One of the most important things the Soviet army was faced with was the questionable combat value of its BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles. Even as the BMP-2 underwent various trials in the late 1970s and entered service in the early 1980s, the Soviets were already considering developing its replacement. They wanted something with improved battlefield survival capabilities and excellent multi-purpose firepower and this project would eventually result in the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle.
While somewhat lengthy, the development of the BMP-3 (Object 688M) was pretty straightforward. It started in the 1970s at the Kurganmash plant design bureau (OAO CKBM) in Kurgan and continued until the late 1980s.
Its roots can be tracked to the Object 685 Light Tank, an experimental amphibious vehicle also designed by CKBM in 1975, under the leadership of A.A.Blagonravov. It was a part of a program to replace the aging PT-76 light tank, but despite its rather advanced design and the excellent firepower of its 100mm rifled cannon (a heavily modified D-10T), it was not accepted into service.
Another Kurgan attempt at building a fighting vehicle for the Soviet military was the Object 688, an experimental IFV designed under the leadership of A.I.Nikonov. It was rather well-armored – the front of the vehicle could withstand 30mm Soviet armor-piercing round fire at 200 meters or more. The real innovation, however, was the external weapons mount with a 30mm 2A42 cannon, an automatic AGS-17 grenade launcher, a 7.62mm machinegun and two launchers for 9M113 Konkurs missiles. Two prototypes were built in 1981, but the turret was not deemed acceptable. It was removed from the design and replaced by the newly developed 2K23 turret module.