Cold War Soviet Other Vehicles

Ural 4320

Soviet Union
Heavy Truck (1976) – 10,000 built

The 6×6 Ural heavy duty beast of burden

The long legacy of ZIL (Ural)

The Ural-4320 is a general purpose off-road 6×6 vehicle, produced by the Ural Automotive Plant. The plant was created in 1941 at Miass, Chelyabinsk Oblast in the wave of moving industries to the east by Stalins order, including the giant complex of “tankograd” built at break neck speed at the foot of the Uralic mountains, far from reach by the German army.
UralAZ (nothing to do with UralMash) still exist today and is a relativly healthy company which produced trucks for the military. It was a dependency of ZIL (1916), moved to this region.
During the war, the company produced notably the unbiquitous ZIS-5 (about 1 million produced), ZIS-6 used as a 6×6 base for the BM-13 Katiusha (20,000+ built) and ZIS-22/42M half-tracks series. The tradition was maintained during the cold war with a wide variety of military 4×4 and 6×6 models some used as self-propelled rocket-launchers. They have seek also ad-hoc military used as gun platforms in many conflicts around the globe, insurrections and civil wars due to its cheap and reliable base, all-terrain capabilities and heavy duty payload. Some were also armored 1 2.

Ural 375
Precursor: An east-German Ural 375
another precursor, the Zil-131 also used as the 9P138 rocket launcher system
another precursor, the Zil-131 also used as the 9P138 rocket launcher system

Development of the Ural 4320

Introduced in 1976, the 4320 is still, remarkably, in production today. The wheel arrangement was designed for heavy dury cargo, people and trailers, on roads and off-road with the adequate suspensions sytems. The vehicle is well-known to serve as a base for for the BM-21 “Grad” rocket launcher system, successor of the ww2 Katiusha. It was a diesel-powered development of the Ural-375D. The latter also called Ural-375 was produced in the 1960-70 decade and sold to 10 countries outside USSR. It was itself replacing the 1958 ZiL-157, replacing the postwar Zil 121/151. One of these developments was the BTR-152. UralAZ celebrated a total production of 530,000 trucks and 1.3 million of truck engines in 1972 and manufacture of the Ural 375H and 377H continued until 1983. In 1977 the new 5-tonne truck Ural-4320 was designed. However with the end of the cold war, and despite in 1987, UralAZ celebrated its millionth truck, the company was turned into a private venture and focalised on the civilian market.

Design of the Ural 4320

There is a single one chassis, 6×6, declined with two engines. The 11.2L YaMZ-236M2 V6 turbo diesel and 14.9L YaMZ-238M2 V8 diesel, coupled with a transmission 5-speed manual. In dimensions it was 7,366 mm (290.0 in) in lenght, 2,500 mm (98.4 in) width, and the Height was variable, from the 2,715 mm (106.9 in) in open bay, to 3,005 mm (118.3 in) with tent. Higher versions exists when the armament and armor or special cabs are used. It was still very close to the dimensions of the ZIL-131 and Ural 375D (7,350 mm x 2,960 mm x 2,980 mm, Curb weight 8,400 kg).
Still very close to the model 375, the Ural 4320 had a KamAZ petrol engine which replaced the Ural-375-740 V8 diesel KamAZ (10852 cm3, 210HP). Compared to the 375:

Ural 375 specifications

Ural 4320 specifications

  • Seating Capacity (cab): 3
  • Curb weight: 6700 kg
  • Payload: 5000 kg plus trailer 5000 kg (on road), or 3,500 kg plus trailer 4000 kg off road.
  • Suspension: solid axles with leaf springs.
  • Engine: V8 gasoline (carburetor) ZIL-130
  • Displacement: 6,960 cc (bore 3.94″, stroke 4.36″)
  • Compression Ratio: 6.5:1.
  • Top speed: 80 km/h
  • Brakes: drums, with pneumatic control.
Cab design: Forward-mounted engine
Seating capacity (in cab): 3 3
GVWR: 15,300 kg (33,750 lb) 14,975 kg (33,000 lb)
Weight of load carried: 6,000 kg (13,200 lb) 5,000 kg (11,000 lb)
Suspension: solid axles, leaf springs, rear wheels at balance-cart
GVWR of towed trailer: 11,500 kg (25,350 lb)
Top speed: 82 km/h (51 mph) 75 km/h (47 mph)
Engine: liquid-cooled V-8 diesel V6 diesel
Power: 240 PS (177 kW) 180 PS (132 kW)
Transmission: five-speed gearbox, two-speed distributor box with
interaxle locked differential.
Body: metal, with tailgate, removable bows and a canopy, two foldable
side and one removable middle benches.
Seating capacity: 27 27

The chassis has good ground clearance, ideally suited for Siberia and bad roads in general, snow, sand or big rocks. It is supremely reliable (at least by Soviet standards, as it met little success on the export market), easy to repair and maintain. from the 1990s the Ural-4320 (and 5557) saw their headlights relocated on the bumper but after a special order for the Ministry of Defence, a narrow bumper and wing-mounted headlights both sides of the grille made their apparition on the production line.
The model is able to towing trailers or artillery pieces Western counterparts. It has a full-time all wheel drive and centralized tyre pressure system. With preparation it can ford water obstacles up to 1.75 m deep and operate in extreme climatic conditions, ranging from -50°C to +50°C.

