The first domestic serial armored personnel carrier BTR-40 was created in the late forties, taking into account the operating experience of the American machines M3 Scout Car, which affected the basic features of its appearance. This "origin" of the BTR-40 had an impact on its armament. The base machine of this model carried defensive armament in the form of a single machine gun of the SGMB caliber 7,62 mm. Depending on the situation, the gunner of the armored personnel carrier could install a machine gun on one of four mounts. There were transverse rods on the front and rear hull sheets, and swivel brackets on the sides. Initially, the BTR-40 armored personnel carrier carried devices for fastening machine guns of various designs, but in the mid-fifties, during the next modernization, all the brackets were unified. To install a machine gun on the bracket was supposed only in a combat situation. In the stowed position, it was located in the troop compartment, on the left wheel arch.
When installing the machine gun on the mount frontal sheet shooter could fire targets that are within the horizontal sector width 160 °. Allowable reduction weapons limited to 13-15 degrees, the ultimate elevation depended on the machine gun design and usability. The on-board machine gun mounting points made it possible to control sectors with a width of 140 °, the feeding unit - 180 °. Thus, when rearranging the machine gun from place to place, almost circular shelling was provided. Naturally, the movement of weapons in a combat situation was very difficult.
The power supply of the SGMB machine gun was carried out using ribbons on 250 cartridges. In the combat compartment of the armored personnel carrier BTR-40 there was room for five boxes of ammunition, each of which contained one tape. General ammunition consisted of 1250 cartridges. In addition, the gunner could use 8 fragmentation and 2 anti-tank grenades to defend an armored personnel carrier.
In 1951, an anti-aircraft version of the combat vehicle called the BTR-40А appeared. In the troop compartment of this machine is located anti-aircraft installation ZPTU-2, equipped with two machine guns caliber 14,5 mm caliber. The machine gun elevation angles from -5 ° to + 90 ° allowed the firing of both airborne and ground targets. Ammunition of two machine guns consisted of 1200 cartridges. It should be noted that the anti-aircraft installation ZPTU-2 occupied almost the entire volume of the troop compartment, because of which the former armored personnel carrier completely lost its transport capabilities.
In the mid-fifties, a version of the BTR-40 armored personnel carrier with a fully enclosed hull was developed. The armored vehicle BTR-40B received the roof of the troop compartment with two double wing hatches. The hatches were located in the front and aft parts of the roof and were intended for the shooter. For firing it was required to open one of the hatches and install the machine gun on the corresponding bracket. The shooter of an armored personnel carrier BTR-40B could use only two brackets, on the front and stern sheets of the hull.
Simultaneously with the BTR-40 armored personnel carrier, a vehicle of a similar purpose, the BTR-152, was created. The design of these two armored vehicles used a significant number of common components and assemblies, including weapons. The BTR-152 armored personnel carrier was armed with one machine gun of the 7,62 caliber mm. Weapon attachment systems were similar to those used on the BTR-40. The shooter could fire using one of four brackets on the front, aft, or side plates of the hull. Target angles and ammunition volumes did not differ from the corresponding parameters of the BTR-40.
In the early fifties, an anti-aircraft version of the BTR-152 combat vehicle, called the BTR-152A, was created. Like the BTR-40, this machine was equipped with an anti-aircraft machine gun ZPTU-2 with machine guns KPV caliber 14,5 mm. According to its characteristics, this weapon was similar to the BTR-40А armament. Despite the relatively large volumes of the troop compartment, the BTR-152А still did not retain the transport function.
In the second half of the fifties, the BTR-152, like the BTR-40, acquired an armored roof. In the roof there were three hatchways, two of which could be used by the shooter. As in the case of the BTR-40, a modification of an armored personnel carrier with a roof retained only two brackets for fastening the SGMB machine gun.
Adopted in 1954, the BTR-50P armored personnel carrier had the same weapons as the previous vehicles of this class. The crew of the armored vehicle had one 7,62-mm machine gun SGMB. After the modernization of the late sixties, all armored personnel carriers of this family were re-equipped with PKB machine guns. Machine guns of both types could be mounted on one of two arms: on the frontal and stern sheet of the troop compartment.
Devices for installing the machine gun SGMB were unified with units of armored personnel carriers of previous models. Thanks to this, the shooter of the BTR-50P machine could fire at fairly wide sectors in the front and rear hemispheres. The machine gun of the armored personnel carrier used ribbons for 250 cartridges. The portable ammunition consisted of five ribbons - 1250 cartridges.
