11:30 GMT24 January 2020
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    Introduced more than thirty years ago, the Russian airborne assault vehicle BMD-2 remains "the backbone of the Russian airborne forces" thanks to its performance characteristics, according to defense expert Kyle Mizokami.

    In an article published by the magazine Popular Mechanics, defense expert Kyle Mizokami gave kudos to the Russian airborne assault vehicle BMD-2, which he said remains "the backbone of the Russian airborne forces."

    Given that Russia is a country "spanning 11 time zones with interests from Crimea to the Arctic," it needs "highly mobile ground forces capable of deploying across Eurasia at a moment's notice," according to Mizokami.

    "Russian Ground Forces maintain four airborne divisions that, while smaller than the US Army's 82nd Airborne, are more mobile and arguably pack more firepower," he said, adding that Russian airborne forces "can parachute dozens of miles away from their actual objective and advance on the ground with fast-moving vehicles".

    As for the BMD-2 airborne infantry fighting vehicle, it weighs less than 13 tons, has a crew of three and can carry up to four paratroopers, Mizokami added.

    A BMD-2 airborne fighting vehicle crosses a water obstacle during a command & headquarters exercise involving the 106th Guards Airborne Division in Russia's Ryazan Region
    © Sputnik / Evgeny Biyatov
    A BMD-2 airborne fighting vehicle crosses a water obstacle during a command & headquarters exercise involving the 106th Guards Airborne Division in Russia's Ryazan Region

    Touting the BMD-2 as an "enthusiastic swimmer", he said that this tracked vehicle "can travel at speeds of up to 43 miles per hour on roads, and is fully amphibious, traveling at 6.3 miles in water."

    Mizokami specifically pointed to the BMD-2 being "heavily armed" with a 30-mm automatic cannon that "spits out armor-piercing and highly explosive incendiary shells at a rate of 300 rounds per minute."

    Additionally, the vehicle is equipped with two PKT machine guns for "engaging enemy infantry and soft-skinned vehicles," Mizokami said.

    Mizokami also drew attention to the fact that the BMD-2's armor "doesn't exceed a paltry 17 millimeters, even to the front."

    "But in airborne operations, speed and firepower — especially anti-tank firepower — take priority over protection," he pointed out.

    It is worth noting in this vein that last year saw the BMD-2's full-fledged modernization, the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported, referring to the vehicle's updated version, the BMD-4M.

    The modernized BMD-2 is armed with the Kornet anti-tank guided missiles capable of destroying targets at a distance of eight  kilometers.  Given that these missiles can pierce through about 1300 mm of steel, the Kornet system is capable of destroying any US and NATO tanks, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

    Apart from armament, the BMD-2 was also modernized in terms of electronic equipment, which means that the vehicle can now compete with even its most advanced analogues, the newspaper concludes.


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    machine guns, airborne assault vehicle, firepower, cannon, ground, forces, BMD-2, Russia
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