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BTR-80 Armored Personnel Carrier (1987)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 11/30/2010

The BTR-80 was designed as a replacement for the aging BTR-60 and BTR-70 wheeled vehicle series.

The BTR-80 was the logical evolution of the wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) BTR series that more or less hit its stride in the 1960s with the development of the BTR-60. The BTR-80 itself was developed to replace both the BTR-60 and the similar BTR-70 models and entered production in 1986, seeing operational service soon after. The BTR-80 was based on the lessons learned from the design and operation of the BTR-70 and incorporated several key strengths of its design while bringing into the fold various technological suites as required by today's battlefield environments.

Taking the BTR-70 as a starting point, Soviet engineers did away with the twin gasoline engine setup of the former BTR-60 and BTR-70 designs and instead fitted a single V-form 8-cylinder KamAZ-7403 series diesel engine to deliver 260 horsepower at 2,600rpm. The characteristic eight road wheel arrangement was retained. The implementation of the new powerplant required some restructuring of the rear engine compartment which raised the rear hull line. Modernized sighting devices (nightvision to both the driver and the commander) were installed as was an infra-red search light. Armament was fitted to a revised, low-profile one-man turret and given 360-degree traverse and 60+ degrees elevation to counter low flying aircraft and engage targets even if the vehicle was hampered along sloped terrain. Primary armament came in the form of a 14.5mm KPVT anti-aircraft heavy machine gun supported by a 7.62mm PKT general purpose machine gun.

The standard operating crew included the driver, commander and gunner while up to eight combat ready soldiers could be ferried in relative safety in the revised fighting compartment. The driver and commander were situated at the front of the hull under the shallow glacis plate while the gunner manned the powered turret system. Passengers could take part in a given firefight thanks to the inclusion of rounded firing ports complete with ball mounts located at the side (three each side) and front facings of the hull. The vehicle's operating weight was listed at nearly 15,000kg while displaying a running length of 7.65 meters, a width of 2.90 meters and a height of 2.35 meters. Independent suspension and drive power was afforded to all eight wheels and operational ranges were listed out to 600 kilometers. Steering was assisted at the front four wheels only. A centralized tire air pressure system maintained the required levels to all eight wheel systems and was controlled by the driver for when managing varied terrain "on-the-fly".

The BTR-80 was designed with a certain level of self-survivability in mind and could manage to lose two of its eight road wheels and still keep itself viable. Top speed was 80 kilometers on smooth paved surfaces, lesser on rough and uneven terrain. The BTR-80 was given amphibious capabilities and could traverse relatively calm waters at roughly 9 kilometers per hour with its integrated water jet propulsion system that required no outward preparation by the crew. The crew was also protected in the event of nuclear fallout and chemical weapons by a new Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) suite and a pressurized fighting compartment. Six 81mm smoke grenade dischargers were fitted to the rear of the turret and set to fire forwards for self-protection in a combat environment. Armor was designed heavy enough to deflect or stop small arms fire and artillery spray but was not specifically designed to withstand direct hits from larger caliber weapons, rocket grenades or anti-tank missile weapons. Troops exited/entered the BTR-80 hull through split doors found on the hull sides between the forward and rearward wheel pairings (between axles two and three). Each door was split horizontally with the upper portion hinged to open forwards and the lower portion folded down to become a step capable of supporting the weight of a soldier. A third door section along the hull roof could similarly flip upwards (towards centerline) for increased headroom and speedy insertion/extractions.

Once in service, the BTR-80 had proven a winner for the Red Army, with off-road performance equal to that of any tracked vehicle systems coupled with excellent on-road performance. Where it lacked in protection and firepower (not its specifically designed forte) it made up for in mobility and speed. Such was the success of the BTR-80 that it went into service with a plethora of national armies the world over including Columbia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, North Korea and South Korea among others. The Ukrainians took initiative and branched their BTR-80 series family into further improved indigenous lines to benefit their mobile army units. The BTR-80 chassis has also proven highly adaptable to the fitting of various armament types (machine guns, cannons) as well as flexible enough for several required battlefield roles to include that of command vehicle, battlefield ambulance, signals vehicle and mobile communications station.

A new YaMZ-238M2 engine was introduced into the BTR-80 line in 1993, further enhancing inherent capabilities. As of this writing, at least 5,000 BTR-80s have been placed into service with 35 countries.

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Specifications for the
BTR-80
Armored Personnel Carrier


Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: State Factories - Soviet Union
Initial Year of Service: 1987
Production: 5,200


Focus Model: BTR-80
Crew: 3 + 8


Overall Length: 25.10ft (7.65m)
Width: 9.51ft (2.90m)
Height: 7.71ft (2.35m)
Weight: 15.0 US Short Tons (13,600kg; 29,983lbs)


Powerplant: 1 x KamAZ-7403 4-stroke 8-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine delivering 260 horsepower.


Maximum Speed: 50mph (80 km/h)
Maximum Range: 373 miles (600 km)


NBC Protection: Yes
Nightvision: Yes


Armament:
DEPENDENT ON MODEL:
1 x 14.5mm KPVT anti-aircraft heavy machine gun
1 x 7.62mm PKT general purpose coaxial machine gun.
6 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers


Ammunition:
500 x 14.5mm ammunition
2,000 x 7.62mm ammunition
6 x smoke grenades


Variants:
BTR-80 (GAZ-5903) - Base Series Designation for wheeled armored personnel carrier.


BTR-80M - Improved BTR-80 APC; new tire style; fitted with DMZ-238M2 series engine delivering 240 horsepower; lengthened hull; appearing in 1993.

