The MT-LB, in its original capacity, is an anti-tank gun MT-12P “Rapier”. On the roof in the stern visible boxes with ammunition for PT guns, a regular PKT machine gun temporarily removed. The machine is equipped with a device for samokapyvaniya aft hull. Totsky district polygon, February 2002
MT-LB in the classroom for combat training. 27 MSD, p. Totskoye, Orenburg region, July 2003
Landing in MT-LB during tactical exercises. On the left, instead of the seat for the landing, there was a shelving for property. On it are sappers with their dog, who discovered about 200 mines and land mines. 27 MSD, Totsky polygon, February 2002
A description of all the options for upgrading and modifying the base transporter will take a separate book, so we confine ourselves to modifications in which the MT-LB machine has retained its original functions. In other words, this article will discuss only options for updating the car, which are still designed to transport people and goods.
The first modernization of the base machine was the project MT-LBV, which appeared a little later than the original one. The letter "B" in the title stands for "all-terrain". The fact is that when using the original tracks with a width of 350 mm, the tractor has good maneuverability and a small specific load on the ground. However, on soft surfaces like deep snow or swamps, the base MT-LB sharply loses driving performance. To correct this situation, a new caterpillar with a width of 565 mm was created. Thanks to the use of this caterpillar, the specific pressure on the ground has become less than that of humans. The MT-LBV resulting from such an upgrade is capable of moving where the original conveyor cannot pass.
The cross-country tractor underwent small changes, as a result of which it received the name MT-LBM and became the basis for a whole family of multi-purpose vehicles. From the previous versions of the car it was distinguished by armament. Instead of a native turret with a PKT machine gun, the MT-LBVM installed a larger open combat module with an NSVT anti-aircraft machine gun of 12,7 mm caliber. A few years ago, another update of the “line” of all-terrain transporters called MT-LB VMK appeared. It instead of the machine gun NSVT used large-caliber "Kord". Also, a project to install a new, more powerful engine (300-310 hp), new communication equipment, etc. was completed and put into production. This upgrade is referred to as MT-LB BM1K.
MT-LB modernization option with the installation of a combat module developed by the Gorky Automobile Plant for the modernization of the BTR-80 (MT-LB 6MB) (photo http://btvt.narod.ru)
The MT-LB retrofit option (6М1Б3) with the installation of an advanced tower installation of its own design, on which the AG-17 automatic grenade launcher, 12,7-mm Kord machine gun and the twin 23 mm automatic cannon GSH-23, also provides for the installation of two PZRK "Needle" . (photo http://btvt.narod.ru)
Option with the installed BTR-80 turret (MT-LB 6MA) (photo http://btvt.narod.ru)
It should be noted that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kharkov Tractor Plant remained in independent Ukraine, which had a corresponding effect on the supply of MT-LB to the Russian army. To compensate for the loss of production of tractors was established at the Murom plant "Muromteplovoz". It was also created most of the modern modifications of the machine. Currently, there are several versions of MT-LB in the list of products manufactured by the plant. In addition, the company offers repairs and upgrades of in-use machines to bring them to a certain type.
The basis for all the new cars produced by Muromteplovoz was the MT-LBM transporter (“6M Object”). This modification of the armored vehicle actually represents the basic version of the tractor with a number of technical and technological modifications related to the production of equipment in the new plant. However, even without major changes, MT-LBM could become the basis for several transport vehicles.
In local conflicts of the past decades, MT-LB trucks were often used not only as tracked trucks or tugs, but also as armored personnel carriers for the transport of personnel. The armored hull and the presence of defensive weapons allowed the tractors to partially perform the functions of armored personnel carriers. Of course, such a replacement was not complete - the armor MT-LB was significantly inferior to the protection of the BTR-60 or BTR-70. However, if necessary, the soldiers drove on tractors. Already in the nineties, the concept was finally formed, in accordance with which it was planned to develop the MT-LBM machines. First of all, it was proposed to improve the machine through the installation of new weapons. Thus, several new modifications.
