Aviation & Aerospace - Airpower 2024 - Aircraft by Country - Aircraft Manufacturers Vehicles & Artillery - Armor 2024 - Armor by Country - Armor Manufacturers Infantry Small Arms - Warfighter 2024 - Small Arms by Country - Arms Manufacturers Warships & Submarines - Navies 2024 - Ships by Country - Shipbuilders U.S. Military Pay 2024 Military Ranks Special Forces by Country

MT-LB (M1970)

Multi-Purpose Tracked Vehicle

Soviet Union | 1968

"The MT-LB multirole tracked vehicle proved a Cold War favorite with approximately 12,000 units produced."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/04/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
World War 2 warfare instilled on the Soviet Army the need for a very mobile armored force. After the war, the concepts proven in battle were furthered to all new levels. During the Cold War years, a slew of armored vehicles emerged with various battlefield roles in mind and one of these creations became the MT-LB multirole tracked vehicle. Development began in the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West, to which the completed vehicle was adopted sometime in the latter part of the decade. Once identified by the West, the vehicle was designated in NATO nomenclature as the "M1970" ("Model 1970").

The MT-LB was developed as a direct replacement for the aged AT-P artillery tractor line. The design was largely formed from the work that also begat the successful PT-76 Amphibious Light Tank which was produced in over 12,000 examples. The initial product was the MT-L which then evolved to become the armored MT-LB. Production was assisted by the type utilizing many off-the-shelf components in circulation, and readily available, to the Soviet Army at the time. Manufacture was headed through the famous Kharkov tractor facility. The designation of "MT-LB" is born from the Russian translation describing "Multi-Purpose, Light-Armored Towing Vehicle".

One of the key qualities required of most any Soviet armored vehicle was amphibious support allowing the vehicle to cross moving water sources under its own power. The alternative was traversing bridges and similar checkpoints or arranging for engineers to construct a make-shift bridge over the span of hours and maybe days. The MT-LB was designed with this quality in mind, fully-amphibious, and propelled in the water by its own tracks, negating the need to activate a dedicated propulsion system.

Article Continues Below Advertisement...
Another key quality consistent with Soviet-inspired armored combat vehicles of the period were low silhouettes to make for a harder target to spot, identify and engage along the horizon. The MT-LB, therefore, was granted as low a profile as possible. It lacked any large, powered turret (a small, one-man installation was used instead) with the hull consisting of a near-flat glacis plate, armored visors at the front panel and a flat roof line with rounded hatches for the crew (a pair of hatches are set along the forward portion of the hull roof line). Armor consisted of welded steel for maximum protection (14mm at its thickness). A typical operating crew was just two men with up to 10 or 11 passengers in relative comfort (inward-facing folding canvas seats are provided).

The vehicle utilized a two-man crew compartment (driver and commander/machine gunner) situated at the front of the vehicle with the powerpack to the aft-left side of the hull. The passenger compartment was at the rear with twin, hinged access doors for entry/exit in a timely fashion. These doors also showcased firing ports for occupants to use their personal infantry weapons in protecting the most vulnerable face of the vehicle from infantry attack. Another firing port was available along each hull side for full vehicle protection. Primary armament included a single 7.62mm PKT series machine gun with 2,500 rounds of ammunition afforded. The gun was managed through the turret situated at the right-front of the hull roof with 360-degree coverage around the vehicle. Its caliber indicated the weapon to be an anti-infantry defensive measure. As with other vehicles of the period, the MT-LB came equipped with an NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) system.

The MTLB was fielded with a YaMZ 238 series V8 diesel-fueled engine developing 240 horsepower at 2,100rpm. This allowed for a top road speed of 38 miles per hour with an off-road pace of 20 miles per hour. When traversing water sources, the vehicle could maintain a speed of nearly 4 miles per hour. Coupled to the powerpack was its road gear which consisted of a track-and-wheel arrangement. There were six road wheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at front and the track idler at rear. There were no supporting track return rollers used.

By design, the multirole MT-LB series proved a highly versatile combat vehicle. Beyond its obvious Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) duties, it could be configured with additional communications equipment and utilized as a Command Vehicle. The vehicle also held a towing capability that allowed it to serve as a prime mover for Soviet artillery brigades while also providing passage for the artillery crew itself - under the protection of armor. Beyond its artillery-hauling escapades, the vehicle could also carry or tow supplies to the frontlines. Other types served as large-caliber mortar carriers and mine dispensers in-the-field while still others formed the chassis of Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems (SA-13 "Gopher") and Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs). The MT-LB was also modified for inglorious roles such as combat engineering, battlefield ambulance and general support. The standard MT-LB is usually fielded with 13.8" wide track links though some customers have adopted the wider 22.24" variety for better ground pressure which, in turn, assists traction in loose terrain such as gravel or snow.

The MT-LB proved popular around the globe, particularly with then-Soviet aligned nations and states. This included the likes of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Iraq, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine (among others - see full listing below). Sweden adopted some 460 of the type from ex-East German stocks as the "Pbv 401". The United States used a collection of these vehicles in their OPposing FORce simulations (OPFOR). Former operators include the East German Army, Germany proper, the Soviet Union and Hungary. Iraq is set to receive some 500 ex-Bulgarian units following a 2012 deal to restock its depleted armored corps following the American-led invasion of 2003. Some original MT-LB production was handled within Bulgaria and Poland.

