BMP-2 is the second, vastly improved, model of the Bronevaya Maschina Piekhota, the Soviet Infantry Combat Vehicle first seen in 1967. As early as 1973 it was obvious that while the concept of the ICV was the wave of the future, the design of the BMP-1 was dangerously flawed. The BMP-2, first displayed in 1981, addressed most of the known weaknesses, while retaining the same basic platform and saving the expense of an all-new design.

Possibly the biggest mistake in the BMP-1's design was the placement of the commander in a hull compartment with a cupola, rather than in the turret. This compartment, placed between 10-11 o'clock of the turret, created a large dead zone for the main gun, since the gun had to be elevated almost to its maximum angle to traverse over the commander's cupola. If it was not properly elevated, an automatic switch would simply stop the turret rotation dead. In the BMP-2, the commander was moved to the right side of an enlarged turret, eliminating that nasty dead zone and giving the commander a much better vantage point and more direct control over the main gun. An infantryman now occupied the commander's old space.

The main gun itself was changed from a 73-mm to a 30-mm automatic gun, with vastly improved elevation and depression enabling it to function as an anti-aircraft weapon and to fire from hull-down positions. This gun could fire HE or AP rounds, which were on dual belts with a theoretical rate of fire of 550 RPM. Note that in reality the fire rate would never be over 200 RPM, especially in light of the fact that the vehicle only carried 500 rounds. Stabilization systems were added so that the gun could be fired while in motion. In addition, thermal sights were added to some vehicles, greatly enhancing their nighttime capabilities.

The SAGGER anti-tank missiles of the BMP-1 were replaced with an AT5-SPANDREL system, which could be dismounted to fire from the ground. Six smoke grenade launchers were placed on the turret to enhance the diesel exhaust smoke system.

Due to the enlarged turret, the BMP-2 had less room for infantrymen, and carried seven passengers instead of eight. The armour was thickened throughout the vehicle, and explosive reactive armour kits were made available, but were probably not used extensively as they have proven to be dangerous for dismounted troops.

Crew: 3, carrying 7 infantry
Length: 270 inch
Height: 81.75 inch
Width: 121.6 inch
Weight: 16 tons
Engine: turbo-charged 6 cylinder in-line diesel
Transmission: Manual 5 forward, 1 reverse
Suspension: Torsion bar
Fuel: 121.5 gallon

WEAPONS: Main Gun: 30 mm 2A42, firing AP-T or frag-HE rounds
Coaxial: 7.62 machine gun
Missile: AT-5 SPANDREL
Smoke System: 6 smoke grenade launcher, engine exhaust
Ammo Load: 500 x 30 mm, 2000 x 7.62 mm, 5 x SPANDREL
Main Gun Muzzle Velocity: 3300 fps
Range: AP rounds - 1500 meters effective, 2500 meters max. HE rounds - 1000 meters effective, 4000 maximum (Personally I don't believe this, but those are the figures I'm quoted by several sources.)
Stabilization: 2-plane
Turret Power: Electric or manual, gunner traverse only.
Elevation/Depression: +74/-5 (max depression is not confirmed)
Range Finder: Stadia
Nightvision: Passive IR, with a thermal option

PERFORMANCE: Maximum Speed: 65 kph/49 mph on road
Horsepower: 300
Grade Ascending: 31 deg.
Trench Crossing: 2.5 meters
Ground Clearance: 390 mm
Range: 600 km

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