Military Review

Cuban armored vehicles based on the BTR-60

Being the most advantageous ally of the Soviet Union, Cuba actively cooperated with it in many sectors of the economy, including the military-technical sector. The peak of such cooperation came in the sixties, which to some extent determined the further appearance of the armed forces of Liberty Island. Among other things, in the first half of the sixties, the Cuban military received at least a hundred and fifty BTR-60PB armored personnel carriers, which are still in active use today. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost the opportunity to profitably acquire new equipment and spare parts for the old one. Because of this, the state of the material part began to deteriorate, and its restoration turned into a specific problem.

In such circumstances, the Cuban industry had to look for ways to correct the situation, extend the life of technology, and create new types of it. BTR-60PB armored personnel carriers were chosen as the base for several new combat vehicles, which, for obvious reasons, could no longer serve their intended purpose. After certain improvements, the Cuban army lost several dozen armored personnel carriers, but acquired a new vehicle for a different purpose.

Cuban armored vehicles based on the BTR-60

Infantry fighting vehicle

A few years ago, photos of a new infantry fighting vehicle, converted from an old armored personnel carrier, appeared. Without complicating the design, the authors of the project went the easiest and most convenient way. From the original BTR-60PB removed the tower with machine guns KPV and PKT, and in its place installed a new combat module. As a new weapon system for the upgraded armored vehicles, they chose a turret from an infantry combat vehicle BMP-1. To install it, we had to increase the hull shoulder straps, and also slightly modify the layout of the internal volume of the machine. According to some information, instead of the native power plant, a new, more powerful engine was installed on the car.

The firepower of the updated BTR-BMP has increased many times. Now instead of 14,5-mm and 7,62-mm machine guns, the machine can fire from the 73-mm Thunder 2-mm cannon and PCT 28-mm machine gun. In addition, the turret initially had a guide for launching anti-tank missiles of the Malyutka complex 7,62K9. Thus, in conditions of general combat, the new Cuban wheeled infantry fighting vehicle is capable of attacking with some efficiency the outdated types of enemy vehicles and even hitting them. In a clash with a well-equipped army, such a technique will probably not be able to have a big impact on the course of the battle.

It is noteworthy that the Cuban armored vehicle with armament of the BMP-1 largely repeats the design of the GAZ-50 wheeled combat vehicle created at the Gorky Automobile Plant in the early seventies. GAZ-50 passed all the tests, but did not go into the series due to the rejection of the idea of ​​a wheeled BMP.

Anti-aircraft systems

Soviet armored personnel carriers became the base for two self-propelled anti-aircraft installations, differing from each other not only in armament, but also in design. Machines equipped with 23 and 37 millimeter automatic cannons are designed to escort troops on the march and destroy low-flying targets. In the light of recent trends, such ZSU can be used to attack attack helicopters, but they are unlikely to be able to cope with modern rotary-wing machines.

Self-propelled gun with 23 caliber millimeters created the most simple way. A new unit with a twin ZU-23-2 was installed on the tower's native epaulet. The anti-aircraft system is mounted on an original pivot turret: the rear and a little arrows from the sides are closed with anti-bullet armor. Thus, it is partially protected by metal sheets, but at the same time it has the ability to monitor the situation around and fire at the targets. Judging by the photos, the anti-aircraft gun ZU-23-2 when installed on an armored personnel carrier has undergone minimal changes. Only some parts of his machine tool were corrected.

The second car of the military air defense was armed with 37-mm 61-K guns. Sufficiently large dimensions of this tool, recoil devices, etc. they demanded to make serious amendments to the design of the car carrier. When reworking such an anti-aircraft self-propelled gun, the BTR-60PB lost its troop compartment. During the conversion of the base armored personnel carrier, almost the entire upper part of the hull is removed from the control compartment to the engine-transmission compartment, and in its place is a wide and long horizontal platform that serves as the basis for the swinging turret.

