Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Military Ranks

BMD-3 (Boyevaya Mashina Desanta)

Airborne Amphibious Light Tank / Infantry Fighting Vehicle (1990)

Land Systems / Battlefield

1 / 4
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense.
2 / 4
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense.
3 / 4
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense.
4 / 4
Front left side view of a BMD-3 infantry fighting vehicle

Jump-to: Specifications

The BMD family of air-droppable light infantry fighting vehicles was improved with the arrival of the BMD-3 in 1990.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/26/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The BMD-3 was a further installment in the relatively successful line of light amphibious, air-droppable infantry fighting vehicles serving with Soviet airborne forces. The BMD series was technically billed an "airborne combat vehicle" though its field operation was more akin to a traditional "infantry fighting vehicle" (IFV). The series was based the dimensionally larger and heavier BMP series of IFVs which was produced in the BMP-1, BMP-2 and BMP-3 marks. The original BMD (BMD-1) was first unveiled in 1969 to which then the improved BMD-2 was showcased beginning in 1985. Both saw combat service in the Soviet war in Afghanistan alongside the larger BMP models - though proving susceptible to land mines and rocket propelled grenades (the BMP/BMD was designed to fight in Europe). The BMD-3, therefore, was the third evolution of the BMD fighting line intended to provide lightly armed Soviet airborne personnel with a capable armored fighting vehicle. The BMD-3 was designed alongside the BMD-2 model which utilized a smaller version of the BMP-2 turret. The BMD-3, therefore, was given the full-size version of the BMP-2 turret and all of its inherently beneficial qualities. The BMD-3 entered service with the Red Army in 1990 and retains a presence in the Russian military of today. Production was handled out of the Volgograd Tractor Factory as in versions prior. The project name for the BMD-3 model was Obyekt 950 and the BMD designation stood for "Boyevaya Machina Desanta" which, when translated, simply detailed its field use ("Combat Vehicle Airborne").

The BMP-3 retained much of the design lines of the BMP/BMD series prior. The hull was rather basic with slab sides, a raised front and a well-sloped glacis plate. The driver maintained a position at the center front flanked by a pair of seating positions for additional crew. The turret was now large enough to fit two crew and this would be generally staffed with the vehicle commander and the primary gunner. Three smoke grenade dischargers were fitted to each turret side. The fighting compartment was held at the center of the hull with the engine at the rear. Waterjets mounted at the lower hull rear allowed for fully amphibious capabilities - a trademark of Soviet armored vehicle designs. The track system encompassed five small road wheels with the drive sprocket at the rear and the track idler at the front as well as four track return rollers. Armor was a light aluminum alloy arrangement at the hull with steel used on the turret. Wider tracks were also available as necessary (480mm from the original 320mm types).

Primary armament was the 30mm 2A42 cannon which was augmented by a coaxial 7.62mm PK series machine gun. The power-operated two-man turret was also home to an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launcher. Secondary armament included a 30mm AGS-17 series automatic grenade launcher (front left hull) and a 5.45mm RPKS general purpose machine gun in the bow (front right hull). Overall, the BMD-3 was a very well-armed machine that could be called upon to tackle various enemy types - including Main Battle Tanks. 860 x 30mm projectiles were carried for the main gun as well as 4 x ATGMs. 2,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition were also stowed aboard as was 2,160 rounds of 5.45mm ammunition. 551 grenades were carried for the 30mm grenade launcher.
Power was supplied by the fitting of a 2V-06-2 liquid-cooled diesel-fueled engine developing 450 horsepower. This represented a much better offering than the 241 horsepower system fielded in the BMD-1and BMD-2 prior. Top road speed was 70 km/h with an operational range of 500 kilometers. As in the previous BMD offerings, the torsion bar suspension system was served with a hydropneumatic variable height arrangement. The amphibious portion of the BMD-3 relied on the aforementioned pair of waterjets as well as onboard bilge pumps. A trim vain was erected prior to entry into water. Top speed once in water was 10 km/h.

