Maxim Pyadushkin writes:
Russia’s Airborne Troops still don’t have a modern fighting vehicle, commander Lt. Gen. General Vladimir Shamanov admitted in an August 1 interview with the daily Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star). Shamanov explained that BDM-4 airborne combat vehicle, which entered service in 2004, has powerful weapons, but its hull doesn’t protect the crew adequately from guided missiles, tank projectiles, or explosive devices.
In March 2008, the Kurganmashzavod (KMZ) company unveiled a modernized airborne fighting vehicle, the BMD-4M. The new vehicle’s hull and chassis were 80% common with another new KMZ product, the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle. KMZ planned to finish testing and evaluation of the BMD-4M by the end of 2008 and to start deliveries in 2009. According to company reports, the trials are still underway and deliveries are now planned for 2010.
BMD-4M airborne fighting vehicle (KMZ)
But it looks like the airborne forces are looking for a completely new BMD. Shamanov said that the Chief of the General Staff has already had several meetings with industry to define requirements for the new vehicle. “In order to get a dream vehicle, as the BMD-1 used to be in its time, we’re ready to wait and fight with what we have”, the airborne commander said.
Russia, unlike most other major militaries, retains a fully capable mechanized airborne force including lightweight, fully amphibious armored vehicles intended to be dropped by parachute.