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300px-BTR-60PB DA-ST-89-06597

BTR-60PB

The BTR-60 is the first vehicle in a series of Soviet eight-wheeled armored personnel carriers (APCs). It was developed in the late 1950s as a replacement for the  and was seen first time in public in 1961. BTR stands for Bronetransporter (БТР, Бронетранспортер, literally "armoured transporter").


HistoryEdit

OriginsEdit

The BTR-152 and BTR-40, the first two Soviet mass produced APCs, developed after the Second World War gave the Soviet Army useful experience with wheeled armoured personnel carriers. However even as they were designed they weren't suited for the needs of the Soviet Army as they lacked a roof (which was added in later versions designated BTR-152K and BTR-40B respectively). The low combat value of the BTR-152 and BTR-40 was exposed during the Suez Crisis when the Egyptian used them. This was one of the reasons for which the new APC was developed.

Between 1956 and 1957 a decision was made to convert all rifle and mechanized divisions into new motor rifle divisions and a requirement for a new vehicle was drawn up.

BTR-60Edit

220px-ZiL-153 in Kubinka

ZiL-153 at the Kubinka Tank Museum.

Development proceeded along two paths, a more expensive vehicle, that would eventually become the BMP-1, for use in tank divisions and a cheaper vehicle for use in motor rifle divisions, that would eventually become the BTR-60. Two design bureaus were given the requirements, GAZ led by V. A. Dedkov, and ZiL led by Rodionov and Orlov. The requirements stated the vehicle should have all wheel drive, at least two turnable axles, independent suspension as well as mobility and fording capabilities allowing it to operate alongside tanks. The vehicle was also supposed to be amphibious. GAZ design team started to work on the new APC during winter 1956. Despite the fact that the army wanted a fully roofed vehicle with NBC protection system, the GAZ design did not have those features. It was argued that firing from the cramped interior would be difficult and the limitation of losses wasn't a priority. The prototype was built between 1957 and 1958. ZiL developed a 6x6 design, the ZiL-153, similar in hull shape to the GAZ design. There were also three other 8x8 prototypes: Ob'yekt 560 (also known as MMZ-560), Ob'yekt 1015 (developed by KAZ), Ob'yekt 1015B (developed by KAZ) it had with a turret-mounted armament and stream propellers, also known as BTR-1015B) and Ob'yekt 1020B (developed by KAZ[). All prototypes were submitted to state trials in 1959 and even though all passed the trials and even though the Ob'yekt 1015B performed the best, the GAZ design was selected and given the designation BTR-60P. Officially the committee which made the decision did so because of the GAZ plant's production capabilities and experience. The main reason was that the GAZ design was the simplest and cheapest one and introduced the lowest amount of technological advancements which made it easier to put into mass production.

BTR-60P had an open roofed crew and troop compartments which was deemed to be a serious disadvantage because of that a new version, designated BTR-60PA, entered production in 1963. It had an armoured roof, though the capacity was reduced from 16 soldiers to 14 soldiers.

The appearance of the German HS.30 APC, armed with a 20 mm cannon prompted the addition of the conical in shape BPU-1 turret, originally developed for BRDM-2 amphibious armoured scout car, armed with the KPVT 14.5 mm heavy machine gun and PKT 7.62 mm tank machine gun. The new vehicle was designated the BTR-60PAI and entered production in 1965. It was however quickly replaced by BTR-60PB which had better sighting system for the machine guns.

DescriptionEdit

BTR-60 was a revolutionary design for its time. It had a non-standard layout for an APC. It has the crew compartment in the front, the troop compartment in the middle and the engine compartment in the rear. This meant the BTR-60 didn't have some other APC's weaknesses while it also had several disadvantages of its own.

CrewEdit

220px-Inside a BTR-60B

The driver's station.

