BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. BMP stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty (Russian: Боевая Машина Пехоты), meaning \"fighting vehicle of infantry\") . The BMP-1 is the world's first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle. It was called the M-1967, BMP and BMP-76PB by NATO before its correct designation was known.
It was a revolutionary design combining properties of an armoured personnel carrier and a light tank. The Soviet military leadership saw any future wars as being conducted with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, where unprotected infantry would soon be either killed or incapacitated by radiation or chemical and biological agents. A vehicle like the BMP would allow infantry to operate from the relative safety of its armoured, radiation shielded interior in contaminated areas and to fight alongside it in uncontaminated areas. It would increase infantry squad mobility, provide fire support to them, and also be able to fight alongside main battle tanks.
The BMP-1 was first tested in combat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War where it was used by Egyptian and Syrian forces. Based on lessons learned from this conflict and early experiences in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, a version with improved fighting qualities, the BMP-2 was developed. It was accepted into service in August 1980.
In 1987, the BMP-3, a radically redesigned vehicle with a completely new weapon system, entered service in limited numbers with the Soviet Army.
In the late 1950s it became apparent that the armament of a typical APC wasn't strong enough for the modern battlefield. One of the standard Soviet APCs of the 1950s, the wheeled BTR-152, could be armed with three 7.62 mm SGMB medium machine guns (one in the front and one on each side), but the most common armament was only one 7.62 mm SGMB medium machine gun. The tracked BTR-50 APC could be armed armed with a 7.62 mm SGMB medium machine gun or 7.62 mm PKB general purpose machine gun (BTR-50P and BTR-50PK) or 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine gun (BTR-50PA). Also, the armour of Soviet APCs was rather weak and couldn't withstand fire from .50 cal heavy machine guns which were used by NATO units. Both APCs (BTR-152 and BTR-50) had open troop compartment and were unable to operate under conditions of nuclear warfare.
It was decided that a completely new vehicle for transporting infantry and operating together with tanks was needed. It was supposed to be tracked, equipped with NBC protection system, armed with much more powerful armament than the BTR-50PA APC and able to destroy enemy main battle tanks of the time.
Requirements for the BMP were first drawn up in the late 1950s. The requirements stressed speed, maneuverability, operational range, armament, weight, amphibious capability, protection of troopers and the ability for all squad members to fire from within the vehicle. BMP should have the maneuverability, the off-road speed and the operational range similar to tanks which closely interacted with infantry during battles. The armament was supposed to provide direct support for dismounted infantry in attack and defense and was supposed to be able to easily destroy enemy armoured vehicles.
The armour was required to protect to the crew and passengers from .50 cal armour-piercing bullets and 20-23 mm caliber autocannons across the frontal arc as well as from light shell fragments at a distance from 500 m to 800 m (the distance of infantrymen dismounting onto the battlefield during an attack of the first line of enemy defense). Side armour should withstood 7.62 mm armour-piercing bullets from distance of 75 m. The requirements also included an NBC protection system, observation devices similar to those used in main battle tanks and radio set capable of communicating with unit commanders as well as tanks.
One of the primary inspirations for the design was the German HS.30 armoured personnel carrier, which was armed with a 20 mm autocannon. The original specification called for the vehicle to be armed with a 23 mm autocannon, however this was not seen as powerful enough against main battle tanks. Instead a combination of the 73 mm 2A28 "Grom" low pressure smoothbore semi-automatic gun firing rocket-assisted projectiles and the newly developed 9S428 ATGM launcher for the 9M14 "Malyutka" (AT-3A Sagger A) ATGMs were chosen. The gun was intended to engage enemy armoured vehicles and firing points out to a range of 1,300 meters while the missile was intended to be used against targets that were further away (from 500 m to 3,000 m). The smoothbore gun and the ATGM launching system were to be mounted in a compact one-man turret from Tula Instrument Engineering Design Bureau (KBP).
The requirements were issued to the various design bureaus between 1959 and 1960. There was a question as to whether the BMP should be tracked or wheeled, so a number of experimental configurations were explored including hybrid wheeled/tracked designs. The prototypes (designated as "objects" according to Soviet classification) were:
The tracked Ob'yekt 764 was chosen after a few improvements because its front engine design provided convenient and fast way of mounting and dismounting the infantry through two rear doors and four roof hatches. Thanks to its rather weak armor, the BMP weighed very little for the vehicle of its size and had the capability of amphibious travel with almost no preparation. Also Ob'yekt 764 had a new type of tracks similar to those developed for the T-64 main battle tank and steering column which provided good maneuverability at high speeds.
The original production prototype made in 1965 was designated BMP. Small scale production began in 1966 at Chelyabinsk to permit field trials, a new assemble center for IFVs in Kurgan was built that time. A number of defects were corrected between 1966 and 1970 resulting in four slightly different production design variants of the first models (Ob'yekt 765Sp1 and Ob'yekt 765Sp2). The key changes made to the design were:
The further improvements included a new 1PN22M2 sight, OG-15V HE-Frag rounds for the 73 mm 2A28 "Grom" low pressure smoothbore short-recoil semi-automatic gun, traffic signalization system (six marker lights and one stop light), removal of an autoloader and many small details (for example, mount of a trim vane on six hinges instead of two, improved hermetic sealing of commander's hatch, new construction of gunner's seat, etc.). All those changes resulted in the combat weight increasing from 13.0 tonnes to 13.2 tonnes. The series production of the final production model, the Ob'yekt 765Sp3 (NATO: BMP-1 Model 1970), began at the Kurgan Engineering Works in 1973.
The BMP-1 is a fully amphibious tracked vehicle, with a chassis developed especially for it, a welded steel hull with a sharp, sloping front with a conspicuously ridged surface as well as with side pockets, an engine compartment at the front, centrally located, extremely flat, truncated cone turret and a troop compartment at the rear. It was designed to assist the infantry and main battle tanks in rapid maneuvers during an assault. One of the BMP-1's recognisable feature is the flap ribbed glacis plate (transmission hatch door made from aluminium armour) on the upper part of the front of the hull. Motor infantry recruits are taught to remember this feature by giving the BMP the nickname "Battle Machine with Planks".
The driver sits on the left side of the front of the hull. The driver has a single piece hatch opening to the right with three TNPO-170 periscope vision blocks around it to provide vision when the hatch is closed. The driver's periscope vision blocks have a heating system and the center periscope vision block also has a hydropneumatic cleaning system which uses a mixture of compressed air and liquid. The driver's center periscope vision block can be replaced with a TVNO-2 active night binocular vision device for use in night and bad visibility conditions or with a TNPO-350B extended periscope for swimming with the trim vane erected. The driver operates with a dash board, T-shaped steering wheel, three pedals, two levers on the steering tube and other controls. Hydraulic servo helps the driver to handle the transmission and there is an emergency pneumatic system if the hydraulic fails. There are two headlights mounted on the front corners of the hull, the right one of which is the FG-125 infra-red lamp.
The commander's station is located behind the driver's station and is provided with a hatch cover which can be rotated through full 360°. It is fitted with a manually removable OU-3GA2 infrared searchlight controlled from inside of the vehicle, a dual mode (day/night) TKN-3B 5x/4.2x magnification binocular vision device coupled with the infrared searchlight and two periscope vision blocks. Commander's vision devices are equipped with a heating system as well as a hydropneumatic cleaning system which uses a mixture of compressed air and liquid. All the mentioned vision devices are rotated along with the commander's hatch cover. The commander's station is equipped with a R-123M radio set for communication with other BMPs, infantry, unit commanders and main battle tanks. When the squad dismounts, the commander of the vehicle leads the dismounted squad. That is why some sources say that the crew of BMP-1 consists of 2 men and the vehicle can carry 9 troopers. The commander's vision devices are located very low and the turret is blocking part of his rear view to the right, so the trooper siting next to the right rear door informs the commander via intercom about combat situation in this sector.The horizontal angle of view of commander's TKN-3B binocular vision device is 270°.
The gunner's station is located inside and under the turret, on the left side of the main gun. The gunner has a single piece hatch that opens forwards on the left side of the turret roof, a dual mode (day/night) 1PN22M1 6x/6.7x magnification image intensifying monocular periscope sight in front of the hatch, four day periscope vision blocks, an optical rangefinder and a OU-3GK small removable infrared or white-light search light on top of the turret on the right hand side of the hatch coupled with the main gun. The 1PN22M1 dual mode sight has a maximum range of 400 meters at night which increases to 900 meters with the use of infra-red search light. The sight is marked stadiametricly with the apparent size of a 2.7 meter tall tank at various ranges.
The gunner's 1PN22M1 sight was replaced by the 1PN22M2 sight with additional OG scale for the OG-15V HE-Frag rounds in the Ob'yekt 765Sp3 produced from July 1974. The 1PN22M2 sight has two day scales for the two projectiles - one from 200 to 1,600 meters and the otherfrom 400 to 1,300 meters.
BMP-1 has a truncated cone cast turret of a "reversed frying pan" shape with a welded roof located to the commander's right rear. The turret is equipped with a ventilation system for extracting fumes and a semiconductor electric drive (an emergency manual control is also provided if the power should fail). The main gun has a dead-zone over the commander's hatch (between the 10:00 and 11:00 o'clock positions), where the gun must be elevated over the infra-red searchlight to avoid crushing it. There is an automatic power cut-off that halts the movement of the turret when it reaches the border of the dead zone and makes sure that the turret will not move in that direction until the gun is fully elevated. The infra-red searchlight can be removed before combat to avoid such problems, though rotating the gun into the dead-zone prevents the commander's hatch from opening. Also when the gun is facing backwards it prevents hatches on top of the troop compartment from opening, it is prohibited to face the gun backwards during swimming to avoid crushing the retractable engine snorkel. The low profile of the turret means that the barrel of the gun is less than six feet off the ground, so it cannot be fired over the heads of advancing infantry. On the other hand, the low profile of the turret makes it a difficult target for enemy fire. It is an identical turret as the one used in BMD-1.
