Bulgaria has unveiled an upgraded BMP-1 vehicle

Two Bulgarian enterprises, the Metalika-AB private company and the state-run TEREM-Ivailo repair plant, have developed an upgraded variant of the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). The IFV, which was designated BMP-2+, was unveiled at the HEMUS 2018 defense show held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on May 30-June 2.

CAPTION : Credit by Dimitar Stavrev/ pan.bg
The vehicle designated BMP-2+, an upgraded infantry fighting vehicle developped by Metalika-AB and TEREM-Ivailo (CAPTION : Credit by Dimitar Stavrev/ pan.bg)

The vehicle has been developed in order to bring the combat performance of the legacy BMP-1 IFV to the BMP-2 standard. A representative of Metalika-AB said the prototype BMP-2+ had been tested in Bulgaria in late 2017.

The BMP-2+ is fitted with the BM1 manned turret armed with a Shipunov 2A42-family 30 mm automatic cannon, the Udar-M anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system with one ready-to-use ATGM, a Kalashnikov PKT 7.62 mm medium machinegun, and three Tucha 902-family smoke dischargers. The representative of Metalika-AB said the BM1 is a modified version of the KBA-105 Shkval combat module, which is produced by the Zhitomir Armor Plant. "We are ready to launch the manufacturing of the BM1 turrets at our new facility in Kazanlak, Bulgaria," he added.

The company did not detail the Udar-M ATGM system; however, it is believed to be a modernized version of the Soviet 9K111 Fagot (NATO reporting name: AT-4 Spigot) ATGM. The Metalika-AB company is believed to have developed the Udar-M weapon in cooperation with a NATO member state.

The BMP-2+ has received new radios and a GPS satellite navigation system. The modernization has not increased the vehicle`s weight; therefore, the platform has retained the amphibious performance of the baseline BMP-1. The IFV can be fitted with applique armor, an infrared sight, an AGS-17-family 30 mm automatic grenade launcher and a STANAG-compatible 30 mm automatic cannon.

The chassis of the upgraded BMP has been overhauled. According to the TEREM-Ivailo plant, the modernization extends service life of the IFV by 20-30 years.

The companies have already offered the BMP-2+ to the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense (MoD), which still operates up to 100 legacy BMP-1P IFVs, and potential foreign customers. In 2017, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Velichkov said the MoD was considering the modernization of its BMP-1 vehicles. This intention was later confirmed by the country`s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. However, the Bulgarian military did not draft any proposal.

© Copyright 2018 TASS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.