The BMP-1/2, which has been the workhorse Infantry Fighting Vehicle for the Ukrainian army for decades, continues to be in operational service despite being worn-out and antiquated by modern standards. That said, the need for finding an adequate, more current-generation replacement for this 40-50-year aged combat vehicle is not just an urgent necessity but also a ripe opportunity.
“The Kevlar-E has been developed based on the Soviet-era MT-LB tractor truck platform with an extra armor protection added, which makes it resilient to impacts of 12.7 mm rounds in the frontal arc, and with protection against mine blast effects. The vehicle’s armaments comprise a Shturm/Storm weapons turret with a 30-mm automatic cannon, a Barrier ATGM launcher, an automatic grenade launcher, and a machine gun. Fully amphibious, the vehicle can carry six troops in addition to its crew of three (commander, gunner and driver).
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“Regarding the carrying chassis, the choice in favor of the MT-LB platform was driven by economy reasons, because a new platform would take a substantial amount of money to develop from scratch. Experience proves that it’s a fully acceptable option to adopt an already available platform. Beyond that, the MT-Lb has proved its worth due to its excellent off-road performance, ease of operation and maintainability, and it holds a great potential for further upgrades and reengining. That is, it can withstand additional armor and a more capable weapons station, and a modern Western-produced engine can be mounted with ease in place of the Soviet-era motor,” Mr Hryshchenko has said.
The new vehicle has reached the Testing and Evaluation phase of implementation and will soon be proposed for user evaluation and feedback.
The vehicle’s armor would protect from impacts of 12.7-mm rounds in forward arc and 7.62 rounds in side and rear arcs. Anti-mine blast protection measures include STANAG-4569 Level II compliant protection of the tracks (explosive devices of 4 kg TNT equivalent) and the bottom hull (2 kg TNT under central hull).
“It would make no sense to put a thicker armor on an IFV-class vehicle, for this would make it into a 30-35-ton behemoth, almost a tank, which would be inadequate to the tasks usually expected of IFVs”.
Andrii Hryshchenko is a retired Lieutenant-General, who in 2007-2015 served as the commanding general of the Ukraine Ground Forces 72nd Independent Mechanized Brigade and, in 2016-17, commanded the Southern Operational Command, Ukraine Ground Forces.
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