The main armament of the BMP-1 is the 73 mm 2A28 "Grom" low pressure smoothbore semi-automatic gun with wedge breechblock. The gun is relatively compact and weighs 115 kilograms. It is fed from a forty round mechanized conveyor double-row magazine located around the turret ring. The rounds are stored vertically. This arrangement allows the gunner to sit inside the turret to operate the gun. The gun is moved in horizontal and vertical planes by an electromechanical system with pulse regulation of direction rate, there is also a duplicate manual mechanical system for moving the gun if the electromechanical system fails. The maximal horizontal and vertical traverse speed with the electromechanical system is 20 °/s and 6 °/s. The minimal horizontal and vertical direction rate is correspondingly 0.1 °/s and 0.07 °/s. The gun can be depressed or elevated between –4° and +33°, with aimed fire is possible up to an elevation of +15°. The turret has a 360° degree traverse. The below average maximum gun depression angle is determined by the low turret and shape of the front part of the hull, but elevation angle is comparable with similar light AFVs. The maximal cyclic rate of fire is between 8 and 10 rounds per minute, with the gun returning to an elevation of +3°30' to reload after each shot if the autoloader is used. The gun is reloaded by the M3 electromechanical autoloader with ammunition conveyor but can be reloaded by hand if necessary. The autoloader is not without flaws: it was not reliable (broken quite often because of vibration while the vehicle is moving at high speeds over rough ground) and it was quite dangerous to the gunner as it could damage his fingers if the gunner is not careful. The autoloader also has a low maximum rate of fire of 8 rounds per minute while the skilled gunner could easily get a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute. Because of these drawbacks the autoloader was removed in Ob'yekt 765Sp3 and Finnish BMP-1 IFVs. Also some army units removed the autoloader immediately when new BMP-1 IFVs were delivered from the manufacturer (mechanized conveyor ammunition magazine was preserved).
The 2A28 "Grom" smoothbore gun fires the same projectiles as the SPG-9 infantry light recoilless gun but with smaller propellent charge. Two types of ammunition are used from 1974 (before 1974 the ammunition consisted of HEAT rounds only): the PG-15V HEAT fixed fin-stabilized rocket-assisted round and the OG-15V HE-Frag round. In Ob'yekt 765Sp3 the standard ammo load is 24 PG-15V HEAT rounds and 16 OG-15V HE-Frag rounds. Both projectiles are ejected from the barrel by a small charge, after leaving the barrel and travelling a short distance a rocket ignites in the base of the projectile increasing the velocity. The projectile has a low flight speed tends to "shuttlecock" in high winds and thus is unreliable in such conditions.
The PG-15V HEAT round weighing 3.47 kilograms uses a 2.6 kilogram PG-9 grenade with a 0.322 kilogram RDX explosive charge in the warhead. A small PG-15P powder booster is used to boost the projectile out of the gun barrel with a speed of 400 meters per second. After the projectile has travelled 10 to 20 from the muzzle the rocket motor cuts in and accelerates the projectile to 700 meters per second. The HEAT warhead can penetrate between 280 and 350 millimetres of steel armour (the front armour of NATO main battle tanks of 1970s like the US M60A1, British Chieftain or German Leopard 1). The modernized PG-9 grenade is able to penetrate up to 400 millimetres of steel armour. The gun of the BMP-1 is unable to penetrate the front armour of modern NATO main battle tanks such as US M1A1 Abrams, British Challenger or German Leopard 2 but it can penetrate side armour of these tanks in some areas.. On proving grounds the PG-9 proved capable of hitting two meter tall targets at a range of 765 meters, while its maximum direct fire range was 1,300 meters, reducing to 400 meters at night due to the limitations of the night vision system .
The OG-15V HE-Frag round weighing 4.57 kilograms uses a OG-9 grenade with a 0.73 kilogram TNT bursting charge . The muzzle velocity of the OG-9 is 290 metres per second, a small OG-15P powder booster is used to boost the projectile out of the gun barrel. The OG-15V HE-Frag rounds were introduced in July 1974 with the Ob'yekt 765Sp3 to increase its fire-power against unarmored vehicles, infantry and firing points. The OG-15V is hand-loaded only as this round is shorter than PG-15V round and couldn't be taken by autoloader from the mechanized conveyor (also the autoloader was removed in the Ob'yekt 765Sp3). The maximum effective indirect range of OG-15V HE-Frag round against formation targets is 4,400 meters and its effective direct fire range against small point target is around 1,000 meters.
On the right hand side of the main gun is a coaxial 7.62 mm PKT tank machine gun for which the BMP-1 carries 2,000 rounds in belts of 250 rounds stowed in two boxes under the 2A28 gun. The machine gun has a rate of fire around 200-250 rounds/min.
The 2A28 "Grom" gun and PKT coaxial machine gun cannot be accurately fired while the vehicle is on the move over rough ground due to the complicated gun loading mechanism and the lack of stabilization. This makes the BMP-1's main armament less capable than stabilized autocannons which can be fired accurately while the vehicle is on the move. Because of the limited gun depression, the BMP-1 is unable to engage tanks and APCs using 2A28 "Grom" gun from all hull-down positions on rough ground and so the vehicle is quite vulnerable to enemy fire when it exposes itself to engage enemy armored targets. But it should be noted that low profile of BMP-1's hull and turret makes its detection and destruction during such kind of engagements harder. The elevation angle of 2A28 "Grom" gun, its firepower and accuracy of fire against point targets at ranges between 500 m to 700 m were not sufficient for battles in the mountains which was shown during the Soviet War in Afghanistan.
Mounted on the movable gun mantlet is the 9S428 ATGM launcher capable of firing 9M14 "Malyutka" (NATO: AT-3A Sagger A), 9M14M "Malyutka-M" (NATO: AT-3B Sagger B) and 9M14P "Malyutka-P" (NATO: AT-3C Sagger C) ATGMs intended to be used against enemy main battle tanks and other AFVs at distances from 500 m to 3000 m. The said ATGMs can penetrate up to 560 mm of steel armour (NATO standard at the time). The ATGM launcher consists of a bracket, a removable launching rail and a control equipment. BMP-1 carries 5 ATGMs (one on the launching rail, two inside the turret and two inside the hull). The weight of 9M14M "Malyutka-M" ATGM is 10.9 kg and the weight of 9M14P "Malyutka-P" ATGM with semi-automatic control is 11.4 kg. The launching rail with the ATGM is located in ammunition stowage inside the vehicle while the vehicle is traveling, and the gunner mounts the launching rail on the external bracket before entering combat. The gunner uses special small hatch to reload the ATGM launcher from within the vehicle which takes about 50 seconds. The controls are then locked in position between the legs of the gunner who guides the launched ATGM by wire using control console with a joystick. The control console for the 9M14/9M14M "Malyutka" ATGM is normally kept under the gunner's seat and is released by pulling a handle when needed. The ATGM launching is possible during day conditions only because of an absence of corresponding night sight. Besides such advantages as interference immunity and simple control equipment, wire-guided ATGM also has significant disadvantages: limitation of a flight speed, response delay, impossibility to load a new ATGM until the previous one reaches the target and a very long minimal range of 500 m. Also successful usage of 9M14 "Malyutka" ATGM while the vehicle is on the move requires a very skilled gunner. BMP-1 IFVs that were not modernized to BMP-1P level now in Russian service can use modern 9M14-2 "Malyutka-2" (NATO: AT-3D Sagger D) ATGMs (developed in 1995) with tandem shape-charge or high-explosive thermobaric warhead.
The BMP-1 was a threat to NATO APCs, light AFVs and even main battle tanks of its time by using the PG-15V HEAT-FS rocket-assisted projectiles and the 9M14M "Malyutka-M" ATGMs. Nevertheless, it should be noted that strong anti-tank trend of BMP-1 armament didn't provide sufficient firepower against enemy unarmored vehicles, infantry, firing points and light fortified positions, especially during mountain battles because of low elevation angle of the main gun. Also the BMP-1 lacked any kind of weapons that could be used to defend itself against strike fighters and helicopters (not all BMP-1 IFVs were equipped with MANPADS carried inside the troop compartment which are mentioned in the Equipment section). Only appearance of the more successful BMP-2 armed with the 30 mm 2A42 all-purpose autocannon with two-belt loading system and very high elevation angle solved this serious drawback.
The troop compartment located at the rear of the vehicle can carry up to eight troopers. There are four firing ports on each side of the vehicle and a single firing port in the left rear door. Soldiers sit on two benches along the center line of the vehicle and are facing to sides. Electric batteries, electric equipment and the main fuel tank are located between the benches. There are 4 large D-shaped hatches in the back of the roof of the hull which are opened from the troop compartment. The airtight closed rear doors of troop compartment actually contain addition fuel tanks with 60 liters of fuel in the left door and 70 liters in the right, but the Soviet/Russian regulations say that door fuel tanks must be pumped over and filled with sand as additional protection of troopers before entering combat zones. Both doors are equipped with a door open lock. There are eight TNPO-170 periscopic prismatic vision blocks (four on each side). The firing ports are covered with additional drop-shaped covers that allow the troopers to fire assault rifles (AK-47, AKM or AKMS) from inside of the vehicle while on the move. On each side the firing port nearest to the front of the vehicle allows to fire light and general purpose machine guns (RPK/RPK-74 or PK/PKM). There are holders for seven assault rifles and two light or general purpose machine guns inside the troop compartment. Each firing port is equipped with a fume exhaust fan and a small shield to protect the neighboring trooper from empty cartridge cases. The trooper siting next to the right rear door doesn't have a firing port in the door, he is the troop commander and communicates with the BMP commander via the intercom system.
The 300 horsepower (224 kW) UTD-20 six cylinder four stroke V-shaped airless-injection water-cooled diesel engine sits along with the transmission and engine cooling system, in a heat and sound-proof compartment at the right of the front of the hull, next to the ammunition storage area around the turret. The engine drives a manual gearbox with five forward gears and one reverse gear. The mechanical transmission consists of a main multi-plate metal friction clutch, two planetary double-reduction steering gears and two planetary single-reduction final drive groups. The fact that the vehicle has a single engine-transmission unit makes it easier to replace it during repairs. The fuel tanks have a maximum capacity of 462 liters. The diesel engine is a multifuel design and can use DL diesel fuel (summer) or DZ diesel fuel (winter) or TS-1 kerosene.
