Germany has approved the delivery of nearly 60 Soviet-era BMP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) to Ukraine which was previously owned by Germany, Die Welt reported on Friday. The combat vehicles from the former East German army were passed on to Sweden at the end of the 1990s, and later sold to a company in the Czech Republic. Even before the sale to Sweden, the German military had already made modifications to these Soviet-supplied BMP-1s to bring them up to Western safety standards, redesignating them BMP-1A1 Osts in the process. The Swedish military, which applied their own designateon to these vehicles, Pbv-501, put them through another upgrade program after purchasing them.
The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. BMP stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pyekhoty 1. The BMP-1 was the first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) of the Soviet Union. It was called the M-1967, BMP and BMP-76PB by NATO before its correct designation was known. The Soviet military leadership saw any future wars as being conducted with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. A new design, like the BMP, combining the properties of an armored personnel carrier (APC) and a light tank would allow infantry to operate from the relative safety of its armoured, radiation-shielded interior in contaminated areas and to fight alongside it in uncontaminated areas.
BMP-1s were produced under license by Czechoslovakia company ZTS Detva. BVP-1 (BVP-1 stands for bojové vozidlo p?choty 1, Infantry Fighting Vehicle – 1) is a Czechoslovak designation for the BMP-1. Czech modernized BVP-1 with a German Kuka E8 one-man turret with prominent overhang on the front and eight smoke grenade launchers (in two groups, four groups on each side of the turret). It is armed with a 30 mm Mk 44 Bushmaster II autocannon with a small circular muzzle-brake. The gunner’s position is located at the rear of the turret. It has new side-skirts/mudguards. It also has additional protection and hand rails on the headlights. It has two rear-view mirrors in the front and four stop lights and two turn lights at the rear.
The BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles are currently in possession of a Czech company, Excalibur Army. The same company delivered modernized BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles and 2S1 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine in 2020. The Excalibur Army, a subsidiary of the Czechoslovak Group holding (CSG), specializes in the refurbishment of military vehicles and owns several storage all over the Czech Republic. The Excalibur Army tried to sell the IFV to Ukraine in 2019, but that plan was reportedly stopped in its tracks by the German government. This is in line with Germany’s arms-transfer policy which restricts the transfer of arms to regions experiencing unrest or conflict.