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BTR-80 [GAZ 5903] Armored Personnel Carrier

The armored personnel carrier BTR-80 is a wheeled floating vehicle, designed for employment in combat operations, carrying a crew of up to ten people. The APC-80 with four axles and eight wheels, all of them driving, has a coupled machinegun installation as its armament. The hull is equipped with loop-holes for firing from the inside. The BTR-80 is a modern, lightly armored vehicle with a diesel power plant. Although the manufacturer is normally given as the Gorky Automobile Plant, production of the BTR-70 and the later BTR-80 was undertaken in the neighbouring Arzamaz Machine-Building Plant facility. The BTR-80 is a lightly armored amphibious vehicle with a collective chemical-biological-radiological (CBR) protective system. Operated by a crew of three, the vehicle can carry a squad of seven infantry troops.

The Soviets based the BTR-80 on the BTR-70 APC. It has a single 260-hp, V-8 turbocharged, water-cooled, diesel engine, an improvement over the twin gasoline engines installed in the BTR-60 and BTR-70 vehicles. The reconfigured rear portion of the hull accommodates a new, single engine. The Soviets removed the roof chamfers of the modified BTR-70, raised the rear, and squared off the rearward-sloping engine compartment.

The Soviets modified the truncated cone turret used on the BTR-70 for the BTR-80 by redesigning the mantlet. This allows the 14.5 mm and coaxial 7.62 mm machine guns to be elevated to a maximum of 60 degrees. This high angle of fire is useful in engaging targets on steep slopes, in urban fighting, and for engaging helicopters. The Soviets have also modified the design and positioning of the firings ports; the ports are now round, rather than tear-shaped, and have ball mounts similar to those used on the BMP-1. The forward firing ports now sit in angled recesses which allow the individual weapons to fire to the front of the vehicle.

As indicated by armed conflicts, wheeled armored personnel carriers (APC's) are capable of considerably enhancing any army's combat potential. They are used to transport infantry units to the battlefield and engage in reconnaissance, combat security and patrolling, military cargo transportation, the towing of artillery guns and mortars. They are also used as medical and staff vehicles, mobile radio stations, recovery vehicles, repair shops, etc. In a number of cases they can accomplish fire support missions for infantry acting in combat formations. Developed by GAZ designers and manufactured since 1986 at Arzamas Engineering Plant, now known as AMZ joint stock company, the BTR-80 replaced previous versions, BTR-60PB and BTR-70. The BTR-80 armored personnel carrier is a four-axle, eight-wheeled vehicle, with all drive wheels, an independent suspension and water jet propulsion system. The APC (armoured personnel carrier) is capable of following tanks and negotiating emplacements, trenches and water obstacles. It is equipped with ten seats to accommodate the personnel.

The BTR-80 8 x 8 armored personnel carrier is intended to carry personnel on the battlefield and provide close fire support. It can also carry out reconnaissance, combat support and patrol missions. It entered service with the Russian army in the late 1980's and has since been used in a number of military conflicts, including UN peacekeeping operations. The vehicle is in production and in service with the Russian army and with a number of other countries.

The BTR-80 is superior to BTR-60/70 with a larger chassis, high-angle-of- fire turret, and single more powerful diesel engine (vs gasoline). Aalthough the armament is same as BTR-60 and BTR-70, except for added smoke grenade dispensers on the back of the turret, the conical turret has been improved and the gun can elevate higher. This was a problem on BTR-60/BTR-70 when the Russians were fighting the Mujahadeen in the mountains and cities of Afganistan. The front and side firing ports have been greatly improved (square/inset, angled slightly forward. The BTR-80 also fixed the side entrance problems found in BTR-60 & BTR-70. Now the entrance consists of a two part door (upper and lower parts which open outwards). It's now big enough to load/unload cargo, and exit rapidly with full battle gear on.

Options include the Kliver turret with a 30-mm gun, 7.62-mm coax MG, thermal sights, superior day sights, and (four) Kornet ATGM launchers. While retaining the standard boat-shaped hull and sloped sides of all-welded steel armor construction, the rear deck has been reconfigured with a raised rear and square rearward-sloping engine compartment. The BTR-70's side-half doors are replaced by full side doors, and the firing ports are modified to face forward. The fully amphibious BTR-80 has night vision equipment, overpressure NBC protection system, and a central tire-pressure regulation system.

The single diesel engine gives the BTR-80 better performance and lower risk of fire compared to the twin gas engines of the BTR-70. The turret is improved relative to the BTR-60PB and BTR-70, and can be elevated to +60 degrees compared to the +30 degrees of earlier vehicles. The sighting system for the 14.5-mm KPV heavy machine gun and coaxial 7.62-mm PKT machineguns are also of improved design. Six 81-mm smoke mortars mounted on the rear of the turret can be fired from inside the vehicle.

