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BTR-60 - Бронетранспортер (СССР)


Type - Wheeled amphibious armored personnel carrier
Place of origin - Soviet Union
Service history
In service - 1959-present
Production history
Designer - V. A. Dedkov
Designed - 1955
Manufacturer - Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (Soviet Union) / Ratmil Regie Autonoma (Romania, TAB-71)
Produced - 1960-1976 (Soviet Union) / 1970-1990 (Romania)
No. built - ~25,000 (Soviet Union) / 1,878 (Romania, TAB-71)
Specifications (BTR-60PB)
Mass - 10.3 t (11.4 short tons)
Length - 7.56 m
Width - 2.83 m (9 ft 3+1⁄2 in)
Height - 2.31 m (7 ft 7 in)
Crew - 3 + 14 passengers (original roofless BTR-60P had 2+14 capacity, reduced to 2+12 in BTR-60PA and 2+8 in BTR-60PB)
Armor - Welded steel (7 mm at 86° hull upper front / 9 mm at 47° hull lower front / 7 mm hull sides / 5 mm hull upper rear / 7 mm hull lower rear / 5 mm hull floor / 7 mm hull roof / 10 mm turret front / 7 mm turret sides / 7 mm turret sear / 7 mm turret roof)
Main armament - 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine gun (500 rounds)
Secondary armament 7.62 mm PKT tank coaxial machine gun (3,000 rounds)
Engine - 2×GAZ-40P 6-cylinder gasoline (67 kW (90 hp) each) / 134 kW (180 hp) (combined)
Power/weight - 13.7 kW/t (18.4 hp/t)
Suspension - wheeled 8×8
Ground clearance - 475 mm (18+11⁄16 in)
Fuel capacity - 290 L (77 US gal)
Operational range - 500 km (300 mi)
Maximum speed - 80 km/h (50 mph) on road / 10 km/h (6 mph) in water

The BTR-60 is the first vehicle in a series of Soviet eight-wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APCs). It was developed in the late 1950s as a replacement for the BTR-152 and was seen in public for the first time in 1961. BTR stands for Bronetransporter (БТР, Бронетранспортер, literally "armoured transporter").


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 were not 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 values of the BTR-152 and BTR-40 were exposed when the Egyptian Army used them during the Suez Crisis and also when the Soviet Army used them in the fighting on the streets of Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. These were among the reasons why the new APC was developed.
Between 1956 and 1957, a decision was made to convert all rifle and mechanized divisions into motor rifle divisions and a requirement for a new transport vehicle was drawn up.
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 that 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. The GAZ design team started to work on the new APC during the winter of 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 that 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 and passed state trials in 1959. Even though the Ob'yekt 1015B performed best, the GAZ design was selected and given the designation BTR-60P. Officially, the committee that 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 fewest technological advancements, which made it easier to put into mass production.
BTR-60P had open-roofed crew and troop compartments, which was deemed to be a serious disadvantage. Accordingly, a new version with an armoured roof, designated BTR-60PA, entered production in 1963. This new version's capacity was reduced from 16 soldiers to 14 soldiers.
The appearance of the German HS.30 APC, which was armed with a 20 mm cannon, prompted the addition of the conical BPU-1 turret. This turret, which was originally developed for the BRDM-2 amphibious armoured scout car, was armed with the KPVT 14.5 mm heavy machine gun and a 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 the BTR-60PB, which had a better sighting system for the machine guns.
BTR-60 was a revolutionary design for its time. It had a non-standard layout for an APC; the crew compartment was in the front, the troop compartment in the middle and the engine compartment in the rear. This meant that, while the BTR-60 did not share some of the weaknesses that other APCs had, it had several disadvantages of its own.


