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IFV in modern war

The infantry fighting vehicles are getting popular among the leading militaries in recent time due to their high mobility and high survivability in the war zone, although it can only come close to the fire power of a tank, if not establishing superiority of a tank.

This is a pretty good deal for a battlefield commander who is planning to enter into enemy territory with flash mobility and put the feet on the ground as a symbol of true victory. Military history suggests that the French AMX-VCI of 1958 represented the first attempt to produce a true infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) - that is, a tracked armored carrier from which infantry could fight effectively.

A further step in this direction was taken by the West German army with the HS-30, which included a turret with 20-mm cannon.

The West German Marder and the SovietBMP-1, which first appeared in the late 1960s, represented the most significant advances in IFVs since World War II.

Both vehicles enabled mounted infantry effectively to engage even armoured opponents-a capability lacking in previous designs.

The Marder weighs 29.2 tons, has a three-man crew, can carry seven infantrymen, and is armed with a turret-mounted 20-mm auto cannon.

The BMP-1 weighs 13.5 tons, has a three-man crew, can carry eight infantrymen, and is armed with a turret-mounted 73-mm gun. A later version, the BMP-2, introduced in the early 1980s, is armed with high-velocity 30-mm cannon; both versions carry externally mounted antitank guided missiles. The BMP-3, in service with the Russian army since the late 1980s and also sold for export, has a 100-mm combined gun and missile launcher and can carry a squad of seven infantrymen.

In the 1980s, the US Army introduced the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The Bradley weighs 27.6 tons, has a three-man crew, can carry six infantrymen, and is armed with a turret-mounted 25-mm cannon and an antitank missile launcher.

The most modern version, the M2A3, includes infrared sights, a laser range finder, and bolt-on reactive armour tiles.

Its British equivalent is the Warrior Mechanized Combat Vehicle, introduced in 1986. The Warrior weighs 24.5 tons, has a three-man crew, can carry seven infantrymen, and is armed with turret-mounted 30-mm cannon.

BMD-4M

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

The BMD-4M vehicle will undergo a complex test as per an agreement signed by Russia’s General Tank-Automation Command of the Ministry of Defence and airborne troops (VDV) in 2014. Serial manufacture is expected to commence in 2017 based on the test results.

The IFV was demonstrated recently and exhibited during the Russia Arms Expo (RAE) in September 2013.

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

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

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

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

The 2A70 gun is coupled to a highly reliable 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon mounted on the turret. It can fire GSh-6-30 rounds with a muzzle velocity of 960m/s.

The rate of fire is more than 300 rounds per minute. The launcher can fire either 3UOF17 or 3UOF19 rounds at a rate of ten rounds a minute. Its muzzle velocity ranges from 250m/s to 355m/s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puma IFV

The Puma IFV is one of the best IFVs in the world, offering high mobility, maximum protection and optimum fire power.

The vehicle was developed by PSM Projekt System & Management, a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall Land Systems, and is in service with the German Army (Bundeswehr).

The Puma infantry fighting vehicle is a recent German design. First production vehicles were delivered to the German army in 2010.

The Puma is the most protected IFV currently available. It has modular armor. There is an option of three various protection levels to suit operational needs.

The Puma IFV with maximum level of protection is even heavier than the T-72 main battle tank. It can be even considered as a heavy IFV.

It seems that the most protected variant withstands 120- and 125-mm projectiles over the front arc. Vehicle also withstands mine blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT. The Puma is also fitted with advanced threat warning system.

This IFV is armed with turret-mounted 30-mm cannon and coaxial 5.56-mm light machine gun. Vehicle is powered by diesel engine, developing a whooping 1 073 horsepower. It is worth mentioning that some of the latest main battle tanks haven’t got that much power.

It offers class-leading protection for a nine-man crew against medium calibre weapons, hand-held anti-tank weapons, shaped charges, kinetic energy (KE) ammunition, heavy blast/EFP mines, and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons. The two-level modular protection concept of the vehicle constitutes ballistic and mine protection.

The MUltifunctional Self protection System (MUSS) soft-kill technology aboard the Puma further increases survivability against guided missiles.

