The BTR-70 is an eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier (Russian: бронетранспортер, BTR stands for Bronetransportyor literally "armoured transporter"), originally developed during the late 1960s under the industrial designator GAZ-4905. On August 21, 1972, it was accepted into service and would later be exported to the Warsaw Pact and other allies. Introduced as a successor to the earlier BTR-60, it most closely resembles a BTR-60PB. Other improvements include heavier armor plating and tires less prone to puncture. In other respects, the vehicle is very similar to the BTR-60PB, with a more powerful petrol engine configuration and armament of a primary heavy machine gun and secondary PKT machine gun on a roof mounted turret.
The vehicle's designers moved the side troop doors. On the vehicle's predecessor, these doors were located above the beltline between the second and third pairs of wheels on both sides of the vehicle. On the BTR-70, the doors are below the beltline between the second and third pairs of wheels. As Soviet doctrine calls for unloading troops from the vehicle while it is in motion, the door location increases the chances that a soldier will be pulled under a wheel and injured or killed, although it also means that the troops can get out quicker while exposing them less to the enemy.
Like the vehicle's predecessor it is fully amphibious with minimal preparation. A licensed Romanian copy was designated the TAB-77 and had various improvements and changes to make local production easier, including a better turret and different engines.
Equipment The BTR-70 is powered by two gasoline engines. Early production vehicles had GAZ-69B 6-cylinder engines of 115 hp each installed but most vehicles have the stronger ZMZ-49-05 V-8 engines. The vehicle is fully amphibious, propelled when afloat by a single water jet mounted at the rear of the hull. To prepare the vehicle for water, the driver erects a trim vane and switches on the bilge pumps from within the vehicle.
The standard equipment includes a central tire-pressure regulation system that allows the driver to adjust the tire-pressure to suit the terrain being crossed. Also fitted is an R-123M radio set and an R-124 intercom. The driver's optical equipment consists of three vision blocks TNPO-115 and a day vision device TNP-B that can be replaced by a night vision device TVNO-2B. The commander also has three TNPO-115's and a TPKU-2B day or TKN-1S night sight that works together with the infra-red search light OU-3GA-2. The turret is fitted with a PP-61AM (or 1PZ-2) periscopic sight for the gunner and the infantry group in the troop compartment is provided with TNP-B devices. The BTR-70 also has an NBC filter system FVU and a DK-3B detection device.
The armaments consist of a heavy machine gun KPVT with 500 rounds and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun PKT with 2,000 rounds. Also on board are two "Igla" or "Strela-3" MANPADS, and optionally two AGS-17 grenade launchers at the expense of two infantry men.
Variants[edit | edit source]
Russian Federation[edit | edit source]
- BTR-70 - Basic APC version, as described.
- BTR-70 obr. 1978 - Initial version, publicly displayed in 1980.
- BTR-70 obr. 1982 - Improved model with ZMZ-49-05 V-8 engines of each 120 hp instead of the original GAZ-49B 115 hp 6-cylinder engines.
- BTR-70 obr. 1984 - Slightly modified model with additional TNPT-1 periscope on the turret roof.
- BTR-70 obr. 1986 - Improved version with additional periscope in left turret side and with 4 firing ports in the hull roof.
- BTR-70V - Late-production model, fitted with the BPU-1 turret of the BTR-80 with 1PZ-2 sight, but without the "Tucha" smoke grenade launchers.
- BTR-70M - Modernized version with turret, diesel engine and rear hull section of the BTR-80.
- BTR-70D - Dieselized version, developed by Muromteplovoz and powered by a YaMZ-236D 180 hp diesel engine. Prototype only.
- SPR-2 "Rtut-B" (stantsiya pomekh radiovzryvatelyam) - Electronic warfare variant, designed to detonate artillery shells with proximity fuze detonators.
- SPR-2M - Modified version with more compact equipment.
- BTR-70K (komandnyj) - Command vehicle with additional radios, several whip antennas, navigation device and a portable generator.
- BTR-70KShM (komandno-shtabnaya mashina) - Command and control variant, designed to be used as a mobile command post.
- 2S14 "Zhalo-S" - tank hunter, armed with a 2A62 85 mm gun. Prototype only.
- SA-22 (spetsapparatnaya mashina) - command vehicle.
- 15Ya56M MBP (mashina boyevogo posta) - base security vehicle for Strategic Rocket units. The original turret has been replaced by a new type with improved sight 1PN22M1, loudspeakers, IR search lights OU-3GA-2, additional periscopes TNPO-170 and an NSVT 12.7 mm machine gun.
Ukraine[edit | edit source]
- BTR-70D - Upgraded from 2001 by NRMZ and fitted with a 300 hp diesel engine. Ukrainian army vehicles additionally have BTR-80 style two-piece escape hatches in the hull sides.
- BTR-70DI - With Euro II 276 hp diesel engine from IVECO. Can be optionally fitted with modular turrets "Ingul" or "Bug" or with the "Zaslon" active protection system. Are armed with the same arnament, but have 30mm AGS and 2 AT rockets added.
- BTR-70M - Upgraded by Marozov and powered by a 300 hp engine UTD-20. Might be fitted with a new turret like the "Grom" or BAU-23x2.