BTR-60P crew: 1) commander; 2) driver; 4) 14 × infantry soldiers
BTR-60PB crew: 1) commander; 2) driver; 3) gunner; 4) 7 × infantry soldiers

In the BTR-60, the crew compartment is located in the front of the vehicle and had a roof - unlike the troop compartment, which first received one with the introduction of the 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 position of the driver and commander stations remained unchanged in later models. The gunner operates the BPU-1 turret, using the PP-61A optical sight. In the BTR-60P, both the driver and commander manned their positions by entering the vehicle through the sides. The BTR-60PA introduced two hatches over their stations and crew members had to climb on top of the vehicle to use them. The entry method did not change in later production models. The BTR-60B introduced a side door for the gunner on the right side, and firing ports for both the driver and commander, and two for the gunner, one on each side. (For more information on the BTR-60's firing port see the troop compartment section). Both the driver and the commander have forward views through bulletproof windshields, onto which steel covers can be lowered. In the BTR-60P and BTR-60PA, the covers had vision slots, and additional slots on both sides of the crew compartment. These were removed in the BTR-60PB in favor of two periscopes on each side. In early models of the BTR-60P and BTR-60PA, only the driver had a periscope, while the commander had a removable OU-3 infrared searchlight. In the 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 usually equipped with an R-113 radio; however, some models used the R-123. The initial BTR-60P production model lacked night-vision and had only four headlights (two infrared, two white, one of each kind per side, these remained in all BTR-60 models). Late BTR-60P models were fitted with night-vision; the TKN-1 connected with the OU-3 infrared searchlight for the commander and the TWN-2 for the driver. This remained unchanged in later models.
Troop compartment
The troop compartment is behind the crew compartment and in front of the engine compartment. The BTR-60P can transport up to 16 fully equipped soldiers. This number reduced to 14 in BTR-60PB. As the BTR-60P didn't have a roof, it was covered with a 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 could fire at the enemy with their personal weapons. The difference between models was in the position of these three firing ports. The BTR-60P and BTR-60PA had the firing ports positioned in a row between the middle and the front part of the troop compartment. In the BTR-60PB, the firing ports were relocated; one was 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 the 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, the BTR-60P had two steps on each side of the hull, one between the first and second pair of road wheels and the other between the third and fourth pair of wheels. It also had two vertical hand rails on each side of the troop compartment, as well as an angled horizontal one on the left-hand side of the hull next to the engine compartment. The 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 the BTR-60PB, the number of hand rails decreased from six to five on each side of the hull; the rear upper hand rail was removed from the right side, whereas the center upper one was removed from the left side. The BTR-60P has two doors on each side of the troop compartment (one in the front and one in the rear), but infantry still had to dismount through the sides. The side doors were removed in the BTR-60PA. They were used mostly as emergency exits and as auxiliary firing ports. In the BTR-60PB, a side door was added on the front left of the troop compartment.
The hull armour is made from welded steel and provides protection against small arms fire and shrapnel. The frontal armour can withstand 7.62 mm bullets from any range. The rest of the armour 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 - even the simplest explosives could take out a BTR-60P. The new BTR design with a roof was called the BTR-60PA.

Armour thickness is as follows:
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

The BTR-60 has a 8x8 suspension. Originally, there were difficulties in finding a suitable engine for it: the six-cylinder GAZ-40P gasoline engine, which produces 90 hp, had insufficient power, while the 205-hp YaAZ-206B was too heavy. Instead, the BTR was fitted with two six-cylinder gasoline GAZ-40P engines (67 kW) located side by side in the rear of the vehicle. The combined power of the engines is 180 hp (134 kW). Each engine propels two of the vehicle's axles. The engine on the right propels the second and the fourth axles, while the one on the left 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 and is hung on transversal torsion bars. The first two axles each have two hydraulic absorbers, while the third and fourth only have one. The first and second pair of wheels can be turned. The gaps between the first and second axles and between the third and 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 does not affect the other one and the vehicle can still move, albeit with reduced speed. This setup, however, caused several problems that either do not exist in single-engined vehicles or were not as serious: the design itself was complicated and the amount of work that had to be done during maintenance 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 as well as most variants of the BTR-70. The single-engine setup was introduced in the BTR-80.
Amphibious capability
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 models