The IFV is armed with 30mm MK30-2 ABM (Air Burst Munition), a coaxially mounted MG4 5.56mm light machine gun and SPIKE LR (EuroSpike) guided missile system. The vehicle is powered by a ten-cyllinder 800kW engine, which offers a maximum speed of 70km/h and range of about 600km.

K21 IFV

The K21 is a next-generation infantry fighting vehicle developed around the strategic concept of ‘boarded battle’. The IFV is being manufactured by Doosan DST for the Republic of Korea Army (South Korean Army).

The K-21 is a new infantry fighting vehicle, developed in South Korea. Its production commenced in 2008. Approximately 900 vehicles are planned to be built. It is claimed that the K-21 is twice cheaper to build comparing with American M2 Bradley.     

Composition of the K-21 armor is still secret. It is assumed that this IFV has multi-layer armor with glass fiber, ceramic and aluminum alloy.

It is known that front arc provides protection against 30-mm armor-piercing rounds. All-round protection is against 14.5-mm armor-piercing rounds. he K-21 can be also fitted with active protection system, similar to that used on the South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tank.

The K-21 is armed with a 40-mm cannon and 7.62-mm machine gun. A powerful gun can easily defeat all enemy armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.

Vehicle also carries two indigenously developed ATGW launchers, but exact details and number of missiles carried are unknown. Vehicle is fitted with advanced fire control system for better fire accuracy. Such control systems are usually fond on the latest main battle tanks.

The K-21 is lighter comparing with most modern IFVs. It was designed using composite materials to save weight wherever possible.

This infantry fighting vehicle has a great degree of advanced high-tech systems used including battle management system, internal navigation, vehicular information systems and identification system which recognizes friend and foe vehicles.

The indigenously built K21 IFV is designed to perform joint missions with main battle tanks and features a 20 per cent lighter structure compared with similar IFVs in its class.

It can safely transport 12 personnel including three crew and nine dismounted troops. It is fitted with modular add-on armor and composite or spaced laminated armor for protection against 30mm APDS munitions, 14.5mm AP rounds, and artillery shell fragments. The crew is also protected against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The K21 features a two-man turret mounting a 40mm cannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, and third generation anti-tank missile system. The power pack includes a Doosan D2840LXE diesel engine producing 750hp power. The vehicle has a cruising range of 450km and can travel at a maximum speed of 70km/h.

BMP-3M/BMP-3U

The BMP-3M / BMP-3U is an upgraded infantry fighting vehicle designed based on the experience gained from the BMP-3 IFV operating in a number of regions worldwide. Superior fire power, mobility and protection features make the BMP-3U one of the best IFVs in the world.

The chassis of the BMP-3M is built by Kurganmashzavod, while the turret is supplied by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau. The vehicle incorporates a Bakhcha-U combat module, which includes a 100mm gun 2A70, 30mm 2A72 automatic gun, and a 7.62mm machine gun.

The hull has the capacity to carry ten personnel and is fitted with auxiliary armour shields, ERA kits and defensive aid suits for protection against high-precision weapons.

The Shtora-1 protection system and add-on explosive reactive armour kit further protect the vehicle from anti-tank guided missiles and anti-tank hollow charge projectiles respectively. The vehicle has a maximum speed of 70km/h and cruising range of 600km.

CV90

The Combat Vehicle 90 (CV90) IFV is a member of the CV90 family of armored vehicles. It was originally developed for the Swedish Army by FMV, Hägglunds and Bofors, and is currently produced by BAE Systems.

CV90 variants are in service with the armies of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The CV90 infantry fighting vehicle was developed since the mid 1980s. It entered service with Sweden in 1993. Vehicle was also exported to Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.

The CV 90 has a welded steel armor hull. Appliqué armor can be added. It is claimed that the front arc of the CV 90 withstands 30-mm armor-piercing rounds, used by the older Russian IFVs and ACVs. All-round protection is against 14.5-mm armor-piercing rounds.  

Latest versions of the CV90 withstand blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT. Appliqué ceramic armor can be added for all-round protection against 30-mm armor-piercing rounds and improved protection against improvised explosive devices.