Other facts & figures about the Ural 4320 truck

Variants of the Ural 4320

The civilian versions mostly found in the countryside and remote areas of Siberia are fire, garbage and logging trucks.
The 1BA15/URB-3A3 drilling system are used for water, oil and gas drilling, also based on the same chassis.
In 1981, based on a 4320 model truck 8 tons Ural-5920 was presented with a Caterpillar engine.
Ural-4320: Basic model, metal cab and 7.9 tons payload
Ural-4320-19: Long chassis, 12 tons payload (normally coupled with the YaMZ-236M2 engine.
Ural-43203: Reinforced front suspension
Ural-43204: Reinforced chassis for increased payload
Ural-43206: 4×4 with 180 hp JAMZ-236 diesel, 4200 kg payload.
Ural-43206-41: 4×4 Sub-variant with the 230 hp JAMZ-236NE2 turbodiesel
Ural-43206-0551: 4×4 variant with a 4-door cab, 3600 kg payload
Ural-44202: Truck tractor, semi-trailer 4×4 often used as logging truck.
Ural-5557/55571: 12–14 m wide chassis development and low-profile tires (CTIS) for special uses.
Ural-4320/5557 40/41 Three seat, two-door civilian cab
Ural-4320/5557-44 Same but two-door cabin and sleeping bed above
Ural-4320/5557-48/58/59 Updated model with better cabin and large volume bonnet, sprung driver’s seat


Angola (Unknown), Colombia (800), Cuba (Unknown), Greece (Unknown), Guatemala (Unknown), Laos, Mexico (73 in 2008), Philippines (20 donated 2017), Russia (Unknown, about 8000+), Uruguay (36), Venezuela (320). These are all used by the military.

Author’s Renditions
Ural 4320
The basic vehicle, in standard configuration & open bay.
Ural 4320 converted as a FAR armored truck - Angola conflict
Angola used thse trucks in the 1980s Angola conflict with south africa, and sub-groups like FAR used them as weapon platforms, usually for ZPU AA mounts, and in this case, a rare armored APC also with a ZPU-2 Mount. Capacity seems to have been ten infantrymen. The engine front, top, and cab are all armored. A spare roadwheel is placed at the rear, one one of the two doors.
BM-21 RL
BM-21 RL
Not done yet
Canvas close cab, 4×4 russian military variant


Lenghtenend 19 Military truck
Lenghtened Ural 4320-19 version
Military logging truck
Armored Ural 4320 with modular trailer
Military logging truck
Cheremushksy’s Ural 4320 6×6-trailer logging truck (Arkhangelsk_Oblast)
Armored model
6×6 armored MRAP/Police model in dislay at Interpolitex 2016, by Vitaly Kuzmin.
Armored model
6×6 4320 VV at Interpolitex
Armored model
6×6 armored cab standard KUNG, returning from a parade on May 9th, 2011 in Moscow. (For all credits : wikimedia commons)
Ural 4320 standard Military truck
Ural 4320 logging truck at Zakarpattya. Notice it’s painted in factory olive green despite its civilian use.

by Roman
on Sketchfab

See also
8×8 Iveco cab Ural 5323 variant:
Modern one on Gazglobal: //
Firetruck: //
On sale: //,-trucks-a-bikes-3/ural-4320-and-ural-5557-138
Sound: //

Cold War French SPGs

155mm GCT AUF1 & 2

Self Propelled Howitzer (1977)
France. Around 407 built 1977-95.

In the sixties and seventies, the main French self-propelled gun was the Mk F3 155mm based on the chassis of the AMX-13 light tank. This self-propelled howitzer (SPH), which also saw success as an export, was in line with other SPHs of the era, meaning the crew had no protection whatsoever. Furthermore, the gunners and the ammunition had to be carried by a separate vehicle. In the case of a modern conflict, with the risk of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) being used, the crewmembers were left exposed. Just like the US in the 60s, when the M108 was developed (which lead to the more famous M109), which had closed rotating turret which protected the crew, France started work in the early 70s on a successor to its old SPH, based on the larger AMX-30 chassis.
GTC 155mm Bastille Day 14 July 2008
GTC 155mm Bastille Day 14 July 2008 CC licence- author Koosha Paridel/Kopa
After a period of tests and trials running from 1972 to 1976, the final AUF1 version was approved in 1977, with 400 being ordered. This was followed by the improved AUF2 version in the 90s, based on the AMX-30B2 chassis, 70 of which were bought by the French Army. 253 AUF1 and AUF2 were bought by France in total. The production ended in 1995, and the 155 GCT (standing for “Grande Cadence de Tir”, which can be translated to High Rate of Fire), like its predecessor, was largely exported to Iraq (85), Kuwait (18) and Saudi Arabia (51), with 427 built in total. The 155 GCT saw service during the Iran-Iraq war, the invasion of Kuwait, both Gulf wars and in Yugoslavia.