BMD-3 was used to designate the original production fighting vehicles. A new turret was then developed featuring a 100mm main gun with 30mm autocannon and this gave rise to the improved BMD-4 variant (born of the BMD-3M prototype fitting the BMP-3 turret). A modernized version of this form became the BMD-4M. The BMD-3 itself was furthered in the RKhM-5 chemical reconnaissance platform designed to test soil and air samples in the event of a nuclear detonation. The BTR-BD "Rakushka" was a dedicated transport variant with an enlarged hull lacking the traditional turret assembly. These served as multi-faceted tracked movers for the Russian Army. The battlefield ambulance version became the BMM-D. This chassis also served as the basis for a command vehicle, armored recovery vehicle and a mortar carrier. The BTR-BD was modernized to become the BTR-MDM sometime later. The final installation of the BMD-3 design came in the form of the specialized 2S25 Sprut-SD which fitted a 125mm main gun into a new turret atop the BMD-3 chassis to be used as a tracked tank destroyer or light tank. This design also included two additional road wheels to each track side to displace the added weight.

Production has delivered over 120 BMD-3 systems as well as a further 60 improved BMD-4 models.


Service Year

Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union

3 + 4

Volgograd Tractor Plant, Volgograd, Russia
National flag of Russia Russia
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Amphibious Assault
Traverse bodies of open water under own power with / without preparation.
Fire Support / Assault / Breaching
Support allied forces through direct / in-direct fire, assault forward positions, and / or breach fortified areas of the battlefield.
Infantry Support
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Engage armored vehicles of similar form and function.
Special Purpose
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.

20.9 ft
6.36 m
10.3 ft
3.13 m
7.1 ft
2.17 m
29,101 lb
13,200 kg
14.6 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base BMD-3 (Boyevaya Mashina Desanta) production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x 2V-06-2 liquid-cooled diesel-fueled engine developing 450 horsepower.
44.1 mph
(71.0 kph)
310.7 mi
(500.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base BMD-3 (Boyevaya Mashina Desanta) production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 30mm Cannon
1 x 7.62mm Machine Gun
1 x AT-4 or AT-5 ATGW Launcher
1 x 5.45mm Machine Gun in bow
1 x 40mm Grenade Launcher
2 x 3 smoke dispensers
1 x 30 mm or 40 mm grenade launcher
1 x 5.45 mm machine gun in bow
6 x smoke dischargers

Supported Types

Graphical image of a tank automatic cannon
Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun
Graphical image of tank /armored vehicle smoke grenade dischargers

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
860 x 30mm ammunition
2,000 x 7.62mm ammunition
2,160 x 5.45mm ammunition
551 x 30mm grenades
4 x ATGW missiles
6 x smoke grenades

BMD-3 (Obyekt 950) - Base series designation
BMD-3K - Commander's Vehicle; model of 1996; limited production.
BMD-3M - Modified chassis with Bakhcha-U turret installed; becoming the BMD-4 production model series; BMP-3-tyle armament support.
BMD-4 (Obyekt 960) - BMD-3M redesignation for serial production.
BMD-4M - Modernized BMD-4 production model; taken into service beginning 2012, succeeding original BMD-4 design.
RKhM-5 (Obyekt 958) - Chemical reconnaissance model.
BTR-MD "Rakushka" - Multirole tracked transport variant.
BTR-MDM - Modernized BTR-MD vehicle
2S25 "Sprut-SD" (Obyekt 952) - Appearing in 2005-2007; self-propelled anti-tank gun; fitted with 125mm main gun with ATGM support; seven road wheels; 2V-06-2S diesel engine of 510 horsepower.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of the Bulge
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Kursk
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental military vehicles

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2022 Military Pay Scale Army Ranks Navy Ranks Air Force Ranks Alphabet Code DoD Dictionary American War Deaths French Military Victories Vietnam War Casualties

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.

Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-