It is known about attempts to install large-caliber DShKM and KPV machine guns on the BTR-50P armored personnel carrier. Despite the great firepower, such options for equipping armored vehicles did not become standard. It should be noted that there are photographic materials depicting BTR-50P armored personnel carriers with large-caliber weapons, but such machine guns were installed only for parades.
Over time, the BTR-50P armored personnel carrier received an armored roof and a new designation - the BTR-50PK. After such a modernization, the armor of the armored personnel carrier remained the same, and for its use large hatches were provided in the roof.
According to some reports, the BTR-50P, like the previous domestic armored personnel carriers, could become the basis for an anti-aircraft self-propelled unit. For this purpose, it was intended to mount a machine-gun unit with a ZPTU-2 machine gun in the troop compartment. In addition, the use of the four-barred installation ZPTU-4 was considered. In a series of similar equipment did not go.
The armored personnel carrier BTR-60, which is a direct "ancestor" of all subsequent domestic vehicles for this purpose, did not have a roof in the first versions. For this reason, the armament of armored vehicles corresponded to the previous armored personnel carriers. The BTR-60 carried the SGMB machine gun mounted on one of three brackets. The brackets were located on the front plate and on the sides of the hull. The shooter had five ribbons with 1250 cartridges. There are images of armored personnel carriers BTR-60 with a machine gun DShKM on the front bracket and two SGMB on-board, but these photos are "indicative" and do not reflect the realities of operation of the armored personnel carrier.
In the mid-sixties, the BTR-60 armored personnel carrier repeated the fate of the previous vehicle and acquired an armored roof. Initially, the armored vehicle had a roof, created taking into account the developments in previous projects: for the use of a machine gun in the roof provided for the hatch. This version of the armored carrier received an index BTR-60A. Late series of this machine received new machine guns, instead of SGMB they were equipped with 7,62-millimeter PCB.
The BTR-60PB project can be considered a real revolution in the field of armament of domestic armored personnel carriers. For the first time in Soviet practice, an armored personnel carrier received not brackets for attaching weapons, but a full-fledged swiveling tower. A relatively small conical tower with a straight frontal sheet allowed to solve several problems at once, which were pursued by previous models of armored personnel carriers. The armored tower protected the shooter from bullets and shrapnel, made it possible to direct weapons more precisely, and also could carry more powerful weapons than a rifle-caliber machine gun.
In the turret of an armored troop-carrier BTR-60PB a KPVT machine gun of caliber 14,5 mm and 7,62-mm PCT were installed. The shooter could fire in any direction, rotating the turret, and also direct weapons vertically from -5 ° to + 30 °. For aiming machine guns, it was proposed to use the PP-61 periscope optical sight with the increase of 2,6x. The sight made it possible to fire from a large-caliber machine gun at distances up to 2000 meters, from PKT - to 1500 m. The ammunition kit of the machine gun CPV consisted of 10 tapes of 50 cartridges each (a total of 500 cartridges). In the boxes for ammunition for the PKT machine gun there were eight ribbons of 250 cartridges (2000 cartridges).
In the early seventies, the new BTR-70 armored personnel carrier entered the Soviet army. This machine was created on the basis of developments under the project BTR-60PB. It was assumed that the new type of armored vehicles will be able to adopt all the advantages of the basic machine, but will be deprived of its disadvantages. Apparently, the turret with two machine guns was assigned to the positive sides of the armored personnel carrier BTR-60PB, as a result of which it was transferred to the BTR-70 without any major changes.
Armament and its characteristics remained the same, although the design of the tower has undergone some changes related to manufacturing technology. In addition, in the turret of an armored personnel carrier BTR-70 it was proposed to install a modernized periscope sight PP-61AM. Ammunition size and firing range remained the same.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, some countries armed with BTR-70 armored personnel carriers attempted to modernize them. A number of such projects involved the use of new weapons, including new combat modules. Thanks to this, the BTR-70 was able to become the carrier of automatic cannons and grenade launchers, as well as anti-tank missiles. In the Russian armed forces, the BTR-70 vehicles were operated with basic armament.
Armored personnel carrier BTR-80 was intended to replace previous machines of similar purpose. As a result, in its design widely used developments in previous projects. For this reason, in the basic version, the BTR-80 armored vehicle was equipped with almost the same weaponry as the BTR-60PB or BTR-70. On the roof of the car, they provided for a conical turret of a “classic” design for domestic armored personnel carriers.
