Equatorial Guinea planning BMP-3 acquisition

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Equatorial Guinea plans to purchase BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles from Russia this year, with contract negotiations due to take place in the course of 2016.

This is according to Russian news agency TASS, which reported a spokesman for the vehicle’s manufacturer, Tractor Plants, as saying that “In 2016, work on a contact with Equatorial Guinea is planned. The country plans to buy BMP-3 vehicles. Besides, implementation of contracts to supply spare parts to the UAE, Venezuela, South Korea, India will be continued.”

In September 2015 it was reported that Morocco and Myanmar would buy 60 BMP-3s, according to RIA Novosti.

That same month, TASS also reported that the Russian Defence Ministry would by the end of 2017 receive over 200 BMP-3s after a contract was signed last year. Apparently Iraq and Saudi Arabia have also expressed interest in ordering large numbers of the vehicle, with requests for 500 from Iraq and 950 from Saudi Arabia. Iraq already operates the BMP-1 and BMP-2.

The BMP-3 tracked amphibious infantry fighting vehicle, successor to the BMP-1 and BMP-2, entered service with the Soviet army in 1990. It is manufactured by the Kurganmashzavod company, part of the Tractor Plants consortium.

If a contract does indeed proceed this year, it would be a major boost for Equatorial Guinea’s modest armed forces, which counts half a dozen BRDM-2s, 20 ex-Czech BMP-1s and half a dozen BTR-152s in the Army’s inventory. Between 2013 and 2014 Equatorial Guinea received 25 Reva-3 and Reva-5 armoured personnel carriers from South Africa.

Around 120 BMP-3s are in service with the Russia Army and over 900 have been exported to a number of countries, including 600 to the United Arab Emirates, 40 to Cyprus, 30 to Indonesia, 110 to Kuwait and 70 to South Korea.

The BMP-3 has a two-man turret with coaxial a 100 mm 2A70 semi-automatic rifled gun/missile launcher, which is stabilised in two axes and can fire either 3UOF HE-FRAG rounds or 3UBK10 anti-tank guided missiles. The turret also has a 30 mm 2A72 coaxial cannon and one 7.62 mm PKT coaxial machine gun. One 7.62 mm PKT machine gun is mounted either side of the hull, firing forwards and these are operated by one of the front three crew members.

The 18.7 ton BMP-3 has a hull and turret made from aluminium alloy armour, but extra steel armour is fitted to the turret and the front has a double bottom as well as a self-sealing fuel tank. Nuclear, Chemical and Biological (NBC) protection is also standard.

The vehicle is powered by a UTD-29 diesel engine producing 500 hp, giving a top speed of 70 km/h and a range of 600 km. A water jet allows amphibious operations.