The modern Russian Army maintains roughly 1,500 of the vehicles in active roles today. There remain over 5,000 or so in storage showing the breadth of Cold War production for vehicles of such value. It has been either supplemented or replaced by the BMP-3 series Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) which adds a tank-killing capability, better anti-infantry defenses and passenger seating for up to 9 infantry.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the MT-LB (M1970) Multi-Purpose Tracked Vehicle.
1 x YaMZ 238 V, V-8 diesel-fueled engine developing 240 horsepower at 2,100rpm driving conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.
Installed Power
38 mph
62 kph
Road Speed
311 miles
500 km
The physical qualities of the MT-LB (M1970) Multi-Purpose Tracked Vehicle.
21.3 ft
6.5 meters
O/A Length
9.5 ft
2.9 meters
O/A Width
6.2 ft
1.9 meters
O/A Height
26,235 lb
11,900 kg | 13.1 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the MT-LB (M1970) Multi-Purpose Tracked Vehicle.
1 x 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG).
2,500 x 7.62mm ammunition.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - YES.
Notable series variants as part of the MT-LB (M1970) family line.
MT-L - Base Unarmored Model
MT-LB - Base Armored Model; fitted with 7.62mm machine gun in turret
MT-LBV - 565mm wide tracks
MT-LBVM - Fitted with 12.7mm NSVT heavy machine gun in turret
MTP-LB - Technical Support Platform; sans turret
SNAR-10 "Jaguar" (MT-LB M1975 / MT-LB SON) - Ground Surveillance radar platform.
9A34 - 9K35 "Strela-10" SAM system carrier
9A35 - 9K35 "Strela-10" SAM system carrier with passive tracking
9P149 "Shturm-S" - Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) carrier; 9M114 Koton missile group.
RKhM "Kashalot" - Battlefield chemical detection vehicle
RKhM-K - Command version of RKhM vehicle
RPM - Radioactivity detection vehicle
K-611 - Radioactivity detection vehicle
K-612 - Radioactivity detection vehicle
AZM "Vostorg-1" - Battlefield Engineering Vehicle
MT-LBu - Lengthened chassis and hull
UR-77 "Meteorit" - Mine-clearing vehicle
2S1 - Self-Propelled Howitzer armed with 122mm main gun
MT-LBM - Modernized MT-LB
2S24 - 82mm mortar carrier
MT-LB AT-I - Bulgarian Army minelayer
MT-LB SE - Bulgarian Army battlefield ambulance
MT-LB TMX - Bulgarian Army 82mm mortar carrier
BRM "Sova" - Bulgarian Army NBC detection vehicle
R-80 - Bulgarian Army artillery observation vehicle
BMP-30 - Bulgarian Army IFV; BMP-2 series powered turret and armament.
MT-LB (Pi) - East German Combat Engineering Vehicle (CEV)
MT-LB (Pzi) - East German Anti-Tank Missile Carrier
MT-LB (Pzj Fu) - East German Anti-Tank Command Vehicle
MT-LB (BO) SFL - East German Artillery Command Vehicle
SaN MT-LB - East German Battlefield Ambulance
MTP-LB - East German Technical Support Vehicle
MT-LBV - Iraqi Army variant; wide tracks
MT-LB (ZU-23-2) - Iraqi Army Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Vehicle
MT-LB-2AP - Polish Army APC
WEM Lotos - Polish Army MEDEVAC vehicle
WPT Mors - Polish Army Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV)
R-137T - Polish Army Signals Vehicle
MT-LB-23M "Krak" - Polish Army proposed APC variant with 23mm in remote-controlled turret.
"Promet" - Polish Army proposed AA variant
SPG-2 - Polish Army revised MT-LB
BWO-40 - Polish Army IFV
Pbv 401 - Swedish Army Designation
Stripbv 4011 - Swedish Army Command Vehicle
RIpbv 4014/T - Swedish Army signals vehicle
Stripbv 4015 - Swedish Army Command Vehicle
Pvrbbv 452 - Swedish Army ATGM missile carrier
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the MT-LB (M1970). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 12,000 Units

Contractor(s): Kharkov Tractor Plant - Ukraine
National flag of Armenia National flag of Azerbaijan National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Belarus National flag of Bulgaria National flag of Czechia National flag of Finland National flag of Georgia National flag of modern Germany National flag of East Germany National flag of Hungary National flag of Iraq National flag of Kazakhstan National flag of Lithuania National flag of Macedonia National flag of Nigeria National flag of Poland National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sweden National flag of Ukraine National flag of the United States National flag of Uruguay National flag of Yugoslavia

[ Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Belarus; Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; Czech Republic; East Germany; Finland; Georgia; Germany; Hungary; Iraq; Kazakhstan; Lithuania; Macedonia; Moldova; Nigeria; Poland; Russia; Soviet Union; Sweden; Ukraine; United States; Uruguay; Yugoslavia ]
1 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense; Public Release.
2 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense; Public Release.
3 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image courtesy the United States Department of Defense.
4 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image courtesy the United States Department of Defense.
5 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image courtesy the United States Department of Defense.
6 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image courtesy the United States Department of Defense.
7 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image courtesy the United States Department of Defense.
8 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image courtesy the United States Department of Defense.
9 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image courtesy the United States Department of Defense.
10 / 10
Image of the MT-LB (M1970)
Image courtesy the United States Department of Defense.

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 MT-LB (M1970) Multi-Purpose Tracked Vehicle appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks U.S. DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols US 5-Star Generals WW2 Weapons by Country

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes Global Firepower, WDMMA.org, WDMMW.org, and World War Next.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)