The armament of the first modification of the BTR-80 was borrowed from the previous armored vehicles. In the tower installed machine gun KPVT 14,5 caliber mm and 7,62-mm PKT. Machine gun mounting systems have undergone some changes. New mechanisms with manual transmission allowed to direct machine guns in a vertical plane ranging from -4 ° to + 60 °. The turret of the new armored vehicle received updated sighting devices. The BTR-80 shooter must use a 1P3-2 periscopic rifle scope with variable magnification (1,2x and 4x), providing a field of vision of 49 or 14 width. Machine gun ammunition remained the same: 10 tapes on 500 cartridges 14,5x114 mm and 8 tapes on 2000 cartridges 7,62x54 mm R.
Based on the experience of the war in Afghanistan, a modification of the BTR-80 armored personnel carrier with a new weapon system was created. The armored vehicle BTR-80А received a new combat module with more powerful weapons. The relatively small diameter of the shoulder strap of the base vehicle forced the authors of the BTR-80A project to apply a new layout of weapons for domestic armored personnel carriers. On the chase of the BTR-80A car, a rotary platform was mounted, on which there were supports and a rocking installation with weapons. The 30-mm automatic gun 2А72 became the main weapon of the armored personnel carrier. An 7,62-mm PKT machine gun was mounted on the same design with a gun, and there were smoke grenade launchers on the arms. The turret was equipped with 1PZ-9 sights (day) TPNZ-42 (night).
Ammunition of the turret of an armored personnel carrier BTR-80А consists of 300 shells for an automatic cannon and 2000 cartridges for a machine gun. It should be noted that all the units of the tower, including the ammunition box, are located outside the hull, which is why a continuous supply of ammunition is used. The design of the tower provides guidance weapons in any direction. The elevation angle is limited to 70 degrees. Depending on the ammunition used, the BTR-80A armament can hit targets at a distance of up to 4 kilometers. An interesting feature of the turret with the 2А72 cannon and PKT machine gun is the relatively high aiming line - 2,8 meters from the ground. This allows the crew of an armored personnel carrier to hide behind walls or buildings, if necessary, leaving the possibility of observing the situation and firing. When fighting in urban environments, such opportunities are very useful.
The BTR-80A armored personnel carrier tower has several advantages over previous weapons systems, but the power of its weapons may be excessive to perform some combat missions. In addition, to install a heavy turret with an automatic gun, it is necessary to refine the body of the base armored personnel carrier. In order to preserve the advantages of the turret tower and to ensure the required characteristics, the BTR-80C armored personnel carrier was created. The turret of this combat vehicle is a modified version of the corresponding BTR-80А unit, but instead of the 30-mm automatic cannon it is equipped with a KPVT machine gun. Twin machine gun remained the same - PKT caliber 7,62 mm.
In the two thousandth, several new modifications of the BTR-80 armored personnel carrier were created. Machines BTR-82 equipped with new engines and a number of new equipment, designed to improve their performance. As before, the armament complex of new armored vehicles was made on the basis of the corresponding aggregates of the previous technology. The original turret assembly tower, created for the BTR-80A armored personnel carrier, has been improved and installed on the vehicles of the new modifications.
The BTR-82 armored personnel carrier is armed with a turret with a large-caliber machine gun KPVT and 7,62-mm PKT. The general features of the tower design were borrowed without major changes from the combat module of the armored personnel carrier BTR-80А. KPVT and PKT machine guns have ammunition 500 and 2000 cartridges, respectively. Submission of ammunition to each of the machine guns is carried out with a single tape. To improve the accuracy of shooting weapons equipped with a two-plane stabilizer. Separate day and night sights are replaced by the TKN-4GA combined instrument.
The BTR-82A armored personnel carrier carries an 30-mm automatic cannon and a PKT machine gun. Armament is stabilized in two planes. The ammunition of the cannon and machine gun remained the same as on the BTR-80 - 300 shells and 2000 cartridges. The turret of the BTR-82А is equipped with a sight similar to that used on an armored personnel carrier with machine-gun armament.
In the early nineties, the new domestic armored personnel carrier BTR-90 was introduced for the first time. This combat vehicle was created taking into account the experience of the last wars and had to significantly increase the combat capability of the motorized rifle divisions. In 2011, the Ministry of Defense finally abandoned the purchase of the BTR-90 in favor of the promising technology currently being developed. Nevertheless, the armament of an armored personnel carrier that did not go into the series is of great interest.
