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The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. BMP stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty 1 (Russian: Боевая Машина Пехоты 1; БМП-1), meaning "infantry fighting vehicle". The BMP-1 was the first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) of USSR. 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 and a new design combining the properties of an armored personnel carrier (APC) and a light tank like the BMP 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. It would increase infantry squad mobility, provide fire support to them, and also be able to fight alongside main battle tanks.
The BMP-1 was first tested in combat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, where it was used by Egyptian and Syrian forces. Based on lessons learned from this conflict and early experiences in the Soviet War in Afghanistan, a version with improved fighting qualities, the BMP-2 was developed. It was accepted into service in August 1980.
In 1987, the BMP-3, a radically redesigned vehicle with a completely new weapon system, entered service in limited numbers with the Soviet Army.
The Red Army Mechanized infantry tactics during the 1950s were similar to World War II methods in which APCs were used as "battle taxis"; they would keep the infantry in close proximity with the battle-tanks during movement, but upon enemy contact they would unload their infantry before retreating to safer areas. This was in contrast to the German doctrine of infantry fighting vehicles manifested in the Schützenpanzer Lang HS.30 who were supposed to stay with the tanks and engage lighter targets both to take a burden off the tanks and to support their infantry squads.
Existing APCs offered little or no protection from either nuclear or chemical weapons as they were either open-topped or could not be sealed sufficiently. Furthermore, the infantry had to disembark to be able to use their weapons.
The requirement for the BMP was first drawn up in the late 1950s. The requirement stressed speed, good armament, and the ability for all squad members to fire from within the vehicle. The armament had to provide direct support for dismounted infantry in the attack and defense and to be able to destroy comparable light armored vehicles. The vehicle needed to protect the crew from .50 cal machinegun fire and 20–23 mm caliber autocannons across the frontal arc, as well as from light shell fragments at distances between 500 m and 800 m.
Firepower consisted of the innovative combination of the 73 mm 2A28 Grom gun and a launcher for the 9M14 Malyutka (AT-3A Sagger A) anti-tank wire-guided missile (ATGM). The gun was intended to engage enemy armored vehicles and firing points at a range of up to 700 metres (770 yd), while the missile launcher was intended to be used against targets that were 500 metres (550 yd) to 3,000 metres (3,300 yd) away.
Requirements were issued to the various design bureaus between 1959 and 1960. There was a question as to whether the BMP should be tracked or wheeled, so a number of experimental configurations were explored including hybrid wheeled/tracked designs.
The tracked Ob'yekt 764 (codename Object 764) was chosen because its front-engine design provided a convenient and fast way of mounting and dismounting through two rear doors. The original prototype was built in 1964, followed by improved Ob'yekt 765 in 1965, which was accepted by the Army in 1966, under a designation BMP-1.  120th Guards Rifle Division was first unit in Soviet Union to test new BMP ("objekt 765") infantry fighting vehicle prototypes in January - November 1965 on command of Guards Major Vasiliy Samodelov. Small-scale production began in 1966.
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