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  • MT-LB (M1970) Multi-Purpose Tracked Vehicle

    The MT-LB multirole tracked vehicle proved a Cold War favorite with approximately 12,000 units produced.

     Updated: 11/7/2015; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    World War 2 warfare instilled on the Soviet Army the need for a very mobile armored force. After the war, the concepts proven in battle were furthered to all new levels. During the Cold War years, a slew of armored vehicles emerged with various battlefield roles in mind and one of these creations became the MT-LB multirole tracked vehicle. Development began in the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West, to which the completed vehicle was adopted sometime in the latter part of the decade. Once identified by the West, the vehicle was designated in NATO nomenclature as the "M1970" ("Model 1970").

    The MT-LB was developed as a direct replacement for the aged AT-P artillery tractor line. The design was largely formed from the work that also begat the successful PT-76 Amphibious Light Tank which was produced in over 12,000 examples. The initial product was the MT-L which then evolved to become the armored MT-LB. Production was assisted by the type utilizing many off-the-shelf components in circulation, and readily available, to the Soviet Army at the time. Manufacture was headed through the famous Kharkov tractor facility. The designation of "MT-LB" is born from the Russian translation describing "Multi-Purpose, Light-Armored Towing Vehicle".

    One of the key qualities required of most any Soviet armored vehicle was amphibious support allowing the vehicle to cross moving water sources under its own power. The alternative was traversing bridges and similar checkpoints or arranging for engineers to construct a make-shift bridge over the span of hours and maybe days. The MT-LB was designed with this quality in mind, fully-amphibious, and propelled in the water by its own tracks, negating the need to activate a dedicated propulsion system.

    Another key quality consistent with Soviet-inspired armored combat vehicles of the period were low silhouettes to make for a harder target to spot, identify and engage along the horizon. The MT-LB, therefore, was granted as low a profile as possible. It lacked any large, powered turret (a small, one-man installation was used instead) with the hull consisting of a near-flat glacis plate, armored visors at the front panel and a flat roof line with rounded hatches for the crew (a pair of hatches are set along the forward portion of the hull roof line). Armor consisted of welded steel for maximum protection (14mm at its thickness). A typical operating crew was just two men with up to 10 or 11 passengers in relative comfort (inward-facing folding canvas seats are provided).

    Images Gallery


    MT-LB (M1970) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1968
    Type: Multi-Purpose Tracked Vehicle
    National Origin: Soviet Union
    Manufacturer(s): Kharkov Tractor Plant, Kharkov - Ukraine
    Production: 12,000

    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)

    Operating Crew: 2 + 11
    Length: 21.33 feet (6.50 meters)
    Width: 9.51 feet (2.90 meters)
    Height: 6.23 feet (1.90 meters)

    Operating Weight: 13 tons (11,900 kg; 26,235 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: Yes
    Nightvision Equipment: Yes - Infra-red for driver and commander

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x YaMZ 238 V, V-8 diesel engine generating 240 horsepower @ 2,100rpm.

    Maximum Road Speed: 38 mph (61.5 km/h)
    Maximum Road Range: 311 miles (500 km)

    Armament and Ammunition

    1 x 7.62mm machine gun

    2,500 x 7.62mm ammunition

    Global Operators / Customers

    Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Belarus; Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; Czech Republic; East Germany; Finland; Georgia; Germany; Hungary; Iraq; Kazakhstan; Lithuania; Macedonia; Moldova; Nigeria; Poland; Russia; Soviet Union; Sweden; Ukraine; United States; Uruguay; Yugoslavia

    Model Variants

    MT-L - Base Unarmored Model

    MT-LB - Base Armored Model; fitted with 7.62mm machine gun in turret

    MT-LBV - 565mm wide tracks

    MT-LBVM - Fitted with 12.7mm NSVT heavy machine gun in turret

    MTP-LB - Technical Support Platform; sans turret

    SNAR-10 "Jaguar" (MT-LB M1975 / MT-LB SON) - Ground Surveillance radar platform.

    9A34 - 9K35 "Strela-10" SAM system carrier

    9A35 - 9K35 "Strela-10" SAM system carrier with passive tracking

    9P149 "Shturm-S" - Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) carrier; 9M114 Koton missile group.

    RKhM "Kashalot" - Battlefield chemical detection vehicle

    RKhM-K - Command version of RKhM vehicle

    RPM - Radioactivity detection vehicle

    K-611 - Radioactivity detection vehicle

    K-612 - Radioactivity detection vehicle

    AZM "Vostorg-1" - Battlefield Engineering Vehicle

    MT-LBu - Lengthened chassis and hull

    UR-77 "Meteorit" - Mine-clearing vehicle

    2S1 - Self-Propelled Howitzer armed with 122mm main gun

    MT-LBM - Modernized MT-LB

    2S24 - 82mm mortar carrier

    MT-LB AT-I - Bulgarian Army minelayer

    MT-LB SE - Bulgarian Army battlefield ambulance

    MT-LB TMX - Bulgarian Army 82mm mortar carrier

    BRM "Sova" - Bulgarian Army NBC detection vehicle

    R-80 - Bulgarian Army artillery observation vehicle

    BMP-30 - Bulgarian Army IFV; BMP-2 series powered turret and armament.

    MT-LB (Pi) - East German Combat Engineering Vehicle (CEV)

    MT-LB (Pzi) - East German Anti-Tank Missile Carrier

    MT-LB (Pzj Fu) - East German Anti-Tank Command Vehicle

    MT-LB (BO) SFL - East German Artillery Command Vehicle

    SaN MT-LB - East German Battlefield Ambulance

    MTP-LB - East German Technical Support Vehicle

    MT-LBV - Iraqi Army variant; wide tracks

    MT-LB (ZU-23-2) - Iraqi Army Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Vehicle

    MT-LB-2AP - Polish Army APC

    WEM Lotos - Polish Army MEDEVAC vehicle

    WPT Mors - Polish Army Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV)

    R-137T - Polish Army Signals Vehicle

    MT-LB-23M "Krak" - Polish Army proposed APC variant with 23mm in remote-controlled turret.

    "Promet" - Polish Army proposed AA variant

    SPG-2 - Polish Army revised MT-LB

    BWO-40 - Polish Army IFV

    Pbv 401 - Swedish Army Designation

    Stripbv 4011 - Swedish Army Command Vehicle

    RIpbv 4014/T - Swedish Army signals vehicle

    Stripbv 4015 - Swedish Army Command Vehicle

    Pvrbbv 452 - Swedish Army ATGM missile carrier