MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Airborne Troops will receive the first BMD-4M airborne combat vehicles and BTR-MD Rakushka multirole transport vehicles by the end of 2013, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Alexander Kucherenko said on Thursday.
“Paratroopers are planning to receive 10 modernized BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicles and 10 tracked Rakushka armored personnel carriers by mid-2013 for final testing and commissioning by the end of 2013,” Kucherenko said.
A decision to adopt the long-awaited BMD-4Ms has been made in the beginning of December despite an earlier statement by former deputy defense minister Alexander Sukhorukov that the vehicle had not met the requirements and would not be bought by the military.
The BMD-4M is the latest modification of an armored combat vehicle that can be para-dropped to provide firepower and support for airborne troops. It features a new chassis, a digital fire control system and a set of high-precision weaponry, including a 100-mm gun.
The 13-ton vehicle has a crew of two and can carry six paratroopers.
The Russian military is expected to acquire at least 1,000 BMD-4Ms under the current rearmament program until 2020.
At present, 123 BMD-3 and 60 BMD-4 airborne combat vehicles are in service with the Russian Airborne Troops, with the rest being outdated BMD-2 models.