The UAE and Russia are to work together to upgrade the UAE Armed Forces’ fleet of BMP-3 amphibious IFVs.
These land and water-capable Infantry Fighting Vehicles are Russian-made military designs that date back to the 1980s. Weighing close to 19 tonnes each, they’re capable of accommodating up to ten military personnel and boast an array of firepower including a main 100mm rifle gun.
BMP-3s are in service with many nations, including Kuwait, Sri Lanka and the Ukraine. The United Arab Emirates has more than anyone else – the latest published data indicates a fleet comprised of almost 600 examples. These were supplied from 1992 to 2000.
Infantry Fighting Vehicle Upgrades
Now, approximately 30 per cent of them will be enhanced with new technologies through an agreement with Russia’s main arms export group – Rosoboronexport. The Infantry Fighting Vehicle upgrade contract has a value of $74m and will boost the BMP-3s to mid-life BMP-3M status.
New features to be added include hi-tech UTD-32 engines rated at 660 horsepower, better firing abilities and a boost in protective armour.
In related news, the UAE Armed Forces is to get new land-based vehicles, too. These will be provided by Oshkosh Defense in collaboration with local conglomerate the Al Jaber Group.
The vehicles involved in this deal will be Global HETs (Heavy Equipment Transporters), which have 700hp engines and can carry loads of up to 70 metric tons. This gives them the capacity to transport MBTs (Main Battle Tanks), construction equipment and other armoured vehicles.
UAE BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles
Global HETS are modified versions of the standard HET design, with improvements made to ensure they can still be effective under the hot sun of the desert, where they will operate alongside the UAE’s BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
“We are pleased to partner with the Al Jaber Group to deliver and support the Oshkosh Global HET vehicle in the UAE”, Oshkosh Defense International Programs general manager and senior vice president, Serge Buchakjian, stated in a company press release issued at the end of February 2011.
“We are committed to serving the Middle East region, and our relationship and initial sale to Al Jaber Group will allow Oshkosh vehicles to play an important role in supporting the UAE’s Armed Forces programs”, he added.
UAE BMP-3 image courtesy of the US Army