Photo MT-LB 6MB. The installation of a large range of interchangeable weapons provided the design of the tower. (photo http://btvt.narod.ru)
The first was created "Object 6MA". Instead of a native turret with a PKT machine gun, a combat module from an armored personnel carrier BTR-80 was placed on it. Thanks to this modernization, the multipurpose tractor in addition to the native 7,62-mm machine gun received an 14,5-mm KPVT machine gun. Soon, at Muromteplovoz, several more versions of MT-LBM with various weapons, mounted in the tower, borrowed from an armored personnel carrier, were designed:
- “Object 6MA1”, the armament complex of which was expanded with an automatic grenade launcher AGS-17 “Flame”;
- "Object 6MA2". This version of the tractor has no KPVT machine gun, instead of which it was proposed to install an 23-mm automatic 2-14 automatic gun (ZU-23 anti-aircraft gun);
- “The object 6MA4”, which is a peculiar hybrid of the projects “6MA1” and “6MA2”. It was planned to install a PKT machine gun, an 2А14 gun and an AGS-17 grenade launcher on it.
The logical end of the “6MA” line was the “6MA3 Object”, whose weapons came close to arms infantry fighting vehicles. These were the AGN-30 30-mm grenade launcher, PKT machine gun, as well as four Kornet anti-tank missile launchers. In this case, the armored vehicle could still carry people or cargo.
Almost simultaneously, and in parallel with the line of machines based on the "Object 6MA" developed another direction. Its basis was the “Object 6MB” transporter, equipped with a combat module borrowed from the BTR-80A armored personnel carrier. This tower initially carries an 30-2 automatic cannon and a PKT machine gun. With the help of this modernization, it was planned to significantly increase the combat potential of MT-LBM and thereby compensate for the lack of armor, because with the help of an automatic gun, the crew of the vehicle could fire at the enemy without entering its zone of destruction. The “72MB Object” also became the basis for several variants with different weapons:
- “Object 6MB2”. In addition to the automatic cannon and machine gun, this machine could get an AGS-17 grenade launcher;
- “Object 6MB3” and “Object 6MB4”. On the BTR-80 tower it was proposed to mount an 23-mm GSH-23 gun, a large-caliber Kord machinegun and an AGS-30 grenade launcher. From each other, the projects differed in the layout of the aggregates and a number of other points.
MT-LB with a device for self-stepping on the position of military escort. Chechnya, May 2000
One of the command and control staffs 42 MSD in expanded, "working" form. Chechnya, Khankala, June 2000
MT-LB sanitary company 71 MSW 42 MSD. Chechnya, July 2000
Data on the production of machines based on the "Object 6M" is missing. Judging by the available information, all of them remained at the stage of prototypes that could not interest the customer. The reason for this, most likely, was the insufficient level of protection of the base armored vehicle, the presence of fully-fledged specially designed armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, as well as the difficult financial condition of the armed forces.
Of great interest are the modifications “Object 6М1” and “Object 6М2” developed by Muromteplovoz and Kurganmashzavod, respectively. During these upgrades, the base machine MT-LBM received new engines up to 300-310 horsepower, new transmission systems, etc. According to open information, only the machine from Muromteplovoz went to the series. It is equipped with a 310-strong diesel engine YMZ-238БЛ-1 with a mechanical transmission, which allow it with an increased mass to have the same driving characteristics as the base machines.
On the basis of the "Object 6М1" or MT-LB М1 two light armored vehicles were created, which are now available for ordering. The first of these, the MT-LB M1А7, is armed with a Kord heavy machine gun with ammunition for 1050 cartridges, a PCT machine gun with 2000 cartridges and an AGS-17 grenade launcher with a stock of 200 shots. The second multipurpose tractor named MT-LB М1Б2 is equipped with an 30-mm 2A42 cannon, a PKT machine gun and an AGS-17 grenade launcher. The ammunition consists of 300 shells, 2000 cartridges and 200 grenades. The armament is installed on a turret with a stabilizer 2E36, borrowed from the armored personnel carrier BTR-80А.
Both new cars, as before, are capable of transporting personnel. Simultaneously with three crew members, eight and six people can ride on MT-LB М1А7 and МТ-LB М1Б2, respectively. At the same time, it is possible to tow a cargo, for example, an artillery piece. If necessary, the crew of the machines can use the 902В “Cloud” grenade launchers.
Installation of mine clearance UR-77 engineering battalion 42 MSD. Chechnya, Khankala, June 2000
Machine control artillery 1B14M. Armed with a PKMB machine gun. On the sides are fixed round smoke bombs, very similar to mines. Chechnya, Khankala, June 2000
MT-LBM 6MB with 30-mm automatic gun 2А72 and 7,62-mm PKT machine gun in the park of the military unit 42 msd. Chechnya, Khankala, May 2000
Having become independent, Ukraine was able to maintain the production of MT-LB armored vehicles and even make several upgrades. It is noteworthy that the main task of the designers of the Kharkov Engineering Design Bureau was also to increase the combat qualities of the conveyor. Ukrainians took the path of developing transport capabilities and in fact made several new infantry fighting vehicles based on a multipurpose tractor. At the same time, unlike Russian engineers, the Ukrainian came to the conclusion that it was necessary to increase not only firepower, but also the level of protection. The transporter so modernized could already become a full-fledged combat vehicle like armored personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles.
