provide sufficient firepower against enemy unarmored vehicles, infantry and light fortified positions, especially during mountain battles, (mostly due to the low elevation angle of the main gun). The appearance of the more successful BMP-2 armed with the 30 mm 2A42 dual-purpose autocannon solved this serious problem.

Troop compartment

The BMP-1's firing ports location and firing arcs.
The troop compartment located at the rear of the vehicle can carry up to eight soldiers. There are four firing ports on each side of the vehicle and a single firing port in the left rear door; a combination fume extractor hose and cartridge deflector is provided to clip on to weapons at each station.[32]
BMP-1 troop compartment (Polish-modified)
Soldiers sit on two padded benches along the center line of the vehicle and face the sides. Vehicle batteries, electric equipment and the main 330 l (73 imp gal; 87 US gal) fuel tank are located between the benches, with tool stowage beneath. There are four large D-shaped hatches in the roof of the hull, which can be opened from the troop compartment. The airtight rear doors of the troop compartment also contain fuel tanks.
Space inside the troop compartment is limited. There is little room for personal equipment, which leads to it being stowed outside while on operation, sometimes limiting rearward traverse of the turret. The seating is also cramped, especially for troops in full battle dress.

The BMP-1 had significant shortcomings in its protection scheme, which only became obvious during the Soviet War in Afghanistan. It seats its driver and commander in a tandem layout, on the left side of the hull front, alongside the diesel engine. When an antitank mine hits the BMP-1's left track, the explosion usually destroyed one to three left side roadwheels, penetrated the bottom, and killed or seriously wounded both the driver and the commander, which caused painful losses of specialist personnel in the Soviet Army. Drivers laid sandbags on the bottom of their compartment in an effort to protect themselves against possible mine attack. The same kind of explosion under the right track was much less dramatic for the driver and the commander, who remained relatively safe. If the vehicle hit a tilt-rod antitank mine, its steeply sloped lower front glacis plate allowed the mine's arming rod to tilt with little resistance until the mine was well under the chassis. When it eventually detonated, the blast was usually sufficient to kill or badly wound the driver and the commander. From 1982, the Soviet 40th Army in Afghanistan began to receive improved BMP-1Ds (the so-called "Afghan" variant), which, among other improvements, included an additional armored plate under the driver's and commander's stations. This situation was addressed in the later BMP-2 design, where the commander shares the two-man turret with the gunner. The driver's and engine compartments could be equipped with additional bottom armor for improved protection against landmines filled with up to 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lb) of explosives.
Iraqi BMP-1 in a field after being hit several times and burnt out during Operation Desert Storm, 1 February 1991.
There is also a protection issue concerning the reloading of the 9M14 "Malyutka" and 9M14M "Malyutka-M" ATGMs in NBC conditions, because doing it through the small hatch from inside the vehicle would destroy whatever protection the fighting compartment's NBC protection suite gave.
The compactness and low silhouette of the vehicle are generally advantages on a battlefield. Critical areas, such as the engine compartment, the ammunition storage area, fuel cells and the troop compartment, are located in a manner that became the standard for many IFVs and APCs. Penetration anywhere in these areas will often result in mobility and/or firepower damage and/or disabling of the personnel.

BMP-1 and BMP-2 series vehicles share a major drawback with many Soviet tanks. Ammunition is stored near or even inside the fighting compartment, which makes them more vulnerable to a hit from an anti-tank round or a missile across the side arc. If that happens, the ammunition often explodes, killing everyone and completely destroying the vehicle. During the fighting in Afghanistan and Chechnya, hits by rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) penetrated the BMP-1's armor in 95% of cases. This often resulted in the vehicle burning until the ammunition exploded. Due to these limitations, Soviet/Russian soldiers customarily rode on the outside of the BMP-1, sitting on top of the hull while in combat zones. This tactic had also been adopted by their American counterparts during the Vietnam war, when they found that their own M113 APCs were vulnerable to RPG attack. This has an obvious downside on the likelihood of passenger survivability in a war-zone. The armor of BMP-1 IFVs is also insufficient to deal with AP cannon rounds – sufficiently thick armor would increase the weight of the BMP-1 considerably and jeopardize its amphibious ability. Some military analysts support the idea of returning to the concept of open-topped APCs, as the armor of light AFVs cannot protect the crew from anti-tank weapons. Modern APCs are mostly used in local conflicts instead of hypothetical large-scale wars with NBC weapons.
The rear doors are hollow fuel tanks, each has a periscope at the top, and the left door has a firing port.
One side of the troop compartment. Seats are back to back with a fuel tank between them. Fume extractors can be seen on the hull to the right, these clip on to weapons when they are used through the firing ports.
The problem most often cited by western analysts is the design of the main fuel tank. Due to the low profile of the vehicle, the designers have had to place the fuel tank between the two rows of outward-facing seats, meaning that the infantrymen sit very close to the bulk of the vehicle's fuel storage; extra fuel is carried in the hollow armored rear doors. Therefore, a hit by an armor-piercing incendiary round would set the fuel contained there (especially, if kerosene is used instead of diesel), on fire. The burning fuel would move into the crew compartment, resulting in the death or injury to the infantrymen (if they are unable to leave the vehicle via the roof hatches), and a possible explosion. However, the rear door tanks are almost always empty when the BMP goes into combat, as they are only meant to increase the road travel range of the vehicle. In intense war areas where the BMP sees action often, and it is relatively near to its base of operations, instructions highly recommend detaching the rear door tanks from the fuel system, filling them with sand as additional protection for the troop compartment, and adding fuel to the internal main fuel tank from other sources when the need arises. This was not practiced by some BMP-1s crews during a number of local conflicts, e.g., in Chechnya, which resulted in frequent attempts by the enemy to hit the rear doors of the BMP-1s. The inner fuel tank is more vulnerable than that of many modern IFVs – the thin side armor means that penetration is likely to occur to the inner fuel tank as well.
Another potential flaw in the BMP-1 is its troop seating layout. In order to allow the infantrymen to use their assault rifles and machine guns while on the move, firing ports were installed in the sides of the hull and in the left rear door. Soldiers are seated on two back-to-back benches, mounted along the center line of the troop compartment. If hit by a more advanced type of magnetic anti-tank mine, the resulting explosion could kill the entire complement of infantrymen. In many other troop carriers, soldiers are seated on separate benches against the hull sides. This layout might prohibit the use of infantry weapons from inside the troop compartment, but in most cases the loss of life from a mine would be significantly less, although the loss of lower limbs would still be frequent. It should also be noted that most conscript soldiers do not receive much training in firing from inside the vehicle while it's moving. Even for professional soldiers, the unstabilized firing port periscopes makes it very difficult to conduct aimed fire while on the move. Nevertheless, the ability of soldiers to use their weapons from inside the vehicle is of extreme importance during urban warfare, especially, when repulsing enemy ambushes.

The BMP-1 has no air conditioning or air cooling system, its crew members and passengers suffer heavily in hot climates as its air filtration system and exhaust-ventilation fans cannot provide any comfort at high temperatures. During the Yom Kippur War, crews kept some of the roof hatches open. This meant that they were vulnerable to machine gun fire from higher ground. Only a few examples of the BMP-1 were intended for export – mainly to countries with a hot climate (for example, the Slovak-Belorussian "Cobra-S"), they are equipped with an air conditioning system. The cooling system for the engine is improved, as is the additional forced air cooling system of the engine compartment and radiator. The exhaust system helps to eject gases together with hot air from the engine compartment through the grille located on the right side of the hull roof in front of the turret.

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