The BTR-70 is an eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier, 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. Improvements include heavier armor plating and tires less prone to puncture. In other respects, the vehicle is very similar to the BTR-60PB, both vehicles having a roof-mounted turret equipped with a heavy machine gun and a secondary co-axial PKT machine gun, but with a more powerful petrol engine configuration.
Another difference was in the location of the side doors, which on the vehicle's predecessor were located above the beltline between the second and third pairs of wheels on both sides of the vehicle. However, the designers of the BTR-70, moved the doors below the beltline. As Soviet tactics calls for unloading troops from the vehicle while it is in motion, this change increased the risk of a soldier being pulled under a wheel and injured or killed, although it also meant that the troops could get out quicker and expose themselves 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.