BMD-4M airborne assault vehicles

The BMD-4M is a new generation amphibious infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) manufactured by Kurganmashzavod JSC, for the Russian Army. The vehicle will provide improved protection and support for the airborne troops.

The BMD-4M vehicle will undergo a complex test as per an agreement signed by Russia’s General Tank-Automation Command of the Ministry of Defence and airborne troops (VDV) in 2008. Serial manufacture is expected to commence in 2015 based on the test results.

BMD-4M airborne combat vehicle

The IFV was demonstrated in March 2008 and exhibited during the Russia Arms Expo (RAE) in September 2013. The Russian Ministry of Defence planned to deploy the vehicles with its VDV in December 2012.

BMD-4M IFV design and features

BMD-4M airborne combat vehicle

The BMD-4M armoured infantry fighting vehicle was developed by Volgograd Tractor Plant and the Tula KBP Instrument Design Bureau. It is the modernised variant of the BMD-4 airborne combat vehicle. The upgraded IFV vehicle has a length of 6m, width of 3.15m and height of 2.7m. The combat weight of the vehicle is 13.5t.

BMD-4 airborne combat vehicle

BMD-4 airborne combat vehicleBMD-4 airborne combat vehicle

The BMD-4 airborne combat vehicle entered service with Russian airborne units in 2005. This vehicle uses the BMD-3 chassis, but carries a significantly more powerful armament. In some cases the BMD-4 can replace main battle tanks and artillery units with its firepower during landing operations. Some older BMD-3 are being upgraded to BMD-4, while a low-rate production of new vehicles continues.

Armor of this airborne combat vehicle provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The BMD-4 is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.

Vehicle has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver. It provides accommodation for five fully equipped troops.

The BMD-4 is powered by the 2V-06-2 diesel engine, developing 450 hp. Vehicle can be paradropped with all the crew inside, thus saving time for the assembly after landing. Furthermore it is well suited for amphibious landing operations. The BMD-4 is fully amphibious and can fire all its weapons afloat at sea worthiness 2. On water it is propelled by two waterjets.

The new IFV features more spacious hull compared to its predecessor. The manned compartment accommodates up to two crew and six infantrymen. The driver is seated in the front and the engine is placed at the rear part of the hull.

A satellite navigation system is incorporated to provide geographic location details. The vehicle also features a digital computer control system.

Armament and protection of BMD-4M IFV

The airborne assault vehicle is armed with a 100mm 2A70 semi-automatic gun / missile launcher weighing 332kg.

100mm 2A70 semi-automatic gun / missile launcher

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.

9M117M1 Arkan missile (top) and 3UBK23-3 cartridge with Arkan missile plus propelling charge (bottom) (

The 2A70 gun is coupled to a highly reliable 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon mounted on the turret. It can fire GSh-6-30 rounds with a muzzle velocity of 960m/s. The rate of fire is more than 300 rounds per minute. The launcher can fire either 3UOF17 or 3UOF19 rounds at a rate of ten rounds a minute. Its muzzle velocity ranges from 250m/s to 355m/s.

30mm 2A72 automatic cannon100mm 2A70 semi-automatic gun / missile launcher coupled to a 30mm 2A72 automatic cannonbakcha-u2A70 100mm cannon and a 2A72 30 mm automatic cannon turret

The secondary armament of the vehicle is a 7.62mm PKT coaxial machine gun which can fire Arkan Tandem 9M117M1 and Konkurs anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems.

7.62mm PKT coaxial machine gun

The turret is also equipped with three smoke grenade dischargers each side at the front.

The vehicle is equipped with bullet proof armour protection. The all-welded aluminium chassis and turret protect the crew and infantrymen from small arms fire.

Fire control

The weapon system is integrated with an improved fire control equipment to provide the IFV with the ability to track and engage the targets while on the move. The fire control system incorporates a gunner’s sight to identify the targets during both day and night, a commander’s panoramic TV-aimed sight and an automatic target tracker.

Unobserved threats, antitank weapon 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 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.

Engine and mobility

The BMD-4M is powered by a multi-fuel, type UTD-29 diesel engine that produces a power of 500hp.

