Ukrainian media reported that the country received 30 BMP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicles from Slovakia.
This is part of the so-called “circular exchange” between Germany and Slovakia. Accordingly, Slovakia will receive 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany. The first Leopard will arrive in Slovakia this year; The rest is expected to arrive next year. Recently, Slovakia delivered another Zuzana 2 wheeled self-propelled gun to Ukraine. Thus, Ukraine has already received seven of the eight 155 mm self-propelled guns ordered in June 2022. Two more Zuzana 2 self-propelled guns were handed over to Ukraine in October.
Slovakia currently operates 69 BMP-1s, and is expected to soon be replaced by the BOV 8×8 and CV90. The BMP-1s were manufactured under license from Czechoslovakia under the designation BVP-1. It was the first mass-produced Soviet tracked infantry fighting vehicle. In the context of the protracted Russia-Ukraine war, Western countries continue to send weapons to Ukraine.
Currently, the BMP-1 is also used by both the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian armed forces due to the fact that the vehicle is much more widely available compared to the more modern BMP-3. During the period 1966 to 1982, the BMP-1 was produced in extremely large numbers, amounting to more than 20,000 units. The BMP-1 was first introduced in 1967 and really caused a stir in the West with its clear combination of maneuverability and firepower.
This infantry fighting vehicle has a one-man low-profile turret. Armament of the BMP-1 emerged as a magazine-fed low velocity 73 mm smoothbore gun. This gun is non-stabilized. It can not fire accurately on the move and has limited range. Maximum aimed range is 1,300 m. Direct range of fire is only 765 m. Maximum effective range is around 800-1000 m. Maximum rate of fire is 8-10 rounds per minute. A total of 40 rounds are carried for the main gun. There is also a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun.
The BMP-1 has a welded steel armor hull. It provides all-round protection against 12.7 mm rounds and artillery shell splinters. Front arc of this IFV offers partial protection against 20 mm rounds. There is also an automatic fire extinguishing system and NBC protection system. A crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver. Commander is located behind the driver. Vehicle also carries an infantry squad of 8 fully-equipped troops.
The BMP-1 is powered by an UTD-20 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 300 hp. Engine is located at the front. The vehicle can reach a maximum road speed of up to 65 km/h, a range of 600km. This IFV is fully amphibious. On water it is propelled by its tracks, with a maximum speed of 7–8 km/h.
The BMP-1 was first tested in combat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, where it was used by Egyptian and Syrian forces. Based on lessons learned from this conflict, and early experiences in the Soviet–Afghan War, a version with improved fighting qualities was developed, the BMP-2. It was accepted into service in August 1980.