TechRussian army to boost front lines with aging armoured carriers

Russian army to boost front lines with aging armoured carriers

BTRs in Russia
BTRs in Russia
Images source: © X
3:11 PM EDT, March 17, 2024

Russians may be gearing up for wider mobilization in the upcoming months. According to Ukrainian intelligence, approximately 1,000 individuals could be bolstering the ranks of the Russian Federation Army daily. But a critical question arises: are the necessary equipment ready for these soldiers? An OSINT analyst delved into the types of machinery that might be deployed to the front lines soon, shedding light on their potential impact.

Under the pseudonym Jompy, the OSINT researcher, leveraging satellite imagery of bases and repair workshops, assessed the Russian capabilities regarding the deployment of "new" machines for imminent offensives.

The focus is on the ageing, battle-worn armoured personnel carriers of the BTR-60, BTR-70, and BTR-80 series, as Jompy highlighted. Citing data from the Unian agency, he revealed that at war's onset, the aggressor's army possessed close to 3,400 vehicles within the BTR lineup. However, the exact number of these vehicles that have been deployed since the conflict commenced remains uncertain.

"The storage facilities mostly harbour old BTR-60/70 models. Up until now, Russia has largely refrained from utilizing them," we're informed. Although the slightly more modern BTR-70s have begun appearing at the front, their numbers remain scant. Meanwhile, the older BTR-60 variants are typically repurposed as platforms for specialized engineering vehicles and auxiliary tools, making their sighting in basic forms at the front a rarity.

Jompy also indicated that Russia might have depleted its reserves of the more contemporary BTR-80/82 models. He further speculated that in 2024, the remaining BTR-60/70 models in storage would be dispatched to the front, equipping the ranks of the newly mobilized. However, a critical point raised by the analyst was the subpar preservation of these vehicles. Regular maintenance has been neglected, potentially compromising their reliability and effectiveness in combat.

The BTR-60, destined for active deployment, initiated production in 1959 and stands as the first Soviet eight-wheeled armoured personnel carrier. It can transport up to 16 individuals, including 14 assault troops. Equipped with a 241 horsepower engine, this over 11 short ton vehicle can reach speeds up to 50 mph (approximately 6 mph in water) and has a range of about 310 miles on a full tank. Its armament, featuring 14.5 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns, is deemed adequate against infantry assaults. Nevertheless, the BTR-60's armor quality varies by production year, generally considered weak due to numerous hull welds.

On the other hand, the BTR-70, also spotlighted by Jompy as imminent frontline reinforcement, offers somewhat updated features compared to its predecessor, having commenced production in 1973. With a more robust 321 horsepower engine, it matches the BTR-60's top speed and water-crossing abilities. The BTR-70 similarly employs 14.5 mm and 7.62 mm calibre machine guns for engaging enemy forces.