The BMP-1 has a maximum road speed of 65 kilometres per hour, reducing to around 45 kilometres per hour off-road and 7 to 8 kilometres per hour while swimming. Engine, transmission and steering system of BMP-1 IFV represented a very advanced design for light AFVs in the end of 1960s and provided high speed, excellent maneuverability and very easy control of the vehicle. Nevertheless, early production model (Ob'yekt 765Sp1) could maintain top road speed only for relatively short periods of time because of the significant vibration level of engine at full speed rpm and the possibility of transmission failure, those problems were solved to some degree on later models.
The BMP-1 can climb 0.7 meter high vertical obstacles, and cross 2.5 meter wide trenches. It can be driven on 25 degree side slopes and can climb 35 degree gradients.
The track is driven at the front and passes over six unevenly spaced rubber tired road wheels, which resemble the ones used in PT-76 amphibious light tank, suspended on independent torsion bars. The first and last road wheels have a telescopic hydraulic shock absorber. There is an idler wheel at the rear, a front drive sprocket with detachable sprocket rings (lantern-wheel gear) and three rubber tired aluminum return rollers. The steel track itself is a double-pin small-link type with rubber-metal joints. The track is 11.76 meters long, 300 millimeters wide and has 84 links. There is a special snow/mud remover in front of each idler wheel. BMP-1 has a low ground pressure (0.6 kg/cm²) and is able to cross snow-covered and boggy terrain. It has the range, off-road speed and cross-country ability necessary to keep up with the fast-moving main battle tanks it normally follows in offensive formations. The mudguards are pivot-hinged in order to simplify the maintenance of the chassis, it is recommended also to raise the front mudguards before crossing deep mud or loose ground to prevent the accumulation of mud above the top run.
The BMP-1 is amphibious, propelling itself in the water using hydrodynamic fairings on the track upper side covers to convert track momentum into water jets. The top swimming speed is 7 to 8 kilometres per hour while the reverse speed is 2 kilometres per hour. During swimming the vehicle should not be driven faster than in third gear and if fully loaded or without using a trim vane - not faster than in second gear. Turns are performed by changing the speed of one of the tracks. The shape of the hull and some elements (hollow road wheels and road wheel arms with air chambers) improve the displacement in water. The BMP-1 can overcome water barriers with current speed up to 1.2 metres per second and waves up to 0.25 meters high. More challenging conditions require engineer support.
Before entering the water the trim vane at the front of the hull should be erected with the help of a pneumatic drive to improve the vehicle's stability and displacement in water as well as to prevent the water from flooding the bow of the BMP-1. While in its traveling position it serves as additional front armor. The trim vane must be returned to traveling position during the use of turret armament afloat. The pneumatic drive also erects the engine snorkel behind the turret. The engine air cleaner valve of dust extraction is closed simultaneously with erection of the trim vane and the snorkel. The driver's TNPO-170 center periscope must be swapped for a TNPO-350B special periscope that enables the driver to see over the trim vane, the driver can use the GPK-59 gyrocompass in conditions of landmark absence. It is also recommended to fit the FG-126 searchlight on the turret at night and attach a signal buoy to the front right lifting ring. The rear doors of the troop compartment must be closed airtight using the bolt bar mechanism, this is the only mandatory requirement to be done before entering the water. The vehicle is equipped with three bilge pumps: front, middle and rear (vehicles produced before 1968 weren't equipped with the front pump) which are switched on before entering the water. The front and rear pumps are electrically driven whereas the middle pump is mechanically driven by a PTO from the engine. The front pump is located in the engine compartment at the right front and the rear pump is located in the troop compartment under a rear right seat.
Instructions for the crew require that in case of loss of engine power while in the water the driver should attempt to restart the engine but only if the mechanism that prevents the engine from aspirating water is working properly, otherwise he must inform the unit commander using the radio set and ask for a tow by an amphibious tractor. The vehicle can be carried away by strong currents since it lacks an anchor. BMP-1 IFVs can cross water obstacles such as rivers and lakes but they are not intended for sea landing operations because of low seagoing ability and therefore they were rarely used by Soviet/Russian Navy. Nevertheless, some Soviet marine regiments were equipped with a number of BMP-1 IFVs (for example the 390th regiment which is a part of 55th marine division stationed in Vladivostok, Pacific Ocean Fleet) It should be noted that the vehicle can be adapted for the role as shown by the Chinese.
The vehicle's armor is welded rolled steel varying in thickness between 6 millimetres thick on the top of the hull and 33 millimetres on the mantlet of the main gun. The original requirements called for protection against 23 millimetre calibre armour-piercing rounds across the frontal arc fired from a range of 500 metres and for protection against 7.62 millimetre calibre armour-piercing rounds across the side and rear arcs from a range of 75 metres.
The BMP-1's steeply-sloped front armour can withstand artillery shell fragments, small arms fire and the existing .50 calibre (12.7 mm) heavy machine gun AP and API rounds over the 60° of the frontal arc from all distances. The very high angle of hull front armour increased the probability of ricochets, and the trim vane in travelling position a little additional protection. On most examples the front armour is immune to 20 millimetre Oerlikon auto-cannon fire from the ranges greater than 100 metres, but armour quality varies quite significantly with nationality of a factory. Examples where the dent marks of factory certification firings are recognizable on all the major armour plates are usually better protected.
The side, rear and top armour protect the BMP-1 from 7.62 mm calibre rounds of small arms fire from all distances as well as smaller artillery shell fragments but do not protect the vehicle against 12.7 mm heavy machine gun fire from close distances and larger artillery shell fragments. Ground tests demonstrated that rear doors with fuel tanks filled with sand withstood hits of standard 12.7 mm calibre rounds, nevertheless. In Afghanistan and Chechnya armour-piercing 7.62 mm calibre rounds fired from general purpose machine guns at close range around 30 - 50 m sometimes penetrated the rear doors and hatches of BMP-1. During the First Persian Gulf War armor protection of BMP vehicles proved vulnerable to armor-piercing rounds of US M2/M3 Bradley's 25 mm M242 Bushmaster autocannon. During the intense fighting in Chechnya, no penetrations of BMP-1/BMD-1 turret front armour were noticed because the turret made for a small target and had relatively thick front armour in comparison with other parts of the vehicle.
BMP-1 has a capability to make its own smoke screen by injecting vaporized diesel fuel into the exhaust manifold to get a condensed steam-gas mixture (TDA engine smoke generating system). Late production models of the vehicle were additionally fitted with six 81 mm 902V "Tucha" smoke grenade launchers on the rear of the turret. The engine smoke generating system consists of gear driven pump located inside the troop compartment, electromotor, solenoid-operated valve, filter, holding valve of TDA, two fuel nozzles, two holding valves of nozzle purge, pipe lines and electric drives. The most effective smokescreen forms when the vehicle moves in forth gear. Recommended employment would be 5 minutes of smoke with a 3 minute waiting period before employing the system agagn.
Since the beginning of the 1980s a number of BMP-1s were equipped with mountings for the KMT-10 plough-type mineclearing system which is installed on the front of the hull in line with the tracks. The KMT-10 mine clearer weighs 450 kilograms and it can be attached to BMP-1 in 30 minutes, emergency detaching takes around 10 minutes. The KMT-10 is intended for clearing anti armor mines under different ground conditions. It is pneumatically driven and takes 4 seconds to switch from the traveling position to digging position and back. The mineclearing ploughs are very narrow with just two digging tines 300 millimeters wide each (the same as the track) which limits them to clearing smaller surface-laid mines, in particular scatterable anti-tank mines. Tilt-rod fuzes mounted between the right-hand and left-hand ploughs can detonate mines between them. The maximum mineclearing speed is 15 kilometers per hour. To reduce the traveling width, the outer section of each plough can be folded inwards and held in place by a spring lock. To enable the vehicle to retain its amphibious capabilities an extra flotation device has to be secured to the lower front of the hull to counteract the weight of the KMT-10 system in traveling position when afloat, although this can also serve as an additional layer of composite armour to improve protection of the front of the vehicle.
The vehicle is equipped with navigational equipment (GPK-59 gyrocompass)R-123M radio set; R-124 intercom; automatic engine compartment fire protection system (there is also the OU-2 portable fire extinguisher inside the troop compartment at the left door); three bilge pomps; exhaust ventilation and heating systems of the crew compartment and NBC automatic protection system including radiation and chemical agent survey meter, sealing devices and air filtration unit.
The automatic engine compartment fire protection system consists of two 2-litre fire-suppression bottles located in the fighting compartment and filled with a mixture of ethyl bromide and carbon dioxide, pipeline with four sprayers, two nonreturn valves, four thermal sensors and three electric relays transmitting signals to pyrocartridges of fire-suppression bottles. Closure of relay contacts also causes the diesel engine and air exhausts to stop, and sealing the vehicle. It is also possible to activate the fire protection system manually from the driver's station.
When the NBC protection system is configured and operating, the crew and the troopers are protected from chemical weapons, biological agents and nuclear fallout by an air filtration and overpressure system which consists of the NBC filter element and the blower/dust separator (similar to the one in T-62 MBT and the BTR-60PB APC although it has an extra set of fan blades added to force the air through the NBC filter) which is mounted in the roof, behind of the commander's position. There is also a related scavenger system which removes gases from inside the vehicle when weapons are fired. When the hatches are closed the blower/dust separator draws contaminated air into the system through an air intake immediately behind the turret. The contaminated air is then drawn through the ducts around the turret ring to the blower/dust separator where fallout is separated from the air by the turning action of the propeller. The air is then forced into a heating chamber (if the vehicle is operating in cold weather) or, if necessary, directed through the NBC filter where the chemical and biological contaminants are removed. The air is then forced through the heating chamber and into the troop and crew compartments through 11 outlet vents. The forced air creates a build-up of air pressure inside the vehicle and so prevents NBC agents from leaking into the BMP-1 through areas such as the firing ports which do not have airtight seals. If the scavenger system is used when the NBC system is in operation, the effectiveness of the overpressure is reduced. This allows the vehicle to operate in contaminated environments. In the event of a nuclear explosion or chemical attack, the system automatically detects the radiation or chemical agents and seals the vehicle, it is also possible to operate it manually from the driver's station. In the case of nuclear explosion, the NBC protection system ensures automatic shutdown of the engine, closing of the engine louvres, stopping of the ejector and valves of the turret and troop compartment fans, stopping of the fans and supercharger, turning off of the electric drive of the turret and switching on of the absorbent filter air delivery system. When the shock wave has passed the driver turns on the supercharger, which provides decontaminated air at overpressure for the inhabited compartments of the BMP-1.
