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BTR-T: A Failed Response to Chechnya
History:The BTR-T came about as a response to the devastating losses taken by the Russian army during the First Chechen War (1994-1996), more specifically during the First Battle of Grozny. During this campaign, massive numbers of lightly-armored BMP-1/2/3 and BTR-60/70/80 IFVs and APCs were destroyed in droves by Chechen anti-tank squads armed with RPGs. These attack teams, usually consisting of three or four men, would be positioned high up in buildings and ambush the light vehicles with RPG-7 or RPG-18 rocket launchers. These had a devastating effect on Russian light armor, as they were able to attack the vehicles, destroy or cripple them with little to no issue, and escape before being spotted. These tactics were one of the main reasons the Russians initially failed to take Grozny and eventually lost the war. As a result, the Russians called for a new vehicle which could transport troops, provide fire support against tall buildings, and be protected enough to survive ambushes with rocket launchers. This took the form of the BTR-T (Bronetransporter-Tyazhelyy / Armored Transporter-Heavy), a conversion of older T-55 medium tanks into a heavy IFV.
The task of designing and building these vehicles was undertaken by Omsktransmash and the KBTM design bureau, along with help from Uralvagonzavod. The vehicle was first unveiled at the VTTV-97 Weapons Expo in Omsk in 1997. However, due to economic issues of the time and failures during testing, Russia did not purchase any vehicles. There is some evidence to suggest Bangladesh may have requested some as an export customer (the BTR-T remains available for export customers should the opportunity arise), but it is uncertain if that contract went through.
Description:The BTR-T is a conversion of the T-55 medium tank/MBT. This was chosen as it was a vehicle Russia had thousands of, was a reliable platform, and could easily be adapted to many different tasks. Most of the drivetrain and suspension was kept as is, as was the base chassis. The hull, however, was massively altered for its new role, as was its armament and armor. The hull was altered to have a larger crew compartment with a new layout, along with new hatches on the upper rear for crew dismount. It had a crew of 2 operators (Commander/Gunner and Driver) along with 5 troops. Air conditioning and NBC protection were added. Two large fuel tanks were attached to the rear in armored compartments, and on top of those were mounted 4x3 smoke grenade launchers.
The smoke grenade launchers, new rear hatches, and new fuel tanks can be seen here.
The new internal layout.
The armor was enhanced with the use of Kontakt-5 ERA, rubber side skirts, and spaced armor plates. The front glacis plate was covered in bolt-on Kontakt-5 panels, with a few also added to the sides. The sides were primarily protected with spaced armor plate and rubber screens, along with new stowage boxes. The roof (arguably the weakest spot) was not enhanced in any way, but the floor was thickened to protect from mines.
Kontakt-5 panels bolted to the chassis.
The biggest change came in the form of the armament. The BTR-T used a unique modular weapon system in place of the 100mm gun and large turret of the T-55. The turret was now a 1-man ordeal, being shifted to the right to make room for the troops. A number of weapons could be carried in various configurations, and this is where it gets interesting. In War Thunder, a number of vehicles can change the weapons they are armed with, such as the Su-6 (AM-42). The BTR-T would function in a similar way, though only two of the weapon stations are, in my opinion, functional in War Thunder, though I will detail them all here. The options included:
- 30mm 2A42 autocannon + 9M113 Konkurs ATGM
- 30mm 2A42 autocannon + 30mm AGS-17 grenade launcher
- 2x 30mm 2A38 autocannons
- 12.7mm NSV heavy machine gun + 9M113 Konkurs ATGM
- 12.7mm NSV heavy machine gun + 30mm AGS-17 grenade launcher
The options with the NSV would not really be useful in WT, nor would the AGS-17 (as proven by the BMP-2M). However, the 2A24 + Konkurs and twin 2A38 options are indeed quite useful. The former is equivalent to a standard BMP-2, and the latter turns it into a potent SPAAG. The 2A42 autocannon is the same gun found on the BMP-2, and the 2A38 is the same gun found on the Tunguska. These options, once researched, would allow the user to configure the vehicle as they wished for the mission at hand. Possibly you could start with the 2A24 + AGS-17, then unlock the Konkurs launcher, and finally the twin 2A38 option. PLEASE NOTE: There is no low-caliber machine gun like a PKT on this vehicle.
Additionally, the initial documents for the vehicle showed a twin-barrel missile launcher, but the actual vehicle used a single-barrel. As such the single-barrel launcher is what we would get.
A diagram showing the various weapons, including the early twin missile launcher.
Main Armament: Varies, see above
Secondary Armament: Varies, see above
Smoke: 4x triple smoke grenade launchers
Armor: Identical to that of the T-55 + Kontakt-5 ERA, rubber side skirts, and metal side panels of ~4mm thickness. Turret armor varies depending on weapon configuration.
Ammo Count: (2A24 + 9M113 turret): 200 30mm rounds, 3 9M113 Konkurs ATGMs. Unknown quantity for AGS-17 or twin 2A38 turret
Engine: V-55 V12 Diesel, 600HP (Same as T-55)
Transmission: 5-speed manual (Same as T-55)
Speed: 30 mph (50 km/h) on-road, 15 mph (25 km/h) off-road
Crew: Commander/Gunner, Driver + 5 Soldiers
Mass: 38.5 metric tons