The Russian military has certainly made strides towards modernization in the last decade or so. For its land forces, a host of armored wheeled vehicles have been introduced or are under evaluation. One such example of the former is the BPM-97 (Boyevaya Pogranichnaya Mashina = "BattleVehicle Border Guard"), a 4x4 wheeled, armored personnel carrier designed around modern armored vehicle concepts and technologies. Design is attributed to Andrei Nikolaev and manufacture is handled by Kamskiy Avtomobilny Zavod (KAMAZ). Production has been ongoing since 1999 to which some 150 examples have been delivered to Russian Border Guard units. The KAMAZ-43269 "Dozor" is an army-minded model and the KAMAZ-43269 "Vystrel" ("Shot") is available as a newer, upgraded form.
To date (2017), users include Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Syria.
In its design, the 10.5 metric tonne BPM-97 uses a conventional automobile-style layout complete with forward windshield, a 4x4 road wheel arrangement and front-mounted engine. The road wheels are large and rubber-tired, providing excellent ground clearance (400mm), ground displacement and cross-country mobility. Power is from an in-house KAMAZ 740.10-20 V8 diesel engine of 240 horsepower output and the chassis relies on a leaf spring suspension system. Road speeds can reach 90 kmh and operational ranges are out to 1,100 kilometers. Dimensions of the vehicle include a length of 5.3 meters, a width of 1.9 meters and a height of 2.3 (hull roof line). Internally there is space for two operating crew and up to eight passengers. Entry and exit is by way of traditional hinged side doors as well as a rear access point. Hatches are also fitted along the roof. The crew compartment is fully-enclosed and protected (aluminum alloy constructed) while being rated against weapons up to 25mm cannon projectiles.
Armament is variable as the vehicle can accept different turret fits. As such, 7.62mm, 12.7mm and 14.5mm machine guns can be fitted. Secondary installations typically involve a 30mm automatic grenade launcher for maximum enemy troop suppression at range. This is in addition to any personal weapons carried by the crew (in the form of standard-issue small arms).
The BPM-97 is a noticeable upgrade for Russian Border Guard units who had outgrown their aging GAZ-66 trucks. Some of the cars are also in service with various special Russian military departments and the line has been furthermore identified in-action during the War in Donbass against Ukraine as well as in the long-running Syrian Civil War, the local government being backed by Russian military might. The BPM-97 family of vehicles is set to broaden with the arrival of special-mission types featuring evolved role-players such as mine clearance and increased troop-hauling versions. A 6x6 wheeled armored form with lengthened hull is known as the SBA-60K2 "Bulat". Introduced in 2013, the KAMAZ product is built by Zaschita of Russia.