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 - 10.2 - 10.2 - 10.3 - ? - 10.3
Height (metres) - 2.06 m - 2.06 m - 2.06 m - 2.06 m - 2.31 m - 2.31 m
Crew - 2 + 16 - 2 + 16 - 2 + 16 - 2 + 16 - 3 + 14 - 3 + 14
Primary armament - 7.62 mm PKT, SGMB or PKB tank/medium/general-purpose machine gun (2,000 rounds) - 7.62 mm PKT, SGMB or PKB tank/medium/general-purpose machine gun (2,000 rounds) - 12.7 mm DShK 1938/46 heavy machine gun (500 rounds) - 12.7 mm DShK 1938/46 heavy machine gun (500 rounds) - 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine gun (500 rounds) - 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine gun (500 rounds)
Secondary armament - 2 × 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) - 2 × 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) - 2 × 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) - 2 × 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) - 7.62 mm PKT coaxial tank machine gun (3,000 rounds) - 7.62 mm PKT coaxial tank machine gun (3,000 rounds)
Power-to-weight ratio . hp/tonne (kW/tonne) - 18.4 (13.7) - 17.6 (13.1) - 17.6 (13.1) - 17.5 (13.0) - ? - 17.5 (13.0)

Production history
BTR-60s were produced by Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (GAZ). The BTR-60P was produced between 1960 and 1963. The BTR-60PA entered production in 1963, followed by the BTR-60PA-1 in 1965. Both the BTR-60PA and BTR-60PA-1 were produced until 1966. The 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 Western estimates, around 25,000 BTR-60s were produced by GAZ. During BTR-80 production, and therefore after BTR-60 production had ended, there was a special production run of 100 BTR-60PBs, some of which have been exported to Iraq.

