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.

Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1972
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Armenia View
Bangladesh View
Bosnia-Herzegovina View
Djibouti View
Georgia View
Kazakhstan View
Kyrgyzstan View
Macedonia View
Moldova View
Mongolia View
Pakistan View
Palestine View
Romania View
Russia (USSR) 1972 View
Russia (USSR) View
Tajikistan View
Turkmenistan View
Ukraine View
Uzbekistan View
Vietnam View
Azerbaijan View
Belarus View

The BTR-70 is powered by two gasoline engines. Early production vehicles used 115 hp GAZ-69B 6-cylinder engines, but most vehicles have the more powerful 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 TNPO-115 vision blocks and a TNP-B day vision device, which can be replaced by a TVNO-2B night vision device. The commander also has three TNPO-115s and either a TPKU-2B day sight or a TKN-1S night sight accompanied by an OU-3GA-2 infra-red search light. 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 FVU NBC filter system and a DK-3B detection device.

The armaments consist of a KPVT heavy machine gun with 500 rounds and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun PKTmachine gun 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.

The BTR-70 was widely used during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and many smaller conflicts in Eastern Europe. After the Cold War, these AFVs saw service with the UN in the Balkans with high success.

In 2014 it was used during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine. At least one was captured by the militias of the Donetsk People's Republic.

DesignationsBTR-70 (Obiekt 60, sometimes called M1978 by US Army)
Manufacturer(s)GAZ, now Arzamas Machinery Construction Factory
StatusProduction completed. In service with Russia and others.
Production Period1972 - circa 1980Production Quantityn/a
TypeAPCCrew2 + 9
Length, overall7.5mLength, hull7.5m
Width, overall2.8mHeight, overall2.3m
Combat Weight11500kgUnloaded Weightn/a
Radio, externaln/aCommunication, crewn/a
Main Armament14.5mm KPVT MGAmmunition Carried500x14.5mm
Gun Traverse360Elevation/Depression+30/-5
Traverse Raten/aElevation Raten/a
Gun Stabilizationn/aRangefindern/a
Night VisionyesAuto-Loaderyes
Secondary Armament7.62mm PKVT MG (coaxial)Ammunition Carried2000x7.62mm

Engine2 x ZMZ-4905 8-cylinder petrolTransmissionmanual (4 forward, 1 reverse)
Horsepower2 x 120hpSuspensiontorsion bar with hydraulic shock-absorbers
Power/Weight Ratio20.9hp/tConfiguration8x8
Speed, on road80km/h (1)Wheelbase, overall4.4m
Fuel Capacity350 l (estimated)Tiresn/a
Range, on road600km (with external fuel tanks)Ground Pressuren/a
Fuel Consumptionn/aGradient60%
Turning Radius6.3mSide Slope40%
Ground Clearance0.48mVertical Obstacle0.5m
Angle of Approachn/aTrench Crossing2.0m
Angle of Departuren/aFordingamphibious
Smoke Layingn/aNBC Protectionyes
Armor DetailsAll-welded steel. Bow may incorporate layered armor.
(1) Maximum speed 10km/h on water.

End notes