The BPM-97 reconnaissance armored vehicle followed in the footsteps of the Typhoon-VDV in the war in Ukraine.
BPM-97 or K-43269 Vystrel was discovered on its way to the front, which is a necessary addition to the Russian Army when the military situation is more tense. It is noteworthy that these BPM-97s are integrated with the BM-30D “Spitsa” combat module, this light turret started production around early May 2022 by Uralvagonzavod corporation.
Developed in 1997, the BPM-97 is classified as a wheeled mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP. It is produced fitted with several different turrets like the one of the BTR-80A. The vehicle is based on the KAMAZ-43269 and was designed for the Russian Border Guards.
The system is built on a wheeled chassis with a 4×4 configuration. The conventional design houses an engine in the front, crew cab in the centre and troop section in the rear. The combat weight of the vehicle is 10.5t. BPM-97 has a length of 5.3m, width of 1.9m and height of 2.3m with weapon station. The vehicle features side and rear doors as well as roof hatches for entry and exit of the occupants. Firing ports on either side of the troop compartment enable the infantrymen to aim and fire their weapons from inside of the vehicle. Standard equipment includes a lighting system and self-recovery winch.
The hull is made of welded aluminium alloy. It provides all-round protection against 7.62 mm rounds. Front arc can withstand 12.7 mm heavy machine gun rounds. Vehicle has a V-shaped hull for improved mine blast protection. BPM-97 can accommodate 12 personnel including the driver and commander.
Basically, it’s a simple vehicle in terms of design and technology. The vehicle is powered by KamAZ V8 diesel engine, with 240 hp. The BPM-97 is fitted with central tyre inflation system and a self-recovery winch as standard. BPM-97 can reach a maximum speed of 90 km/h, a range of 1,100 km on the road.
In terms of armament, the BPM-97 is available with a pintle mounted or turret mounted 7.62 mm, 12.7 mm machine guns such as the Kord 12.7mm, 14.5 mm KPV heavy machine guns as in a BTR-80 type turret, or a combination uninhabited turret fitted with a sighting device with 30 mm rapid-fire cannon and 30 mm AGS-30 automatic grenade launchers launched into serial production in May 2022.
The BPM-97s deployed to Ukraine are equipped with the BM-30D Spitsa Combat Module, with a 30mm 2A42 automatic cannon, a 7.62mm PKTM machine gun and an AG-30 automatic grenade launcher. In addition, it also integrates a digital camera, a thermal imager and a laser rangefinder. This weapon configuration is similar to the Typhoon-VDV armored vehicle, which was also discovered in the Ukrainian battlefield a few days ago.
Overall, this is a reasonably priced light armored vehicle, well suited for patrol or escort missions. In addition to Russia, BPM-97 is also in the equipment of the Azerbaijani Army as well as Kazakhstan. In addition, the BPM-97 has a light version without automatic cannon or grenade launcher, making its appearance reminiscent of the BTR-40 that was born 80 years ago. It is not clear what role the BPM-97s equipped with the BM-30D “Spitsa” combat module will play in Ukraine, perhaps it will also play a fire support role.