The tower of such an anti-aircraft self-propelled gun is a welded assembly of panels tilted inwards, inside of which there are two anti-aircraft guns and workplaces for their calculation. The horizontal guidance of the 61-K guns is carried out by turning the entire tower, the vertical one by raising the barrel. From the available information it follows that the calculation of anti-aircraft guns consists of three people. In this case, two gunner have their own sights, made at a special boom.

It is not hard to guess that these Cuban anti-aircraft self-propelled units based on the BTR-60PB armored personnel carrier have not very high combat potential. With firing ranges of up to 2,5 (ZSU with 23-mm guns) or 4 (61-K guns) kilometers, such combat vehicles cannot fully fight modern aircraft and helicopters. Technically developed air forces will be able to attack and destroy such anti-aircraft self-propelled guns from a safe distance without entering their zone of operation.

Wheeled tank

During the processing of Soviet-made armored personnel carriers, Cuban engineers were able to build even a combat vehicle belonging to the class of so-called wheeled tanks. The base chassis of the BTR-60PB again underwent substantial improvements, and another combat module was installed on the modified roof, different from the native turret with machine guns.

Armored personnel carriers, converted into wheeled tanks, lost part of the sides and roof of the armored hull. To install a large tower with heavy weapons in place of the middle part of the sides, we had to add the characteristic box-shaped “growths”, on which a part of the tower's shoulder straps fit. The roof was changed accordingly, and on the lower part of the sides new armored panels appeared, covering the gaps between the wheels.

As a basis for the armament complex of the new machine, we chose the tower of the medium tank T-55. However, the Cubans did not install the original tank turret on the armored personnel carrier chassis. They designed a new combat module with similar weapons and equipment, but with a different design. The new tower is much easier, because it provides protection only from bullets and shrapnel, and also has a large feeding area with stacks of ammunition. At the same time in the frontal projection of the new tower is very similar to the original tower of the tank.

The new light turret installed a rifled tank gun DT-10Т caliber 100 millimeters with suspension systems borrowed from the T-55. The auxiliary armament has also been preserved: a twin machine gun of the 7,62 mm caliber (PKT) and an antiaircraft anti-aircraft gun of the 12,7 mm caliber. Ammunition of the new wheeled tank slightly decreased in comparison with the T-55: no more than 40 unitary projectiles fit in the stern niche of the turret.

An armored personnel carrier with a large turret and heavy weaponry increased its weight. The combat weight of such a wheeled tank, according to various estimates, is close to 19-20 tons. Because of this, the combat vehicle lost the ability to swim and can cross water only through bridges or with the help of water craft. The Cuban wheeled tank resembles some foreign cars in its appearance and expected characteristics, such as the Italian B1 Centauro or the French AMX-30RC. All of them are armed with rifled guns caliber 100 millimeters and above. Such weapon enough to deal with enemy light armored vehicles, fortifications, and even tanks of outdated models. With all its shortcomings - first of all, due to the large age of the basic components - the wheeled tank from Cuba is fully capable of performing the tasks characteristic of this class of armored vehicles and, under certain circumstances, can compete with its foreign counterparts.


All of the above-described combat vehicles based on the Soviet BTR-60PB armored personnel carrier clearly show what tricks the countries that do not have a developed defense industry, but who need armored vehicles, go through. The samples obtained from outdated equipment cannot even be called modern even with a big stretch, and their combat potential looks insignificant. However, in the absence of worthy alternatives, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba have to use just such a technique. In this case, it remains only to praise the desire of the Cuban military to update the fleet of armored vehicles and the creation of new types, even on the basis of the old ones.

