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Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)

Soviet Union | 1987

"The BTR-80 was designed as a replacement for the aging BTR-60 and BTR-70 wheeled vehicle series."

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.
The BTR-80 was the logical evolution of the wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) BTR series that more or less hit its stride in the 1960s with the development of the BTR-60. The BTR-80 itself was developed to replace both the BTR-60 and the similar BTR-70 models and entered production in 1986, seeing operational service soon after. The BTR-80 was based on the lessons learned from the design and operation of the BTR-70 and incorporated several key strengths of its design while bringing into the fold various technological suites as required by today's battlefield environments.

Taking the BTR-70 as a starting point, Soviet engineers did away with the twin gasoline engine setup of the former BTR-60 and BTR-70 designs and instead fitted a single V-form 8-cylinder KamAZ-7403 series diesel engine to deliver 260 horsepower at 2,600rpm. The characteristic eight road wheel arrangement was retained. The implementation of the new powerplant required some restructuring of the rear engine compartment which raised the rear hull line. Modernized sighting devices (nightvision to both the driver and the commander) were installed as was an infra-red search light. Armament was fitted to a revised, low-profile one-man turret and given 360-degree traverse and 60+ degrees elevation to counter low flying aircraft and engage targets even if the vehicle was hampered along sloped terrain. Primary armament came in the form of a 14.5mm KPVT anti-aircraft heavy machine gun supported by a 7.62mm PKT general purpose machine gun.

The standard operating crew included the driver, commander and gunner while up to eight combat ready soldiers could be ferried in relative safety in the revised fighting compartment. The driver and commander were situated at the front of the hull under the shallow glacis plate while the gunner manned the powered turret system. Passengers could take part in a given firefight thanks to the inclusion of rounded firing ports complete with ball mounts located at the side (three each side) and front facings of the hull. The vehicle's operating weight was listed at nearly 15,000kg while displaying a running length of 7.65 meters, a width of 2.90 meters and a height of 2.35 meters. Independent suspension and drive power was afforded to all eight wheels and operational ranges were listed out to 600 kilometers. Steering was assisted at the front four wheels only. A centralized tire air pressure system maintained the required levels to all eight wheel systems and was controlled by the driver for when managing varied terrain "on-the-fly".

The BTR-80 was designed with a certain level of self-survivability in mind and could manage to lose two of its eight road wheels and still keep itself viable. Top speed was 80 kilometers on smooth paved surfaces, lesser on rough and uneven terrain. The BTR-80 was given amphibious capabilities and could traverse relatively calm waters at roughly 9 kilometers per hour with its integrated water jet propulsion system that required no outward preparation by the crew. The crew was also protected in the event of nuclear fallout and chemical weapons by a new Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) suite and a pressurized fighting compartment. Six 81mm smoke grenade dischargers were fitted to the rear of the turret and set to fire forwards for self-protection in a combat environment. Armor was designed heavy enough to deflect or stop small arms fire and artillery spray but was not specifically designed to withstand direct hits from larger caliber weapons, rocket grenades or anti-tank missile weapons. Troops exited/entered the BTR-80 hull through split doors found on the hull sides between the forward and rearward wheel pairings (between axles two and three). Each door was split horizontally with the upper portion hinged to open forwards and the lower portion folded down to become a step capable of supporting the weight of a soldier. A third door section along the hull roof could similarly flip upwards (towards centerline) for increased headroom and speedy insertion/extractions.

Once in service, the BTR-80 had proven a winner for the Red Army, with off-road performance equal to that of any tracked vehicle systems coupled with excellent on-road performance. Where it lacked in protection and firepower (not its specifically designed forte) it made up for in mobility and speed. Such was the success of the BTR-80 that it went into service with a plethora of national armies the world over including Columbia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, North Korea and South Korea among others. The Ukrainians took initiative and branched their BTR-80 series family into further improved indigenous lines to benefit their mobile army units. The BTR-80 chassis has also proven highly adaptable to the fitting of various armament types (machine guns, cannons) as well as flexible enough for several required battlefield roles to include that of command vehicle, battlefield ambulance, signals vehicle and mobile communications station.