A slat armor can be fitted for protection against tandem-charge RPG rounds.

The original Swedish CV90 is armed with powerful 40-mm cannon. All export models of this infantry fighting vehicle are armed with 30-mm cannon. Also there is coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun.

This IFV was specially designed to minimize radar and infra-red signatures. It also uses heat-absorbing filters to provide protection against thermal imaging, image intensifiers and infra-red cameras. Vehicle also has quiet movement in order to improve stealth. With preparation this vehicle is amphibious.

The IFV integrates a 40mm Bofors auto-cannon or 30mm Bushmaster Cannon or a 35mm/50 Bushmaster Cannon as a primary weapon. The remotely controlled weapon station can be mounted with a 7.62mm machine gun and a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.

The CV90 protects its ten-man crew against IEDs, anti-tank mines, shaped charge warheads, and rocket propelled grenades. The Defensive Aid Suite (DAS) together with radar and infrared (IR) signature reduction features further enhance the survivability of the vehicle. Powered by Scania V8 diesel engine, the vehicle offers a maximum speed of 70km/h and range of 900km.

Tulpar

Tulpar is a new tracked infantry fighting vehicle developed by Turkish company Otokar. The vehicle made its public debut during the 11th International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF) in May 2013. The Tulpar is intended to complement Turkey’s new generation Altay MBT on the battlefield.

The IFV is capable of transporting 11 troops to the front line of war zones. It integrates a Mizrak-30 medium calibre remote controlled turret armed with 30mm dual feed automatic cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The turret can also be mounted with L-UMTAS long-range anti-tank guided missiles.

The vehicle offers all-round protection against 14.5mm calibre rounds, and more armor can be added for protection against higher calibre rounds.

The vehicle is designed to survive a blast of 10kg of TNT under the hull and its main parts are protected from 25mm armor-piercing rounds. The maximum speed and range of the vehicle are 70km/h and 600km respectively.

Bradley    

The Bradley A3 infantry fighting vehicle built by BAE Systems is the latest model in the Bradley range and was inducted into service with the US Army in 2000. The new vehicle incorporates advanced digitised electronics and carries up to ten personnel.

The IFV is currently in service with the Armoured Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) of the US Army, and is armed with a Bushmaster 25mm cannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and TOW missiles delivering superior fire power in various combat situations.

The original M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle entered service with the US Army in 1981. Currently US Army operate improved M2A3 version of this vehicle.

The M2A3 version is fitted with explosive reactive armor of new generation. It has some degree of protection against RPG rounds. Front arc of the latest models withstands 30-mm armor-piercing rounds. All-round protection is likely to be against 14.5-mm armor-piercing rounds.

The vehicle is armed with a two-man turret, fitted with a 25-mm dual-fed Bushmaster chain gun. It fires armor-piercing and HE-FRAG rounds.

There is also a coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. Also the M2 Bradley is equipped with a twin-tube TOW-2 anti-tank guided missile launcher, providing this vehicle a considerable anti-armor capability.

The M2 is amphibious with the use of swim barrier. Swimming capabilities can be improved by the erection of inflatable buoyancy tanks.

The survivability upgrades of the A3 over the previous Bradley system include improved roof protection against fragments, a ventilated face piece system (VFPS) and armor tiles to survive shaped charge munitions.

The Bradley Urban Survivability Kit (BUSK) upgrades further enhance the survivability in urban scenarios. The IFV has a top speed of 61km/h and cruising range of 402km.

ASCOD IFV


The ASCOD IFV developed by Steyr and Santa Bárbara Sistemas (now part of General Dynamics) is currently operated by the Spanish Army and Austrian Army.

The first ASCOD prototype was rolled out in 1992 and since then 356 vehicles have been delivered to the Spanish Army and 112 to the Austrian Army. The Spanish version is known as Pizarro, while the Austrian version is known as Ulan.

The ASCOD IFV features a monocoque hull fitted with armour steel plates offering STANAG 4569 level 4/5 ballistic, mine and NBC protection for the 11-man crew. The level of protection can be further enhanced with optional passive or reactive add-on armour kits.

