MANUFACTURER(S): Volgorad Tractor Factory - Soviet Union / Russia
OPERATORS: Belarus; Moldova; Russia (Soviet Union); Ukraine; Uzbekistan
Detailing the development and operational history of the BTR-D (Bronetransportyor Desanta) Amphibious Air-Droppable Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV).
Entry last updated on 10/12/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Since the days the Soviet Army invested in the paratrooper, warplanners have sought to equip these fighting men with viable, yet portable weaponry beyond basic small arms. When it became possible to air-drop artillery systems and vehicles, the Soviets developed entire mission-minded products to fully-equip these "fighting men from the sky". In 1974, the service adopted the BTR-D for its airborne troops, an air-droppable, fully-amphibious tracked Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). Design work spanned from 1970 until 1974 and serial production followed.
The series still maintains an active presence in the inventory of Russian airborne elements today (2017). Manufacture has been out of the Volgograd Tractor Factory in Volgograd, Russia.
The BTR-D is similar in mission scope and general field function as the BMD-1 air-droppable tank (detailed elsewhere on this site). However, the BTR-D features a slightly longer hull (adding two road wheels in the process) and much improved crew protection in the form of a different armor composition. Many other qualities and mission equipment are carried over from the BMD-1 design.
As built, the BTR-D tips the scales at 8 tonnes (unloaded, non-combat weight). It features a length of 6.75 meters, a width of 2.95 meters and a height of 1.65 meters. Its crew numbers three and armor protection reaches up to 15mm thickness to protect against small arms fire and artillery spray. Driver power is supplied by a 5D-20 6-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel-fueled engine of 241 horsepower (the same as installed in the BMD-1 series). This provides the vehicle with a road speed of 61 kmh and a range out to 500 kilometers. In water, the vehicle can make headway at 10 kmh and reach out to 116 kilometers. The hull is fully suspended atop a torsion bar system offering excellent cross-country travel capabilities.
Beyond its crew of three, the compact vehicle can also carry up to ten combat-ready troopers as needed. This added space is due to the fact that no powered turret is fitted to the hull, thus taking up valuable space.
On the whole, the vehicle manages a very low profile with a shallow hull roof line. The glacis plate is well-sloped for strong ballistics protection (the armor is aluminum-based). The operating crew view the action, while buttoned up, through thick vision blocks.
The track component displays six double-tired roadwheels to a hull side. The drive sprocket is at rear with the track idler at front. Three track return rollers are featured. The track-and-wheel arrangement is not covered by side skirt armor.
Primary armament are 7.62mm, 12.7mm or 14.5mm machine guns or 40mm automatic grenade launchers positioned on pintle mounts (no armored, powered turret is fitted). Secondary armament are 2 x 7.62mm machine guns in bow-mounted positions facing forward.
Variants of the BTR-D included a cargo-hauler form, an ATGM carrier, an air defense vehicle, a UAV carrier, Command and Control (C2) car, SATCOM vehicle and artillery fire direction platform. The 2S9 "Nona-S" is a modified offshoot of the BTR-D line and serves as a self-propelled mortar fitting a 120mm heavy field mortar as primary armament. These came online in 1981. The BREM-D is another model used as an Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV). They entered service in 1989. The basic BTR-D form is known to the Russian Army as "Object 925".
Beyond its service with the Soviet/Russian Army, the BTR-D has been adopted by the forces of Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Belarus was once the second largest operator of the series with over 100 in circulation.