Russia to spend $100 mn on combat vehicle upgrade

Moscow, April 23 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian defence ministry has announced a tender for the modernisation of BMD-1 airborne fighting vehicles, and plans to spend almost 3.4 billion rubles (around $100 million) on that goal.

The state procurements agency said some 145 machines are to be upgraded to BMD-2 this year and another 67 next year with the starting price of the upgrades estimated at 16 million rubles per vehicle.

Last year, nearly two billion rubles was allocated for the modernisation of 135 vehicles.

Defence ministry spokesman Col. Alexander Kucherenko said in December last year that the Airborne Assault Forces will receive the first 10 advanced BMD-4M vehicles by the end of 2013.

The BMD-4M is the latest modification of an armoured combat vehicle that can be para-dropped to provide firepower and support for airborne troops.

It features a new chassis, a digital fire control system and a set of high-precision weaponry, including a 100-mm gun.

The Russian military is expected to acquire at least 1,000 BMD-4Ms under the current rearmament programme before 2020.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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