The vehicle is armed with a dual-feed RWM MK30-2 30mm automatic cannon, MG-3 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, and a 76mm smoke grenade launcher. The MTU 8V power pack and running gear ensure a maximum speed of 70km/h and range of 500km.

Piranha   

Piranha V IFV is one of the members in the Piranha family of armoured multi-role wheeled vehicles developed by General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag. It is touted as one of the best IFVs available in the market today.

The Piranha V is the latest and most protected vehicle of the Piranha line. It was developed by MOWAG of Switzerland and revealed recently.

Because of increased weight, protection and powerful armament it is no longer considered an armored personnel carrier, but rather a wheeled infantry fighting vehicle. This armored vehicle is in service with Monaco.

The Piranha V IFV has an all-welded steel armor hull with integrated add-on composite modular armor. The baseline version provides all-round protection against 14.5-mm armor-piercing rounds and artillery shell splinters.

Maximum armor level provides all-round protection against 25-mm armor-piercing projectiles. Vehicle has a double floor with a V-shaped hull and is well protected against landmines and IED blasts.

It withstands a 10 kg anti-tank mine blast under any wheel. The Piranha V is also proposed with LEDS-150 active protection system.

The vehicle revealed in 2010 was fitted with a turret-mounted 30-mm chain gun. Secondary armament consists of remotely controlled weapon station, armed with a 12.7-mm machine gun.

The Piranha V IFV was unveiled for the first time at the Eurosatory expo in June 2010. The vehicle is fitted with remotely controlled light weapon station or heavy turret mounting weapons for 12.7mm, 25mm, 30mm or low-recoil 105mm guns.

The baseline model offers the highest level of protection for a 13-man crew against mines and IEDs. It can be integrated with additional survivability kits for protection against explosively forged projectiles (EFPs), and add-on armour of different levels to offer coverage of more than 95 per cent.

The Fuel Efficient Drivetrain System (FEDS) and MTU diesel engine provide a maximum speed of 100km/h and range of 550km.

VBCI IFV

The VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie) IFV is one of a number of models in the VBCI range of armoured vehicles developed by Giat Industries (now Nexter Group) and Renault VI (now Renault Trucks) for the French Army. The balanced combination of protection, performance and payload make the VBCI one of the best IFVs in the world.

The French Army ordered 630 VBCIs of which 500 vehicles were delivered by July 2013. The IFV is armed with a dual feed NATO standard 25mm automatic cannon, and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun operated from either the commander’s or gunner’s station.

The aluminium alloy hull fitted with modular add-on armour offers protection against rocket propelled grenades, EFPs, mines, and IEDs. The VBCI is also provided with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) protection, and hard-kill and soft-kill protection. It can carry 11 personnel at a speed of 100km/h for a maximum range of 750km.

VBM Freccia

The VBM Freccia AFV, designed and manufactured by the Iveco Fiat-Oto Melara consortium, is the first digitised vehicle to enter into service with the Italian Army. It is based on the Centauro family of wheeled armoured vehicles.

The VBM Freccia is an 8x8 wheeled vehicle capable of carrying 11 fully equipped men. Its turret is mounted with Oerlikon KBA 25mm automatic cannon, a 7.62mm co-axial machine gun, and two optional launchers for Spike ML/LR anti-tank missiles.

The all-welded steel armored hull offers protection against small arms, light artillery and shrapnel, anti-tank mines, and IEDs. The IVECO diesel engine fitted to the vehicle attains a maximum speed of 105km/h.

The Kurganets-25 is a next-generation Russian IFV. It was developed as a successor to the BMP-3. The whole project was kept in high secrecy. First batch of pre-production vehicles was delivered in 2015. Full-scale production is expected to begin in 2016.

The Kurganets-25 is a clean sheath design. It shares little common with the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles. Vehicle has an engine at the front and troop compartment at the rear. Drawbacks of the BMP-3, such as a cramped crew compartment and cramped exit, were fixed. Armor of the Kurganets is made of special aluminum alloy. There are also add-on explosive reactive armor modules. Vehicle is also fitted with countermeasures system, that reduce a chance of being hit by enemy anti-tank guided missiles.

