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Amphibious Light Tank Combat Vehicle

Soviet Union | 1952

"The Soviet PT-76 was an Amphibious Light Tank design to emerge from the Cold War period - it still maintains an active presence in some global armies."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/25/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Soviet-era PT-76 Amphibious Light Tank was developed shortly after World War 2 (1939-1945) and thus borrowed many of the concepts witnessed in the Grand Conflict. The turret fitted the Soviet Army standard 76.2mm D-56T main gun and featured traversal of -4 /+30 degrees while capable of firing a standard set of projectiles - ranging from High-Explosive (HE) to AP-T (Armor Piercing) and HE-FRAG (High-Explosive, FRAGmentation) rounds. For local defense, the vehicle carried a 7.62mm machine gun in a coaxial fitting while some models also benefited from adding a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) for local air defense (DShKM type weapon). Additional fuel tanks could also be added to exterior of the hull to increase operating ranges by some 68 miles (110 kilometers).

As an amphibious combat vehicle, the PT-76 was given the inherent ability to traverse water sources. Its automotive components were shared between the BTR-50 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), SA-6 "Gainful" Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system, and the ZSU-23-4 Anti-Aircraft (AA) gun and included a torsion-bar suspension system for cross-country travel. The powerpack of the PT-76 was also the same one encountered on the T-55 Main Battle Tank (MBT) - this being a V-6 type diesel-fueled unit.

Despite the positive qualities built into the 14.5 tonne PT-76, it lacked NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection for its crew of three (driver, commander and gunner), was rather large dimensionally-speaking, and showcased thin armor protection for a frontline vehicle.

Total production numbers of the PT-76 reached over 12,000 vehicles before the end with manufacture stemming from VTZ and the Kirov Factory of the Soviet Union from 1951 until 1969. The last PT-76 entered service in 1967 and modernization programs and new turret were devised to keep the system relevant into the 1980s. China eventually took up production of a related vehicle form designated the "Type 63".

The PT-76 went on to have an extensive combat history for its part in the last century - from the Vietnam War (1955-1975) and the Indo-Pak War (1965) until the Second Chechen War (1999) and the Second Persian Gulf War (2003). Operators ranged from Afghanistan and Angola to Vietnam and Yugoslavia.

A few operators still manage limited stocks of this aging vehicle.

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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 PT-76 Amphibious Light Tank Combat Vehicle.
1 x V-6B 6-cylinder inline water-cooled diesel engine developing 240 horsepower at 1,800rpm.
Installed Power
27 mph
44 kph
Road Speed
230 miles
370 km
The physical qualities of the PT-76 Amphibious Light Tank Combat Vehicle.
25.0 ft
7.62 meters
O/A Length
10.3 ft
3.14 meters
O/A Width
7.4 ft
2.25 meters
O/A Height
32,187 lb
14,600 kg | 16.1 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the PT-76 Amphibious Light Tank Combat Vehicle.
1 x 76.2mm main gun in turret.
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
1 x 12.7mm air defense machine gun (optional - on turret roof).
40 x 76.2mm projectiles.
1,000 x 7.62mm ammunition.
500 x 12.7mm ammunition (estimated).
Nightvision - YES - DRIVER ONLY.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE.
Notable series variants as part of the PT-76 family line.
PT-76 - Base production model featuring varying muzzle breaks.
PT-76B - Stabilized main gun
Type 63 - Chinese-produced variant
PT-76 - 57mm Main gun
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the PT-76. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 12,000 Units

Contractor(s): State Arsenals - Soviet Union
National flag of China National flag of Croatia National flag of Cuba National flag of Guinea National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Nicaragua National flag of North Korea National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Uganda National flag of Vietnam National flag of Zambia

[ Benin; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Congo; China; Croatia; Cuba; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; India; Indonesia; Laos; Madagascar; Nicaragua; North Korea; Soviet Union (Russia); Uganda; Vietnam; Zambia ]
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Image of the PT-76
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
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Image of the PT-76
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
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Image of the PT-76
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.

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 PT-76 Amphibious Light Tank Combat Vehicle appears in the following collections:
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