In BTR-60 the crew compartment is located in the front of the vehicle. It did have a roof unlike the troop compartment which received one in BTR-60PA. In the BTR-60P and BTR-60PA, the crew consists of a driver and a commander. The driver's seat is on the left and commander's seat is on the right. In the BTR-60PAI, BTR-60PB and BTR-60PZ the crew consists of a driver, a commander and a gunner. The driver's and commander's stations are in the same place as in the previous models. The gunner operates the BPU-1 turret, using the PP-61A optical sight. In BTR-60P both driver and commander manned their positions by entering the vehicle through the sides. BTR-60PA introduced two hatches over their stations and both crew members had to climb onto the top of the front of the vehicle to use them. The entering method did not change in later production models. In BTR-60PB a side door for the gunner was added on the right hand side. BTR-60PB also introduced firing ports for both driver and commander as well as the gunner on both side of the hull (for more information on BTR-60's firing port see the troop compartment section). Both the driver and the commander have forward views through bulletproof windshields, which can be further protected with steel covers. In BTR-60P and BTR-60PA the covers had with vision slots through which both crew members could see what's in front of the vehicle. These were removed in BTR-60PB. BTR-60P and BTR-60PA also had the same kind of vision slots on both sides of the crew compartment. In BTR-60PB those slots were removed in favor of two periscopes on each side. In BTR-60P and BTR-60PA only the driver had a forward positioned periscope over his station while the commander had the removable OU-3 infrared searchlight over his station (it remained in later models). In BTR-60PB both the driver and the commander have three periscopes in the front (the commander's center periscope can be hard to see as it's just below the OU-3 infrared light). The vehicle was equipped with the R-113 radio set (R-123 was used instead in some models). The initial BTR-60P production model did not have night-vision devices and only four headlights (two infrared, two white, one of each kind per side, these remained in all BTR-60 models). Late BTR-60P model was fitted with night-vision devices, the TKN-1 connected with the OU-3 infrared searchlight for the commander and the TWN-2 for the driver. They remained unchanged in later models. Final BTR-60P model received the TPKU-2B periscope for the commander.

Troop compartmentEdit

The troop compartment is behind the crew compartment and before the engine compartment. In BTR-60P it can transport up to sixteen fully equipped soldiers. This number changed to fourteen in BTR-60PB. The BTR-60P didn't have a roof and because of that it was covered with tarpaulin when traveling in bad weather conditions. It was also covered with bows and canvas. Also all BTR-60 models had three firing ports on each upper side of the hull through which the infantry being transported can fire at the enemy with their personal weapons. The difference between models was in position of those three firing ports. The BTR-60P and BTR-60PA had those firing ports positioned in a row between the middle and the front part of the troop compartment. In BTR-60PB the firing ports were moved and therefore there is one next to the driver and commander, one next to the gunner and one in the side of the troop compartment.

Because of the engine placement (in the rear of the vehicle), transported infantry must mount and dismount through the sides in BTR-60P or through the roof hatches in the roofed BTR-60PA, BTR-60PB, and BTR-60PZ variants. To help the infantry to mount and dismount the vehicle BTR-60P had two steps on each side of the hull, one between first and second pair of road wheels and second between third and fourth pair of wheels. It also had two vertical hand rails on each side of troop compartment as well as an angled horizontal one on the left-hand side of the hull next to the engine compartment. BTR-60PA introduced yet another step on each side of the hull between the second and third pair of wheels as well as six horizontal hand rails on each side of the vehicle, three on the lower side and three on the upper side. The vertical ones were removed while yet another angled horizontal one was added on the right-hand side of the hull next to the engine compartment. In BTR-60PB the number of hand rails on the hull sides decreased from six to five on each side of the vehicle. On the right hand side the rear upper hand rail was removed. On the left hand side center upper one was removed. BTR-60P has two doors on each side of the troop compartment (one in the front part of the troop compartment and on in the rear part) but infantry still had to dismount trough the sides. The side doors were removed in BTR-60PA. They were used mostly as emergency exits and as auxiliary firing ports. In BTR-60PB a side door was added in the left hand side of the front part of the troop compartment.

ProtectionEdit

The armour on the hull is made out of welded steel and it provides protection against small arms fire and shrapnel.  Frontal armour can withstand 7.62 mm bullets from any range. The rest of armour protection can withstand 7.62 mm bullets from a range of 100 m.

The BTR-60P did not have a roof over the troop compartment, which made a weakness that could easily be exploited. As the vehicle lacked a roof even the simplest of explosives could take out a BTR-60P. The new BTR design with roof was called the BTR-60PA.