Service history

Soviet Union
An order to enter the BTR-60P into Soviet Army service was issued on 13 December 1959. However, production did not start until 1960. The first BTR-60Ps were delivered in 1960. It first entered service with the Soviet Army and later the Marine Corps. The BTR-60 entered service with the Soviet military at the time when the USSR was arming on a mass scale. In the early 1960s, it replaced the BTR-152 in the role of the basic APC. The BTR-60P was first seen by the West in 1961. The BTR-60PA entered service with the Soviet Army in 1963, the BTR-60PA-1 and BTR-60PAI entered service in 1965, the BTR-60PB in 1966, the BTR-60PZ in 1972 and the BTR-60PBK in 1975. As newer models of the BTR-60 appeared, the older ones were gradually withdrawn from front-line service. A number of old BTR-60Ps were converted into repair vehicles.
The first use of Soviet BTR-60s in an armed conflict happened during the Warsaw Pact 1968 Invasion of Czechoslovakia. However, actual combat was scarce.
In the 1980s, most of the BTR-60s in the Soviet army had been replaced by the BTR-70 and BTR-80; however, a large number was still operated by second-line and border troops. According to the data provided by the USSR during the signing of the CFE Treaty in 1990, there were 4,191 BTR-60s in service with the units stationed in the European part of the Soviet Union.
Sino-Soviet border conflict
The first real combat use of the BTR-60 took place during the Sino-Soviet border conflict on Zhenbao Island (Damansky Island at the time) in March 1969. The frontier units operating on the island were equipped with BTR-60PBs, while the 57th border detachment group was equipped with BTR-50Ps and BTR-50PKs. The BTR-60 proved to be a worthwhile vehicle, although it sustained high losses due to the large number of RPGs used by the Chinese and mistakes made by the commanders of the APCs stemming from their insufficient combat experience with the new vehicles. The high losses due to RPG hits wasn't unexpected, as the BTR-60's armour was designed to protect the vehicle from small arms fire and shrapnel, but not specialized anti-tank weapons. The most effective tactic found for using BTR-60PBs was in covering the dismounted infantry. This is a job more suited for infantry fighting vehicles than armoured personnel carriers, whose main role is transporting infantry to the battlefield and providing them with armour protection during that time. The BMP-1, the world's first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle, started production in 1966 and therefore the Soviet Army had very small numbers of those vehicles available at the time of Sino-Soviet border conflict. During the fights in March, the Chinese managed to capture four BTR-60PBs and one T-62 MBT.
BTR-60PBs were used again during the border conflict east of Lake Zhalanashkol in Kazakhstan (Kazakh SSR at the time) in August 1969. During the fighting, the armour of BTR-60PB proved inadequate.
Soviet-Afghan War
The BTR-60PB was used in large numbers during the initial part of the Soviet-Afghan War. This was because the units that were originally used for this operation weren't the top priority of the Soviet military, which prioritized the units stationed in East Germany. The same design flaws were present during this conflict and the vehicle became even more vulnerable due to the kind of fighting that took place in Afghanistan. The GAZ-40P gasoline engines experienced frequent power losses and overheating due to the tropical highland climate for which they were not well suited. Also, the BTR-60PB's turret could not elevate its armament high enough to fire at the Mujahideen attacking from high ground. Like during the Sino-Soviet border conflict, many BTR-60PBs fell victim to RPGs. Because of those drawbacks, the BTR-60PBs were replaced by BTR-70s as soon as possible to a point where only the BTR-60 command variants were used.
Other operational use
Soviet BTR-60s, BTR-70s and BTR-80s were used for dispersing the demonstrations in Tbilisi in 1989 and stopping the fighting on the border between Uzbek SSR and Kirghiz SSR. They were also used in Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia. In 1990, they were used in Vilnius to suppress the Lithuanian independence movements.
Soviet Union successor states
In 1991, the BTR-60s of the Soviet Army was passed on to the armies of the successor states and thus used in many regional conflicts. 27 BTR-60PBs that were inherited by Moldavia were used by its army during the War of Transnistria. A number of BTR-60s were used by the Georgian army during the 1992-1993 War in Abkhazia.
As of 2007, several hundred BTR-60s remain in service with USSR successor states; these are in a process of being replaced by more modern vehicles.
Russia used BTR-60s during the First Chechen War, but since the mid-1990s BTR-60s have only been in use with the border troops.
In Russian service, many BTR-60 variants have been replaced by variants of the BTR-80/K1Sh1 or have been upgraded with the engines from the BTR-80.
Moldova inherited 27 BTR-60PBs from the Soviet Union. They were used during the War of Transnistria against the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. Moldova also ordered 161 ex-Romanian TAB-71Ms in 1992, which were delivered between 1992 and 1995. Moldova also inherited 20 BTR-70s from the Soviet Union and received 250 TAB Zimbrus and MLI-84s from Romania. In the end of March 1992, the Moldavian army was trying to sever the connection between Tiraspol and Rîbnița. Five out of the six BTRs used during that operation were lost. On 1 April, two BTRs were used during the assault on Bender. In June, dozen of APCs were used during another assault on the city.
In 1992, the separatist state of Abkhazia declared Independence from Georgia and the War in Abkhazia (1992-1993) began. Georgia sent its troops to Abkhazia to stabilize the region. The 3,000-man force was poorly equipped with military vehicles, having only five T-55 main battle tanks, a few BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, three BTR-60/70 armoured personnel carriers and a small number of BM-21 Grad MRLs. As the war continued, the Georgian forces in Abkhazia were strengthened. The rebels had no AFVs of their own, but captured some heavy equipment from the Georgians. BTR-60 was also used by Ossetian rebels during 1991-1992 South Ossetia War, in one case Ossetian rebels supported by BTR-60PB launched an attack on Georgian Checkpoint, BTR was heavily damaged by 30 mm Rounds fired by Georgian BMP-2 and was forced to retreat, following BTR-60 was found by Georgian forces in several days after attack, it was repaired and used by Georgian National Guard.
A BTR-60PB of the Armenian police was used on 1 March 2008 during the Armenian presidential election protests in Yerevan. It was sent to counter the protest at the Shahumyan Square near the French Embassy, where it arrived at 1:30 pm. Eventually, the unarmed and peaceful demonstrators surrounded the APC, mounted it, and forced its crew to leave the square.
During the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War, Ukrainian Military used several BTR-60 variants. The Ukrainian National Guard, have deployed BTR-60PB's for counter-insurgency operations in Eastern Ukraine.

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