Procurement: Tricked Out BMP-3s For Greece

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December 8, 2007: Greece is buying 415 Russian BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles [VIDEO], for $4 million each. These are apparently the BMP-3M model, which has been upgraded with a new turret and engines. The electronics include an automatic fire control system, a gunner's sight with a thermal imager and laser illuminator. The commander's periscope has a laser infrared illuminator. There is a new ammunition loading system. The 100mm gun fires laser-guided projectiles, high explosive/fragmentation rounds, 30mm APSDS (Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot) rounds and two other ammo types. As an alternative, you can have a 30mm automatic cannon. The basic armor protects against machine-guns rounds up to 12.7mm. Explosive reactive armor can be added. There is also an active anti-missile system, as well as air conditioning for the crew.

But the BMP-3 is a lightweight (19 tons) compared to Western vehicles like the U.S. M2Bradley (31 tons), and about 20 percent smaller (22 feet long, 10 feet wide and 7.5 feet high, compared to 21 feet long, 11 feet wide and 9.2 feet high). Moreover, while both have a crew of three (commander, driver and gunner) the BMP-3 sits seven, very uncomfortably, in the back, compared to six in the M2. The original BMP-3, which entered service 15 years ago, was an improvement over the original BMP-3 of the 1970s, but still cramped and uncomfortable for the passengers. The Russians believed the smaller size made it harder to hit, and cheaper to manufacture (20-40 percent cheaper, depending on add-ons). It's the additional electronics and other gadgets which really drives up the costs of these vehicles.

Greece has, since the 1990s, bought over a billion dollars worth of Russian anti-aircraft systems and anti-tank missiles.

 


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