BTR-70 is an eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier (Russian:
бронетранспортер/Bronetransporter, or literally
"Armoured Transporter") originally developed by the Soviet Union
during the late 1960s under the manufacturing code GAZ-4905. On August
21, 1972, it was accepted into Soviet service and would later be
widely exported. Large quantities were also produced under license in
Romania as the TAB-77.
BTR-70 was developed as a potential successor for the earlier
BTR-60 series of Soviet wheeled armored personnel carriers,
specifically the BTR-60PB, which it most closely resembled. It evolved
out of an earlier, unsuccessful project known as the GAZ-50 to design
a new wheeled infantry fighting vehicle on the chassis and drive train
of a BTR-60PB. It initially received the
NATO reporting name BTR
1 Development History
3.1 Russian Federation
4 Combat history
5.1 Current operators
5.2 Former operators
6 See also
9 External links
The original GAZ-50 prototype.
In 1971, the Soviet Armed Forces began investigating the possibility
of an updated BTR-60PB redesigned to make the vehicle more compatible
BMP-1 in terms of tactical training. This resulted in the
development of a BTR-60PB prototype essentially converted into a
wheeled infantry fighting vehicle, designated Obiekt 50 or GAZ-50.
Despite retaining the original BTR-60PB chassis, the GAZ-50
incorporated several elements of the BMP's design, including similar
seating arrangements in the passenger compartment. The revised
internal layout reduced the number of passengers to nine. New
hatches were also provided for debarking in the lower hull, between
the second and third wheel stations. Other modifications included a
slightly thicker hull, increased power-to-weight ratio, and additional
firing ports. Another feature retained from the
BTR-60 was the
twin-engine arrangement, although in the GAZ-50 torque produced by the
right engine powered the first and third wheel stations, while the
left engine powered the second and fourth. This alteration was to
allow the vehicle to continue moving even if one engine failed. The
prototype was armed with a turret resembling that of the BMP-1,
incorporating the same 73mm
2A28 Grom low-pressure smoothbore
There was some debate as to the GAZ-50's viability in its intended
role; for example, projected manufacturing costs were high due to the
incorporation of the
BMP-1 turret and armament. Furthermore, while
the prototype would allow motorized units to emulate the tactics of
Soviet mechanized infantry, it simply did not offer the same
protection, mobility, and firepower of the BMP. Most of the funding
earmarked for the program was thus diverted into producing larger
numbers of BMPs instead, as well as ensuring their wider introduction
beyond Soviet tank divisions. A second GAZ-50 prototype was built,
designated Obiekt 60 mounting a 14.5mm machine gun in exactly the same
turret as that carried by the
BTR-60 series; this was accepted as a
generic replacement for the BTR-60PB in motorized rifle regiments.
In Soviet service, the new BTRs received the designation BTR-70.
Compared to the earlier BTR-60PB, relatively small numbers of BTR-70s
were produced. The design was still regarded as suffering from some
of the same disadvantages, such as the two flammable petrol engines
and the poor means of entry and exit. These flaws became especially
evident when the vehicle was tested in combat during the
Soviet–Afghan War. As a result, in 1984 the Soviet Army took
delivery of a new wheeled armored personnel carrier, the BTR-80, which
was powered by a single 260 horsepower diesel engine and a simpler
drive train. Production of the
BTR-70 was terminated that year.
Soviet Union only exported BTR-70s to four other states:
German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary,
and Romania, which also purchased a license to manufacture the design
locally. However, many have since been inherited by the armies of
various post-Soviet republics or re-exported.
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BTR-70 is powered by two petrol engines. Early production vehicles
used 115 hp GAZ-69B 6-cylinder engines, but most vehicles have
now been retrofitted with the more powerful ZMZ-49-05 V-8 engines. The
vehicle is fully amphibious, propelled when afloat by a single water
jet mounted at the rear of the hull. To prepare the vehicle for water,
the driver erects a trim vane and switches on the bilge pumps from
within the vehicle.