For the first time in domestic practice, it was proposed to equip an armored personnel carrier with a double turret with a developed weapon system. In terms of its design and equipment, the BTR-90 tower to some extent resembled the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle tower. The main weapon of the BTR-90 was to be the 2-42 automatic cannon of the 30 caliber. On one of the mechanisms with a weapon, a PKTM 7,62 mm caliber machine gun was to be installed. Barreled weapons had a two-plane stabilizer. On the roof of the tower of a promising armored personnel carrier, a launcher of the Konkurs anti-tank missile system 9K113 was provided. At the disposal of the gunner was a combined (day and night) sight BPK-3-42. At the request of foreign customers, the gunner’s workplace could be equipped with a BOD-M scope with a French-made thermal imager. In addition, the armored personnel carrier was equipped with a special anti-aircraft sight 1P3-3.
The turret mechanisms made it possible to point weapons at 360 ° in the horizontal plane and from -5 ° to + 75 ° in the vertical. The ammunition of the automatic cannon consisted of 500 shells, a coaxial machine gun - from 2000 cartridges. In addition, in the combat compartment of the armored personnel carrier there was a place to accommodate four transport-launch containers with anti-tank missiles 9М113 "Competition". The used weapons complex allowed the BTR-90 armored personnel carrier to hit armored vehicles and fortify the enemy with missiles at ranges up to 4 kilometers. The automatic gun 2А42 had a target range for ground targets to 4 km, for air - 2-2,5 kilometers.
In the mid-seventies, the airborne troops received a new descent armored personnel carrier BTR-D. To facilitate the development and construction of technology, this project was carried out on the basis of the BMD-1 airborne combat vehicle with extensive use of its components and assemblies. The armored personnel carrier for the Airborne Forces received two PKM machine guns mounted in the troop compartment.
In the front sheet of the troop compartment, located behind the workplace of the driver, provided two hatches through which it was supposed to fire from two PC machine guns. The paratroopers inside the combat vehicle should shoot from this weapon. The shooters have 8 tapes with 250 cartridges each (1000 cartridges for a machine gun).
There is information about equipping a certain number of BTR-D armored personnel carriers with AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers. This weapon was mounted on a bracket on the roof of the troop compartment. For firing from a grenade launcher, the paratrooper had to use one of the hatches in the roof. Also, some sources mention the existence of armored vehicles with a similar installation of machine guns.
BTR-MD and BTR-MDM
In the near future, the Airborne Forces should receive new equipment of several models. The basis for vehicles for various purposes, allegedly, should be the BTR-MDM armored personnel carrier. This armored vehicle was created on the basis of the previous project BTR-MD. It is proposed to build new equipment for the Airborne Forces using existing and newly developed components and assemblies. Some of the components were borrowed from the infantry fighting vehicle BMP-3M and from the airborne combat vehicle BMD-4М.
Like the previous armored personnel carrier for the airborne troops, the BTR-MDM has light machine-gun armament. The BTR-MDM vehicle armament consists of a remote-controlled turret with a PKTM 7,62-mm machine gun. Ammunition machine gun located in a box next to him. To aim the machine gun at the target, the periscope 1P67M is used. If necessary, the crew can fire from an additional course gun. Course set for the RPK light machine gun is located in the front hull sheet in its right half. In addition, there are four smoke grenade launchers on the frontal plate.
Future armored vehicles
For half a century, the armament of domestic armored personnel carriers has undergone major changes. The BTR-40 carried only one rifle-caliber machine gun mounted on one of four brackets. If necessary, the machine gun could be rearranged to another location or removed and used separately. The latest models of armored personnel carriers have solid machine-gun or cannon-machine-gun armament, many times superior to that used on the first machines of this class. Recent developments in the field of armored vehicles for motorized rifle troops allow us to say with confidence that the development of weapons continues and is unlikely to stop.
In recent years, the domestic and foreign defense industry is actively working to create new combat modules suitable for installation on various models of equipment. Domestic enterprises are ready to provide the customer with combat modules of various models, equipped with weapons of various types and classes. Depending on the wishes of the military, armored vehicles can carry machine guns, automatic guns, automatic grenade launchers and anti-tank missiles. In addition, all current combat modules are equipped with modern sighting devices.
It is precisely universal combat modules that currently look like the most convenient and effective means of armor equipment for motorized rifle subunits. Such systems, which combine reservation elements, armament and various electronic equipment, make it possible to equip equipment with all necessary systems, as well as to upgrade it relatively easily. As for the armament of the future armored personnel carriers, it is likely to retain its main features. There is reason to believe that such armored vehicles will continue to carry automatic guns or large-caliber machine guns, paired with machine guns of rifle caliber. In addition, automatic grenade launchers and anti-tank missiles can be included in weapons systems.
However, only time will tell how the armament of future armored personnel carriers will look. Demonstration of new domestic technology of this class should be held in the coming years.
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