PSKOV, June 16. /TASS/. A new battalion set of next-generation BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicles and BTR-MDM ‘Rakushka’ armored personnel carriers will arrive for paratroopers stationed in Pskov in Russia’s northwest in June, the Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday.
“Under the state armament program, the Pskov Guards Air Assault Division will receive a battalion set of next-generation BMD-4M combat hardware in June that includes about 40 BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicles and BTR-MDM ‘Rakushka’ armored personnel carriers. This is the eighth battalion set of combat hardware arriving for the Airborne Force,” the ministry said in a statement.
The new military hardware will be handed over in a special ceremony to a battalion of the Guards Black Sea Airborne Assault Regiment named after Alexander Nevsky stationed in Pskov, the ministry specified.
“The combat vehicles’ crews underwent retraining during two months at the 242nd training center (for preparing Airborne Force junior specialists) in the city of Omsk,” the ministry said.
Overall, Russian paratroopers are set to receive over 400 items of new and upgraded armament by the end of 2020.
The 14-tonne BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicle is armed with a 100mm cannon that also serves as a launcher for Arkan anti-tank missiles with an ammunition load of 34 rounds and four missiles, a 30mm automatic gun with an ammunition load of 500 rounds and a 7.62mm machine-gun.
The BMD-4M is capable of developing a maximum speed of 70 km/h and moving in the water at a maximum speed of 10 km/h. The combat vehicle has a crew of three and can also transport up to five assault force personnel.
The BTR-MDM ‘Rakushka’ is a Russian armored personnel carrier developed at the Volgograd Tractor Factory. The 13.2-tonne combat vehicle is armed with two machine-guns. It has a crew of two and carry up to 13 assault force personnel. The Rakushka is designated to carry personnel (the assault force), ammunition, spare parts, fuels and lubricants to Airborne Force and marine infantry units.
The 76th Guards Air Assault Division was set up in 1939. It is the oldest Airborne Force unit in Russia today. The Division’s name is associated with the heroism of paratroopers from the 6th company of the 104th Guards airborne regiment who died in 2000 in the Shatoi district of Chechnya, fighting against overwhelming militants’ forces.