Russia is deploying a large number of BMD-4M armoured vehicles in the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine, which has followed the paratroopers since February 24, 2022.
BMD-4M armoured vehicles appeared on the Ukrainian Battlefield from the very first day of Russia’s special military operation on February 24.
This modern armoured vehicle follows the footsteps of the Russian Airborne Forces as they entered the warzone. Currently, Russia is continuing to reinforce BMD-4M for the Ukrainian Battlefield.
The BMD-4M is the latest generation of Russian-made airborne armored infantry fighting vehicles that can be para-dropped to provide firepower and support for airborne troops. It is an upgraded variant of the BMD-4. The BMD-4M was developed by the Russian defense Companies Volgograd Tractor Plant and the Tula KBP Instrument Design Bureau, the vehicle is manufactured by Kurganmashzavod Joint Stock Company.
In 2008 Kurganmashzavod produced prototypes of upgraded airborne combat vehicles BMD-4 and carried out tests aiming the unification of BMD-4 with BMP-3 that are in the field of the Russian army.
The main special feature of this new vehicle: specific power block and running gear are changed on batch ones used in BMP-3. This will allow to significantly reduce costs of service maintenance of airborne combat vehicles in the army, besides, will reduce their purchase cost within the frames of state defense order of the Defense Ministry of Russia.
In December 2012, the Russian Defense Ministry decided to adopt combat airborne armored infantry fighting vehicles BMD-4M for the Airborne Forces.
The BMD-4M is fitted with a two-man turret armed with a 2A70 100mm caliber gun, coupled to a 30mm 2A72 cannon and a 7.62mm PKT coaxial machine gun mounted to the right of the main armament. The 100mm gun uses an automatic loader with 34 rounds of 100mm ready to fire and 18 in reserve. The main gun can fire conventional types of ammunitions and also the 100mm laser-guided ammunition Arkan Tandem 9M117M1 which can be used against modern main battle tanks at a maximum range of 5,500m and against sheltered and exposed personnel and fortifications at a maximum range of 7,000m.
Unobserved threats, antitank weapons and other small targets, fixed-wing and rotary-aircraft can be engaged at a maximum range of up to 4,000m. A total of eight Arkan ammunitions are carried, with four ready to use and four in reserve. Three smoke grenade dischargers are mounted to each side in front of the turret. The BMD-4M can fire at day and night, while the vehicle is on the move, stationary or afloat. The weapon station is equipped with an advanced computerized fire control system including a combined day/night gunner’s sight, a commander’s panoramic TV-aimed sight, a digital computer, an automatic target tracker, and automatic devices which supply data on unobserved targets.
The crew consists of a commander, gunner, driver, and six infantrymen. The driver is seated at the front of the hull and has a single-piece hatch cover. There is one more seat to each side of the driver position with one single hatch. The turret is mounted back of the driver position with the commander and gunner. Four infantrymen are seated to the immediate rear of the turret.
The engine is at the rear of the hull. The chassis and the turret of the BMD-4M are of all-welded aluminum which provides protection for crew and infantrymen against the firing of ammunitions up to 30 mm in caliber on the front and against small arms fire of 7.62mm caliber on the sides.
The BMD-4 uses the same power unit and driving gear of the BMP-3. The BMD-4M is motorized with a UTD-29 multi-fuel Diesel engine that develops 500 hp. The vehicle can run at a maximum road speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 500 km. The suspension on either side consists of five dual rubber-tired road wheels with the idler at the front, a drive sprocket at the rear, and four track-return rollers.
The length of the tracks has been increased to reduce the ground pressure but also to improve mobility in all-terrain conditions. As the other version of the BMD Russian airborne armored vehicle, the BMD-4M is equipped with an adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension giving a ground clearance between 130 and 530 mm, although for normal road travel it is 450 mm.
The ground clearance is adjusted by the driver from his seat and it takes 10 seconds to lower or raise the suspension.
The BMD-4M is fully amphibious being propelled in the water by two water jets mounted on either side at the rear of the vehicle. In the water, the vehicle can move at a maximum speed of 10 km/h. Before entering the water a trim vane is erected at the front of the vehicle and the automatic bilge pump is switched on and a snorkel is mounted at the rear right side of the hull. Standard equipment includes an NBC system, fire detection and suppression system, and a heating system for the 2V-06-02 diesel engine to facilitate starting in cold weather conditions.
The driver has three-day periscopes for forwarding observation, the center one of which can be replaced by a night vision periscope. The infantrymen’s position at the front of the vehicle has a single-piece hatch cover and one-day periscope.