The BTR-50 ZPU-4 is a Soviet experimental anti-aircraft vehicle, built on the BTR-50 chassis, and armed with four 14.5 mm KPV machine guns.
A BTR-50K of the Soviet Marines.
Originally designed as a response to a GBTU request for a light tank and amphibious APC, the BTR-50 would enter service as the BTR-50P in 1952. A result of this was experimenting with it for different combat roles. One of which was an anti-aircraft role, where it was first used with a ZPU-2 mounted on the vehicle. Not only could these 14.5 mm machine guns destroy aircraft, but they posed a threat to lightly armored vehicles as well.
An example of a ZPU-4.
In 1955, OKBT LKZ, under the direction of Josef Kotin, created another vehicle, a BTR-50P with the ZPU-4 mount. This had four KPV machine guns, and this installation was to be a high-mobility vehicle with enough firepower to take care of aircraft and lightly armored ground threats. A special pedestal designed by OKB-43 was installed in the troop compartment for the ZPU-4 mount. The rate of fire of the vehicle overall increased due to the extra guns. The increase in firepower made it possible to target aircraft flying at higher speeds, something necessary in this new age of jet aircraft. However, there was a large increase in recoil, and the base and swivel were strengthened.
One of the remaining prototypes in the Kubinka Tank Museum.
One of the major issues was that it was difficult to keep a target in the sights of the vehicle due to the gunner having to put a lot of effort into the guidance of the guns, especially in the limited space of the BTR-50P. However, the largest issue was irrelevance, since only a year after the 1956 official state tests came about, development started on a much better anti-aircraft system, the famous ZSU-23-4 “Shilka”. Currently, two BTR-50P ZPU-4 prototypes sit in the Kubinka tank museum, not quite forgotten by time.
- Crew: 4
- Mass: 13.8 t
- Length: 7 m
- Width: 3.1 m
- Height: 2.2 m
- Armament: 4 × 14.5mm KPV machine guns, 2,500 rounds
- Engine: 240 hp V-6 engine
- Maximum speed: 44 km/h
- Maximum speed on water: 10.2 km/h
- Horsepower per ton: 17.6 hp/t
- Опытная зенитная самоходная установка БТР-50П с ЗТПУ-4 (СССР) | Dogswar.ru - Стрелковое оружие, военная техника, вооружённые силы мира
- Anti-aircraft ZPTU-4 BTR-50P | Tank museum Patriot park Moscow
- ЗЕНИТНАЯ САМОХОДНАЯ УСТАНОВКА ЗТПУ-4. Обозрение отечественной бронетанковой техники
- Бронетранспортер БТР-50П