- BTR-70SM - Unarmed ambulance with re-designed hull. Three different models have been observed.
East-Germany[edit | edit source]
- SPW 70 (Schützenpanzerwagen) - NVA designator for Romanian-made BTR-70. 1,316 delivered between 1980 and 1990.
- SPW 70(S) - Locally converted staff vehicle with 2 additional radio's, 2-3 whip antennas and a slim telescopic mast on the right side of the hull roof.
- SPW 70(SL) - Forward air control vehicle, equipped with R-809M2 radio and fitted with four whip antennas.
- SPW 70(Ch) - NBC reconnaissance vehicle with detection and marking systems. Prototype only.
Slovakia/Belarus[edit | edit source]
- Cobra-K - Fitted with modular turret 2A42-Cobra. Might be optionally equipped with a new diesel engine KamAZ-7403.
Belarus[edit | edit source]
- BTR-70M-A1 - Proposed upgrade from Minotaur with diesel engine and improved transmission. The vehicle might retain the original turret or can be fitted with a new one, for example the "combat module" CM30/BM30 (2A42-Cobra).
- BTR-MK a.k.a. KM-70 - Proposed command vehicle (komandnaya mashina) from Minotaur with a crew of 6 and R-123M and R-13M radios.
- MTP-K a.k.a. MTP-70 - Technical support vehicle (mashina tekhnicheskoj pomoshchi), fitted with tow bars, a work platform and a light crane. This version retains the turret but without the KPVT machine gun.
Azerbaijan[edit | edit source]
- BTR-70M - Jihazgayirma Instrument Construction Plant in Baku presented some upgraded BTR-70s for the first time in March 2011. These vehicles have a new diesel engine and improved transmission. Optionally, the original machine-gun turret might be replaced with the "Şimşek" (Lightning) one-man turret. "Şimşek" was developed in partnership with South Africa's Emerging World Technologies (EWT) and appears to be a variant of EWT's Predator II light compact turret.
Romania[edit | edit source]
Main article: TAB (Armoured Personnel Carrier)Romanian TAB-77 Armored Personnel Carriers in Afghanistan*TAB-77 (transportorul amfibiu blindat) - Romania not only built the BTR-70 under licence (for export), but also developed its own, improved version. The TAB-77 is very similar but has the same turret with LOTA aiming system as the TAB-71. The original gasoline engines were replaced with 132 hp diesel engines Saviem 797-05M1.
- TAB-77 M1983 - upgraded version with 30 mm gun and ATGM 9M14M "Malyutka". Prototype.
- TAB-77 M1984 - upgraded version with 23 mm gun and ATGM 9M14M "Malyutka". Prototype.
- TAB-77A PCOMA (punct de commanda şi observare mobil de artilerie) - artillery command and forward observer vehicle with range finders in a big, unarmed turret. Armament consists of a single, pintle-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun on the hull roof.
- TAB-77A R-1451/M - command vehicle with radiosets R-1070 and R-1451M. Similar to basic APC but with additional whip antennas and with rear-mounted generator.
- TAB-77A R-1452 - signals vehicle with R-1452 radio set, low-profile "dummy turret, 7 whip antennas, a telescopic mast, two generators at the rear and a pintle-mounted machine gun on the hull roof.
- TERA-77L (tractor de evacuare şi reparat auto) - recovery vehicle with 5t crane and dozer blade.
- TABC-79 - shorter version with ony 4 wheels. Several variants exist.
- Chinese TAB-77 - Chinese license built TAB-77, with a small number entering Chinese service for evaluation purpose in the 1980s. China purchased the production license from Romania in 1984, and even retained the original Romanian designation TAB-77. The Chinese built TAB-77 is heavier and weighs more than 13 tons.
Combat history[edit | edit source]
The BTR-70 was widely used during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and many smaller conflicts in Eastern Europe. After the cold war these AFV saw service with the UN in the Balkans with high success.
Operators[edit | edit source]
- Armenia - 20, some upgraded with diesel engine and 23 mm gun
- Azerbaijan - 57 upgraded with diesel engine and "Şimşek" turret.
- Belarus - 446
- Djibouti - 6
- Georgia - 45 including some BTR-70DI. Are armed with the same armament, but have 30mm AGS and 2 AT rockets added. 
- Bangladesh - 55+
- Kazakhstan - 45
- Kyrgyzstan - 45
- Macedonia - 58 SPW 70, SPW 70(S) and BTR-70D
- Moldova - 5
- Romania - 170 TAB-77
- Russia - 2,000
- Ukraine - 1,026
- Uzbekistan - 36
- Tajikistan - 2
- Turkmenistan - 170
- Vietnam - 150
- Palestine - 50
Former Operators[edit | edit source]
- Soviet Union - Passed on to successor states.
- East Germany - Passed on to Germany.
- Germany - 135 to Nepal, 750 to Pakistan
- Nepal - 135 (German vehicles, used by NEPBAT in Bosnia for UN operation.)
- Pakistan - 750 (German vehicles, used by PAKBAT in Bosnia for UN operation.)
- Estonia - 4, all out of service about 2005. Given to military museum, or used, as anti-tank targets.