Today I want to introduce you to the Soviet armored personnel carrier BTR-70, which is located near the Tallinn TV tower in Pirita.
The Soviet Army’s BTR-70 armored personnel carrier was designed to replace the earlier BTR-60. The first BTR-70 was completed and accepted into service in 1972, while series manufacture began in 1976, and the vehicle went on to become one of the main APCs used by the Soviet Army.
The BTR-70 is essentially an enhanced version of the BTR-60. The main modifications took the form of new, more powerful engines and doors for unloading troops, now placed on the sides of the vehicle. The BTR-60 had the doors above the beltline, which made unloading under enemy fire very dangerous. The Soviet battle tactics for motorised infantry called for unloading troops from the vehicle while it was in motion.
Both the BTR-60 and BTR-70 were powered by two gasoline engines. The six-cylinder inline engines of the BTR-60 were similar to those of the GAZ-51 and GAZ-52 trucks. The eight-cylinder engines of the BTR-70 had 120 horsepower each and resembled those of the GAZ-53 truck. Although the two engines were supposed to be synchronized, this proved a challenge and eventually one of the main shortcomings of the BTR-60 and BTR-70. Poor fuel economy was also a serious drawback of gasoline engines. The Soviet Army’s next APC generation, the BTR-80, while resembling the design of the BTR-70, already came with a single diesel engine (a turbocharged KamAZ engine).
Most of the BTR armored personnel carriers were manufactured in the Gorkiy Automobile Factory in Nizhniy Noygorod. In addition to the main armament (14.5-mm and 7.62-mm machine guns), the BTR-70 could also be fitted with smoke grenade launchers, Igla and Strela MANPADs or rocket-propelled grenades, also called as RPG.
At present day, the BTR-70 is used mainly by the countries formed out of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, where variants of the BTR-70 were or are still manufactured as well. In 2012, Russia had over 4,000 APGs of types BTR-60, BTR-70 and BTR-80, and the Ukraine over 900. Elsewhere, the largest number of BTR APCs are found in Syria: close to 1,000. The Estonian Defence Forces had four BTR-70 vehicles, which have been donated to museums, including the vehicle on display.
Date of visit: 26.05.2022
© Photos by Deniss Ignatjev