155 mm GTC Auf-F1 in Bosnia, IFOR. US Army picture source

Design of the 155 mm GTC

The basis of the design was the chassis of the AMX-30, the Main Battle Tank of the French Army until the introduction of the Leclerc. Other vehicles were based on this chassis as well, like the engineering AMX-30D, the AMX-30H bridge layer, the Pluton missile Transport Erector Launcher (TEL), the AMX-30 Roland surface to air missile carrier, the AMX-30SA Shahine for Saudi Arabia and the anti-aircraft AMX-30 DCA also meant for the same country.

Front view AuF1 UN at Saumur Museum – Author Alf Van Beem
The engine compartment at the rear houses a Hispano-Suiza HS-110 12 cylinder engine (some sources incorrectly identify it as the 8-cylinder SOFAM 8Gxb). The B2 chassis, used on the AUF2, has a Renault/Mack E9 750 hp engine coupled to a semi-automatic gearbox. The latter propels the 41.95 ton vehicle to a maximum speed of 60 km/h (37 mph), a respectable value, superior to that of the American M109. An automatic fire suppression system is also located in the engine compartment. The suspension consists of five roadwheel-pairs connected to torsion bars and to shock absorbers for the front and rear units. The track is also supported by five return rollers. The drive sprocket is at the rear of the vehicle.The range of the vehicle was 500 km (diesel) or 420 km (gas) (310/260 mi). The 155 GCT is not air-transportable but it can ford 1 meter of water without preparation.
AuF1 155mm GTC side view
AuF1 155mm GTC “Falaise 1944” side view Saumur Tank Museum – Author Alf van Beem
The armor of the original tank was retained, the hull frontal glacis being 80 mm thick, the upper part being angled at 68° and the lower one at 45°. The sides were 35 mm thick at 35°, the rear was 30 mm thick and the top 15 mm. The driver was seated in the front of the hull, on the left, with a hatch sliding to the left and three episcopes, the central one being replaceable with an infrared night-driving system. The new turret was made of 20 mm homogenous laminated steel all around. For active protection, two pairs of smoke-grenade launchers are fitted on the lower part of the turret front. For the AUF2, these can be replaced with the GALIX multifunctional system (like on the Leclerc).
The rest of the crewmembers are seated in the large turret that was specially designed around the gun. The chassis alone weighs 24 tons, with the turret weighing 17 more. The latter needs its own auxiliary power sources mounted in the chassis, taking the shape of a 4 kW Citroën AZ generator which can power all the electrical systems when the vehicle is stopped.

AuF1 155mm GTC United Nations colors, rear view at Saumur Museum – author Alf van Beem
The 39-caliber long 155 mm howitzer was specially designed for this vehicle in 1972. The tests started in 1973-74 and showed that it can reach a rate of fire of 8 rounds per minute and, in special cases, it can fire three rounds in fifteen seconds thanks to a semi-automatic loading system. The howitzer was improved, including a combustible shell casing and an improved automatic system allowing it to fire 6 rounds in 45 seconds. Because the combustible shell casings do not need to be thrown outside, this improves the NBC protection.
The AUF 1 39-caliber long gun has a maximum practical range of 23.5 km that can be extended to 28 km using a rocket-assisted projectile. The turret can rotate a full 360° and has between 5° and 66° of elevation. The muzzle velocity is 810 m/s. 42 projectiles are carried on board, held in the rear part of the turret, along with the explosive charges. This compartment, which is usually closed off from the outside, can be opened and fully resupplied in less than 20 minutes. The High Explosive shells are NATO standard (BONUS). For close defense, a 7.62 mm machine-gun or, more commonly, a cal .50 Browning M2HB is placed on the roof of the turret, fired by the gunner. This crewmember has a hatch on the right side of the turret with a rail-mount for an AA-52 anti-aircraft machine-gun. The vehicle commander, on the left-hand side, has a peripheral observation cupola and an infrared vision system.


In 1978, the testing campaign of the first six prototypes finished. These were followed by six vehicles in 1979 deployed with the 40th Artillery Regiment in Suippes. However, budgetary cuts delayed the project until 1980 when it was relaunched due to a successful export deal, as a series of 85 vehicles were sold to Iraq. Large-scale production was started and lasted until 1995 at GIAT in Roanne. The French artillery regiments received 76 vehicles in 1985 and, by 1989, 12 of the 13 active regiments were equipped with vehicles based on the AMX-30B chassis.