BMP-1 IFVs were equipped with one RPG-7/RPG-7V shoulder-launched anti-tank rocket propelled grenade weapon (for which it carried five PG-7 grenades) or one 9K32 Strela-2/9K38 Igla man-portable anti-aircraft missile launcher (for which it carried two missiles). The MANPAD is usually equipped to a single BMP-1 IFV per motor rifle platoon. RPG-7/RPG-7V or 9K32 "Strela-2"/9K38 "Igla" can be used by a trooper standing in one of the four opened hatches on the rear of the hull roof even while the vehicle is on the move. Ammunition stowage for BMP-1 crewmembers includes two AKM assault rifles (for the driver and the gunner), one PM pistol (for the commander), ten F-1 hand grenades and signaling pistol with twelve rockets. BMP-1 carries 1600 rounds for two trooper's PK general purpose machine guns, rounds are stored in ten boxes (six with 200 rounds and four with 100 rounds) in the front part of the fighting compartment.
In the mid 1970s, after analysis of the use of light AFVs during the Yom Kippur War, Angolan Civil War and Vietnam War, a modernization program was made resulting in the BMP-1P (Ob'yekt 765Sp4) with increased fire power against enemy AFVs. The main changes were the replacement of the 9S428 ATGM launcher for 9M14M "Malyutka" ATGM with a more reliable, more long-range and more powerful 9P135M or 9P135M-1 ATGM launcher. It was mounted on a special pintle mount on top of the turret's roof and could fire the SACLOS guided 9M113 "Konkurs" and 9M113M "Konkurs-M" ATGMs which increased armor penetration to 670 millimetres and extended weapon range to 4,000 meters. The 9P135M-1 ATGM launcher was also capable of firing 9M111 "Fagot" and 9M111-2 "Fagot" ATGMs. The "Malyutka" loading hatch was usually welded shut and the mounting bracket was removed. The new missiles were somewhat difficult to use since the gunner had to actually stand out in his open hatch on top of the turret to use the weapons, exposing himself to hostile fire. It is possible to remove 9P135M(1) ATGM launcher from the turret and to use it from the ground also. BMP-1P was equipped with a neutron weapon protection covering and a new fire-extinguishing system for protection against napalm. Later BMP-1P IFVs were fitted an array of six 902V "Tucha" 81 millimeter calibre smoke grenade launchers in the rear of the turret, some vehicles were equipped with track-width KMT-10 mine plow. The BMP-1P replaced the BMP-1 in production in 1979 and many BMP-1 IFVs were upgraded to the standard during the 1980s.
The BMP-1PG model was additionally armed with 30 mm AGS-17 "Plamya" automatic grenade launcher on the left hand side of the top of the turret for which it carries 290 grenades. Some BMP-1 IFVs were additionally armed with 30 mm AGS-17 "Plamya" automatic grenade launcher during preventive and major repairs (Ob'yekt 765Sp8).
Non-amphibious BMP-1D (so called "Afghan" variant) was made in 1982 for Soviet assault units in Afghanistan. It had 5 mm thick appliqué steel armour plates on the hull sides with holes for side firing ports as well as armor plate under commander's and driver's seats for protection against mines. It also had large steel armour sideskirts fitted to the sides of the hull covering the suspension. Firing ports were added into the top hatches of the troop compartment and a stowage box was placed on the roof of the rear of the hull (some vehicles didn't have it). 9S428 ATGM launcher was often removed and replaced by 30 mm AGS-17 "Plamya" automatic grenade launcher in field conditions.
Owing to experiences in Afghanistan, a new version with enhanced fighting capabilities, the BMP-2, was introduced in 1980. It had a new two-man turret armed with a 30 mm 2A42 multi-purpose autocannon and 9P135M-1 ATGM launcher capable of firing SACLOS guided 9M113 "Konkurs" and 9M113M "Konkurs-M" as well as 9M111 "Fagot" and 9M111-2 "Fagot" ATGMs.
Later modernization plans included mounting the turret of the BMD-2 IFV on BMP-1 IFVs but such vehicle never left the design phase. Modern modernizations of BMP-1 IFVs include mounting the new types of turrets armed with a 25 mm or 30 mm autocannon or TKB-799 "Kliver" one-man weapons station with a computerized fire control system, armed with a missile pod (which can be armed with either four 9M133 "Kornet" (AT-14 Spriggan) or 9M133F "Kornet" ATGMs or 9K38 "Igla" (SA-18 Grouse) SAMs), a 30 mm 2A72 multipurpose autocannon (which can be used against both ground targets and air targets) and a 7.62 mm PKTM coaxial tank machine gun (BMP-1M).
See BMP-1 variants article for complete list of BMP-1 modifications and variants based on it.
|BMP-1 (ob'yekt 765Sp1)||BMP-1 (ob'yekt 765Sp2)|| BMP-1 |
|BMP-1P (ob'yekt 765Sp4/5)||BMP-1D||BMP-2||BMP-3|
| Weight |
|Main gun||73 mm 2A28 "Grom" low pressure smoothbore semi-automatic gun||30 mm 2A42 autocannon|| 100 mm 2A70 rifled automatic |
30 mm 2A72 autocannon
|Machine gun(s)||7.62 mm PKT coaxial||3 × 7.62 mm PKT (1 coaxial, 2 bow mounted)|
|ATGM (NATO designation)|| 9M14 "Malyutka" |
| 9M113 "Konkurs" |
| 9M14 "Malyutka" or |
9M113 "Konkurs" or removed (on most vehicles)
| 9M113 "Konkurs" |
|9M117 "Bastion" (AT-10 Stabber)|
|Engine|| UTD-20 6-cylinder 4-stroke V-shaped |
airless-injection water cooled diesel
developing 300 hp (224 kW) at 2,600 rpm
| UTD-20S1 diesel |
300 hp (224 kW)
at 2,600 rpm
| UTD-29M 10-cylinder diesel |
500 hp (375 kW)
at 2,600 rpm
|Power to weight ratio |
| 23.8 |
| 22.7 |
|22.4 (16.7)|| 20.7 |
|21.4 (16.0)||26.7 (20.0)|
There is also a protection issue concerning the reloading of the 9M14 "Malyutka" and 9M14M "Malyutka-M" ATGMs in NBC conditions because doing it through the small hatch from inside the vehicle would destroy whatever value the fighting compartment's NBC protection suite had so it would impossible for the crew to repeatedly fire the ATGM launcher in NBC conditions. This continued and got worse in the BMP-1P and BMP-2 as they required the gunner to stand in his opened turret hatch while fixing of a new container with the 9M113 "Konkurs" ATGMs (the 9M111 "Fagot" ATGMs can be reload through the turret gunner's hatch from inside the vehicle although it would still be lethal in NBC conditions). This was so because Soviet designers came into conclusion that because the probability of nuclear warfare has significantly decreased in the beginning of 1970s, the further development of BMP-1 IFVs should be focused more on increasing the firepower of the vehicle rather than on improving the NBC protection suit or accommodating other parts of the vehicle to it (nevertheless, BMP-1P was equipped with a neutron weapon protection covering unlike the earlier models of BMP-1). It should be also noted that ATGM reloading system of the majority of foreign IFVs also requires to make contact with outer environment.
Due to the compactness and the low silhouette of the vehicle which most of the time are advantages on a battlefield, critical areas such as the engine compartment and ammunition storage area, fuel cells and the troop compartment are located in such a manner (which became standard for many IFVs and APCs, nevertheless) that penetration anywhere on the said areas often will result in a mobility and/or firepower decrease and/or disabling of the personnel. The hull of BMP-1 also has quite many holes and hatches with covers (hatches over the engine compartment, holes for mounting of radiators, crew's hatches, hatches over the troop compartment, firing ports, large two-part door in the rear). Such technical solution decreases the armour protection in some degree but only in places which have a low probability of getting hit by enemy projectile. On the other hand, such solution decreases the armour weight and simplifies the technical maintenance of the vehicle (all panels can be removed by one man).
BMP-1 and BMP-2 series of IFVs share a major drawback with many of the Soviet tanks. Because the ammunition is stored in storages near or even inside the fighting compartment which makes it more likely for them to be hit by an anti-tank shell or a missile across the side arc. When that happens, the ammo often explodes killing everyone and completely destroying the vehicle. During the intense fighting in Afghanistan and Chechnya, hits done by anti-tank rocket propelled grenades in 95% cases penetrated the BMP-1's armour which often resulted in vehicle burning until the flames caused the ammo to explode. Due to this limitation, Soviet/Russian soldiers customary rode outside the BMP-1, sitting on top of the hull while in combat zones. This tactic was also adopted by their American counterparts during the Vietnam war, who found their own M113 APCs vulnerable to the rocket propelled grenades. This limits the chance that a single RPG round killing or injuring all troopers being transported, but it has an obvious downside on the likelihood of passenger survivability in a war-zone. The bullet-proof armour of BMP-1 IFVs is also insufficient to deal with AP cannon rounds - a thick enough armour would considerably increase the weight of the BMP-1 and jeopardize the amphibious ability (which happen to the non-amphibious BMP-1D with additional side and bottom armour developed for Afghan theater of operations). Some military analysts support the idea to return back to the concept of open-topped APCs as the armour of light AFVs can not protect the crew from anti-tank weapons and modern APCs are used in local conflicts instead of hypothetical large-scale wars with the use of NBC weapons.
