Winged infantry uses a lot of equipment that is in service with the ground forces. But there are samples created specifically for the Airborne Forces.
Armor sheds weight
The flight of design ideas is limited by the size of the cargo compartments of military transport aviation and the characteristics of existing parachute systems. When designing equipment for the Airborne Forces, there are strict standards for weight and dimensions.
Therefore, all presented combat vehicles belong to the class of lightly armored, have aluminum hulls and protect only from bullets and shrapnel. But it’s still better than no protection at all.
There are also specific customer requirements. For successful autonomous operations behind enemy lines, the Airborne Forces prefer airborne, well-armed, roomy and fairly versatile tracked vehicles. Moreover, with an impressive power reserve, variable ground clearance, and in addition, floating.
BMD-4M: betting on weapons
Airborne combat vehicle for winged infantry – an analogue of a land-based infantry fighting vehicle. It is produced by Kurganmashzavod. In service since 2016.
It is maximally unified with the BMP-3M, but lightened, shortened (the chassis has five rollers instead of six). And it is adapted to solve the tasks of the Airborne Forces, the main of which is airborne landing by parachute, parachute-jet or landing method.
BMD-4M is easy to distinguish from BMP-3M by five rollers in the undercarriage.The hulls of the BMP-3M and BMD-4M are similar, but there are no machine guns in front of the airborne combat vehicle.
Accommodates three crew members and five paratroopers (against seven in the BMP-3M).
The power plant is a 500-horsepower UTD-29 diesel engine and a semi-automatic gearbox.
The machine is equipped with a hydropneumatic suspension with variable ground clearance. The working ground clearance is 450 mm, but it can be increased to 530 or reduced to 130 mm.
The landing vehicle turned out to be mobile, fast, maneuverable, with a cruising range of 500 km and the ability to swim with the help of jet propulsion (10 km / h with waves up to 3-4 points).
BMD-4M can swim at a speed of 10 km/h.In the water, the airborne combat vehicle moves with the help of auger-type water jets.
But the main advantage of the BMD-4M is powerful weapons. The habitable tower module B8Ya01 Bakhcha-U, designed by the Tula Instrument Design Bureau, houses an automatic 100-mm gun – a 2A70 launcher, a 2A72 rapid-fire cannon with a 30 mm caliber and a PKTM 7.62 mm machine gun.
In a single main caliber loader – 34 projectiles with a range of up to 7 km and 4 Arkan anti-tank guided missiles with a tandem cumulative warhead (pierces armor up to 750 mm) and a range of up to 5.5 km. Small-caliber 2A72 with a moving barrel hits ground targets at a distance of up to 4 km.
The ammunition contains high-explosive fragmentation-incendiary, fragmentation tracer, armor-piercing tracer and armor-piercing sub-caliber shells with improved penetration. The gun is equipped with a double-sided belt feed with automated and manual feed switching.
BMD-4M is equipped with an effective fire control system.
It allows you to hit ground and air targets around the clock from a place and on the move.
The complex includes a ballistic computer, a laser rangefinder, a thermal imaging sight, a target tracking machine and a commander’s panoramic thermal imaging sight.
Complete duplication of shooting by the commander with all types of weapons is provided.
BTR-MDM Shell: more paratroopers, more cargo
The purpose of this machine is a floating airborne armored personnel carrier.
It is unified with the BMD-4M in terms of chassis and power plant. Difference: minus the tower with weapons, plus the number of seats.
Shell shell – cutting type of bulletproof aluminum armor. Engine – multi-fuel diesel UTD-29.
In the undercarriage with variable ground clearance, on each side there are five road wheels on pneumohydraulic springs.
BTR-MDM demonstrates the ability to change ground clearance.
In the troop compartment, the sides have three double seats. They can be folded up and get a roomy cargo compartment.
In addition to the seats of the paratroopers, the Shell has two chairs for landing the crew in the car. The commander and the driver land in them, and then change to regular seats.
Ammunition boxes, fuel barrels, and other luggage are secured with straps. Along the sides there are devices for fixing stretchers with the wounded.
The stretcher can be arranged in three tiers. In the department of management there are places for the driver, commander and one more paratrooper.
In total, the Shell takes on board two crew members and thirteen paratroopers, or two tons of cargo.
For the paratroopers of the BTR-MDM, this is a transport, a truck, and an ambulance.
The machine is equipped with an outdoor air purification system with a filter-ventilation unit. There is (though not as powerful as that of the BMD-4M) fire support weapons – two 7.62-millimeter machine guns. One exchange rate, the other – a circular attack. The latter is located on the roof near the commander’s hatch.
The workplace of the driver-mechanic Shell is similar to the BMD-4M. Instead of a steering wheel – a steering wheel. Near the lever of a four-speed semi-automatic transmission.
Shell and BMD-4M complement each other. For one machine – roominess, for another – firepower.
Nona-SM: one to replace three
The 2S9-1M Nona-SM vehicle is a brilliant embodiment of the idea to replace the paratroopers with a self-propelled gun, a towed howitzer and a mortar with one self-propelled gun mount.
The self-propelled guns are based on the chassis of the BTR-D tracked armored personnel carrier (based on the BMP-1) of the Soviet design.
The car has an aluminum hull, hydropneumatic suspension, navigable propulsion.
The power plant is a 5D20 six-cylinder diesel engine paired with a 4-speed manual gearbox.
The powerful universal gun, ammunition and chassis of the Nona self-propelled guns weigh 8.8 tons, which is an excellent indicator for an airborne assault vehicle.
But the most interesting thing is in the tower – a rifled 120-mm semi-automatic gun 2A51M.
In fact, this is an artillery system that combines the functions of a gun, howitzer and mortar. That is, a universal means of fire support for paratroopers on the battlefield.
The gun is equipped with a pneumatic mechanism for sending charges, which is especially in demand at high angles of elevation of the barrel. The rate of fire of the 2A51M is up to 10 rounds per minute.
The range depends on the type of ammunition. And a great many of them were created specifically for this weapon.
The self-propelled gun Nona is able not only to shoot from a gun, but also to overcome water obstacles.
High-explosive fragmentation and incendiary mines are capable of hitting targets at distances from 450 m to 7.1 km. The range of high-explosive fragmentation and thermobaric projectiles is up to 8.8 km, active-rocket projectiles – up to 12.8 km, guided projectiles and mines – up to 12 km, cumulative – up to a kilometer, cluster – up to 8 km.
In addition, the gun can fire not only domestic ammunition, but also foreign-made shells and mines, which allows paratroopers in the deep rear to use enemy warehouses.
Characteristics of airborne combat vehicles
Dimensions, mm: length/width/height
Ground clearance, mm
variable 130 – 530
Number of seats: crew + troops, people
Maximum speed, km/h
on blue, km/h
Spare mileage, km:
rolled aluminum armor
type / caliber, mm
gun-launcher 2A70/100, automatic gun 2A72/30,
machine gun PKTM / 7.62
2 machine guns (remotely controlled and course) PKTM / 7.62
gun-howitzer mortar 2A51M / 120 mm
34 shots + 4 ATGMs, 500 rounds, 2000 rounds
Read about BMPs participating in the SVO here. “Behind the wheel” can now be read in Telegram.
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