Finland to get new guns for BMP-2MD infantry fighting vehicles

Finland's Ministry of Defense (MoD) will acquire new automatic guns for BMP-2MD “Torch” infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), according to local media outlets. The request for guns worth EUR 8 million ($9.1 million) was approved by the country's Defense Minister Jussi Niinisto.

Finland to get new guns for BMP 2MD infantry fighting vehicles
BMP-2MD of the Finnish National Forces (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The order will be implemented through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (SPA). Nine guns were reported to have been supplied by Slovakian contractor ZTS Special AS, and there is an option for 91 more guns in 2018-2021. These weapons will replace Soviet-era components of the BMP-2MD IFVs of the Finnish National Forces (FNF), local media outlets say.

The type of the gun to be procured by Finland is not specified. However, it should be mentioned that the ZTS Special AS enterprise produces Soviet/Russian-type artillery systems, including the 2A42 30 mm automatic gun, the D-10T 100 mm tank gun, the 2A46/2A46MS 125 mm tank gun, and a 152 mm L/45 howitzer for the vz.77 Dana self-propelled gun (SPG). The Slovakian company has also developed the Turret DVK-30 manned combat module armed with a 2A42 gun and smoke dischargers.

Despite recent developments and acquisitions of modern hardware, Finland still has a large inventory of Soviet-originated land platforms. According to the Military Balance 2017 analytical book issued by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the FNF operated 94 BMP-2 IFVs and 40 MTLBu and 102 MTLBv multipurpose light armored tracked tractors as of early 2017.

The FNF are planning to use BMP-2MDs until the 2030s. In January 2015, the Conlog Oy company was awarded with a contract to upgrade the Finnish BMP-2s to the BMP-2MD level. The upgraded IFV has received a driver's thermal imager, a new sighting system with integrated thermal imaging channel, and other optical-electronic subsystems. It is noteworthy that the BMP-2MD has retained the organic 2A42 automatic gun as it fully meets the requirements issued by the Finnish MoD. Therefore, the ministry is expected to acquire the Slovakian-made 2A42 gun.

The BMP-2 (Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty, Russian: Боевая Машина Пехоты; infantry combat vehicle) is a second-generation, amphibious infantry fighting vehicle introduced in the 1980s in the Soviet Union, following on from the BMP-1 of the 1960s.

The Finnish Defense ministry ordered 20 BMP-2 from the Soviet Union in 1988. They were delivered between 1988 and 1989. Another 84 ones were ordered in 1991 from the Soviet Union and delivered in 1992 by Russia, as the USSR had been dismantled. The remaining 100 vehicles are being upgraded and designated BMP-2MD (FIN).

The Finnish BMP-2's were modernized to the BMP-2MD standard in 2016 with new storage boxes which function also as spaced armour, thermal camouflage enhancements, modern thermal optics for both the gunner and driver, a new visual spectrum observation device for the commander and a new communications system. In war the vehicle would also be covered with a Polish thermal camouflage netting similar to the Barracuda camo nets. Because of this modernization, the weight of the BMP-2MD increases from 13 tonnes to 13.5 tonnes, and width increases by 10 cm. All 100 BMP-2's will be modernized by 2019. Total cost for modernizing 100 vehicles is about 35 million euros.



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