BTR-90 8x8 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)
The BTR-90 represents the latest incarnation of the armored fighting vehicle debuted during the Cold War period.
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One of the most important vehicles of the Soviet Union during the Cold War (1947-1991) became the BTR series of 8x8 wheeled, amphibious Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). The line began with the BTR-40 armored truck of the 1950s and advanced into the tracked BTR-50 of 1954 (both detailed elsewhere on this site). In 1959 there debuted the definitive 8x8 wheeled form as the BTR-60 and this was followed by the improved BTR-70 (1972) and BTR-80 (1986) models. In the 1990s, the line was evolved once more, becoming the all-modern BTR-90, still in service with Russian Army (Internal Troops) forces today (2017).
The BTR-90 saw development begin in the early 1990s (about 1994) by the Arzamas Machine Building Plant, otherwise known as "AMZ" (part of GAZ). A pilot form became available for testing and evaluation as soon as 1994.
Retaining all of the form and function of its predecessors, the BTR-90 adds a few new elements to the mix: it is dimensionally larger than the earlier BTR-80 with greater internal space for crew and passengers and improved survivability and protection. Power is from a turbocharged multi-fuel diesel engine developing 510 horsepower, driving power to all four axles. The driver manages his position at the front of the vehicle in the traditional way while the turret of the BMP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) is seated directly aft with full 360-degree traversal. The turret sides house electronically discharged smoke grenades for a self-screening effect and can mount Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launchers (Spandrel series), searchlights and optic assistants. Two crew are featured in the turret itself which also houses the 30mm Shipunov 2A42 automatic cannon ( with 500 projectiles carried) and a coaxial 7.62mm PKT machine gun (2,000 rounds carried). A remote-control 30mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) is also offered for suppression of soft enemy targets at range.
Night vision equipment is standard as is a central tire pressure regulation system and power steering (front two axles only). The driver manages control of tire pressure to better adjust the vehicle to the running environment.
The crew commitment is three with seating for an additional seven passengers.
Performance includes an operating range out to 800 kilometers and road speeds reaching 100 kmh. Like the earlier BTR designs, the BTR-90 is fully amphibious and can travel in water sources at speeds of 9 kmh. Two waterjets located at the rear of the hull are used for traversing water sources. Some minor preparation is required by the crew for this action.
The hull side walls contain a crew entry-exit door between the second and third wheel axles and there are various roof hatches as well. Gun ports along the sides of the vehicle allow passengers to engage enemies with their personal weapons while remaining relatively protected within the vehicle.
The modern Russian Army maintains between 80 and 140 BTR-90 vehicles. Production of the series, spanning 2004 to 2011, was stopped in 2011 by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Meanwhile, about 1,300 BTR-80s and fewer than 100 BTR-70s remain in service. This is along with seventeen active BTR-60 machines and some 3,663 units held in reserve status.
The series has not been offered for export to Russian allies.