Armour thickness is as follows:

Hull:

  • Upper front: 7 mm at 86°
  • Lower front: 9 mm at 47°
  • Sides: 7 mm
  • Upper rear: 5 mm
  • Lower rear: 7 mm
  • Floor: 5 mm
  • Roof: 7 mm (over the troop compartment since BTR-60PA)

Turret (since BTR-60PAI):

  • Front: 10 mm
  • Sides: 7 mm
  • Rear: 7 mm
  • Roof: 7 mm

ManeuverabilityEdit

BTR-60 has a 8x8 suspension. Originally, there were troubles finding the suitable engine for it: six-cylinder GAZ-40P gasoline engine which produces 90 hp was too weak, and 205-hp YaAZ-206B was too heavy. So BTR would then be propelled by two six-cylinder gasoline GAZ-40P engines (67 kW)  each located side by side in the rear of the vehicle. The combined power of both engines is 180 hp (134 kW). Each engine is propelling two of the vehicles axles. The engine on the right hand side propels the second and the fourth axles, while the engine on the left hand side propels the first and the third axles. Each engine has its own four-speed gear box with a single-shielded hydraulically controlled clutch and an exhaust. Each axle has its own differential. Each axle is hung on transversal torsion bars. The first two axles have two hydraulic absorbers, the third and fourth have one hydraulic absorber. The first and second pair of wheels can be turned. The gaps between the first and the second axles and between the third and the fourth axles are even. The gap between the second and third axles is slightly larger than the other ones.

The two-engines setup has an advantage in the fact that each engine could work without the other. This means that if one engine is disabled it doesn't affect the other one and the vehicle can still move with limited speed. This setup however caused several problems which did not exist in vehicles with a single engine or they weren't as serious: the design itself was complicated and the amount of work which had to be done during exploitation and repair was higher than in vehicles with a single engine. The engines themselves were originally intended for truck use which meant that they were working in extreme conditions not originally envisioned for them. Because of this engine breakdowns were frequent. The vehicle also used large amounts of fuel and caught fire easily. Despite all this the two-engines setup was used in all BTR-60 production models and most variants as well as the BTR-70. The single-engine setup was introduced in BTR-80.

Amphibious capabilityEdit

220px-BTR-60-latrun-4

Ex-Egyptian or ex-Syrian BTR-60PB, in the Yad la-Shiryon museum, Israel, 2005. Notice the exposed water jet with both of its lids opened.

The BTR-60 is fully amphibious, propelled in the water by a jet centrally mounted at the rear of the hull. It was however prone to breakdowns. When not in use it is protected by the sideways opening lids. Before entering the water the trim vane at the front of the hull should be erected to prevent water from flooding over the bow. While in its traveling position it serves as additional lower frontal armor.

Production ModelsEdit

Characteristics of the BTR-60 production models
BTR-60P early BTR-60PA BTR-60PA BTR-60PA-1 BTR-60PAI BTR-60PB
Weight

(tonnes)

9.8[15] 10.2[15] 10.3[15]  ? 10.3[15]
Height

(metres)

2.06 m[11] 2.31 m[5][6]
Crew 2 + 16[5][6] 3 + 14[5]
Primary armament 7.62 mm PKT, SGMB or PKB tank/medium/general-purpose machine gun (2,000 rounds)[6] 12.7 mm DShK 1938/46 heavy machine gun (500 rounds)[6] 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine gun

(500 rounds)[6]

Secondary armament 2 x 7.62 mm PKT, SGMB or PKB tank/medium/general-purpose machine guns (3,000 rounds) mounted on the sides of the troop compartment (optional)[6] 7.62 mm PKT coaxial tank machine gun (3,000 rounds)[6]
Power-to-weight ratio

hp/tonne (kW/tonne)

18.4

(13.7)

17.6

(13.1)

17.5

(13.0)

 ? 17.5

(13.0)

Production historyEdit

BTR-60s were produced by Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (GAZ). BTR-60P was produced between 1960 and 1963. BTR-60PA entered production in 1963. BTR-60PA-1 entered production 1965. Both BTR-60PA and BTR-60PA-1 were produced until 1966.  BTR-60PAI also entered production in 1965, but was quickly replaced in 1966 by the BTR-60PB, which had a better sighting system for the machine guns. The BTR-60PB remained in production until 1976, when it was superseded by the BTR-70. According to the Western estimate around 25,000 BTR-60s were produced by GAZ. During the BTR-80 production and therefore after the BTR-60 production ended there was a special production run of 100 BTR-60PBs, some of which have been exported to Iraq.

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