The standard equipment includes a central tire-pressure regulation
system that allows the driver to adjust the tire-pressure to suit the
terrain being crossed. Also fitted is an R-123M radio set and an R-124
intercom. The driver's optical equipment consists of three TNPO-115
vision blocks and a TNP-B day vision device, which can be replaced by
a TVNO-2B night vision device. The commander also has three TNPO-115s
and either a TPKU-2B day sight or a TKN-1S night sight accompanied by
an OU-3GA-2 infra-red search light. The turret is fitted with a
PP-61AM (or 1PZ-2) periscopic sight for the gunner and the infantry
group in the troop compartment is provided with TNP-B devices. The
BTR-70 also has an FVU NBC filter system and a DK-3B detection device.
The armaments consist of a
KPVT heavy machine gun with 500 rounds and
a coaxial 7.62 mm
PKT machine gun with 2,000 rounds. Also on
board are two "Igla" or "Strela-3" MANPADS, and optionally two AGS-17
grenade launchers at the expense of two infantry men.
BTR-70: Basic APC version, as described.
BTR-70 obr. 1978: Initial version, publicly displayed in 1980.
BTR-70 obr. 1982: Improved model with 120 hp ZMZ-49-05 V-8
engines, instead of the original GAZ-49B 115 hp 6-cylinder
BTR-70 obr. 1984: Slightly modified model with an additional TNPT-1
periscope on the turret roof.
BTR-70 obr. 1986: Improved version with a periscope on the left side
of the turret and four firing ports in the hull roof.
BTR-70V: Late-production model fitted with the BPU-1 turret of the
BTR-80, with an 1PZ-2 sight, but without the "Tucha" smoke grenade
BTR-70M: Modernized version with turret, diesel engine and rear hull
section of the BTR-80.
BTR-70D: Diesel version, developed by Muromteplovoz and powered by a
YaMZ-236D 180 hp diesel engine. Prototype only.
SPR-2 "Rtut-B" (stantsiya pomekh radiovzryvatelyam): Electronic
warfare variant, designed to detonate artillery shells with proximity
SPR-2M: Modified version with more compact equipment.
BTR-70K (komandnyj): Command vehicle with additional radios, several
whip antennas, navigation device and a portable generator.
BTR-70KShM (komandno-shtabnaya mashina): Command and control variant,
designed to be used as a mobile command post.
2S14 "Zhalo-S": tank hunter, armed with a 2A62 85 mm gun.
SA-22 (spetsapparatnaya mashina): command vehicle.
15Ya56M MBP (mashina boyevogo posta): base security vehicle for
Strategic Rocket units. The original turret has been replaced by a new
type with an 1PN22M1 improved sight, loudspeakers, OU-3GA-2 IR search
lights, additional TNPO-170 periscopes and an NSVT 12.7 mm
BTR-70D: Upgraded from 2001 by NRMZ and fitted with a 300 hp
diesel engine. Ukrainian army vehicles additionally have
two-piece escape hatches in the hull sides.
BTR-70DI (BTR-7): With Euro II 276 hp diesel engine from IVECO.
Can be optionally fitted with "Ingul" or "Bug" modular turrets or with
the "Zaslon" active protection system. The basic armament is augmented
by an AGS-30 automatic grenade launcher and 2 AT rockets.
BTR-70M: Upgraded by Marozov and powered by a 300 hp engine
UTD-20. Might be fitted with a new turret, like the "Grom" or
BTR-70SM: Unarmed ambulance with a re-designed hull. Three different
models have been observed.
SPW 70 (Schützenpanzerwagen): NVA designator for Romanian-made
BTR-70. 1,316 delivered between 1980 and 1990.
SPW 70(S): Locally converted staff vehicle with two extra radios,
two/three whip antennas and a slim telescopic mast on the right side
of the hull roof.
SPW 70(SL): Forward air control vehicle, equipped with an R-809M2
radio and fitted with four whip antennas.
SPW 70(Ch): NBC reconnaissance vehicle with detection and marking
systems. Prototype only.
Cobra-K: Fitted with a 2A42-Cobra modular turret. Might be optionally
equipped with a new KamAZ-7403 diesel engine.
