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1 September 2022

BTR-4 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC)

The BTR-4 is a fully amphibious, 8x8 all-terrain, multi-purpose wheeled armoured personal carrier.
The BTR-4 armoured personnel carrier (APC) was developed and manufactured by the Enterprise Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (SOE KMDB). Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Alexander Rector/Wikipedia.
The Russian Army captured several Ukrainian BTR-4 APCs during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Credit: Wanderer777/Wikipedia.
The BTR-4E APC can carry ten persons, including three crew members. Credit: Artemis Dread/Wikipedia.
The BTR-4MV1 APC is designed to meet NATO standards. Credit: VoidWanderer/Wikipedia.

The BTR-4 is an armoured personnel carrier (APC) with an 8×8 axle configuration. It was developed and manufactured as a new generation wheeled armoured vehicle by Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (SOE KMDB), part of Ukrainian weapons and military hardware manufacturer UkrOboronProm, under a private venture project.

The BTR-4 APC can be deployed either as an armoured vehicle in infantry units in the army or as a wheeled infantry fighting vehicle to provide fire support to soldiers in combat situations. The vehicle can accomplish its jobs in varied climatic conditions through day and night.

The Russian Armed Forces captured a number of Ukrainian BTR APCs, including a BTR-4E1, during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Development and production

The prototype of the vehicle was unveiled in June 2006 at the Aviasvit exhibition held near Kyiv, the capital and the largest city of Ukraine. Amphibious capability trials were completed in January 2007.

Production of the BTR-4 was started in 2008 after receiving approval from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. Limited deliveries were made to the Ukrainian Army. The vehicles are manufactured by the Malyshev Plant, a state-owned manufacturer of heavy equipment, located in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Kharkiv Engine Design Bureau and other Ukrainian defence-related enterprises are also involved in the production of the vehicles.

BTR-4 APC design and features

The vehicle has a modular design and can be used for the development of a whole family of combat vehicles to suit customer or mission needs.

The design of the vehicle is inspired, but different from the Russian series of BTR 8×8 wheeled APCs. The conventional layout of BTR-4 depicts western designs such as the German APC TPz Fuchs.

The layout of the BTR-4 APC is segmented into three compartments. The front compartment is meant for the driver and commander. The middle compartment is reserved for the engine and transmission, while the rear compartment is built for troops.

Troops can enter and exit from the vehicle either through the back doors or through the roof hatches. The doors are provided on either side of the hull for the driver and commander. The crew capacity of the vehicle is three.

Armaments and weaponry on Ukraine’s APC

The BTR-4 APC can be configured with armaments according to the customer requirements or mission needs.

The vehicle’s armaments exhibited at the 2009 International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) included a Parus remote-controlled overhead weapon station (OWS) outfitted with a 30mm 3TM-1 automatic gun, 40mm automatic grenade launcher, 7.62mm machine gun and Barrier AT guided missile system.

In its standard fitting, the vehicle is equipped with a 30mm cannon, coaxial machine gun (7.62mm) and four Konkurs or Baryer AT missiles. It can also be armed with a 30mm automatic grenade launcher instead of two AT missiles.

In addition, the vehicle can be armed with several armament modules, such as the GROM module, Shkval module and BAU 23 x 2 module.

The GROM module includes a 30mm gun with 360 rounds, a 30mm grenade launcher with 150 rounds, a 7.62mm machine gun with 1,200 rounds and four Konkurs or Baryer AT missiles.

The components of the Shkval module include a 7.62mm machine gun with 2,000 rounds, a 30mm gun with 360 rounds, a 30mm grenade launcher with 150 rounds, and two Konkurs or Baryer AT missiles. The BAU 23×2 module consists of a 7.62mm machine gun with 2,000 rounds and two 23mm automatic guns with 400 rounds.

The vehicle, in its standard form, can protect against small arms fire and mine blasts. It can, however, be enhanced to provide immunity against 30mm gun rounds. The vehicle is also outfitted with automatic fire suppression and NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) protection systems.

Engines and propulsion

The BTR-4 can be configured with various engines. In its standard fitting, the vehicle is powered by a KMDB 3TD two-stroke diesel engine, which provides a maximum power of 500hp.

The KMDB fitting can be replaced with a Deutz EBPO III engine upon request by the customer. It is a four-stroke, diesel fuel engine developing a power output of 489hp to 598hp. It is powered by waterjets during amphibious operations.

Mobility and performance

The vehicle’s wheel arrangement includes eight large road wheels, with four provided at the hull side. Each suspended wheel is coupled along individual axles. For direction and heading, the front pair is connected by an auto-style steering wheel.

The BTR-4 is fully amphibious and can cross water obstacles at a maximum speed of 10km/h. The maximum speed of the vehicle on hard surface roads is 110km/h.

BTR-4 APC variants

KMDB developed several variants derived from the BTR-4 APC. The variants include the BTR-4K, BTR-4Ksh, BRM-4K, BREM-4K, BSEM-4K, MPO-4K, BTR-4 BAU, BTR-4E, BTR-4M and BTR-4U.

The BTR-4K is a command vehicle. It has a combat weight of 20t and boasts a seven-man crew. The BTR-4Ksh is a staff and command vehicle. It features a seven-man crew and has a combat weight of 18t. The BRM-4K is designated as a reconnaissance armoured vehicle.

The BREM-4K is a repair and recovery vehicle, BSEM-4K is a medical support vehicle, and MPO-4K is a fire support vehicle fitted with a 120mm gun. The BTR-4 BAU variant is fitted with a two-gun 23mm turret. The BTR-4M is a variant designed for use by marine forces.

The BTR-4E APC is a modern, armoured, wheeled, four-axle, floating combat vehicle powered by a 450hp Deutz engine, which is coupled to an Allison automatic transmission system. It is armed with a 30mm 3TM-1 automatic gun, a 30mm automatic grenade launcher, a 7.62mm machine gun, and Baryer anti-tank (AT) missiles. The platform is available in different configurations, including command and staff, repair, and evacuation vehicles.

KMDB produced a new version of the BTR-4E1 floating armoured combat vehicle with additional protection in March 2014.

The BTR-4MV1, a modification of the BTR-4 armoured vehicle, was developed in compliance with Nato standards. The construction of armour protection incorporates a modular approach, with active use of spaced armour. The components of the upper layer of armour can be quickly replaced on the battlefield, thereby providing enhanced levels of protection.

Orders and deliveries of the Ukrainian armoured personnel carrier

The BTR-4 APCs are in service with by the armed force of Ukraine, Iraq, Nigeria, and Indonesia.

Iraq ordered a total of 420 BTR-4 APCs in late 2009. KMDB shipped the first batch of 26 vehicles in April 2011. The vehicles reached Iraq in May 2011. The second batch of 62 vehicles was delivered in June 2012. The third batch of 40 vehicles was accepted by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence in February 2013. Iraq identified quality issues with the third batch and cancelled the contract.

The Nigerian Army received the BTR-4 in 2014. Indonesian Marine Corps ordered 55 BTR-4M with BAU 23×2 weapon station. The first batch of five BTR-4M 8×8 amphibious armoured vehicles was received in January 2017.

Ukrspecexport, a state-owned military import/export agency of Ukraine, signed a joint venture agreement with Myanmar to build a production plant to assemble the BTR-4U wheeled 8×8 APC in March 2019.

KMDB received a new contract from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence for the serial production of the BTR-4 8×8 armoured fighting vehicle in March 2021. The contract calls for up to 75 new armoured vehicles including BTR-4E wheeled APC and an advanced amphibious configuration for the Ukrainian Naval Infantry.

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