BTR-82 - Improved armor protection; night vision capable; 300 horsepower engine; GPS navigation; BTR-80A-style turret; prototype appearing in 2009.

BTR-80K (GAZ-59031) - Command Vehicle; increased communications equipment; identifiable antenna mast.

BTR-80A (GAZ-59034) - Infantry Fighting Vehicle; fitted with 30mm 2A72 cannon in turret; day and night sights.

BTR-80S - Based on the BTR-80A but with 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine gun armament.

BTR-80AK - Command Vehicle of the BTR-80A model; single firing port on hull right side; two "whip antenna" at rear hull corners.

BRDM-3 - Reconnaissance Vehicle; based on the BTR-80AK; day/night sighting.

BTR-82A - Improved armor protection; night vision capable; GPS navigation; engine of 300 horsepower output; prototype appearing in 2009.

2S23 "Nona-SVK" - Fire Support Vehicle; fitted with 120mm 2A60 mortar system.

BREM-K (GAZ-59033) - Armored Recovery Vehicle

BTR-80 PBKM (KM-80) - Command Vehicle with increased radio communications equipment.

RKhM-4 - Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Vehicle

RKhM-4-01 - Improved RKhM-4; modernized

RKhM-4-02 - Upgraded RKhM-4

RPM-2 (NKR) - Radiological Reconnaissance Platform; appearing in 2000.

R-149BMRA - Command and Signals Vehicle

R-439-BK1 - Satellite Communications Platform

"Tajfun" - Proposed Variant for base security forces; 7.62mm armament; Kredo-1 radar system.

ZS-88 - Psychological Operations Vehicle; fitting loudspeaker system.

ZS-96 - Psychological Operations Vehicle; fitting loudspeaker system.

K1Sh1 (GAZ-59032) (UNSh) - Command Post Variant; enlarged hull; sans armament in turret.

BMM-80 "Simfoniya" (GAZ-59039) - Battlefield Ambulance Series; up to nine wounded or two medical litters.

BMM-1 - Battlefield Ambulance; first aid / MEDEVAC

BMM-2 - Battlefield Ambulance; battalion-level in-the-field treatment

BMM-3 - Battlefield Ambulance; mobile field hospital

E-351BrM - Mobile Power Station; fitted with diesel-electric generator for portable power.

PU-12M6 (9S482M6) - Battery Command Vehicle

PU-12M7 (9S482M7) - Improved PU-12M6 Model

1V152 - Command and Forward Observation Platform; fitted with navigation, rangefinding and vision devices.

R-149BMR - Signals Platform

R-165B - Short-Wave Signals Platform

R-439-MD2 - Satellite Communications Vehicle

R-439-BK "Legenda 2BK" - Satellite Communications Vehicle

P-240BTZ - Switchboard Platform

BTR-80 "Caribe" - Columbian Designation; 12.7mm heavy machine gun armament

BTR-80M - Hungarian Designation; upgraded BTR-80 APCs; fitted with day/night sights; additional stowage on hull; improved NBC suite; Hungarian radio suite.

BTR-80 GKKO - Hungarian Designation; proposed prototype; sans turret; fitted with observation equipment.

BTR-80 MPAEJ - Hungarian Designation; Battlefield Engineering Vehicle; sans turret.

BTR-80 MPFJ - Hungarian Designation; sans armament; obstacle clearance vehicle.

BTR-80 MVJ - Hungarian Designation; repair and recovery vehicle

BTR-80 SKJ - Hungarian Designation; Battlefield Ambulance; enlarged passenger compartment.

BTR-80 VSF - Hungarian Designation; NBC vehicle

TAB Zimbru (B33) - Romanian Designation; fitted with Model 1240 V8-DTS series engine of 268 horsepower; Romanian radio suite; additional 12.7mm ammunition storage.

Zimbru 2000 - Romanian Designation; proposed prototype; improved TAB Zimbru model; enlarged hull; fitted with Deutz BF6M 1013FC engine of 285 horsepower; Allison-MD 3060 PR transmission system.

Saur 1 - Romanian Designation; proposed prototype; all-new hull design; fitting Cummins 275 horsepower engine; rear entry/exit doors on hull; original turret replaced; appearing in 2006.

Saur 2 - Romanian Designation; proposed improved form of the Saur 1.

BTR-80UP - Ukrainian Designation; improved BTR-80 model; fitted with all-new engine of 300 horsepower output; improved armor protection; air conditioner installed.

BTR-80UP-KB - Ukrainian Designation; Command Vehicle (Battalion Level)

BTR-80UP-KR - Ukrainian Designation; Command Vehicle (Company Level)

BTR-80UP-S - Ukrainian Designation ; Staff Vehicle

BTR-80UP-M - Ukrainian Designation; Battlefield Ambulance

BTR-80UP BREM - Ukrainian Designation; Armored Recovery Vehicle

BTR-80UP-R - Ukrainian Designation; Dedicated Reconnaissance Platform

BTR-80UP-T - Ukrainian Designation; Dedicated Cargo Transport Model

BTR-94 - Ukrainian Designation; Amphibious Armored Car

BTR-3U "Okhotnik" - Ukrainian Designation; armored personnel carrier based on BTR-80; indigenous Ukrainian design; appearing in 2001.

KShM "Kushetka-B" - Ukrainian Designation; Command Vehicle based on K1Sh1.


Operators:
Afghanistan; Algeria; Angola; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Belarus; Colombia; Djibouti; Estonia; Finland; Georgia; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Ivory Coast; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Macedonia; Moldova; North Korea; Romania; Russia; South Ossetia; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Tajikistan; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan; South Korea; Venezuela