Some sources said that this vehicle can be fitted with newly-developed Drozd-2 active protection system. Overall the Kurganets-25 is better protected than the older BMP-3. However it has been reported its protection is inferior to that of the M3A3 Bradley.

This IFV is fitted with remotely-controlled turret, armed with a 30-mm cannon and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. Also there are 4 external launchers with Kornet-EM anti-tank guided missiles.

ZBD IFV

The ZBD-08 is a Chinese revised and improved version of the Soviet/Russian BMP-3. First production version, the ZBD-04, entered service with Chinese army in 2004. An improved ZBD-08 followed a couple of years later. This new infantry fighting vehicle is produced in large numbers for the Chinese army.

The vVehicle eliminates a number of drawbacks of the BMP-3. It has a revised layout with engine at the front and troop compartment at the rear.

The ZBD-08 infantry fighting vehicle has a welded steel armor hull. Add-on modular armor can be fitted for a higher level of protection.

It is claimed that front arc withstands 30-mm armor-piercing rounds. Sides withstand 14.5-mm rounds. Side skirts were added for improved protection. Also vehicle may be fitted with indigenous active laser protection system.

The new IFV retains complete turret of the BMP-3, which is now license-built in China. It has similar firepower and outperforms most current IFVs.

Its 100-mm gun is completed with an autoloader has an effective range of 4 km. This gun can fire both ordinary projectiles and anti-tank guided missiles.

It is compatible with Chinese ATGMs, and poses serious threat to main battle tanks. The 30-mm cannon has an effective range of 1.5-2 km. There is a coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. Also the ZBD-08 has improved sights and fire control system.

Namer

Namer is a heavily armored infantry fighting vehicle based on the chassis of the Merkava 4 main battle tank of Israel. Also called Tiger or Leopard, it is one of the most highly protected armored personnel carriers (APC) in the world. Developed in 2008, the Namer armored vehicle is a major element of the Israel Defence Force (IDF) modernisation plan.

The 60t armored infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV) can carry a crew of three-the driver, commander and the remote controlled weapon station (RCWS) operator. The mobility and protection of the vehicle is comparable to the latest main battle tanks.

The Namer was developed by the Israeli Ordnance Corps and was first acquired by the Golani Brigade of the IDF in summer 2008. The brigade used two Namer vehicles in the war in Gaza. The IDF plans to deploy about 250 Namer armored IFVs by developing support variants and replace the M-113 APC vehicles.

The Namer was derived from the combination of Nagmash, the Israeli variant of M113 APC and Merkava. In 2005, the first prototype of the heavy IFV, called Nemera (Tigress) was revealed.

It was developed based on the chassis of the Merkava mk1 main battle tank (MBT). Field trials and evaluation were conducted for exporting the Nemera, which, however, received no orders.

The plans to convert the aging Merkava mkI MBTs, which are being withdrawn from service, to the APC and IFV have been cancelled as construction of new vehicles with the Merkava 4 chassis was considered to be a more economical alternative.

Development of the Namer heavyweight vehicle began in July 2007 with the launch of IDF’s armored infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV) programme. The programme aims to modernise and strengthen the IDF ground forces throughout the five-year plan.

Namer was revealed to public in early 2008 and went into production in April 2008 with the approval from the IDF chief of staff and IDF funding for the pilot production of 15 tracked vehicles.

The Namer IFV can carry up to 12 including the crew, a stretcher and medical equipment as attachments. The vehicle is equipped with advanced defensive systems, missile launchers, machine guns, reconnaissance equipment for day and night vision and an internal air-conditioning unit.

The doors and ramps are redesigned for efficient offload of soldiers and equipment and easy stretcher handling. The Namer AIFV will enable safe and quick advancement of infantry troops.

The IDF is also considering the development of multipurpose Namer versions. The various planned variants are the armored recovery vehicle, repair and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and 30mm cannon armed anti-tank guided missiles command vehicle.