The BRDM-2 (Boyevaya Razvedyvatelnaya Dozornaya Mashina, Боевая Разведывательная Дозорная Машина, literally "Combat Reconnaissance/Patrol Vehicle" †) is an amphibious armoured patrol car used by Russia and the former Soviet Union. It was also known under designations BTR-40PB, BTR-40P-2 and GAZ 41-08. This vehicle, like many other Soviet designs, has been exported extensively and is in use in at least 38 countries. It was intended to replace the earlier BRDM-1 with a vehicle that had improved amphibious capabilities and better armament.
After few years of exploitation of BRDM-1 by the Soviet Army its limitations and drawbacks became obvious. The vehicle had no turret and to operate the armament the gunner had to open a hatch and expose himself to enemy fire. It wasn't fitted with an NBC protection system, and had no night vision equipment by default. The vehicle also didn't have any kind of special sights which undermined its usability as a reconnaissance vehicle. These drawbacks encouraged the design team to create a new vehicle which would suit the modern battlefield
The BRDM-2 has a crew of four, a driver, a co-driver, a commander, and a gunner. It has two pairs of chain-driven belly wheels lowered by the driver which allow trench crossing just like its predecessor and a centralized tire pressure regulation system which can be used to adjust the tire pressure of all four tires or individual tires while the vehicle is in motion to suit to the ground conditions. Externally, it differs from the BRDM-1 due to its larger, box-like hull. It retains the boat-like bow of the BRDM-1. However, the crew compartment is now further forward and the new GAZ-41 gasoline V-8 engine is in the rear. Thanks to this the engine is much better protected from enemy fire. The engine compartment is also separated from the crew compartment with an armoured barrier.
The driver's and commander's stations are in the front of the vehicle, driver is positioned on the left and commander is positioned on the right. Both of them sit in front of bulletproof windscreen which provide them with primary view of the battlefield. When in combat the windscreen can be additionally protected by twin armoured shutters. When the shutters are in their opened position they protect driver and commander from being blinded by the sunlight and ensure that the windscreen won't be blurred by rain or snow. The commander and driver have periscopes allowing both of them a more detailed view of the surrounding terrain. The commander has 6 TNP-A periscopes (5 in the front and 1 on the side of the vehicle), TPKU-2B day sight and TKN-1 night sight. The driver has 4 TNP-A periscopes (all in the front), one of which can be replaced by TWN-2B night vision device. The gunner is in the turret during combat but when traveling is seated inside the hull.
The crew mounts and dismounts the vehicle via two hatches over driver's and commander's stations. On either side of the hull adjacent to the crew position, there is a firing port. Immediately behind the firing port there are three TNP-A periscopes which protrude from the outside of the hull, giving the crew some vision to the front and rear of the vehicle. The engine is larger than the BRDM's (it is a 140 hp V-8 instead of a 90 hp 6-cylinder). The BRDM-2 has an IR spotlight and four IR driving lights, as well as an over pressure collective NBC filter system. The IR spotlight is located on top of the commander's periscope. The vehicle also has R-123 radio and an antenna on the right hand side of the hull next to the commander's hatch, for communication. There's also a winch mounted internally at the front hull with a 30 m cable and capacity of 4 tonnes. The winch is intended to used, among others, for self-recovery when stuck in difficult terrain. Also a spare tire can be mounted on top of the turret. This was most often practiced by Polish crews. Like its predecessor, the BRDM-2 is amphibious. The GAZ-41 gasoline V-8 engine supplies power to the circular water-jet, equipped with a four-bladed propeller at the rear of the vehicle, which is covered with an armoured shutter while on land. This shutter must be removed before entering water. The water-jet allows amphibious travel with a speed of 10 km/h for 17 to 19 hours. A trim board that is stowed under the nose of the hull when traveling and is erected at the front of the hull before entering the water to improve vehicle's stability and displacement in water and prevent the water from flooding the bow of the BRDM-2. While in its traveling position it serves as additional armour.