AuF1 in service with Saudi Arabia – 20th Brigade of the Royal Saudi Land Force 14 may 1992 Source author TECH. SGT. H. H. DEFFNER


Iraq received 85 vehicles between 1983 and 1985, quickly deployed against the Iranians. They were in service when Saddam Hussein decided to invade Kuwait and during Operation Desert Storm. The Iraqi 155 GCT were mostly destroyed they did not fight in 2003.
Kuwait also received 18 vehicles (only 17 according to other sources) according to the JAHRA 1 contract, delivered just after the Gulf war. They were equipped with the CTI inertial fire control system and are currently in reserve.
Saudi Arabia also received 51 AUF1 vehicles. AUF2 vehicles mounted on the T-72 chassis were demonstrated in India and Egypt.

Modernization: AUF2

In the 80s, the armament system was deemed insufficient, especially the range. GIAT was responsible for incorporating a new 52-caliber long howitzer. The range passed 42 km using rocket-assisted munition. More importantly, the loading system allowed a rate of fire of 10 shots/minute with the capacity to fire grouped salvos, that impact the target simultaneously.
The AUF1T version introduced in 1992 was an intermediary version equipped with a modernized loading control system, while the auxiliary electrical generator was replaced with a Microturbo Gévaudan 12 kW turbine.
The AUF1TM introduced the Atlas fire control system, tested by the 40th Artillery Regiment in Suippes.
The AUF2 final version was based on the AMX-30B2 chassis, equipped with a 720 hp Renault Mack E9 engine with increased reliability compared to the previous powerplant. More importantly, the turret was modified in order to be mountable on the chassis of the Leopard 1, Arjun and T-72. At least one T-72/AUF2 vehicle was presented at an exposition for export. The roof machine-gun was standardized (7.62 mm AA-52). In total, 74 vehicles were converted by Nexter to the AUF2 standard starting in 1995. These were deployed in Bosnia. The 155mm GCT can be deployed in 2 minutes and can leave in 1 minute.

AMX AuF1 40e Artillery Regiment – Implementation Force 1996 – US Army photo Source

AUF2 in action

The Iraqi vehicles were the first to see service. The French AUF1 vehicles were deployed for the first time in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Eight AUF2 were deployed on the Igman mountain plateau in 1995 and participated in a bombing campaign (Operation Deliberate Force) in September against the positions of the Army of the Serbian and Bosnian Republic which threatened the security areas controlled by the UN. The intervention of these vehicles of the 3rd battery of the 40th Artillery Regiment and of the 1st Marine Artillery Regiment proved decisive, having fired 347 rounds.

155 mm GTC parked after an engine trouble – Author Ludovic Hirlimann, CC licence source

1st class Boucher and L. Hirlimann stacking 42kg ammo and charges separately – Author Ludovic Hirlimann CC licence Source
Currently, the 155 GCT vehicles are being retired and replaced by the CESAR system, which is far less costly in operation. In 2016, the ground army had 121 155 mm cannons, of which only 32 were GCT vehicles. However, their total retirement into the reserve is planned for 2019.


On (many photos)
On army-guide
Forecast Intl Document

155mm GTC AUF2 specifications

Dimensions 10.25 x 3.15 x 3.25 m (33’6” x 10’3” x 10’6” ft)
Total weight, battle ready 42 tons
Crew 4 (driver, cdr, gunner, ammo handler/radio)
Propulsion V8 Renault/Mack, 16 hp/ton
Suspension Torsion bars
Speed (road) 62 km/h (45 mph)
Range 420/500 km (400 mi)
Armament 155 mm/52, 7.62 mm AA52 MG
Armor 15-80 mm hull, 20 mm turret ( in)
Total production 400 in 1977-1995
For information about abbreviations check the Lexical Index

Canon-Automoteur 155mm GTC with IFOR, 40th RGA, Mt Igman, 1995 NATO bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Canon Automoteur 155mm GTC Iraq
Iraqi 155mm GTC in 1991
Canon Automoteur 155mm GTC UN
Auf F2 in UN colors
All illustrations are by Tank Encyclopedia’s own David Bocquelet.

Cold War Chinese Other Vehicles

Type 89 TD

China (1989)
Tank Hunter – approx. 100 built

PLA’s 120mm tank hunter

The tank hunter concept has mostly been relegated to military history’s footnote section, just like the airborne tank, the heavy tank and other developments and improvisations of the Second World War. The first WW2 German tank hunters were born due to the urgent and stringent need to counter well-armored tanks on the Allied side, be it the Matilda II, Char B1 or KV-1. The engineers mated existing chassis with the largest antitank guns available in order to provide a quick counter for these heavily armored vehicles.
There were several tank hunter prototypes being developed at the beginning of the Cold War, meant to counter the Soviet heavy tanks and the overwhelming number of Soviet tanks in general. However, due to the improvement of tank guns, the rise of AT missiles and the lack of large-scale conflicts, the gun-armed tank destroyer concept has disappeared almost entirely from today’s armies.

