The new Russian infantry fighting vehicles on the Kurganets-25 platform will be one-third heavier than the current vehicles. This is the price to pay for the increased protection of their crew and motorized riflemen. However, this may still change during the testing process. Therefore, in the coming years, the Russian Ministry of Defense continues to stake on the purchase of proven BMP-3s.
Even before the first appearance of Kurgan-25 on the paving stones of Red Square, Oleg Bochkarev, deputy chairman of the board of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation, told reporters that the serial production of new BMPs on this platform by the Tractor Plants concern would begin in 2019-2020. “The state contracts of the Ministry of Defense have already been signed with our manufacturers. Since 2016, 100 units of Kurganets will go to different regions for testing, testing and then, after revision, mass, serial production will begin in 2019-2020, "he said on the air of the Ekho Moskvy radio station. Parallel to this, as the management of the Tractor Plants concern admits, their military division - Kurganmashzavod, Lipetsk plant of tracked tractors and VMK VgTZ, is now loaded to capacity both through the production of vehicles already in service with the Russian army, and under export contracts … “I will say that the sums are monstrously large, so it is a sin for us to complain about the lack of military orders and state support. For the export portfolio of Kurganmashzavod there are orders for three years in advance for the traditional key markets: Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Indonesia, "Mikhail Bolotin, President-General Director of the Tractor Plants Concern, said in the press the other day. Vice-President and co-owner of the tractor concern Albert Bakov, in turn, stressed to reporters in mid-May that the latest contract between Tractor Plants and the Ministry of Defense provides for the supply of the Russian military with "hundreds" of Kurgansev-25 predecessors - BMP-3. “We have signed a three-year contract with the Ministry of Defense for the BMP-3. The number is in the hundreds of cars,”TASS reported his opinion.
Thus, by 2019, the Russian military will receive from "Tractor Plants" "several hundred" well-known (they have been produced since 1987) BMP-3 and a hundred - BMP, created on the basis of the Kurganets-25 platform. And if the military tests of "Kurganets" are successful in three years, then, obviously, from 2019 new infantry fighting vehicles will go to the troops in droves. The scheme is ideal financially and organizationally. But on the way of its implementation in a timely manner, the design features of Kurganets-25 may become.
On the one hand, it is very beneficial for both the military and industrialists that Kurganets-25 is being created as a unified platform for a new medium-sized tracked combat vehicle. In addition to the BMP, on this platform it is planned to create command and staff vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles and ambulances, as well as artillery installations with a gun caliber of up to 122 mm, etc. And this is very good, as well as the modular principle of building a new machine itself.
On the other hand, Kurganets is being created primarily to replace the BMP-2 and BMP-3. And this is where problems can begin. The fact is that the main claim of the Russian military to the previous model was the weak protection of the crew and the landing force. “1-2 kilograms in a land mine under the belly or a caterpillar of the car turned the landing force into mincemeat” - I heard from those who went through the Afghan and Chechen wars about the BMP-2. It was difficult in a real situation to leave the car through the rear hatches (the engine was located on the way to them).
The creators of Kurganets-25 took this into account. The engine compartment of this machine is located in the front right side of the hull. The presence of a ramp with an additional door in it gives an additional speed to the unloading of the landing force. It is also fundamental that the ammunition and armament of the BMP are now isolated from the landing force and the crew. Passive armor is supplemented with a complex of active protection, including from overhead attacks. “At Kurganets, the priority requirement was to provide comprehensive protection for personnel. And we have offered today an unprecedented level of it, providing, in addition to passive armor with ceramic panels, a kind of "protective dome" consisting of active protection and protection systems from the upper hemisphere, systems for setting curtains and electromagnetic protection ", - shared the details of the protective systems of the new BMP Vice-President of the Concern "Tractor Plants" Albert Bakov. In addition, the new vehicle visually looks higher than the BMP-3. This may serve as evidence that the designers have laid some new solutions to protect the crews and the landing force from blows from below - from the bottom and rollers. “And of course, one cannot but rejoice at the absence of fuel tanks in the troop compartment,” write those who are familiar with the Kurganets design. Inside the car will accommodate 3 crew members and 8 paratroopers with full gear.
However, the measures taken to protect the crew and troops of the new BMP, led to the fact that the mass of the vehicle increased by a third. The combat weight of the BMP-3 is over 18 tons (this is 5 tons more than the BMP-2). BMP "Kurganets" will weigh about 25 tons. And that can have a critical impact on its ride and sailing capabilities. In addition, the composition of its weapons raises questions. One of the strongest advantages of the BMP-3 was (and remains) a 2A70 / 100 mm cannon-launcher with a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute, in combination with an automatic twin cannon 2A72 / 30 mm. Plus two PKT 7.62 machine guns. In Kurganets, judging by open sources, the designers left only a 30-mm automatic cannon, one 7.62-mm PKTM machine gun and added two twin launchers of the Kornet ATGM (again, again, this is information from open sources which are sometimes very different). But the combat module is fully automated and can, after target designation, work independently.
With all, in many respects justified, criticism of the BMP-3 design from the point of view of the protection of the crew and the landing force, this machine is unique on a global scale in terms of the driving performance / firepower ratio. Since 1987, Kurganmashzavod has produced almost 2 thousand of these machines. A third of them are now working in the UAE. Plus Kuwait, Syria, Indonesia, Algeria and a dozen other countries. In China, on the basis of the BMP-3, the main Type 97 infantry fighting vehicle is produced. Moreover, at a competition in the UAE, Russian vehicles competed with the American M2A1 Bradley and the British MCV80 Warrior. And they won this competition, despite the fact that both the American and British cars have a front engine and are more armored. But the Russian BMP-3 turned out to be much more maneuverable, armed and adapted to intensive work in the field. If the creators of the BMP "Kurganets" manage to preserve the advantages of the BMP-3, supplementing them with greater protection of the crew and the landing force, then Russia will indeed receive a breakthrough infantry fighting vehicle. If the new Russian BMP turns out to be a "clone" of American vehicles, then it is unlikely that it will meet with delight among the Russian military and on the world market. The latest modifications of "Bradley", for example, practically no longer float ….