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BTR-D (Bronetransportyor Desanta)

Amphibious Air-Droppable Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)

Soviet Union | 1974

"Introduced in 1974, the Soviet-Russian BTR-D was based on the BMD-1 series air-droppable tank and retains much of the usefulness of that design."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/03/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

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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.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the BTR-D Amphibious Air-Droppable Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV).
1 x 5D-20 6-cylinder 4-stroke liquid-cooled diesel engine developing 241 horsepower driving conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.
Installed Power
38 mph
61 kph
Road Speed
311 miles
500 km
The physical qualities of the BTR-D Amphibious Air-Droppable Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV).
22.1 ft
6.75 meters
O/A Length
9.7 ft
2.95 meters
O/A Width
5.4 ft
1.65 meters
O/A Height
18,078 lb
8,200 kg | 9.0 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the BTR-D (Bronetransportyor Desanta) Amphibious Air-Droppable Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV).
1 x 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) OR 1 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) OR 1 x 14.5mm HMG.
1 x 30mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL).
2 x 7.62mm machine guns in bow-mounted, forward-facing positions.
Not Available.
Nightvision - YES.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - YES.
Notable series variants as part of the BTR-D (Bronetransportyor Desanta) family line.
BTR-D - Base series designation; initial APC models.
BTR-DG - Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun (SPAAG) vehicle
BTR-D San - Battlefield ambulance vehicle
BREM-D - Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV) model
BTR-RD "Robot" - Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) team carrier.
BTR-ZD "Skrezhet" - Air Defense variant
NPDU "Sterkh" - UAV carrier vehicle
NPDU "Malakite" - Improved NPDU model
BMD-1KSh "Soroka" - Command vehicle
BMD-1R "Sinitsa" - Signals vehicle
R-440-ODB "Kristall-BDS" - SATellite COMmunications (SATCOM) vehicle.
1V119 "Reostat" - Battalion-level fire direction vehicle
2S9 Nona-S - Air-droppable self-propelled mortar vehicle.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the BTR-D (Bronetransportyor Desanta). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 1,000 Units

Contractor(s): Volgorad Tractor Factory - Soviet Union / Russia
National flag of Belarus National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Ukraine National flag of Uzbekistan

[ Belarus; Moldova; Russia (Soviet Union); Ukraine; Uzbekistan ]
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Image of the BTR-D (Bronetransportyor Desanta)
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense; Public Release.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The BTR-D (Bronetransportyor Desanta) Amphibious Air-Droppable Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) appears in the following collections:
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