MOSCOW --- The Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Tractor Plants concern have finished the trials of the newest BMP-3 Dragun (Dragoon) infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) powered by a UTD-32T turbocharged diesel engine with a power output of 816 h.p. The IFV can fitted with three types of combat modules armed with 57 mm, 100 mm or 125 mm main weapons. The new vehicle has retained not only the maneuver performance, but also the ability to cross water obstacles on the move, according to the Izvestia newspaper.
The MoD told the Izvestia that the research and development work and the trials of the updated IFV had been finished. The Tractor Plants concern informed the newspaper about the readiness of the BMP-3 Dragun powered by a UTD-32T engine for production; however, the company declined to provide more comments.
Sergei Suvorov, an expert, told the Izvestia that the MoD was considering several concepts of IFV development. They envision the integration of various weapon, protection and combat management systems with the BMP-3.
"The BMP-3 Dragun features additional hull protection. Its integration has resulted in the increasing of the vehicle`s weight from 18 to 21 t and required the development of a new engine. At the same time, the Dragun has retained the maneuverability of an IFV and the ability to cross water obstacles," Suvorov said.
Until recently, the BMP-3-family IFVs were fitted with the UTD-29 and UTD-32 engines with a power output of 500-660 h.p. Both motors are not equipped with turbines. At the same time, the UTD-32T has received a gas-turbine turbocharger that increases the engine`s power output by 200 h.p. Owing to the integration of the new powerplant, the Dragun has a road speed of 70 km/h and a swimming one of 10 km/h.
Three combat modules are suitable for the IFV: the organic BMP-3`s turret with a 2A70 100 mm gun, a 2A72 30 mm automatic cannon and a PKTM 7.62 mm machinegun, the newest AU-220M Baikal remote control weapon station with a 57 mm gun and a module with a 125 mm gun.
"The existing of several versions of the BMP-3 evidences the search for new concepts of their usage on the battlefield. The MoD wants to turn it [an IFV] into a kind of a tank. However, an IFV is an infantry platform that should not replace tanks or pave the way for them: it is a transport and fire support mean only. The vehicle should have more capabilities than an armored personnel carrier [APC], including the one to engage tanks. However, its primary task is to suppress weapon systems that bare infantry advancing," Suvorov said.
The experts of the RAND Corporation have ranked the BMP-3 among the four best IFVs in the world. The Dragun`s power-to-weight ratio exceeds the ones of all the foreign-originated IFVs. The US M2 Bradley IFV is powered by a Cummins VTA-903T500 engine with a power output of 500-660 h.p. (depending on the version of the vehicle), the Italian VCC-80 Dardo - a Fiat 6VMTCA turbocharged diesel engine (512 h.p.) and the French VBCI - a Renault D12D engine (550 h.p.).
The experts have highlighted an increased firepower, maneuverability and swimming capabilities of the Russian IFV, according to the Izvestia newspaper.