The MT-LB – a Soviet multi-purpose fully amphibious auxiliary armored tracked vehicle from 1970

The MT-LB (literally “multi-purpose towing vehicle light armored”) is a Soviet multi-purpose, fully amphibious, tracked armored fighting vehicle in use since the 1970s. It was also produced in Poland, where (starting in the mid-1990s) its YaMZ engine was replaced by a Polish 6-cylinder SW 680 diesel engine.

In the 1950s, the Soviet Central Auto and Tractor Directorate began a development program to replace the AT-P series of artillery tractors (which were based on the ASU-57 airborne self-propelled gun) with a new generation of vehicles. The MT-L was developed to meet this requirement based on the PT-76 amphibious light tank chassis. The MT-LB is the armored variant of the MT-L. Entering production in the early 1970s, it was cheap to build, being based on many existing components, e.g. the engine, which was originally developed for trucks. It is built at the Kharkiv Tractor Plant and Bulgaria. Formerly it was also manufactured under license in Poland by Huta Stalowa Wola.

The crew, a driver and a commander/gunner, sit in a compartment at the front of the vehicle, with the engine behind them. A compartment at the rear enables up to 11 infantry to be carried or a cargo of up to 2,000 kilograms (4,400 lb). A load of 6,500 kilograms (14,300 lb) can be towed. The vehicle is fully amphibious, being propelled by its tracks in the water.

A small turret at the front of the vehicle fits a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun with 360-degree manual traverse and an elevation of −5 to +30 degrees. The vehicle is lightly armored against small arms and shell splinters with a thickness of three to ten millimetres (0.12 to 0.39 in) of steel with a maximum of 14 millimetres (0.55 in) for the turret front.

Several weapon systems are based on this hull (for example Strela-10 or SNAR-10).

Manufacturer: Kharkiv Tractor Plant

Saumur museum of armored vehicles


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