The first version of this update was the project MT-LBR6. A native turret was removed from the car and a full-fledged cannon-machine-gun combat module was put in its place. The ZNT-30 automatic cannon (the Ukrainian version of the Soviet 1-2) and the twin machine gun KT-72 (PKT of the Ukrainian production) were installed in the turret with one gunner workstation. To save space inside the armored hull ammunition gun placed in two boxes located on the sides of the gun itself. In the frontal projection, the ammunition boxes are covered with additional armor plates. Directly in front of them are six smoke grenade launchers "Cloud".
The protection level of the machine MT-LBR6 was raised with the help of spaced booking, installed on top of the car’s own body, and Kevlar podboy. In addition, the chassis is closed anti-cumulative screens. Updating the multipurpose transporter led to a noticeable weight gain, which was offset by a new more engine power of about 310 horsepower. According to reports, a number of such machines were assembled and refitted at the Kharkov Tractor Plant.
The machine of radiation and chemical reconnaissance of the RCM “Kashalot” in the trench. Tactical Exercises 27 MSD, Totsky District Range, July 2003
MT-LB with a module of weapons "Sturm" (MT-LBMSH)
The modification MT-LBR7 was created in a similar way, but it differs from the previous vehicle in the composition of its weapons. Instead of the original gun turret, it was proposed to mount the Sturm combat module on it. The module specially designed for the unification of armored vehicles is armed with a ZTM-1 gun, a KT-7,62 machine gun, an AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher, smoke grenade launchers, and Konkurs-M anti-tank missile launchers. All weapons stabilized. The level of protection corresponds to the previous modification, since MT-LBR7 can also be equipped with additional reservations.
The latest Ukrainian modification of the MT-LB vehicle is the MT-LBMSh armored personnel carrier. In accordance with this project, the base machine received a new 360-strong engine and a squall combat module. The armament of this module is similar to the “Storm” - an automatic cannon and grenade launcher, as well as a machine gun and smoke grenade launchers. However, instead of anti-tank missiles "Konkurs-M" on the machine MT-LBMSH used complex "Barrier". Like all previous modifications of the Ukrainian development, MT-LBMS is capable of carrying up to seven people and towing some cargo, such as a gun.
As we see, in recent years, the improvement of the MT-LB multipurpose transporter has mainly been achieved with the help of reinforcement weapons. In local conflicts of the last decades, these machines were often used as transport for personnel, and therefore the need arose for protection against ambush attacks. At the same time, attempts were made to raise the potential of the tractor through the use of more powerful engines and installation of additional reservations. However, both of these modernization methods are not widespread.
In general, it should be noted that most of the operating countries of MT-LB, attempting to improve their cars, limited themselves to installing more powerful weapons. For example, Polish licensed copies of the MT-LB tractor went off the assembly line with large-bore DShKM machine guns. Probably the reason for the popularity of just such a development path of a multi-purpose armored vehicle was the peculiarities of its tactical niche. Unlike armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, the MT-LB was intended to transport personnel and cargo away from the front edge and had sufficient characteristics for this. Therefore, the power plant machines for a long time remained the same, and the reservation has not changed due to the lack of appropriate need. When MT-LB began to master the "profession" of an armored personnel carrier, corresponding modifications began to appear with other engines, weapons and protection.
However, long before the onset of local conflicts in recent years, the MT-LB multi-purpose machines managed to become the basis for a mass of systems. The MT-LB mounted equipment for anti-aircraft missile systems (Strela-10), self-propelled mortars (Tundzha, Tundzha-Sani, etc.), radiation and chemical reconnaissance vehicles (PCM and RPM), anti-tank missile systems complexes ("Sturm-S"), etc. However, after such updates, multi-purpose armored vehicles lost their original purpose and could no longer transport cargo or personnel besides the crew or the calculation of weapon systems. However, the Light Armored Multi-Purpose Transporter proved to be a popular base vehicle. As already mentioned, on its basis was created almost fifty different machines.
On the materials of the sites: