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20:17 GMT +3 hours21 December 2014
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Russia may start production of BMD-4M combat vehicles in 2009

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Russia could start producing modernized BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicles (AIFV) in 2009, the vehicle's manufacturer said on Friday.
KURGAN (the Urals), March 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia could start producing modernized BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicles (AIFV) in 2009, the vehicle's manufacturer said on Friday.

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.

"Following the final test results a decision will be made when the production of the vehicle [BMD-4M] will begin," Mikhail Bolotin, the president of Concern Tractor Plants (KTZ) said.

He said that in line with the state arms procurement program, the Russian Airborne Troops will receive several hundred BMD-4Ms until 2015.

The 13-ton vehicle has a crew of two and can carry six paratroopers.

"The capacity of our plants allows us to assemble up to 3,000 vehicles per year," Bolotin said, adding that the company had received about 1,000 unconfirmed export orders.

The Airborne Troops are considered the most capable mobile assault forces in Russia. Various estimates put the current personnel at about 48,000 troops deployed in four divisions and a brigade.

According to Russia's military reform plans, the Airborne Troops will be fully manned with professional soldiers by 2011.