Correction — Destroying the Legacy

The original article is here.

There I wrote:

For now, those improvements, reportedly, led the Russian MIC to think about restoring the production of the past generation infantry combat vehicles (IFV). By “past generation” I get it means BMP-2, since BMP-3 is still theoretically in production, and the new generation IFV is still nowhere to be seen after almost a decade of “fielding” it. Or, alternatively, the KurganMashZavod plant will instead restore and upgrade the old IFV’s — in the event they wouldn’t be able to restore the 80’s Soviet production line, I’ guessing.

But in fact, it seems by “past generation IFV’s” the source actually meant BMP-3, not BMP-2.


In the video, reporting Medvedev’s visit to KurganMashZavod we see a production line for BMP-3’s — about two dozens of them in the process of final assembly, it seems. It is not enough to reach for any conclusions, but the most plausible explanation is they are purchased for the Russian Army.

I have no idea what the actual production rate is. I assume Medvedev made a visit then the large shipment was getting ready to ship to the Army, so that the press footage would seem impressive.

Assuming there are no problems related to the sanctions, and assuming the order for these IFV’s was issued some months ago, and intended for Russian Armed Forces, then it is possible a plant could deliver around 2 to 4 times of that number yearly, at least.

Again, let’s assume four times 24 vehicles a year at the current production rate. It would mean 96 MBP-3’s in a year. One battalion of motor rifle troops would require about 12 IFV’s in total — 1 BMP per squad * 2 squads in platoon * 2 platoons in battalion = 12 vehicles in motor rifle battalion at least.

One motor rifle division would typically require about 2 motor rifle battalions and one tank battalion, so about 30 BMP’s excluding command and support vehicles. So, we can estimate (very roughly) up to 3 motor rifle divisions or up to 6 tank divisions worth of BMP’s, produced in a year.

Typically, BMP-3’s were considered to be the most capable (and expensive) IFV currently in active service, so it would be supplied to the more elite units (such as the disgraced first tank army), and more often to the tank, and not motor rifle units. The better armor and armament of BMP-3 allowed it to operate more efficiently in formations with tank units.

Naturally, in the last decade or so (maybe even longer), the BMP-3’s weren’t supplied to the Russian Army in any significant numbers (the Wikipedia mentions 200 units were ordered in 2015). The reasoning was that the new generation of IFV’s such as T-15 would replace them. Instead, as a temporary measure, the BMP-2’s and (possibly) -1’s were upgraded with a new unmanned turret and some other features. But, as we know, the new generation of weapon systems didn’t reach the Army. A gape was created, when the new generation is not yet in production, but the older one is already out of production.

The Soviet legacy allowed for this situation, since on the paper, the sheer numbers of past era would be sufficient to close this gap for decades, until the new generation will enter in mass production. But in reality, the decay in ground forces lead to poor condition of those vehicles, as well as for a large number of them being abandoned in the field as trophies for the enemy.

Because of that, those new production BMP-3’s would probably only serve as replacement for the BMP-3’s lost or abandoned to the enemy. If my above guestimates are at least somewhat correct, Russia will need about a year or two just to replace those.

Meanwhile, the newly mobilized 300,000 need many thousands of IFV’s to arm them. At the abovementioned rate, it would take tens of years, which is clearly too long. Assuming third of those people will serve as combat personnel in tank and motor rifle units, i.e. 100,000 men, they would need up to 10,000 IVF’s and APC’s. Even assuming large portion would instead receive MRAP-type vehicles, it would still be in thousands of classical APC’s and IFV’s. Those numbers could only be supplied by returning the Soviet light armor vehicles such as BTR-60/70/80 and BMP-1/2/3 into service.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: