BTR-60 Armored Personnel Carrier
The BTR-60 armored personnel carrier, the first in the line of Russian 8-wheeled APC's, was developed in the late 1950s to replace the BTR-152 (6x6) APC and was first seen in public in 1961. It was continuously improved throughout the 1960s culminating in the production of the BTR-60PB, and was subsequently replaced in production by the similar BTR-70 (8x8). Numerically, the BTR-60 was the most important vehicle in the Soviet Army. It was issued in quantity to the East German, Bulgarian and Romanian Armies. It has also been exported to Yugoslavia. Significantly, it was the standard armored personnel carrier of the Soviet Naval Infantry [the Soviet Marine Corps].
The BTR-60PB performs well cross-country in conditions that favor wheels. On land or water, the vehicle is steered by the front two sets of wheels which also have power steering. The boat-shaped hull with sloped sides provides good swimming capability and helps deflect hostile fire. The BTR-60PB has a searchlight and IR equipment, giving it a night fighting capability.
The BTR-60PB is an eight-wheel-drive vehicle with a long, boat-like hull with well-sloped armor on the sides and overhead armor cover. The hull is of all-welded steel construction, with the driver and commander seated at the front, a personnel compartment in the mid-section, and the engine compartment at the rear of the hull. The BTR-60 has a fully enclosed troop compartment on top of which is a one-man turret. The small conical turret, placed over the second set of wheels, is identical to the one fitted on the BRDM-2. It mounts coaxial 14.5-mm KPV and 7.62-mm PKT machine guns to right, with a telescopic sight mounted coaxially on the left. The crew use two semicircular hatches forward of the turret, and a pair of rectangular hatches aft of the turret for access by up to eight passengers. Three firing ports are located on either side of the troop compartment.
This eight-wheel-drive vehicle has evenly spaced wheels, except for a slightly larger space between the second and third wheels. The tires have the centralized pressure regulation system common to Soviet wheeled APCs, and are partially filled with a foam-rubber-like substance. All eight wheels are powered, and the first four which are used for steering, are power-assisted. The rear-mounted power plant employs a pair of 6-cylinder 90-hp gasoline engines mounted at the rear of the hull. The first and third axles are powered through the transmission of the right engine and the second and fourth axles through the transmission of the left engine. The BTR-60P is fully amphibious, propelled by a single water-jet mounted at the rear of the hull.
Although its armor is thicker than that of older model APCs, the BTR-60PB is vulnerable to HE fragmentation as well as small arms fire. The tires are extremely vulnerable to puncture. Soft ancillary equipment (antennas and integral fuel tanks) are vulnerable to destruction by field artillery weapons. Troops must mount and dismount through the top hatches, which exposes them to fire. A notable vulnerability is that passengers have to exit the vehicle through top hatches, which makes them vulnerable to fires. Also, gunners must be at least shoulder high out of the vehicle to operate the mounted weapons.
The BTR-60PB first appeared in 1965 as the third modification in the BTR-60P series of APCs. It was preceded in 1961 by the open-topped BTR-60P and in 1964 by the BTR-60PK (also known as BTR-60PA) which added overhead armor cover but lacked the turret of the BTR-60PB. Later modifications are the BTR-60PU command vehicle, with a special canvas top and additional radios, and the Forward Air Control Vehicle, a modified BTR-60PB with a large Plexiglas window replacing the coaxial machine guns in the turret and a large portable generator mounted on the rear deck. All versions in the series are still in service, although the BTR-60P and 60PK models are seldom seen today in first-line units. The BTR-60PB has been exported to many countries, including North Korea and most of the Warsaw Pact. There are also Polish and Czech versions of this vehicle. Since 1978 the BTR-70 has begun to replace the BTR-60PB.
Another BTR-60 variant, the artillery command and reconnaissance vehicle (ACRV) M1 979(2), is used as a command observation post (COP) vehicle in towed artillery batteries and battalions.
- BTR-60P: The original version is a large vehicle with a boatlike hull with well-sloped armor and a rear-mounted powerplant. All eight wheels are powered, and the forward two pairs steer the vehicle. Water propulsion is by waterjet similar to that used in the BRDM series of amphibious scout cars. The powerplant is unusual in that two six-cylinder inline gasoline engines of the type used on the BRDM are employed. The BTR-60P also carries infrared night driving equipment. The tires have the usual Soviet centralized pressure regulation system.
- BTR-60PA : The first modification is largely notable through its overhead armor cover, lacking in the original BTR-60P.
- BTR-60PB: The second modification is also fitted with overhead armor cover, but in addition has a small conical turret on the forward half of the vehicle. This turret, which is identical to the one mounted on the BRDM-2 amphibious scout car, mounts both 14.5mm and 7.62mm machineguns. This roofed variant of the BTR-60P open-hatch armored carrier has a top-mounted 12.7-mm MG forward of rectangular gunner's hatch. Where an additional two 7.62-mm MGs are mounted, they are right and left of the hatch. Because of space restriction, no more than one or two gunners can fit in the opening.
- BTR-60PB: The most widely fielded variant has a one-man turret, a 14.5-mm KPV-T MG, a coaxial 7.62-mm MG and day/night sights.
- BTR-60PBK: Company commander variant with 3 additional radios
- BTR-60 PU: Armored command vehicle (ACV) variant has a canvas roof, no turret, and additional communication equipment. It is easily recognizable by the bent, dipole antenna that runs nearly all around the top of the vehicle. The BTR-60PU normally does not have integral armament.
- BTR-60 PU-12/ -12M: Air defense associated ACV and its upgrade
- BTR-60 R-975: Forward Air Control Vehicle is a modified BTR-60PB with the armament removed from the turret which is then fitted with a plexiglass window. A large portable generator, similar to the one seen on the BRDM-2 command vehicle, is mounted on the rear deck.
- MTP-2: Armored recovery vehicle
- R-145BM: ACV with R-111, R-123, and R-130M radios and the distinctive Clothesline antenna
- Artillery command and reconnaissance vehicles. ACRV 1V18 is a command and observation vehicle (COP). ACRV 1V19 is a fire direction center (FDC).
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