The armoured vehicle offers superior mobility in all terrains, thanks to increased track length and reduced ground pressure. It can accomplish a speed of 69.4km/h on highways and 10km/h afloat. It has a cruising range of 500km on highways. The ground clearance ranges from 130mm to 530mm.

An adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension system connects the vehicle to five dual rubber-tyred wheels.

Adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension system

The running gear and the chassis control system of the upgraded vehicle include more power-plant installation units. The chassis is also incorporated with control linkages, pumping devices and water jet propellers used in BMP-3 amphibious IFV.

The BMD-4M can be dropped from airplane by use of a parachute platform. It can also drive through the water.

See details of  Il-76 cargo aircraft: HERE

The Il-76 cargo aircraft can carry two of these ACVs.

The engine, with a power of 500 horsepower, allows the machine to reach speeds up to 65 kilometers per hour. In addition, BMD-4M is able to force a serious water obstacles, literally swimming across them. The speed of the machine can reach 10 miles per hour. Without refueling the BMD-4M can cover a distance of up to five hundred kilometers. This allows her to fight for several hours as breaking through the line of defense and retreat, if the need arises. The BMD-4M is the world’s only machine that can be parachuted together with the crew – and right into the fray.

As the previous vehicle, the modernized BMD-4 is adapted to make parachute landing from airplane of transport aviation together with the crew, and also to moving over the water and ground. The BMP-4M is to Spawn a range of derivatives for use by the Army and other uniformed services. This will both enable Kurganmashzavod and VgTZ to step up their output and expand their export capabilities. Power plant installation, running gear and the chassis control system with plants unified with systems of BMP-3 allowed to increase the following functional characteristics of modernized vehicle:

  • Maneuverability: cause of increasing the average traveling speed (the power of engine is 50 h.p. more)
  • Cross-country ability is better, because of the lowering specific ground pressure by the increasing of track undersurface length.
  • Reliability of PPC and running gears units (road wheels, tracks).
  • Volumetric capacity: the crew is increased from 7 to 8 men in the manned compartment because of the great compactness of the power plant compartment.
  • Controllability is better because of the usage of chassis digital informative-processing system.
  • Fire power: the fighting compartment with improved fire control system, digital control system and satellite navigation were set at the vehicle.
  • Buoyancy: the rear part of the vehicle is made without space above power pack, which increases inside volume of hull and reserve vehicle buoyancy (up to 41,5%), and different on buoyancy is not more than 2… 3º.
  • Ergonomy: convenient come in/out through the rear hatch for the crew, that is sitting near the bulkhead, and the possibility to leave the vehicle through the hatches on the roof (above the draught-line) without pouring water inside. 

By 2013 a total of 123 BMD-3 and 60 BMD-4 airborne combat vehicles were in service with the Russian Airborne Troops, with the rest being outdated BMD-2 models. The Russian military expected to acquire at least 1,000 BMD-4Ms under the current rearmament program until 2020.

The Russian Defense Ministry is to receive more than 250 airborne troops’ combat vehicles BMD-4M and armored personnel carriers BTR-MDM Rakushka over three years to come under a contract with the Tractor Plants concern, its first vice-president and co-owner, Albert Bakov told TASS 13 May 2015. “We have a three-year contract with the Defense Ministry for providing BMD-4M and BTR-MDM. More than 250 vehicles are to be delivered to the airborne troops,” Bakov said.

According to earlier reports, the first batch of the new vehicles was provided in early March 2015. Then it was expected that Russia’s paratroop units would receive a total of 62 BMD-4M and 22 BTR Rakushka by the end of the year.

BTR Rakushka
Entered service 2014
Crew 2 men
Personnel 6 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 13.5 t
Length ~ 6.4 m
Hull length ~ 6.1 m
Width ~ 3.1 m
Height ~ 2.5 m
Main gun 100-mm gun, 30-mm cannon
ATGW Bastion
Machine guns ?
Ammunition load
Main gun ?
Machine guns ?
Engine UTD-29 diesel
Engine power 500 hp
Maximum road speed 70 km/h
Amphibious speed on water 10 km/h
Range 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.8 m
Trench 1.8 m
Fording Amphibious

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