The problem most often cited by western analysts is the design of the main fuel tank. Due to the low profile of the vehicle the designers had to place the fuel tank between the two rows of outward-facing trooper seats, meaning that the infantrymen sit very close to the bulk of the vehicle's fuel storage, with extra fuel carried in the hollow armoured rear doors. Therefore a hit done by an armour-piercing incendiary round would set the fuel (especially, if a kerosene is used instead of a diesel fuel) contained there aflame. The burning fuel would move into the crew compartment, resulting in injuries or death of the infantrymen (if they are unable to leave the vehicle via the roof hatches because of intense enemy fire or because the roof hatches being blocked or jammed in some way) and a possible explosion of the vehicle. However the rear door tanks are almost always empty when the BMP goes into combat as they are meant to increase the range of road travel of the vehicle. In intense war areas where the BMP sees action relatively often and relatively near to its base of operation, the instructions highly recommend to detach rear door tanks from the fuel system, fill them with sand as additional protection of the troop compartment and add fuel to the internal main fuel tank from other sources if the need arises. However this was not practiced by some crews of BMP-1 IFVs used during a number of local conflicts (in Chechnya, for example) which resulted in frequent attempts of enemies to hit the rear doors of BMP-1. Nonetheless, the inner fuel tank is more vulnerable than that of many modern IFVs - the thin side armour means powerful shots (like RPGs in Afghanistan and Chechnya) can pierce both the outside armour and the inner fuel tank.
Another characteristic which is sometimes described at the moment as a possible flaw of the BMP-1 is its troop seating scheme. In order to allow the infantrymen to use their assault rifles and machine guns while on the move to increase the firepower of the squad on the battlefield, firing ports were installed in the sides of the hull and in the left rear door. Soldiers are seated on two back-to-back benches, mounted along the center line of the troop compartment. In case the BMP hit a more advanced type of magnetic anti-tank land mine, the resulting explosion could kill the entire complement of infantrymen. In many other troop carriers, soldiers are seated on separate benches against the hull sides. Although this layout prohibits the use of infantry weapons from inside the troop compartment, in most cases of a mine explosion the loss of life is significantly reduced, although loss of lower limbs is still frequent. It should also be noted that in practice, most conscript soldiers did not receive much training in firing from inside the vehicle while it's on the move. Even in case of professional soldiers, the unstabilized firing port periscopes make it difficult to conduct aimed fire while on the move at high speeds over rough ground. Nevertheless, the capability of troopers to use their weapons from inside the vehicle is of extremely importance during urban warfare and, especially, while repulsing enemy ambush attacks. Because the BMP-1 has no air conditioning or air cooling system, its crewmembers and troopers transported inside of it suffer a lot in hot climates as BMP-1's air filtration system and exhaust-ventilation fans of habitable compartments can't provide any comfort at high temperatures. During the Yom Kippur War crews kept some of the roof hatches open to avoid overheating which meant that they could be disabled by machine gun fire from infantry on higher ground shooting into open hatches. Only a few modern modernizations of BMP-1 which were intended to be exported mainly to countries with hot climate (for example, Slovak-Belorussian \"Cobra-S\") are equipped with an air conditioning system. Meanwhile the cooling system for the engine is better, also thanks to its additional forced air cooling system of engine compartment and radiator. Ejector of exhaust system helps to remove exhaust gases together with hot air from the engine compartment through the grille located on the right-hand side of the hull roof in front of the turret, this also decreases the temperature of exhaust gases.
The BMP-1 went into production and service with the Soviet Army in 1966. The BMP-1 of the first series (Ob'yekt 765Sp1) was produced until 1969 and was replaced by the slightly improved production model, the BMP-1 (Ob'yekt 765Sp2) which was produced from 1969 until 1973. It was replaced by Ob'yekt 765Sp3 which was a modernized and 200 kg heavier version. This model was produced from 1973 to 1979. A number of improvements were made to the reliability of the chassis, the engine and the transmission during mass production. The last produced version of the BMP-1 IFV (BMP-1P, Ob'yekt 765Sp4), armed with a more powerful ATGM launcher 9P135M-1 for ATGM \"Konkurs\"/\"Fagot\", was produced from 1979 to 1983. The main manufacturer of BMP-1 IFV and its different variants was Kurgan Engineering Works (KMZ) but PRP-3 artillery reconnaissance vehicles were produced by Chelyabinsk Tractor Works (ChTZ) and PRP-4/PRP-4M artillery reconnaissance vehicles were produced by Rubtsovsk Engineering Works (RMZ). Upgradings and reequipments of BMP-1 IFVs were performed besides KMZ by tank repair works of the Ministry of Defence during scheduled and major overhauls. More than 20,000 BMP-1 IFVs and vehicles based on it were build in USSR.
BMP-1 IFVs were produced under license by Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania (MLI-84) and India. The People's Republic of China produced since 1986 its own unlicensed copy of the BMP-1 IFV called the Type 86 (WZ 501). The number of produced Type 86 IFVs and vehicles based on it is around 3,000 It is still is in service with People's Liberation Army. From 1997, Iran produces its own modification of BMP-1, Boragh, which bears a lot of resemblance to Chinese WZ 503.
Czechoslovakian BVP-1 IFVs were produced by ZTS Dubnica nad Váhom.
Polish BWP-1 IFVs (Ob'yekt 765Sp2 and later Ob'yekt 765Sp3) were produced by Wojskowe Zakłady Motoryzacyjne Nr. 5 (WZM Nr. 5) (Military Motorization Works No. 5) in Poznań between 1973 and 1988 (1,680 were built). It still produces spare parts for BWP-1 IFVs and spare parts for UTD-20 diesel engines. Its design bureau works on a modernization package for the BWP-1. It made several prototypes with different modern turrets including unmanned ones. There is also one prototype with the original turret.
The BMP-1 entered service with the Soviet Army in 1966. The world's first unit equipped with IFVs was 1st motor rifle (renamed as armoured) battalion of 339th Guard Red Banner Belostok motor rifle regiment of 120th Guard Rohachow motor rifle division (Belorussian Military District), which tested thirty Ob'yekt 765 IFVs and three experimental Ob'yekt 765 IFVs with active location system of troopers since 1965. BMP-1 IFVs from 339th motor rifle regiment successfully participated in large military exercises "Dnieper" in September 1967 where they were first seen by high rank military authorities of USSR and Warsaw Pact countries. BMP-1 IFVs were first seen by the West specialists on the 7 November 1967 military parade in Moscow when a significant amount of those vehicles already served in the mechanized units of the Soviet Army. Its appearance created a stir in the West where lightly armed APCs were still the main means of transportation and infantry support on the battlefield. The vehicles shown on that parade belonged to aforementioned 1st battalion (commander - major V. Samodelov) of 339th motor rifle regiment and represented the first serial model of BMP-1 (Ob'yekt 765Sp1) by KMZ together with the preproduction model (Ob'yekt 765) from Chelyabinsk. The parade broadcaster couldn't pronounce a name and specifications of the newest secret vehicles so he described them as "the most perfect fighting vehicles which make possible to perform fast moving infantry battles at great depth of enemy defence
In the Soviet Army, BMP-1 IFVs were typically issued to motor rifle divisions and motor rifle regiments of tank divisions where they replaced the BTR-152 APCs, BTR-50P APCs and some of the BTR-60P APCs in the front line service. In a typical Soviet motor rifle division of that time, one motor rifle regiment had BMP-1 IFVs, the other two had wheeled BTR-60 APCs. Soviet motor rifle regiment of motor rifle division consisted of three motor rifle battalions and usually had 129 BMP-1, 4 BMP-1K, 2 BMP-1KSh and 1 BRM-1K. Soviet motor rifle regiment of tank division consisted of two motor rifle battalions and one tank battalion, it usually had 81 BMP-1, 1 BMP-1K and 1 BRM-1K.
There was a considerable debate among Soviet tank specialists about the utility of BMP at the time: the BMP-1 had weak armor and not very powerful armament in comparison with main battle tanks, and it was far more expensive than wheeled APCs. Because the probability of nuclear warfare decreased significantly in the beginning of 1970s, the new tactics for usage of IFVs during conventional warfare should be developed. Those tactics should take into consideration a large number of anti-tank weapons on the battlefield. It was finally decided that a BMP-1 with troopers inside could be used successfully during breakthrough operations or pursuit of retreating enemy forces. However when faced against strong enemy defense, the infantry should be dismounted and should follow 200 meters behind main battle tanks while IFVs should follow not further than 300 to 400 meters behind the infantry and support it with their firepower. After enemy anti-tank sites were neutralized, the infantry should mount the IFVs.
In a Soviet motor rifle division of the Central Group of Forces in Czechoslovakia (18th Guards Insterburg motor rifle division, 30th Guards Irkutsk-Pinsk motor rifle division and 48th motor rifle division), one motor rifle regiment was equipped with 31 T-72 MBTs and 130 BMP-1/2 IFVs while the other two were equipped with BTR-60PB or BTR-70 wheeled APCs instead of IFVs. Each motor rifle regiment also had 1 BRM-1 combat reconnaissance vehicle. Tank regiment of the motor rifle division had 3 BMP-1/2 IFVs in addition to its 94 T-72 MBTs. An independent tank battalion of the motor rifle division was equipped with 6 T-72 MBTs, 3 BRM-1 CRVs, 12 BRDM-2 armoured scout cars and 12 BMP-1/2 IFVs. Therefore the amount of BMP-1/2 IFVs and vehicles based on it in each aforementioned motor rifle division was 145 BMP-1/2 IFVs and 7 BRM-1 CRVs (data for 1988). A Soviet tank division of the Central Group of Forces (15th Guards Mazyr tank division, 31st Vistula tank division) consisted of two or three tank regiments (each operating 94 T-72 MBTs, 43 BMP-1/2 IFVs and 4 BRM-1 CRVs) and one motor rifle regiment (31 T-72 MBTs, 90 BMP-1/2 IFVs and 4 BRM-1 CRVs). BMP-1/2 IFVs were also used by division's reconnaissance battalion (12 BMP-1/2 IFVs in addition to 3 BRM-1 CRVs). Therefore the amount of BMP-1/2 IFVs and vehicles based on it in each aforementioned tank division was 231 BMP-1/2 IFVs and 19 BRM-1 CRVs (data for 1988).
Soviet Northern Group of Forces in Poland included the following units equipped with BMP-1 IFVs and vehicles based on it (data for the end of 1990): 6th Guards doubly Red Banner Vitebsk motor rifle division stationed in Borne Sulinowo (one of its three motor rifle regiments used IFVs while the other two used APCs - 139 BMP-1, 5 BMP-1KSh, 14 BRM-1K, 13 PRP-3, 3 PRP-4, 1 IRM) and 20th Red Banner Zvenigorod tank division stationed in Jelenia Góra (111 BMP-1, 8 BMP-1KSh, 15 BRM-1K, 12 PRP-3, 1 IRM).
