MLVM (Masina de Lupta a Vanatorilor de Munte)
Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) / Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV)
In a departure from its Soviet military roots, the MLVM became a wholly-Romanian APC-IFV design that still sees active service today.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Modern Romanian Land Forces have access to a relatively deep stable of tracked and wheeled armored vehicles. One of the former is the MLVM ("Masina de Lupta a Vanatorilor de Munte") with qualities akin to an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) but classified locally as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The vehicle's design consists of a diesel-fueled engine, conventional track-and-wheel drive arrangement, and carries a crew of two with seating for seven combat-ready troops. It has been in service since the latter-part of the 1980s - having since been brought up to a NATO fighting standard through modernization.
The vehicle weighs 9 tonnes and has a length of 19.1 feet, a beam of 8.10 feet and a height of 6.4 feet. Armor protects against small arms fire up to 7.62mm caliber which gives the vehicle a light road weight but little useful protection against more common, lethal battlefield threats such as heavy caliber rifles and machine guns, land mines, and Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs).
Power is from a single Saviem 798-05M2 supercharged, 4-stroke, diesel-fueled engine outputting 154 horsepower. Mated to a manual transmission unit and torsion bar suspension system, the vehicle can reach road speeds of 30 miles per hour out to a range of 430 miles. The running gear includes six road wheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at front, the track idler at rear and three track return rollers running just above the road wheels in typical fashion. A built-in amphibious capability has the vehicle reach in-water speeds of just 9.3 miles per hour.
Original armament was modest, led by 1 x 14.7mm KPVT heavy machine gun backed by 1 x 7.62mm PKT machine gun. The former was given 600 rounds of ammunition while the latter accesses a stash of 2,500 rounds. The armament was installed in a manned, powered, trainable, and fully-enclosed turret seated over the middle of the hull roof. With the driver at front-left, the engine at front-right and the turret at center, this left the rear of the hull to house combat infantry - which exit-enter the vehicle through a single, hinged rectangular door at the rear hull face. Gun ports have been provided along the hull sides so passengers can engage from under protection.
A modernized form is the "MLVM-M" which, like the MLI-84 IFV (detailed elsewhere on this site), sees an Israeli weapon station fitted in place of the original Soviet-style turret. The gun station carries a single 25mm Oerlikon autocannon, 1 x 7.62mm machine gun and 2 x Anti-Tank Guided-Missile (ATGM) launchers considerably broadening the killing power of the vehicle.
The Romanian Army has access to a stock of seventy-six MLVM tracked infantry carriers and these are typically reserved for fighting in the rougher, mountainous sections of the country. Utilizing a common-chassis approach, the MLVM also forms the basis for a 120mm mortar carrier (the standardized "M1989"), a turret-less ammunition carrier (the "MLVM ABAL"), and a turret-less battlefield ambulance variant ("MLVM MEDEVAC"). Changes are appropriately made to each design to better fulfill their given battlefield role.