Land Weapons

IFV (1987)




Whereas the BMP-2 was a direct descendant of the BMP-1, the BMP-3 is a radically different design and is by far the most powerfully armed IFV in the world. The BMP-3 features a noticeably stubbier hull made of all-welded aluminum rather than steel, although the front glacis and hull floor are spaced to improve protection. The BMP-3 features an unconventional crew layout due to the fact that the engine is located in the bottom rear of the hull, rather than forward. Two infantrymen are therefore seated next to the driver while the remaining five in a troop compartment above the engine (five firing ports are provided). Entry and exist is done via two doors in the rear with open outward as well as two large rectangular hatches above; given that the engine limits the size of the rear doors, the hatches must be opened at the same time (on either side) to access the troop compartment. The most prominent new addition to the BMP-3 is the 100-mm 2A48-1 smoothbore gun, the largest such gun fitted on an IFV and which is also capable of firing the 9M117 (AT-10) anti-tank missile. Furthermore, secondary armament includes a 30-mm 2A72 coaxial autocannon and all weapons are capable of being fired while on the move. Two additional 7.62-mm PKT machine guns are also mounted on the bow, and are operated by the two troops seated beside the driver. Unlike the previous BMP vehicles which were propelled through water with their tracks, amphibious capability on the BMP-3 is provided through two water jets fitted at the rear of the hull. The BMP-3 entered service shortly before the end of the Cold War and was built in much smaller numbers than its two predecessors. Aside from Russian service, the BMP-3 has had numerous export orders, mainly to Azerbaijan, Kuwait, South Korea, the UAE, and Venezuela. It has also been offered to India. It has seen extensive service in numerous wars including the two Chechen Wars, Kosovo, Yemen, and more extensively during the Russian invasion of Ukraine where it has suffered high losses, estimated at around 200 during 2022. The experience in Chechnya (and now Ukraine) have prompted a preference for more heavily armored IFVs like the T-15 and Kurganets-25 which are currently in development.

The initial design featured a similar armament configuration to the BMP-2 before switching to a 2A70 rifled gun in the production BMP-3 (Ob'yekt 688) which entered service in 1987 although trials continued for various years and was only shown to the West in 1990. The basic model has received numerous incremental equipment and electronic updates over the course of its service life without a change in designation, and it can also be fitted with option add-on armor to the sides or Kaktus ERA, as well as Arena-E or Shtora-1 APS. The BMP-3K is a similar command vehicle. A naval infantry version is known as the BMMP but has the BMP-2’s turret, while the more capable BMP-3F features significantly improved amphibious capability through additonal buoyancy aids which enable it to operate in rough seas. The modernized BMP-3M features a new 'Bakhcha-U' turret as well as upgraded fire control, sights, and engine, with an uparmored version known as the BMP-3M-100 Dragun, though these have been only offered for export. Other variants include the BREM-L armored recovery vehicle, 2S31 Vena 120-mm mortar system and a pair of anti-tank missile platforms designated BMP-3 Kornet 9M133 (AT-14) and BMP-3 Krizantema 9M123 (AT-15) ATGMs.

Preceded by:

BMP-2 (1980)

Succeeded by:



Length (w/Gun)6.72 m (7.14 m)
Width3.230 m
Height2.300 m
Ground Clearance0.510 m
Track2.760 m
Track Width380 mm
Track on Ground4.060 m
Combat18,700 kg
Ground Pressure0.61 kg/cm²
SuspensionTorsion bar
Speed (Off-Road)70 km/h (50 km/h)
Range (Off-Road)600 km
AmphibiousYes (10 km/h)
Vertical Obstacle0.80 m
Trench2.50 m
Side Slope30%
Engine1 x 500-hp
Power/Weight26.74 hp/t
Main1 x 100-mm

Rifled Gun
↑ 60° / ↓ -6° / ↔ 360°
1 x 30-mm
1 x 7.62-mm
2 x 7.62-mm
Ammo7.62-mm: 6,000
Thickness30 - 35 mm
Max Effective30 - 35 mm RHAe