Cold War China felt a stringent need for a vehicle capable of carrying the only gun they had which was capable of defeating the armor of the latest Soviet tanks like the T-72 and T-80. This led to the Type 89 program which started in the late 1970s, the new model entering service in 1989 only to be retired in 2015.


The Chinese had been developing their own second-generation MBT under the Feng Bao program which was meant to provide the PLA with a modern 120mm smoothbore gun capable of firing modern APFSDS ammunition. This project failed due to Rheinmetall’s refusal to license its L44 smoothbore gun technology back in 1978, when the Leopard 2 was introduced.
The PLA launched a program to design its own Western-style 120mm high-pressure smoothbore gun the same year. This gun was to be fitted on a new platform that was intended to be a dedicated tank hunter. The primary design goal was to provide an APFSDS-firing gun able to penetrate the frontal armour of all Soviet-built MBTs at a distance of up to 2,000m. The secondary long-term goal was to provide the same capability against Western MBTs of the 1980s generation. Apparently, in 1979, three prototypes of the gun were tested and fired about 1000 rounds. These trials continued until October 1980. In early 1981 the design was completed and the gun was certified as being able to pierce a 200 mm armor plate at 68 degrees at a distance of 2 km firing armor piercing ammunition with a muzzle velocity of 1,646m/s.

A column of Type 89 TDs in manoeuvers
Further development of the Chinese 120mm was led from 1982 by the 774 Factory. The gun compared well to the Soviet 125 mm during trials held in 1984, and demonstrations at Nankou, Beijing in 1985. The range though was limited compared to the NATO equivalent of the time. However, a political decision led ultimately to the Soviet-type 125 mm being selected instead. This gun had a fully automatic gun-loader and ATGM capability. Therefore, the indigenously designed 120 mm was left to be used only on the Type 89 anti-tank platform. This stopgap vehicle (before the new 125 mm armed MBT was ready) was based on the existing chassis of the Type 321 tracked utility chassis. The heavy turret was placed at the rear, the engine at the front. The same chassis is also shared by a SPAAG and a self-propelled howitzer.



The armor protection was severely hindered by the limited chassis load, and compromises had to be found because of the weight of the turret. Eventually, the Type 89 was considered as a long range sniper. As a result of the role and weight limitations the armor was limited to the bare minimum, with 50 mm being the estimated maximum for the front of the vehicle. No additional armor has been applied to the vehicle according to available photos. This lack of protection was the main criticism of this model and resulted in its relatively short service span. Crew protection included full NBC protection and automatic fire extinguishers in the engine and crew compartments. There was a large hatch for the crew to enter and exit the tank at the back of the hull.

Type 89 TD firing


The Type 89 tank destroyer chassis is roughly the same as that of the Type 83 150 mm Self Propelled Howitzer, known as the Type 321 tracked utility chassis. Both have the same front-mounted engine and conveniently large turret ring at the rear. The power unit is a liquid cooled, 12-cylinder, 4-stroke WR4B-12V150LB/12150L turbocharged diesel coupled with a mechanical transmission. This engine developed 520 hp, providing a power to weight ratio of 16 hp/t. This gave a healthy, if not impressive 55 km/h top speed on flat terrain. The tank was also able to climb a 60% gradient, 40% side slope, 70 cm vertical step, 2.7 m trench, and ford 1.3 m of water.


The 50 caliber long 120 mm smoothbore gun is covered by a thermal sleeve, and was the most important feature of the design, taking up most of the available space in the rear mounted turret. It was coupled with a coaxial turret 7.62 mm LMG (range 1,800m, 250 rpm) and an anti-aircraft 12.7mm heavy machine gun (range 2000m) located on the roof. The main gun’s maximum firing range was 9000 m (5.6 miles) in indirect fire with the 960 m/s HEAT round. In that case, ammunition could be loaded from the rear hatch for continuous fire, when the tanks are acting like a self-propelled unit. There is also a small reloading hatch in the rear of the turret.
In direct fire, the optimal range was about 2000 m, up to 2500 m max. Its maximum rate of fire was 10 rpm with a semi-automatic gun loader, and the gun could depress to -8° degrees and elevate to + 18 degrees. A fume extractor was located in the middle section of the gun barrel. 30 rounds were carried, including APFSDS (Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding-Sabot), HE (High-Explosive), HE-FRAG (High-Explosive, Fragmentation), and HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds. The APFSDS round (muzzle velocity 1,660 m/s) could penetrate 450 mm of armor at a distance of 2 km. The gun is not stabilized, but fire direction comprises a Tank Simplified Fire Control System coupled with a laser rangefinder and night vision sights.