Soviet motor rifle divisions of South Group of Forces were represented from 1965 to the end of 1980s by 93rd Guards Kharkov motor rifle division stationed in Kecskemét, Hungary and 254th Cherkassy motor rifle division stationed in Székesfehérvár, Hungary. On 19 November 1990, 93rd Guards Kharkov motor rifle division operated 60 BMP-2, 64 BMP-1, 1 BMP-1KSh, 15 BRM-1K, 6 PRP-3 and 2 PRP-4, 42 BMPs of the division were already withdrawn to Kiev Military District in USSR that time.
The BMP-1 IFVs were widely used in the Soviet War in Afghanistan. Besides usual motor rifle and tank units of the 40th army (5th Guard motor rifle division, 108th motor rifle division, 201st motor rifle division and 860th independent motor rifle regiment), BMP-1 IFVs were also operated by some Soviet special force units in Afghanistan. Thus, the first company of 154th independent detachment of GRU special forces (so called "Muslim battalion" because it consisted exclusively of soldiers of Tajik, Uzbek and Turkmen nationalities to increase its ability to successfully operate in Afghanistan) was equipped with BMP-1 IFVs (1 vehicle per squad, 3 vehicles per group/platoon) while three other companies of that detachment were equipped with BTR-60PB APCs. This unit together with KGB special forces captured presidential Tajbeg Palace near Kabul on 27 December 1979. This operation was codenamed Storm-333 and during it the leading Soviet BMP-1 was hit by intense fire from Afghan 12.7 mm DShK twin anti-aircraft heavy machine guns (the troopers left the damaged vehicle which was shoved off the narrow road by the next BMP-1 and continued the assault of the palace hill using scaling ladders). In 20 minutes since the beginning of the assault 9 BMP-1 IFVs of 154th independent detachment of GRU special forces reached the palace by a serpentine road and troopers transported inside the vehicles broke into the palace. Also the 1st and 2nd companies of 177th independent detachment of GRU special forces (so called the "2nd battalion", which participated in the Soviet War in Afghanistan since the end of 1981) were equipped with BMP-1 IFVs; the 2nd company of the detachment was shortly reequipped with BTR-70 APCs instead of BMP-1 IFVs. Since February 1980 the 40th army had its own special force unit - 459th independent company of special forces which consisted of four reconnaissance groups and one communications group, the company was equipped with 11 BMP-1 IFVs since December 1980.
BMP-1 IFVs weren't suited for fighting in mountain regions of hot Afghanistan as they were originally developed to be used together with main battle tanks and infantry in rapid maneuvers during an assault on flat and forest covered European theater of operations in conditions of nuclear warfare. In Afghanistan the main enemies were not AFVs but land mines and ambushes prepared by skillful Afghan Mujahideen armed with light anti-tank weapons which meant that BMP-1's anti-tank firepower was useless.
A new up-armoured variant of BMP-1, designated BMP-1D (it was also called an "Afghan" variant of BMP-1) was urgently passed into service in 1982. BMP-1D IFVs were used exclusively by Soviet assault combat battalions of 56th, 66th and 70th independent assault combat brigades in Afghanistan, also a small number of BMP-1D (together with BMP-2D) were used by composite battalion from 810th marine infantry brigade of the Black Sea Fleet during the final stage of the war. There were also many field modifications done to BMP-1 IFVs by various units. These include welding of an additional AGS-17 "Plamya" automatic grenade launcher without its mounting on the bracket of ATGM launcher on the turret roof or 2B9 "Vasilek" 82 mm automatic gun-mortar on the roof of the troop compartment to increase the vehicle's firepower when guarding vital routes. Crew members noted that 73 mm OG-9 HE-Frag grenade for the main gun, which was supposed to increase vehicle's firepower against unarmored vehicles, infantry and firing points, had a large dispersion, insufficient point-blank range and, sometimes, unable to penetrate cob walls because of a low flight speed. PG-9 HEAT grenade was able to penetrate Afghan pise buildings through but because of the poor fragmentation effect of an anti-tank projectile only a small hole was the result of its action. Based on that experience in Afghanistan, a serial BMP-1PG (Ob'yekt 765Sp8) model fitted with additional AGS-17 "Plamya" automatic grenade launcher on the left hand side of the turret roof was developed by Kurgan Engineering Works. A few BMP-1 IFVs were used in Afghanistan as support for airborne teams and were equipped with RPG-16 airborne shoulder-launched anti-tank rocket propelled grenade weapons taken from BMD-1 IFV.
Many BMP-1 and BMP-1P IFVs fell victim to Mujahideen attacks and, especially, antitank landmines (see Protection Issues section for details) like quite many Soviet light AFVs sent there. A number also fell into the hands of the Afghan Mujahideen. The Soviet Army lost 1317 APCs and IFVs of all types during 9 years of war in Afghanistan.
As of now BMP-1 and vehicles based on it are used by the following units of Russian Army or are stationed in following bases (not complete list):
Besides the Russian Army units, BMP-1 IFVs are also in service with internal security troops of Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), which use these vehicles during counterterrorism and patrol operations in Chechnya. The following units of Russian internal security troops use BMP-1 as of now (not complete list):
With the size reduction of the former Soviet Army, many of the older vehicles including BMP-1 IFVs are now surplus to their requirements and therefore a small amount of BMP-1 IFVs are being converted into civil tracked vehicles (emergency transport vehicles, forest fire fighting vehicles and logging tractors) for far north regions of the country. Some written-off and demilitarized BMP-1 IFVs are being given to the different military history museums like the one in a museum-panorama "Battle of Stalingrad" in Volgograd or converted into town monuments, a number of morally obsolete BMP-1 IFVs have been scrapped. But thoroughly repaired and modernized BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFVs are the main IFVs of the Russian Army and internal security troops of Ministry of Home Affairs of Russian Federation up to date. It is planned to replace them by BMP-3 and BMP-3M in the future.
The 81st Guard motor rifle regiment was originally stationed in East Germany and was moved from it along with the other units of 90th Guard Red Banner Lvov tank division in 1993. The regiment armed with 31 MBTs and 96 IFVs later took part in the First Chechen war. During the assault on Grozny on 31 December 1994, 1st motor rifle battalion of the regiment successfully captured a central train station (together with 131st Maykop motor rifle brigade) while the 2nd motor rifle battalion of the regiment blocked the President Palace. But the commanders of both units organized outpost and reconnaissance after combat badly (in addition to the fact that the whole plan of assault of Grozny was bletcherous) so battalions staying in columns along the streets were entrapped soon and received heavy casualties (150 KIA/MIA) from enemy RPG shooters and snipers during a break-through. The commander and the executive officer of the regiment were heavily wounded that day also. The regiment placed its block posts under control of internal security troops and was put into reserve at Severny airport in February 1994 to perform guard of Chervlennaya and Chervlennaya-Uzlovaya railway stations. In April 1995 the regiment was withdrew from Chechnya.
Even with all of its drawbacks the BMP-1 is still in service with about 48 armies.
The BMP-1 was exported to many countries. BMP-1 was in service with all of Warsaw Pact member's armies. It must be noted however that Albania bought their BMP-1 IFVs after the Warsaw Pact got dissolved. Proliferation varied greatly among the rest of the Warsaw Pact nations. For example, at least some East German motor-rifle divisions were recorded to have all three motor-rifle regiments with BMP-1 IFVs, ranging down to the Romanian and Bulgarian Armies, some of whose divisions had no BMP-series vehicles at all.
Ludowe Wojsko Polskie received its first BWP-1 IFVs (BWP-1 is a Polish designation for two Soviet BMP-1 models - Ob'yekt 765Sp2 and later Ob'yekt 765Sp3) in 1973 and today it still plays a role of a basic infantry fighting vehicle. BWP is an acronym for the Polish name for an IFV and stands for Bojowy Wóz Piechoty (which literally translates as Fighting Vehicle of Infantry). As such it is used by many units of the Polish Army including 4th armoured cavalry brigade (SBKPanc) from Orzysz and 7th Coast Defense Brigade from Słupsk. BWP-1 IFVs are also used by Polish peacekeeping unit of KFOR. Six BWP-1 IFVs took part in a military parade in Warsaw on the Polish Army Day, 15 August 2007. A year later twelve BWP-1 took part in a military parade on 15 August 2008. Poland also bought 22 BWR-1D (BRM-1K) reconnaissance vehicles in 1987 from USSR and 16 BWR-1S (modernized BPzV) reconnaissance vehicles from Czech Republic in early 1990s. The BWR-1S reconnaissance vehicles are used by 18th Reconnaissance Battalion of 16th Mechanized Division in Elbląg and 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment from Hrubieszów. Poland also operates a number of MP-31 command vehicles which served as a basis for Polish ZWDSz 2 command vehicle (see Poland section in BMP-1 variants article for details). There were 1,298 BWP-1, 16 BWR-1S and 22 BWR-1D in the Polish Army on 01 January 2007. WPT/DTP "Mors" ARVs based on MT-LB APC are being used to evacuate damaged BWP-1 IFVs as well as other tracked vehicles weighing less than 14 tonnes.
Polish military specialists consider the BWP-1 to be an obsolete vehicle. Because of that Polish Army is planning to upgrade a number of its BWP-1 IFVs to BWP-1M "Puma" standard, which is a modernization developed in 1999 by Wojskowe Zakłady Motoryzacyjne Nr. 5 (WZM Nr. 5) (Military Motorization Works No. 5) in Poznań, after one of the proposed turrets will be selected. Eventually BWP-1 IFVs in Polish Army will be completely replaced by modern vehicles of its type. There are two main candidates for this role, Swedish CV 90 and Polish BWP-2000. The BWP-2000 was developed basing on experiences with the BWP-1 in 1990s by OBRUM (Ośrodek Badawczo-Rozwojowy Urządzeń Mechnicznych - Institute of Research and Development of Mechanical Devices) from Gliwice with help from Polish experts on IFVs.
