TechRevamped and reinforced: Bulgaria's BTR-60s get a Ukrainian upgrade

Revamped and reinforced: Bulgaria's BTR‑60s get a Ukrainian upgrade

Ukrainians modernize the BTR-60s received from Bulgaria.
Ukrainians modernize the BTR-60s received from Bulgaria.
Images source: © X, @front_ukrainian
9:53 AM EDT, April 19, 2024

Bulgarian armoured transporters BTR-60, transferred to Ukraine as part of military aid, are undergoing significant modifications. This old Soviet equipment is being revitalized with new features, significantly enhancing its utility in modern combat.

Despite Bulgaria's support for Ukraine since the onset of its conflict with Russia, the decision to transfer the BTR-60 armoured transporters was met with political disagreement. A veto by the country's president was initially placed but was eventually overturned by the parliament, allowing the vehicles to be sent to Ukraine in March of this year.

Ukrainians Modify the BTR-60 Received from Bulgaria

Upon arrival, these vehicles are being substantially modified to rectify some inherent flaws. Produced in the 1960s and 1970s, a major issue with the BTR-60 was its construction using relatively small armour plates, resulting in more joints and reduced overall durability. Additionally, they lack many of the systems found in more contemporary armoured transporters.

The modifications undertaken by the Ukrainians are extensive yet meticulously executed. One notable change is the replacement of the original GAZ-40P gasoline engines, which produced 90 horsepower, with newer German BF4M2012 engines, each offering about 102 horsepower. Given that these vehicles operate with two engines, the upgraded BTR-60s boast a total power of approximately 205 horsepower.

What's New in Ukrainian BTR-60?

The modified vehicles also feature a redesigned silhouette, with changes such as replacing side hatches with larger doors, which improve soldier ingress and egress.

While the original armament, including a heavy machine gun and two machine guns, remains the same, adding a new thermal imaging sight increases its effectiveness. Other significant upgrades include installing a digital radio station and the CH-4215 navigation system. Additional panels made from Armox 500T steel are being mounted to enhance durability.

These comprehensive modifications are expected to significantly improve the vehicles' mobility, durability, and firepower, making them more formidable on the battlefield.
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