Type 89 TD
Illustration of the Type 89 Tank destroyer by David Bocquelet


The Chinese PTZ89, aka Type 89, was designated as a Tracked Tank Destroyer. In 1985, the Type 89 was demonstrated to officials in Nankou, Beijing. Other tests took place between 1987 and 1988. The production was approved and started in late 1988. In 1989, according to most sources, twenty vehicles were delivered to the PLA (as shown in the annual Beijing parade) and the design certificate was granted in 1990. However, the end of the Cold War stopped all production and it is generally considered that between 40 and 100 vehicles were made before production stopped.


The Type 89 had a quarter of century service span, which was far less than the average Chinese tank. They had been in service with the 39th Army Group, in the Beijing Military Region, Jinan Military Region as well as divisional anti-tank reserves. Its official retirement ceremony took place on the 3rd of November 2015. Reasons for this were multiple, according to experts, including, crucially, a non-stabilized, relatively short-range gun, high maintenance costs, and weak armor. It was deemed to be much more efficient to use ATGMs instead of a dedicated anti-tank gun platform. Such ATGM systems are carried on a variety of specialized vehicles, like the 4×4 WZ550 HJ9.

Type 89 TD specifications

Dimensions 5.6 x 2.8 x 3.12 m (18′ x9′ x10′ ft)
Total weight, battle ready 31 tons (61,000 Ibs)
Crew 4 (driver, cdr, gunner, loader)
Propulsion WR4B-12V150LB diesel 520 hp, 16 hp/t
Suspension Torsion Bars
Speed (road) 45 km/h (28 mph)
Range 450 km (280 mi)
Armament 120 mm smoothbore (4.7 in), 12.7mm HMG, 7.62mm
Armor 50 mm (2 in)
Total production 100+ (approx)

Links, Resources & Further Reading

The Type 89 on army-guide
The type 89 TD on tanknutdave
The Type 89 on survincity
The announcement of the TD being retired


PGZ 07 which uses the same chassis
PGZ 07 which uses the same chassis.

Nice cutaway view on reddit

Modern French armor


Infantry Fighting Vehicle
France (2008) – 630+ built.

The French modern IFV

The VBCI is a modern style infantry fighting vehicle, with eight wheels and a modular construction, inspired by the MOWAG Piranha III. The first projects can be traced back to the nineties, when the successor of the AMX-10P was programmed to be developed. The VBCI entered service in 2008, with 630 vehicles produced until 2015. It equips all the units of the French army and has seen service in Afghanistan and Mali. Three variants have also been developed on the chassis.


In the early 90s, the French Ministry of Defense launched the VBM (Véhicule Blindé Modulaire / Modular Armored Vehicle) program. Other European countries had similar specifications and became interested, like England and Germany. In 1996, at Eurosatory, Renault unveiled its X8A 8×8 prototype for the VBM project. However, the negotiations became very complex and drawn out, leading the other interested countries to drop out. On the 6th of November 2000, the French government ordered 700 vehicles derived from the prototypes.

Tests (2003-2008)
The long phase of testing and subsequent modification started. A new prototype was unveiled in 2003, which passed the mobility, agility, protection and electronic system reliability tests. Renault had already extensively tested the X8A demonstrator’s drivetrain and engine after 1996.

Starting in 2004, 4 prototype VCIs and a VPC (Command vehicle) went through a battery of extensive tests in combat conditions, completing them in 2005. It was during these trials that problems with the DRAGAR turret (subsequently renamed Tarask) became apparent. The design was entirely rethought, which delayed the vehicle’s entry into service by two years. Other versions of the vehicle were drawn up in the meantime, notably a mortar carrier and an anti-tank version with a MILAN launcher. At the end of the project, the vehicle was also temporarily considered for the British FRS program.
Production started in 2008 with an order for 550 VCIs and 150 VPCs (the command version), but this was scaled down due to budget cuts to 510 and 120 respectively, giving a total of 630 vehicles by 2015. The total cost of the program was 3.49 billion euros. Each VCI cost 3.49 million euros, with the VPC at 2.74 million each ($US4.8-3.7m). If the development costs are integrated, it gives a cost of 5.5 million euros per vehicle ($US7.4m). This is significantly higher than the lighter American Stryker, which cost between US$4.9m (2012) and US$5.11m (2016) with inflation adjustments. However, the ten-fold larger production (4,900 vehicles) must also be taken into consideration when making such comparisons.