BTR-70M-A1: Proposed upgrade from Minotaur with a diesel engine and
improved transmission. The vehicle might retain the original turret or
can be fitted with a new one, for example the CM30/BM30 (2A42-Cobra)
BTR-MK a.k.a. KM-70: Proposed command vehicle (komandnaya mashina)
from Minotaur with a crew of six and R-123M and R-13M radios.
MTP-K a.k.a. MTP-70: Technical support vehicle (mashina tekhnicheskoj
pomoshchi), fitted with tow bars, a work platform and a light crane.
This version retains the turret, but without the
KPVT machine gun.
Azerbaijani modernised BTR-70
BTR-70M: Jihazgayirma Instrument Construction Plant in Baku presented
some upgraded BTR-70s for the first time in March 2011. These vehicles
have a new diesel engine and improved transmission. Optionally, the
original machine-gun turret might be replaced with the "Şimşek"
(Lightning) one-man turret. "Şimşek" was developed in partnership
with South Africa's Emerging World Technologies (EWT) and appears to
be a variant of EWT's Predator II light compact turret.
Main article: TAB (Armoured Personnel Carrier)
Romanian TAB-77 Armored Personnel Carriers in Afghanistan
TAB-77 (transportorul amfibiu blindat):
Romania not only built the
BTR-70 under licence (for export), but also developed its own,
improved version. While very similar, the TAB-77 has the same turret
(with the LOTA aiming system) as the TAB-71. The original gasoline
engines were replaced with Saviem 797-05M1 132 hp diesel engines.
TAB-77 M1983: upgraded version with a 30 mm gun and 9M14M
"Malyutka" ATGM. Prototype.
TAB-77 M1984: upgraded version with a 23 mm gun and 9M14M
"Malyutka" ATGM. Prototype.
TAB-77A PCOMA (punct de commanda şi observare mobil de artilerie):
artillery command and forward observer vehicle with range finders in a
big, unarmed turret. Armament consists of a single, pintle-mounted
7.62 mm machine gun on the hull roof.
TAB-77A R-1451/M: command vehicle with R-1070 and R-1451M radios.
Similar to the basic APC, but with additional whip antennas and a
TAB-77A R-1452: signals vehicle with an R-1452 radio, low-profile
"dummy turret, seven whip antennas, a telescopic mast, two generators
at the rear and a pintle-mounted machine gun on the hull roof.
TERA-77L (tractor de evacuare şi reparat auto): recovery vehicle with
a 5t crane and a dozer blade.
TABC-79: shorter version with only four wheels. Several variants
Chinese TAB-77: Chinese license built TAB-77, with a small number
entering Chinese service for evaluation purpose in the 1980s. China
purchased the production license from
Romania in 1984, and even
retained the original Romanian designation TAB-77. The Chinese built
TAB-77 is heavier, weighing more than 13 tons.
BTR-70 first saw service during the Soviet–Afghan War. A very
small quantity of BTR-70s were donated or sold to the People's Armed
Forces for the Liberation of
Angola in the mid-1980s by an undisclosed
country; these saw action during the Angolan Civil War. BTR-70s
were deployed by the
United Nations Protection Force
United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in
Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Yugoslav Wars.
BTR-70s of the
Armed Forces of Ukraine
Armed Forces of Ukraine have been deployed in the War
in Donbass, with some being captured by pro-Russian militias of the
Donetsk People's Republic.
BTR-70 operators in blue with former operators in red. The
United States, which uses BTR-70s for OPFOR training exercises only,
is indicated in yellow.
Georgia: 30; some modernized to BTR-70Di/
BTR-7 standard with
30mm cannon and anti-tank missiles.
Kyrgyzstan: some; all modernized to BTR-70M standard.
Mali: 9; purchased from Bulgaria.
Palestinian National Authority: 50
Russia: 95 in service with the Russian Naval Infantry.
Sudan: 31; 2 Kobra K-2 variant.
United States: 7; used for OPFOR training exercises.
East Germany: 1,266
Estonia: 4, all out of service about 2005. Given to military
museums, or used as anti-tank targets.
United Nations Protection Force: 452; donated by Germany.
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Belarus Army Equipment
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to BTR-70.
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