The BTR-80 can carry seven infantry men, along with a crew of three, consisting of a commander, gunner and driver. The full side doors of the BTR-80, positioned between the second and third axles of the vehicle, consist of an upper half which opens forward and a lower half which opens down, forming a step ladder for troops entering or exiting. The upper half of the door is also fitted with a firing port. Additional forward-facing firing ports include one at the front of the vehicle for the commander, and two in the roof hatches. The firing ports are designed for AKMS/AK-74 individual weapons, apart from the front two firing ports which are designed for the 7.62-mm PK general purpose machine guns.

The fully amphibious BTR-80 is powered by a 7403 four-stroke, eight cylinder liquid cooled diesel engine, which provides 260 hp. It is capable of a maximum speed of 80 km/hour on paved road and 9 km/hour when afloat. Fuel endurance range is 600 km on roads. The BTR-80 is fitted with NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection system, automatic fire-fighting system, camouflage devices, bilge pumps and a self-recovery winch.

In a debt reduction arrangement, Russia furnished Hungary 200 BTR-80 wheeled armored personnel carriers (APCs) as replacements for the thirty-year-old Hungarian-manufactured FUG APC.


The baseline BTR-80 has spawned numerous dedicated armored vehicles, e.g. several types of command vehicles, the 1V118 artillery fire control vehicle, a satellite communications station with a large antenna, etc. The following vehicles have been developed from the basic BTR-80:

  • BTR-80A: The BTR-80 has evolved into the BTR-80A. In 1993, the Tula design bureau finished development of a new turret similar to that on the German Marder APC, mounting a 30-mm 2A42 (BMP-2) automatic gun, coax 7.62-mm MG, and TNP-3 day/night sights. The drop-in gun/turret package (Modular Weapon System) is offered for export, to upgrade a wide variety of vehicles to BTR-80A standard. BTR-80A can mount K1-126 bullet-resistant tires. On the BTR-80A and BTR-80S, the standard BTR-80 turret is replaced with a modular armaments system. The BTR-80A is fitted with a 30 mm 2A72 automatic gun and 7.62 mm PKT coaxial machine gun.
  • BTR-80S: The BTR-80S APC, packing the 14.5-mm KPVT machinegun instead of the 2A72 cannon, was developed for the Interior force of the Ministry of Interior in 1994. Variant includes the turret/fire control, but with 14.5-mm versus 30-mm gun. The BTR-80S is equipped with 14 mm KPVT machine gun and 7.62 mm PKT coaxial machine gun. For both these modifications, the armament system can be altered to fit customer requirements. The armament sighting system is manual. The fire control system includes a dual magnification day sight and x5.5 night sight.
  • BTR-80K: Command variant w/ added R-173, R-173P, and R-159 (portable) radios, R-174intercom, navigation aids, and an 11-m mast. The BTR-80K is intended to enable the infantry battalion commander to command sub-units and maintain communications with headquarters. It is based on the BTR-80, with the same 14.5 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns, but has a number of extra systems necessary for this mission. These include: two VHF-173 radio sets, antenna device set for UHF antenna, IFF automatic interrogator, TNA-4 navigational aid, PAB- 2M artillery periscope aiming ring, TNP-165A night vision sight, TSh-4 inter-phone headsets with GVSh-T-13 head and chest set.
  • 1V152: Artillery battalion command vehicle
  • 2S23: 120-mm self-propelled combination gun (howitzer/mortar)
  • BREM-K: Armored recovery and repair vehicle
  • RKhM-4: NBC reconnaissance vehicle
  • BMM armored ambulance vehicle
  • UNSh: Standardized expanded chassis for current variants, including Kushetka-B ACRV and BMM vehicle series.


The BTR-80A is a wheeled amphibious combat vehicle designed as an infantry troops carrier fit for fire support on the battlefield and for its infantry squad to fire from inside the vehicle. The BTR-80A is a BTR-80 derivative retaining its basic units and components. The vehicle features an enhanced firepower weapons suite comprising 30-mm automatic cannon, a 7.62-mm coaxial machinegun, a day/night sight and a smoke grenade discharger system.

The BTR-80A is the first Russian vehicle in the class, whose heavy machinegun has been replaced with the formidable Shipunov 30-mm 2A72 automatic cannon with an ammo load of 300 rounds. The 2A72 was derived from the 2A42 cannon fitting the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), BMD-2 and BMD-3 airborne infantry fighting vehicles (AIFV) and Ka-50, Ka-52 and Mi-28 attack helicopters. The advanced 2A42 cannon enables the APC both to fight lightly armoured vehicles and to render tanks inefficient by destroying their observation devices and other vulnerable units. An eight-round burst from the 2A72 punches through 120-mm tank armor.

The design of the cutting-edge turret allows high-elevation fire (up to 70 deg.) on enemy warplanes and helicopters out to 4,000 m. The 7.62-mm PKT machinegun with the 2,000-round ammunition load is coaxial to the cannon. The weapons are mounted in the unmanned turret outside the fighting compartment, which has reduced the gas contamination of the vehicle’s interior when firing. The APC is equipped with the TPN-3-42 Kristall night sight ensuring nighttime elimination of targets at a range of 900 m.

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Page last modified: 01-10-2017 18:59:08 ZULU