The VBCI seems like a tall and heavy vehicle when compared to other vehicles in the same category. It is far heavier than the Piranha III or LAV-25 (~13 tons) or even the Striker (18-20 tons). The VBCI was designed to be able to comfortably transport an infantry section. It had a crew of three, including the infantry commander, who also commanded the vehicle. The general configuration is classic, with the driver positioned in the front of the vehicle, on the left, with the commander behind him, while the engine compartment is on the right. Behind this is the fighting compartment, with the DRAGAR turret mounted centrally, and the infantry compartment at the rear. This is large enough for 9 men, eight of whom sit on side benches, facing each other. The infantrymen can enter and exit the vehicle through the rear doors.


The IFV version is armed with a 25 mm GIAT model M811 autocannon (with a rate of fire of 125 or 400 rounds/minute) and a coaxial 7.62 mm ANF1 machine-gun. Four Galix smoke launchers provide active protection and are also able to fire antipersonnel grenades. The APC version does away with the turret and the rear section is enlarged, in order to carry 14 fully-equipped infantrymen. The onboard armament consists of a 12.7 mm M2HB heavy machine-gun.

DRAGAR/Tarask Turret

The gunner has an optical sight and a day and thermal camera for telemetry and fire-guidance purposes. He also has at his disposal a number of episcopes which allow him to observe a full 360° around the vehicle. The vehicle commander controls the Panoramic Observation Device (Moyen d’Observation Panoramique, MOP). The DRAGAR turret also has a gun stabilization system.


The hull of the VBCI is made of reinforced aluminum and welded steel. In its “naked” arrangement for air transport, the vehicle weighs 18 tons. Bolted applique armor can be added, increasing the protection to the STANAG 4569 level 4 standard, making it immune to calibers under 14.5 mm on the frontal arc and the sides. It was also protected against HEAT ammunition, mines and shrapnel. For active protection, the vehicle had four Galix launchers, with grenades being able to create smoke opaque to visible and infrared light. For threat detection, the vehicle has infrared devices and three rotating cameras, one of which was thermal. It also had a laser alert device, infrared decoys, and a combat identification device for the digital managing of the battlefield. The infantrymen were protected against mines due to the V-shaped underbelly with energy-absorbing deformation elements. The seats are also suspended, further reducing the effects of a mine explosion on the soldiers.
In addition, tests were carried out by Nexter and the DGA in 2013-2017 on a special camouflage, first presented at Eurosatory in 2014. Named “Cameleon”, it allows the reduction of the visible and infrared signature of the vehicle. It uses OLED light-emitting diodes and consists of a screen-like skin that can automatically change its color in accordance with the environment. It is planned to be implemented on the VBCI 2 and on many armored vehicles in 2019-2020. For urban combat in high-density areas, the vehicles should receive SHARK active protection.


The VBCI is powered by a Renault 500 hp turbo diesel engine derived from the Volvo D12. In order to optimize the behavior on different terrains, the hydropneumatic suspension can be adjusted on the go as well as when stopped. The VBCI also has a centralized tire inflation system which allows the lowering of the tire pressure on soft terrain. The engine can propel the vehicle up to a speed of 62.1 mph (100 km/h) on good roads, with a range of 466 miles (750 km). Off-road, the average speed can vary between 24.8 – 43.4 mph (40 – 70 km/h). The transmission consists of a ZF Ecomat 7HP 602 unit.

The trial results have shown that the VBCI can climb a 60% slope, handle a 30% side slope, pass over a 0.7 m obstacle, pass over a 2 m trench and ford a 1.2 m body of water without any preparation and a 1.5 m one with some preparations. However, more importantly, the VBCI is not amphibious. On the other hand, despite its weight (between 24 and 28 tons fully equipped, depending on the variant and optional equipment, but it can be stripped down to 18 tons for transport) and size, it is air transportable using an A400M Airbus or similarly sized aircraft. It’s turning radius is between 17 and 22 m at slow speed. The VBCI also has an emergency steering system which consists of blocking the wheels on one side and turning almost on the spot. The eight tires are of the Michelin X-Force type, capable of traveling 62.1 miles (100 km) after being pierced by 5 bullets. The 8 wheel drive ensures maximum traction even if one wheel is destroyed by a mine.


VCI: Standard Infantry Fighting Vehicle version, with the Tarask turret (formerly known as DRAGAR), a 25 mm cannon and coaxial machine-gun, able to carry 9 infantrymen and the crew.
VPC: Command vehicle fitted with 2 radio stations, with a crew of 7 and mounting a 12.7 mm heavy machine-gun in a turret
VTT: Armored Personnel Carrier with larger interior, carrying 10 infantrymen and 2 crewmembers

Future Developments

These upgrades consist of the addition of the Information System Terminal (SIT, Système d’Information Terminal) on the VCI and the advanced Regimental Information System (SIR, Système d’Information Régimentaire) on the VPC command version. These real-time digital information systems are meant for troops using the FELIN (Infantryman with Integrated Equipment and Communications, Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrés) augmented suite developed by Safran.

