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US Bradley IFVs, Seized By Russian Military In Ukraine War, Leaves Russian Engineers Unimpressed

Weeks after Russia allegedly captured the first unit of Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) fielded by the Ukrainian troops, Russian engineers decoding the US-made combat vehicle have called it inferior to the Russian BMP-3.

The Deputy Executive Director for state defense procurement and military-technical cooperation at Kurganmashzavod, Roman Khromov, told RIA Novosti about the study’s findings. Ukraine started deploying the Bradley IFVs against Russia in June as part of its much-anticipated counter-offensive.

“A full-scale study of samples captured in the Northern Military District confirmed that the American Bradley BMP is not an analog of the Russian BMP-3. The study of trophies confirms that the BMP-3 is superior in its characteristics, firepower, mobility, ease of operation, maintenance, and repair. American infantry fighting vehicles,” he told the state news agency.

According to the Dutch open-source analysis website Oryx, which closely monitors visual evidence of losses in the conflict, Ukraine has lost at least 52 M2A2 Bradley since the counter-offensive was launched in June this year. The loss has been so staggering that analysts call Ukraine a graveyard for these American IFVs.

Of the 52 vehicles lost by Ukraine, most were damaged by Russian strikes, while a few were abandoned. EurAsian Times could not independently verify the number of Bradley IFVs that Russian forces may have been able to capture.

On a previous occasion, Russian engineers had stated that they were unimpressed by the famed Swedish CV-90 IFV.

The performance of Bradley IFV handed over to Ukraine by the United States has particularly been called into question in the ongoing war. After the first destroyed Bradley IFV was documented, a flurry of visual evidence of several other Bradley vehicles has proliferated on social media this week.

Bradleys’ first and most losses occurred as Ukraine undertook one of the most treacherous and intricate military maneuvers known as a breaching operation. These operations, involving the breach of enemy defenses, are considered among the most dangerous and complex military tactics.

However, these breaching operations were conducted without air support and with ineffective suppressing artillery fire, adding to the difficulties. Such circumstances have increased the Bradleys’ vulnerability, resulting in the losses. This did not shock experts, notwithstanding the US propaganda that Bradley was tough to kill.

Despite the losses, the US-supplied vehicles have reportedly proven helpful in preserving the lives of the Ukrainian crew inside them. The Bradley is known to be stronger and more capable than the BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry battle vehicles from the Soviet era that were previously used in Ukraine.

The Russians, on their part, think that the Bradley could not outmatch the Russian BMP-3, which Moscow has extensively deployed.

In fact, according to the data compiled by Oryx, Russian forces have lost at least 277 BMP-3 vehicles, and one of the combat vehicles was spotted at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Nearly every piece of equipment used in ground warfare is subjected to developmental testing by the YPG.

BMP-3s Better Than Bradleys?

Manufactured by BAE Systems, the M2A4 Bradley Fighting Vehicle is a medium armored vehicle whose primary function is to provide protected transport for infantry squads going into battle with the enemy.

Its hull is made of welded aluminum armor, while the front arc is made of spaced-laminate steel and aluminum armor. Additionally, it contains an NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) defense system and explosive reactive armor blocks. It is armed with a two-man turret with a 25mm dual-fed Bushmaster chain gun that can fire armor-piercing and high explosive rounds.

The chain gun can defeat any threat on the battlefield, including trucks, dismounted troops, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), and armored personnel carriers (APCs). One Bradley even destroyed a T-72 with this chain cannon during Desert Storm!

800px LaunchingTOWmissile.
A Bradley firing a TOW missile

The Bradley has a BGM-71 Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided (TOW) missile launcher that can carry two missiles against tanks. The BGM-71E TOW has a shaped charge weighing approximately 5.89 kilograms and can engage targets more than three kilometers away.

Additionally, there is also a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. A remarkable fact about Bradley’s combat record is that during the US military operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, the Bradley-series armored vehicles destroyed more Iranian armored vehicles than Abrams MBTs.

The stated capabilities of the IFV led former White House defense budget analyst now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies to say, “Unlike the previously provided M113s, the Bradley is heavily armed with a powerful 25mm gun and TOW anti-tank missile. Though some are older, the US has many Bradleys and needs upgrades, so inventories are not a problem.”

In contrast, the BMP-3 has an unconventional layout, with the engine in the rear instead of the forward hull. This allows the driver to be seated in the front center of the chassis with two other crew members beside him, one on each side. Thus, the driver has an improved view, and the weight is distributed more favorably along the length of the machine.

The BMP-3 IFV is armed with a 100mm gun, a 2A70 launcher with a 30mm 2A72 automatic cannon, and a 7.62mm PKTM machine gun. The vehicle is used to enhance the mobility of the troops while providing the crew entrusted to transport them to the frontline with formidable protection.

While the West-based military analysts have vouched for their Bradley IFV on combat survivability against the capability of Russian combat vehicles, Russian engineers have different observations.

In particular, they believe the Bradley is armed with a 25 mm automatic cannon, and it cannot swim without prior, fairly serious training, unlike the BMP-3, which immediately overcomes water obstacles. “The American car needs time for this, and time is life,” Khromov said.

Another finding of the Russian study states that the American vehicle has low mobility and maneuverability, especially on those types of soil in the region of the special operation or the battlefield in Ukraine, as Russia refers to it.

The Russian expert noted that a comparative analysis of the BMP-3 and Bradley was carried out in 1991 when the UAE chose a combat vehicle for its army through a tender.

“At that time, the USSR offered the BMP-3 and BMP-2, and the USA offered the M2 Bradley. A comparative analysis showed that in terms of combat characteristics, the BMP-3 won, and by a large margin. As a result, the Emirates bought more than 600 of these vehicles in the 1990s last century,” the interlocutor said.

Moreover, a previous technical analysis conducted by a Russian media outlet said, “Despite all of the above, the BMP-3, even in stock, is capable of withstanding a 25 mm Bradley cannon head-on. Difficulties can arise only when meeting a 25-mm uranium “scrap” M919. On the contrary, the main caliber of the domestic armored vehicle will leave no chance for the American.”

Adding more substance to his argument, Khromov said that the American infantry combat vehicle’s configuration in the Northern Military District zone has been slightly modified, primarily because of electrical systems that are pretty complex to operate.

“This is one of the weak points of these machines: if the Bradley electronic components fail, then the machine can completely lose the ability to fire,” he said.

As for the Russians, BMP-3 is also equipped with water-jet engines, which are used to overcome water obstacles. It aligns with the ongoing efforts in indigenous electronic manufacturing that Russia has undertaken since Western sanctions and many lessons learned in the one-year war.

In May this year, Russia received a fresh batch of its BMP-3 combat vehicles, as previously reported by EurAsian Times. Underscoring the widespread utility of these vehicles, Rostec, the parent company of all Russian government defense companies, said: “Shortly, another shipment of repaired vehicles will take place.”

The study of Western technology, including Bradley and its components, continues, a representative of the plant management concluded.

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