A new YaMZ-238M2 engine was introduced into the BTR-80 line in 1993, further enhancing inherent capabilities. As of this writing, at least 5,000 BTR-80s have been placed into service with 35 countries.

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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-80 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).
1 x KamAZ-7403 4-stroke 8-cylinder water-cooled diesel-fueled engine developing 260 horsepower driving conventional eight-wheeled arrangement.
Installed Power
50 mph
80 kph
Road Speed
373 miles
600 km
The physical qualities of the BTR-80 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).
25.1 ft
7.65 meters
O/A Length
9.5 ft
2.9 meters
O/A Width
7.7 ft
2.35 meters
O/A Height
29,983 lb
13,600 kg | 15.0 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the BTR-80 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).
1 x 14.5mm KPVT Anti-Aircraft (AA) Heavy Machine Gun (HMG).
1 x 7.62mm PKT General Purpose Coaxial Machine Gun.
6 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers.
500 x 14.5mm ammunition.
2,000 x 7.62mm ammunition.
6 x smoke grenades.
Nightvision - YES.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - YES.
Notable series variants as part of the BTR-80 family line.
BTR-80 (GAZ-5903) - Base Series Designation for wheeled armored personnel carrier.
BTR-80M - Improved BTR-80 APC; new tire style; fitted with DMZ-238M2 series engine delivering 240 horsepower; lengthened hull; appearing in 1993.
BTR-82 - Improved armor protection; night vision capable; 300 horsepower engine; GPS navigation; BTR-80A-style turret; prototype appearing in 2009.
BTR-80K (GAZ-59031) - Command Vehicle; increased communications equipment; identifiable antenna mast.
BTR-80A (GAZ-59034) - Infantry Fighting Vehicle; fitted with 30mm 2A72 cannon in turret; day and night sights.
BTR-80S - Based on the BTR-80A but with 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine gun armament.
BTR-80AK - Command Vehicle of the BTR-80A model; single firing port on hull right side; two "whip antenna" at rear hull corners.
BRDM-3 - Reconnaissance Vehicle; based on the BTR-80AK; day/night sighting.
BTR-82A - Improved armor protection; night vision capable; GPS navigation; engine of 300 horsepower output; prototype appearing in 2009.
2S23 "Nona-SVK" - Fire Support Vehicle; fitted with 120mm 2A60 mortar system.
BREM-K (GAZ-59033) - Armored Recovery Vehicle
BTR-80 PBKM (KM-80) - Command Vehicle with increased radio communications equipment.
RKhM-4 - Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Vehicle
RKhM-4-01 - Improved RKhM-4; modernized
RKhM-4-02 - Upgraded RKhM-4
RPM-2 (NKR) - Radiological Reconnaissance Platform; appearing in 2000.
R-149BMRA - Command and Signals Vehicle
R-439-BK1 - Satellite Communications Platform
"Tajfun" - Proposed Variant for base security forces; 7.62mm armament; Kredo-1 radar system.
ZS-88 - Psychological Operations Vehicle; fitting loudspeaker system.
ZS-96 - Psychological Operations Vehicle; fitting loudspeaker system.
K1Sh1 (GAZ-59032) (UNSh) - Command Post Variant; enlarged hull; sans armament in turret.
BMM-80 "Simfoniya" (GAZ-59039) - Battlefield Ambulance Series; up to nine wounded or two medical litters.
BMM-1 - Battlefield Ambulance; first aid / MEDEVAC
BMM-2 - Battlefield Ambulance; battalion-level in-the-field treatment
BMM-3 - Battlefield Ambulance; mobile field hospital
E-351BrM - Mobile Power Station; fitted with diesel-electric generator for portable power.
PU-12M6 (9S482M6) - Battery Command Vehicle
PU-12M7 (9S482M7) - Improved PU-12M6 Model
1V152 - Command and Forward Observation Platform; fitted with navigation, rangefinding and vision devices.
R-149BMR - Signals Platform
R-165B - Short-Wave Signals Platform
R-439-MD2 - Satellite Communications Vehicle
R-439-BK "Legenda 2BK" - Satellite Communications Vehicle
P-240BTZ - Switchboard Platform
BTR-80 "Caribe" - Columbian Designation; 12.7mm heavy machine gun armament
BTR-80M - Hungarian Designation; upgraded BTR-80 APCs; fitted with day/night sights; additional stowage on hull; improved NBC suite; Hungarian radio suite.
BTR-80 GKKO - Hungarian Designation; proposed prototype; sans turret; fitted with observation equipment.
BTR-80 MPAEJ - Hungarian Designation; Battlefield Engineering Vehicle; sans turret.
BTR-80 MPFJ - Hungarian Designation; sans armament; obstacle clearance vehicle.
BTR-80 MVJ - Hungarian Designation; repair and recovery vehicle
BTR-80 SKJ - Hungarian Designation; Battlefield Ambulance; enlarged passenger compartment.
BTR-80 VSF - Hungarian Designation; NBC vehicle
TAB Zimbru (B33) - Romanian Designation; fitted with Model 1240 V8-DTS series engine of 268 horsepower; Romanian radio suite; additional 12.7mm ammunition storage.
Zimbru 2000 - Romanian Designation; proposed prototype; improved TAB Zimbru model; enlarged hull; fitted with Deutz BF6M 1013FC engine of 285 horsepower; Allison-MD 3060 PR transmission system.
Saur 1 - Romanian Designation; proposed prototype; all-new hull design; fitting Cummins 275 horsepower engine; rear entry/exit doors on hull; original turret replaced; appearing in 2006.
Saur 2 - Romanian Designation; proposed improved form of the Saur 1.
BTR-80UP - Ukrainian Designation; improved BTR-80 model; fitted with all-new engine of 300 horsepower output; improved armor protection; air conditioner installed.
BTR-80UP-KB - Ukrainian Designation; Command Vehicle (Battalion Level)
BTR-80UP-KR - Ukrainian Designation; Command Vehicle (Company Level)
BTR-80UP-S - Ukrainian Designation ; Staff Vehicle
BTR-80UP-M - Ukrainian Designation; Battlefield Ambulance
BTR-80UP BREM - Ukrainian Designation; Armored Recovery Vehicle
BTR-80UP-R - Ukrainian Designation; Dedicated Reconnaissance Platform
BTR-80UP-T - Ukrainian Designation; Dedicated Cargo Transport Model
BTR-94 - Ukrainian Designation; Amphibious Armored Car
BTR-3U "Okhotnik" - Ukrainian Designation; armored personnel carrier based on BTR-80; indigenous Ukrainian design; appearing in 2001.
KShM "Kushetka-B" - Ukrainian Designation; Command Vehicle based on K1Sh1.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the BTR-80. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 5,200 Units

