Armor: Tracked Vehicles Float To The Ground


March 29, 2010: The Russian Army and Air Force have revived a Cold War practice of dropping BMD-2 tracked armored vehicles, by parachute, with the crew inside. The eight ton BMD-2 entered service 25 years ago, replacing the similar 7.5 ton BMD-1 (which entered service in 1969). Both vehicles were designed for use by airborne divisions. The BMD-2 carries a crew of two, and five infantry. Armament consists of a 30mm cannon in the one man turret, along with three anti-tank missiles and a coaxial 7.62mm machine-gun. Two other machine-guns are carried inside the vehicle. The vehicle is amphibious and has a top road speed of 60 kilometers an hour. Normally, the vehicle is delivered by a transport aircraft that lands, and unloads the vehicle. But there is a special parachute platform that enables it to be dropped.

Fully loaded with troops, weapons and ammo, the BMD-1/2 weighed closer to 13 tons. But when dropped by parachute, it comes in light, at about eight tons. The special parachuting platform uses rockets to slow descent enough so that the vehicle, and the two crew members inside, would survive. This technique was used frequently in the 1970s and 80s. But the BMD-2 was never used like this much. Once the Cold War ended, so did the use of the para-drop, with crew, of BMD-1s or 2s. But the Russian Army is now seeking to get its mojo back, and part of that includes dropping armored vehicles, with the crew inside, via parachute. For a few times, just to see if it still works, and gains some good press.



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