There have been a few other Polish BWP-1 modernizations (the reequipment with a new small-caliber autocannon, modern day/night vision devices, reactive armour, etc.) which did not make it through the prototype stage. Those include an experimental fitting of French Dragar turret as well as non-amphibious BWP-40 (Swedish CV 9040 IFV turret mounted on BWP-1 hull, joint development of Huta Stalowa Wola and Bofors) and BWP-95 (see Poland section in BMP-1 variants article for details). The aim of such modernizations is to increase the fire power of BWP-1 according to modern standards of the Polish Army and NATO with the preservation of all available army infrastructure (AFV repair bases, training schools). The main problem with modern modernized variants of BWP-1 is significant increase in weight of the vehicle which can cause an overload of the engine, the transmission and the suspension if they stay unmodified or unreplaced.
BMP-1 was tested in real combat for the first time on 8 October 1973 during the Yom Kippur War. Egypt had received its first batch of 80 brand new (at the time) BMP-1 IFVs between July and August 1973. A second batch of 150 vehicles was delivered between August and September. Egyptian Army used BMP-1 IFVs in mechanized infantry battalions of tank and mechanized infantry divisions (32-40 BMP-1 IFVs per battalion). Syria had received between 150 and 170 BMP-1 by the start of the war, of which about 100 were committed to the front line and used by mechanized infantry battalions during the conflict (the rest was used by the Guard of president Hafez al-Assad). Syrians used their BMP-1 IFVs on 8 October 1973 at Golan Heights to consolidate their gains as around 600 Syrian tanks dented Israeli defenses at Quneitra. But the first battle debut of the BMP-1 was unfortunate for Syrians: many vehicles were lost because of technical failures and inexperience of Syrian crews.. Insufficiently trained Syrian mechanized infantry couldn't fire accurately from inside the IFVs so they were used, in the same manner as usual APCs were to transport infantrymen towards Israeli trench lines where Syrians dismounted and took casualties from small arms fire. Syrians weren't satisfied with BMP-1 IFVs - they praised it for its speed and maneuverability but they found the 2A28 "Grom" gun effective against enemy tanks only at ranges lower than 500 m and 9M14M "Malyutka" ATGM hard to aim from inside the vehicle while on the move. After the war Syrians came into a conclusion: "BMP was like a Mercedes but what we needed was just a simple Ford".
The low profile of the vehicle made it hard or even impossible to support the dismounted advancing infantry. Basing on this, new tactics for BMP-1 usage were created after the Yom Kippur War and used ever since during Soviet military maneuvers. They included 50 meter long intervals between the advancing infantry squads to allow BMP-1 IFVs to support the infantry with their firepower. On the positive side, the vehicle was praised for being fast and agile. Its low ground pressure enabled it to navigate the northern Kantara salt marshes where Israeli and Egyptian tanks would have bogged down, those characteristics of the BMP-1 amazed the Israeli military. Its ability to swim proved useful as it was used in the first wave of Suez Canal crossing by the Egyptians. Egyptian tankmen of 4th armoured division who used BMP-1 IFVs for fire support of 2nd and 18th infantry divisions at Kantara valued BMP-1 as a very good vehicle with high speed and maneuverability but noted its bad ventilation of the habitable compartments (Egyptian crewmembers and troopers suffered a lot from heat and to compensate for this drawback they kept some of the vehicle's hatches open even in combat zones). Also the Egyptians found the troop compartment too cramped for eight fully equipped infantrymen to effectively fire from inside the BMP-1 as well as quickly mount/dismount the vehicle. Therefore the Egyptian BMP-1 IFVs usually took only six troopers instead of eight.
Israeli tank brigades suffered very high losses during Syrian offensive. Israelis noticed that the "Malyutka" ATGMs (including launched from BMP-1 IFVs) were deadly against their tanks (Sho't, M48A3 and M60A1). On the other hand the Israeli's were able to destroy or capture 40-60 Egyptian BMP-1 IFVs and 50-60 Syrian BMP-1 IFVs out of a total of more than 200 destroyed or captured Arab APCs and IFVs. Around half of lost Syrian BMP-1 IFVs were abandoned by their crews after they suffered minor mechanical breakdowns and inability of inexperienced crews (who received BMP-1 IFVs just before the beginning of the war) to carry out maintenance of the new type of vehicles. During the Yom Kippur War the armor of BMP-1 IFVs proved vulnerable to 106 mm light recoilless guns. Also during fighting at Vadi Mabuk south channel sector on 13 October Israeli soldiers found the rear armour of the BMP's turret vulnerable to armor-piercing bullets of the .50 caliber heavy machine guns. One of the first captured BMP-1 was transported to Ben-Gurion for detailed investigation by Israeli and American specialists.
The amount of BMP-1 IFVs used by Arab forces was too small to influence the Yom Kippur War but the innovation they brought to war tactics drew attention of many world's military specialists to the new type of AFVs. Nevertheless, the Yom Kippur War didn't confirm for sure that tactics of IFVs was viable.
Several Soviet technical teams from General Armoured Directorate (GBTU) were sent to Syria in the wake of the war to gather information about the usage of the new vehicle (at the same time U.S. specialists were gathering the same information). These lessons combined with observations of western military tactics development and use of light AFVs in a number of other military conflicts resulted in a beginning of a modernization program for the BMP-1 in 1974. A few updates were introduced in Ob'yect 765Sp3 model to increase the firepower against small unarmored targets (infantry, firing points, unarmored vehicles etc.) but the conclusions about vehicle's vulnerability to infantry anti-tank weapons weren't taken into consideration until the Soviet War in Afghanistan.
Three years after the Yom Kippur War, BMP-1 IFVs were used by Angolan and Cuban units against South African forces during the Angolan Civil War. USSR delivered more than 300 light AFVs (BTR-152, BTR-60PB, BMP-1 and BRDM-2) to Angola between October 1975 and April 1976. During fights in Angola, the BMP-1 proved to be a reliable vehicle with a decent firepower. Also a few examples of Czech BVP-1 "Strop" SPAAG developed in the mid-1980s have been seen during the Angolan Civil War in the hands of Angolan and Cuban soldiers. 9 BMP-1 IFVs were destroyed and 6 BMP-1 were captured by South Africans during very intense fighting during the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in October-November 1987. Captured vehicles were evaluated and recently used to develop a modernization package for the BMP-1 which included the IST Dynamics Unmanned Multi-Weapon Platform (See South Africa section in BMP-1 variants article for details). A BMP-1 fitted with a dummy of the UMWP was shown at Ysterplaat Airshow in Cape Town on 23 September 2006.
In 1975 People's Republic of China bought a single BMP-1 (Ob'yekt 765Sp3) IFV from Egypt because the Soviet-Chinese diplomatic relations, at the time, were confrontational and Chinese couldn't ask for Soviet BMP-1. By reverse-engineering, Chinese developed almost a full copy of Soviet BMP-1 in 1986 but Chinese model WZ 501 was 200 kg lighter and despite of a copied 310-320 hp diesel engine NORINCO 6V150 (copy of original UTD-20) it had the same maximal road speed as BMP-1. WZ 501 was originally intended for the export market but the PLA, which used only APCs, was desperate for a dedicated IFV, at the time, has adopted a number of WZ 501 in 1992 as stop-gap measure until the new models of IFV will be developed, giving WZ 501 a designation Type 86, even though the vehicle, like the original BMP-1, already became obsolete.
Despite of characteristic drawbacks of Type 86 (weak armour, low efficiency of the 73 mm gun) Chinese developed in mid 1990s a modernized variant of the vehicle designated Type 86A (WZ 501B) fitted with its engine forced to 400 hp, a modern radio set and 2nd generation infrared vision devices. Type 86A IFVs will remain in service with the PLA for a long time. Today the PLA maintains around 1,000 of those IFVs (earlier WZ 501 were upgraded to the WZ 501B level) which are mostly used by armoured units stationed in northern mainland China. Also the modern modernizations of WZ 501 IFVs developed by Chinese NORINCO are known including WZ 501M with a new one-man turret armed with the Russian 2A72 30 mm autocannon and "Malyutka-2" ATGM. The PLA Marine Corps in the southern Guangdong province is equipped with the special variant designated Type 86B developed by NORINCO which is adapted for crossing sea water obstacles.
A co-operation project between Chinese NORINCO and US FMC companies in 1980s gave birth to a prototype export variant designated NFV-1. The prototype of NFV-1 IFV was shown publicly in November 1986. The vehicle has the "Sharpshooter" one-man turret armed with the stabilized 25 mm M242 Bushmaster autocannon and 7.62 mm M240 coaxial general purpose machine gun fitted onto the Type 86 hull. Further development ceased as US government prohibited any further development in collaboration with Chinese. In the end of 1980s Chinese, also with the help of US FMC company, designed the Type 86-I (WZ 501A) IFV with a new overhead mount turret (the same mounted on WZ 551 wheeled IFVs) armed with a licensed Chinese copy of 25 mm M242 Bushmaster autocannon and 7.62 mm Type 86 coaxial tank machine gun (Chinese copy of 7.62 mm PKT tank machine gun). It was reported that 350 WZ 501A IFVs were produced for the PLA.
Chinese developed a family of armoured fighting vehicles based on WZ 501 IFV which includes an NBC reconnaissance vehicle, a battlefield surveillance vehicle, WZ 502 mortar carrier, WZ 503 turretless prototype APC with a larger troop compartment and 12.7 mm anti-aircraft heavy machine gun, WZ 504 tank destroyer (about 180 were built) fitted with an elevatable weapon station armed with two or four HJ-73 "Red Arrow 73" cable-guided ATGM rail launchers (HJ-73 ATGM is a Chinese licensed copy of Soviet 9M14M "Malyutka-M" ATGM), WZ 505 armoured ambulance and WZ 506 command and staff vehicle (about 90 were built) (See People's Republic of China section in BMP-1 variants article for details). The WZ 501 has also been exported to Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Burma and Sri Lanka.
During the Soviet War in Afghanistan a number of BMP-1 IFVs fell into the hands of Afghan Mujahideen who used them against their former owners. Some were converted by the Afghans into SPAAGs/fire support vehicles armed with ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft twin autocannon. They were used for fire support during fights in Afghanistan mountains. Many BMP-1 IFVs were abandoned by retreating Soviet Forces. Those vehicles as well as derelict ones restored back up to working state are now used Afghan National Army. Afghan army also uses the mentioned SPAAGs.