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  1. Denis
    Denis 5 June 2013 08: 41
    Wheeled tank
    And why not?
    The conditions allow them, I have never heard about the terrible Cuban slut
    And in Africa, where they fought too
    Moreover, the resource of wheels is much more tracks and the engine burns less fuel
    1. Argon
      Argon 5 June 2013 15: 04
      In Africa (Angola, Zambia), it’s just like we have only a climate with a plus sign, in the rainy season (summer months and they have winter) it floods so that it is really possible to travel only by helicopter.
  2. Dima190579
    Dima190579 5 June 2013 09: 00
    The Cubans and warriors are noble and as I look they are also noble craftsmen.
    1. avt
      avt 5 June 2013 09: 29
      Quote: Dima190579
      The Cubans and warriors are noble and as I look they are also noble craftsmen.

      "If you want to live, you will not be so hot .." "Features of the national hunting"
      1. ksan
        ksan 6 December 2013 13: 42
        avt (3) SU June 5, 2013 09:29 ↑

        Quote: Dima190579
        The Cubans and warriors are noble and as I look they are also noble craftsmen.

        "If you want to live, you will not be so hot .." "Features of the national hunting"
        You can't say that about the Arabs) How many times did Israel have them ?? ..... and it still has how they do not "raskoryachivatsya" fellow
    2. Denis
      Denis 5 June 2013 09: 52
      Quote: Dima190579
      as I look, they are also noble craftsmen
      What more!
      That is certainly not about armored vehicles, but there are cars from the time of Batista and friendship with the Yankees running around and look like sweets
      There are no others
      1. Astrey
        Astrey 5 June 2013 10: 49
        And yet, the Cubans are friends with their heads. A family of good cars based on (instead of) useless junk.

        With the integrated use of self-propelled guns and tanks on a related chassis, the combat effectiveness of the group (with the proper use of environmental conditions) may also exceed similar indicators of the groups of modern vehicles.

        I see two HUGE PLUSES of the machines themselves:
        1. Crew training will take a short time compared with European, and especially with American counterparts;
        2. The car itself is already a pity, in which case the crew will save and not the remains of equipment.
    3. Corsair
      Corsair 5 June 2013 13: 31
      Quote: Dima190579
      The Cubans and warriors are noble and as I look they are also noble craftsmen.

      The need for inventions is cunning (it is said from the heart, with benevolence to Liberty Island)
  3. cosmos111
    cosmos111 5 June 2013 09: 08
    Well done Cubans. With a practical lack of funds. They produce such armored vehicles.
    1. Argon
      Argon 5 June 2013 15: 18
      It's a pity the photo of not all samples are presented, it's even more a pity that there are no performance characteristics, but the wheeled tank looks very, very much. And it may well serve as an example of "how to live" for those who were going to buy Italian "centaurs". Long live Fidel!
  4. Strashila
    Strashila 5 June 2013 09: 21
    I read and rejoiced ... I just don’t want to do anything, just sweets. We have hundreds of old armored personnel carriers and tanks being cut ... autogenous in our hands and sledgehammer ... and there’s no need to talk about any import purchase.
  5. Akim
    Akim 5 June 2013 10: 24
    I didn’t know about anti-aircraft guns. Thank. But the Chinese helped create the tank. In general, there are many hybrids in the Republic of Cuba. Goal for invention is cunning!
  6. Doctor Evil
    Doctor Evil 5 June 2013 11: 50
    That only does not happen in the world. I only saw the 61-K and BTR-60 anti-aircraft guns in a museum in Verkhnyaya Pyshma. And it turns out that the Cubans made ZSU from them. Young people!
  7. Seraph
    Seraph 5 June 2013 13: 06
    Beauties! A real People’s Army with weapons made by folk. Yankees teeth gossip if snooping
  8. Trevis
    Trevis 5 June 2013 19: 01
    Well, "the rich are, the more happy")
  9. Marek Rozny
    Marek Rozny 5 June 2013 21: 24
    Kazakhstan is also engaged in the modernization of old armored personnel carriers.

    "Kazakhstan not only buys the latest armored personnel carriers, but is going to modernize old Soviet vehicles. At the military parade of the armed forces of Kazakhstan held today, new options for modernizing the BTR-60 and BTR-70 were demonstrated.

