OPERATORS: Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Bulgaria; Republic of the Congo; Croatia; Cuba; East Germany; Germany; Egypt; Finland; Guinea; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iraq; Iran; Israel; Kazakhstan; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Nicaragua; North Korea; Romania; Russia; Soviet Union; Serbia; Slovenia; Somalia; Somaliland; Sudan; Syria; Ukraine; Vietnam / North Vietnam; Yemen / South Yemen; Yugoslavia; Zimbabwe
The BTR-50 series of Soviet armored personnel carriers was developed in the 1950s and served for a time to good effect. The system proved to be reliable on the field and simple enough to produce in quantity therefore making it readily available and was based on the chassis of the PT-76 light tank, a system also exhibiting proven amphibious qualities carried on by the BTR-50 design as well. The system was fielded with Soviet-friendly nations during the Cold War.
At its core, the BTR-50 APC was a most fundamental design. The system was crewed by two personnel and additional seating for some 10 combat-ready infantry was available at the rear of the hull. The crew sat in an open-topped compartment which exposed them to any kind of battlefield element that could prove quite the detriment. The initial production model appeared as the BTR-50P though this was followed up by a closed-top version in the BTR-50PK. When it appeared in operational service, the BTR-50 became only the first fully-tracked armored personnel carrier system for the Red Army.
Armament of the base BTR-50P consisted of a single 7.62mm machine gun mounted on a pintle at forward hull. Beyond this, and any personal weapons carried by the crew, there were provisions for the addition of a 57mm or 85mm anti-tank gun which could be set up and fired from the rear. The later BTR-50PK featured a 7.62mm machine gun in a roof mounting.
The BTR-50 series has seen combat with Egyptian, Syrian and North Vietnamese forces during its production life. The BTR-50 appeared in a modified Czechoslovakian form with the local OT-62 designation. The BTR-50 series is no longer in service with the Russian Army though it might still serve in come capacity with other owners the world over.