Indian BMP-1 IFVs participated in a difficult operation against Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka in October 1987 (Operation Pawan) when transport planes performed 2,200 flights to deliver T-72 MBTs, BMP-1 IFVs and other equipment as reinforcements for stopped Indian units which didn't use heavy weapons at first in order to minimize the civil losses and damages done to Jaffna. In some areas the anti-personnel mines were countered by rolling BMP-1 IFVs and T-72 MBTs over them. AFVs were used as support during attacks on enemy positions. Elsewhere a BMP-1 of the 72nd infantry brigade with colonel D.S. Saraon hit a mine which resulted in death of the colonel and the entire complement of nine soldiers.
Indian Army had more than 600 BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFVs in 1994. BMP-1 IFVs were eventually withdrawn from service in favor of BMP-2.
Prior to first Gulf War, Iraq bought around 1,000 BMP-1 and 800 BMP-2 IFVs. The first Soviet-manufactured BMP-1 IFVs were bought by Iraq in USSR in 1970s. Iraq also developed two upgrades for BMP-1 and one armoured ambulance conversion. The first upgrade, designated Saddam I, was shown during 1989 Baghdad exhibition. It added appliqué armour to the sides of the hull and looked quite similar to Soviet BMP-1D, however Saddam I never entered production because the additional armour overloaded the chassis and a suitable replacement engine to handle this extra weight wasn't available. The second upgrade, designated Saddam II, added rubber sideskirts, additional armour on the upper hull sides and an ATU box. Unlike the first upgrade it did enter production and was mainly used by Iraqi Republican Guard. In 1985 Iraq also developed an armoured ambulance conversion (mentioned in some sources as BMP-1SM) which removed the turret and extended the rear part of the vehicle to allow easier transportation of stretchers and walking wounded. The vehicle didn't enter service in large numbers. In 1990 Iraqi BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFVs were faced against US led invasion forces which operated 2,200 M2 Bradley IFVs and M3 AFVs. During the battle of Medina Ridge, an M2A2 commanded by sergeant Charles Peters took part in a 60 seconds long firefight with Iraqi Republican Guard AFVs during which it destroyed two BMP vehicles using about nine armour piercing rounds of Bradley's 25 mm autocannon (three of which destroyed the first BMP) and a T-72M main battle tank using the TOW ATGM.
On the third day of fighting on land (26 February 1991) the American VII corp engaged Iraqi 2nd and 3rd Republican Guard Divisions, 12th Mechanized Division and 12th Tank Division in northwest Kuwait around 16:20. It resulted in the destruction of 13 Iraqi T-72 main battle tanks and 13 Iraqi BMP vehicles. On the same day and in the same area at around 18:30 another group of M1 Abrams main battle tanks destroyed nine T-72 main battle tanks and four BMP vehicles.
During the Battle of 73 Easting an Iraqi BMP-1 knocked out a US M2 Bradley (codenamed G-16) with two 73 millimetre rounds. The first round hit the front armour of the turret but failed to penetrate it. The second one hit beneath the TOW ATGM launcher, penetrated the armour, disabled the vehicle, killed the gunner, wounded the loader and the commander.
The last battle of that conflict in which Iraq BMP vehicles were used took place on 2 March 1991 when part of Iraqi Republican Guard Division "Hammurabi" tried to break out from the pocket which was closed by 24th Tank Division. When Iraqis opened fire on M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles the Americans called on AH-64 Apache attack helicopters which destroyed 32 T-72 main battle tanks, 49 BMP vehicles, 2 ZSU-23-4 SPAAGs and 48 other vehicles. It is unknown how many Iraqi BMP vehicles survived the First Persian Gulf War but the ones that did survive were used for a second time during 2003 invasion of Iraq with similar results.
After the war the newly formed New Iraqi Army also operates BMP-1 IFVs. They're used by 1st Mechanized Brigade based in Taji which also assumed part of the security mission of the Ministry of Defense by stationing BMP-1 IFVs on the MOD grounds. As of now the New Iraqi Army operates 434 BMP-1 IFVs including 100 (36 in 2005 and 64 in 2006) BMP-1A1 Ost IFVs from Greece.
USA has captured its first BMP-1 IFV before 1 October 1986. Later they also captured a number of BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles from Iraq during First Persian Gulf War and 2003 invasion of Iraq. The captured vehicles were tested on proving grounds and three were given to museums including one in the U.S. National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning which was captured by 24th Mechanized Infantry Division in Euphrates River Valley of Iraq during First Persian Gulf War. 177th Armored Brigade used a few captured BMP-1 IFVs in the OPFOR role during exercises at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, CA.
National People's Army operated one of the largest amounts of Soviet-built BMP-1 IFVs among the armies of Warsaw Pact. On 3 October 1990 when German reunification took place, 1,112 functional BMP-1 IFVs became a property of the Federal Republic of Germany's Bundeswehr. The original plan was to retain them in service for a limited amount of time, until the new, German made Marder 2 or modernized variants of Marder 1 IFVs will became available in adequate numbers. They were brought up to NATO safety standards, modernized (fitting of a new radio set, rear-view mirrors and reflectors) and received a designation BMP-1A1 Ost (See Germany section in BMP-1 variants article for details). The majority of vehicles brought up to BMP-1A1 Ost standard were BMP-1P IFVs. During the large scale sale of ex-East German equipment in the beginning of 1990s, as Bundeswehr wasn't in need for such high amounts of weapons, 501 BMP-1A1 IFVs were sold to Greece between 1993 and 1994 and 350 BMP-1A1 IFVs were sold to Sweden where they received a designation Pbv 501. Also 110 different variants of non-modernized BMP-1/BMP-1P were sold for a very low price to Finland in 1990.
The first BMP-1 IFVs were adopted by the Hellenic Army in the beginning of 1990s when 501 BMP-1A1 Ost IFVs (German modernization of ex-East German BMP-1 and BMP-1P IFVs) were bought from Germany between 1993 and 1994. Those vehicles were slightly upgraded to the standards of the Hellenic Army, a number of them was fitted with an M2 Browning .50 caliber anti-aircraft heavy machine gun and a modified gunner's hatch. As of 2006 there were 377 BMP-1A1 Ost IFVs in service with the Hellenic Army. Greece was very interested in Russian or Ukrainian modernization programs for its BMP-1 IFVs as a modernization of BMP-1 IFVs would be around 3 times lower in cost than buying an adequate amount of a new Russian BMP-3 or German Marder 1A3 IFVs. Also during its service with the Hellenic Army the BMP-1 proved to be a very successful vehicle for its needs. Nevertheless, it was finally decided in 2007 to replace BMP-1 IFVs with modern IFVs (for which the candidates include the mentioned BMP-3 and Marder 1A3) while the BMP-1 IFVs will be sold to other countries. Greece already sold 100 BMP-1 IFVs to the New Iraqi Army (36 in 2005 and 64 in 2006).
Sweden bought 338 Soviet-manufactured ex-East German BMP-1 IFVs in the mid-1994 (and additional 12 in 1996) and designated the vehicle Pbv 501 (Pansarbandvagn 501). All Pbv 501 IFVs were upgraded with the help of Czech specialists to the standards of the Swedish Army as much as possible (Pbv 501A), also a few were upgraded further to serve as command vehicles. All upgradings were done from 1996 onward. There were 340 of those vehicles in service as of 2006 and in the same year they were withdrawn from service in Swedish infantry regiments (I 2, I 12, I 16) and P 4 armoured regiment, they are still in possession of Swedish military. 250 vehicles are in mint condition and have done less than 120 km. Currently Sweden is offering to sell their Pbv 501A IFVs as well as spare parts and training equipment for them to other countries. Although the original plan is to sell them to a single sovereign customer (state), there's also a possibility of selling them in batches consisting of more than 50 vehicles per batch. The potential customers are to express their interest before 16 June 2008 and submit their bids before 15 August 2008. Before any transaction can be made, it must be accepted by Swedish authorities. Also because Sweden holds the German end user certificate, the transfer of the end user certificate has to be accepted by German authorities. The other option that Swedish military is considering is scrapping the vehicles which would be done in Sweden according to Swedish regulations.
BMP-1 IFVs were used by opposing forces during almost all military conflicts on the territory of former USSR.
During the Nagorno-Karabakh War Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians captured 49 BMP-1 IFVs which belonged to Russian 366th motorized rifle regiment which was being withdrawn from Stepanakert at the time (March 1992). Between 1992 and 1994 Azerbaijan lost 38 BMP-1 IFVs and Armenia lost from 51 to 53 BMP-1 IFVs in battles. For that conflict Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians made an interesting field modification which included fitting additional six 9M14M "Malyutka" ATGMs on an elevatable mount from 9P122 tank destroyer on the rear of top of the turret.
When the War in Abkhazia (1992-1993) began on 14 August 1992 Georgia had an overwhelming superiority in amount of AFVs over Abkhazian forces with their initial 2 APCs and 6 IFVs only. For example, Georgian Army received 111 BMP-1 IFVs after withdrawal of Russian 10th motor rifle division from Akhaltsikhe, Russian division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs gave 6 BMPs to Georgians (by the way, Georgia obliged not to use assignable AFVs in local disputes), additional 25 BMP-1 IFVs were captured by Georgians in Tbilisi tank repair works. But Abkhazians got several tens of BMP-1 IFVs (delivered from Russia and captured from Georgians) soon, the first damaged Georgian BMP was captured on 28 August 1992 (that vehicle was repaired and used by Abkhazians during the defence of Tkvarcheli). During the Battle of Gagra Abkhazian forces captured 12 Georgian BMPs on 2 October 1992, also 2 BMP-1 were destroyed and at least 4 BMP-1 were captured after the defeat of Georgian group in Gagra. Georgians lost 2 BMPs and Abkhazians lost 4 BMPs during the unsuccessful Abkhaz night offensive on Shroma (the village along the Gumista river not far away from Sukhumi) on 3-4 November 1992. Georgians had around 70 IFVs in Sukhumi before Abkhaz offensive took place on 15 March 1993. During the war Abkhazians used several BMP-1 IFVs with additional side armour screens.
Syrian Army used BMP-1 IFVs against Israeli Army during the third phase of Lebanese Civil War. Libyan BMP-1 IFVs were used in Chad.
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