    Earlier it was reported that the Kazakhstan Engineering company and the 811th repair plant mastered the modernization of armored personnel carriers with a major overhaul. The BTR modernization consists in replacing the standard carburetor engines with D-245.9E2 diesel power units with a total capacity of 272 hp (2x136 hp), which made it possible to improve the technical characteristics of this military equipment.

    Cars received the designation BTR-60MD and BTR-70MD. As an option, in 2010 a sample of “seventies” was demonstrated, which was equipped with a modern sighting system with a thermal imager of the Turkish company “Aselsan”. The gunner received information from the sight on the LCD monitor. The armament remained the same: 14,5 mm KPVT machine guns and 7,62 mm PKT machine guns.

    On the demonstrated new variants of armored personnel carriers, new manned turrets with a 30-mm automatic cannon and a coaxial 7,62 mm machine gun were installed. In addition, a modern multi-channel sight is installed. There are also smoke grenade launchers and additional optical observation devices. Modular armor protection is installed on the hulls of armored personnel carriers "...

    ZY Our armored vehicles were not cut, thank God. Only strategic bombers were slaughtered in the first half of the 90s, and then - under pressure from the "world community", after the Russians leaked information to the West that we "hid" several TU-sheks. We handed over most of this aircraft to Russia (in exchange we received fighters killed in the trash, which needed a major overhaul), and some left "just in case of fire." However, the Russian military hastened to inform the Americans that there are still strategic bombers in Kazakhstan that the Pentagon was not aware of. Evil Americans came and forced us to cut the planes into small pieces. At that time, the Russian military crushed their army with unprecedented enthusiasm, and also tried to dunk the neighboring armies in guano. And I suppose the "enthusiasm" was backed up by material gratitude from the "world community".
    1. Marek Rozny
      Marek Rozny 5 June 2013 21: 49
      “The Kazakh army is armed with about two and a half hundred armored reconnaissance vehicles BRDM-2 and almost 180 multiple launch rocket systems BM-27 Uragan.

      Machines have been in operation for more than a decade and, accordingly, need modernization. For example, on the BRDM-2, the standard power unit with a GAZ-41 carburetor engine is changed to the D-245.9E2 diesel engine. In addition, the installation of additional hatches of the troop compartment.

      As a result of this modernization, engine power is increased, the dynamic characteristics of the BRDM-2 are improved, fuel consumption is reduced and the range is increased. Also increases the efficiency and convenience when landing and landing personnel.

      If we talk about the combat vehicles that are the base of the Uragan MLRS, then there are currently operational problems associated with the lack of spare parts for discontinued engines and high operating costs.

      Therefore, it was decided to carry out development work on the modernization of the ZIL-135 LM wheeled tractor by replacing 2 gasoline engines with one diesel power unit.

      With two standard engines, this tractor consumes AI-93 gasoline within 130-150 liters per 100 km, and with one diesel engine, the consumption of cheaper diesel fuel will, on average, be halved and, accordingly, the power reserve will increase. "
  10. bublic82009
    bublic82009 5 June 2013 23: 37
    the gimmick of cunning. will it go for export?
  11. Watchman
    Watchman 6 June 2013 01: 37
    And why can not you give Cuba a few dozen T-64, which we have in large numbers at storage bases and are being decommissioned?
    1. svp67
      svp67 9 June 2013 17: 24
      Quote: Watchman
      And why can not you give Cuba a few dozen T-64, which we have in large numbers at storage bases and are being decommissioned?
      Well, firstly, if you donate it then T72 or T80, with the prospect of their maintenance or modernization ...
      And secondly, we must ask the Cubans whether they need this "pig in a poke"?
  12. Owl
    Owl 6 June 2013 17: 04
    Zealous owners, not from a good life, but treat obsolete technology competently.
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