Contractor(s): State Factories - Soviet Union
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Algeria National flag of Angola National flag of Armenia National flag of Azerbaijan National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Belarus National flag of Colombia National flag of Estonia National flag of Finland National flag of Georgia National flag of Hungary National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Kazakhstan National flag of Kyrgyzstan National flag of Macedonia National flag of North Korea National flag of Romania National flag of Russia National flag of South Korea National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Sudan National flag of Tajikistan National flag of Turkey National flag of Turkmenistan National flag of Ukraine National flag of Uzbekistan National flag of Venezuela

[ Afghanistan; Algeria; Angola; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Belarus; Colombia; Djibouti; Estonia; Finland; Georgia; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Ivory Coast; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Macedonia; Moldova; North Korea; Romania; Russia; South Ossetia; Sri Lanka; Soviet Union; Sudan; Tajikistan; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan; South Korea; Venezuela ]
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Image of the BTR-80
Image from the Russian Ministry of Defense.
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Image of the BTR-80
Left side view of the BTR-80 vehicle.
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Image of the BTR-80
Rear left side view of the BTR-80.
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Image of the BTR-80
Front left side view of the BTR-80 being inspected.
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Image of the BTR-80
Front view of the BTR-80 next to an American Bradley vehicle.
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Image of the BTR-80
Close-up detail view of the glacis plate of the BTR-80 vehicle.
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Image of the BTR-80
Front view of the BTR-80.

Going Further...
The BTR-80 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) appears in the following collections:
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