The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. This one was on display in the Cold War Exhibition at RAF Cosford.
The BMP-1 was the first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) of the Soviet Union. The Russian BMP-1 went into production in the early 1960’s and marked an important departure from previous armoured personnel carriers. Not just an infantry carrier, it provided a measure of combat capability with the vehicle. Its high mobility, effective anti-tank weapons combined with its armoured protection made it a significant addition to Soviet battlefield forces.
Armament for the time was formidable with a 73mm low-pressure gun, co-axial machine gun and launcher rail for the “Sagger” anti-tank guided weapon with five missiles provided. In addition the infantry section passengers could contribute with their own weapons from within the vehicle. These could typically include a further two machine guns, six assault rifles and a surface to air ‘Grail’ missile.
In addition the vehicle is fully amphibious, being propelled by its tracks. There is also a fully operational NBC system. It is easy to visualise the concern that must have greeted the introduction of this vehicle, with the prospect of large numbers of them combined with the latest Soviet tanks poised to overrun the West.
As is usually the case however, the vehicle had a number of faults and at least initially were only deployed with front line units, the follow up units having to make do with less advanced vehicles.
There was an ex-Iraqi model on display at Duxford.