flag of Soviet Union

MT-LB (M1970) Multi-Purpose Tracked Vehicle (1968)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 11/7/2015

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

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).

Text ©2003-2016 www.MilitaryFactory.com. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Permitted. Email corrections/comments to MilitaryFactory at Gmail dot com. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance or general operation. Please consult original manufacturers for such information.

Specifications for the
MT-LB (M1970)
Multi-Purpose Tracked Vehicle

Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: Kharkov Tractor Plant, Kharkov - Ukraine
Initial Year of Service: 1968
Production Total: 12,000

Focus Model: MT-LB (M1970)
Crew: 2 + 11

Overall Length: 21.33 ft (6.50 m)
Width: 9.51 ft (2.90 m)
Height: 6.23 ft (1.90 m)
Weight: 13.1 US Short Tons (11,900 kg; 26,235 lb)

Powerplant: 1 x YaMZ 238 V, V-8 diesel engine generating 240 horsepower @ 2,100rpm.

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

NBC Protection: Yes
Nightvision: Yes - Infra-red for driver and commander

1 x 7.62mm machine gun

2,500 x 7.62mm ammunition

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

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