The VBCI 2 is estimated to weigh 32 tons, almost double compared to the Piranha III. Starting in 2015, this version tested the 40mm armed BAE/NEXTER CTAS turret (Cased Telescope Armament System), also planned to be used on Panhard’s future Griffon and the new British IFV, Ajax.
The VBCI 2 integrates the lessons learned during combat in Mali, and has a new 600 hp Volvo drivetrain, a new air conditioning system and new 360° digital cameras which can be controlled and viewed from the 3 onboard consoles mounted for the vehicle commander, gunner, and driver. The hull is now made of reinforced aluminum, but the applique armor is very modular, being easily adapted to the mission conditions. Reinforced riveted steel or titanium plates can be effective against anti-tank projectiles up to 14.5 mm caliber. The basic version of the VBCI 2 has a T40 turret, derived from the export version of the VBCI, and a remote-controlled 7.62 mm machine-gun. The turret is also armed with a pair of anti-tank missiles in containers. For export purposes, the vehicle can also be fitted with a remote-controlled 30mm cannon or even the BMP-3 turret.

Camouflaged VBCI, 1st serie
Camouflaged VBCI, 1st serie
VBCI with hifirst turret
VBCI with hifirst turret
VBCI with UN livery
VBCI with UN livery
VBCI with add-on armour in Afghanistan
VBCI with add-on armour in Afghanistan
VBCI CTA-40 in desert livery with thermal camouflage
VBCI CTA-40 in desert livery with thermal camouflage
VBC command
VBC command
VTT, the troop transport
VTT, the troop transportAll illustrations are by Tank Encyclopedia’s own David Bocquelet

The VBCI in service

The first unit to receive the new vehicle was the 35th Belfort Infantry Regiment. Gradually, all the infantry units received their VCI and VPC vehicles, the last vehicle delivered being the 110th VPC, on the 8th of July 2013. Their first operation engagement took place in Afghanistan in May-June 2010, and then they saw action in Mali. They carried out convoy protection and infantry support missions and were thoroughly tested in combat, on many occasions taking out targets at more than 2,700 m.

VBCI in Service

In 2012, in Kapisa in Afghanistan, VBCIs equipped with cage armor were attacked with about fifteen RPG-7 rounds and two IEDs, but suffered little damage. One of the VBCIs which was hit was able to return to base, was repaired and set off again two hours later. After January 2013, the VBCIs of the 92nd Clermont-Ferrand Infantry Regiment were engaged in Mali, firing 1,250 rounds of 25 mm ammunition during their missions.
This combat experience has pushed the DGA to request improvements from Nexter, notably survivability kits, active protection and improved vision devices and extra armor kits to protect against mines and IEDs. Renault Trucks Defense was in charge of modifying the running gears and the suspension in 2014-2015. These upgrades were also incorporated into the VBCI 2.
Negotiations are taking place with the United Arab Emirates (for 700 vehicles) and Qatar for the VBCI 2.
Russia studied the VBCI in 2012 as part of its Boomerang program. The VBCI was also proposed to and rejected by Canada (2013), Spain (2008), Lebanon (2014) and, recently, Denmark.
Several VBCIs were lent to the British army for evaluations in 2014. The French Army Ministry proposed buying the Watchkeeper WK450 drone in exchange for the British ordering the VBCI as part of its Mechanised Infantry Vehicle program. This program is not yet finished, the Piranha V being preferred as a development basis.

VBCI specifications

Dimensions (l-w-h): 7.6 x 2.98 x 3 m
(24’9” x 9’77” x 9’84”)
Total weight, battle ready: 23.3-25.6 Tons VCI/VPC (50,000 ibs)
Crew : 3+9 (Driver, Commander, Gunner, 9 infantry)
Propulsion: Renault Diesel 550 hp (410 kW) 24-22 hp/t
Suspensions: 8×8 Coil springs/shock absorbers
Top Speed 100 kph (62 mph)
Range (road) 750 km (470 mi)
Armament GIAT M811 25 mm, coax. 7.62 mm LMG
Armour 14.5 mm (0.57 in), NATO STANAG Level 2
Total Production 630 as of 2017
For information about abbreviations check the Lexical Index

Links, Resources & Further Reading

On Army Recognition
Nexter’s VBCI at IDEX 2017
official descr. on×8-vbci-ifv/


Video in operations by TheAxelino006

Swedish armor

Pansarbandvagn 302

Sweden (1961)
Armored Personnel Carrier – 350 built

The second Swedish APC

The PBV 301 was the first tracked armored personnel carrier developed for the Swedish army, but it was based on already existing chassis of the old Stridsvagn m/41, itself a licensed copy of the Czechoslovakian Škoda TNH of the thirties. The running gear of the Panzer 38(t) and ‘Hetzer’ can immediately be recognized on the PBV 301. However the PBV 302 (PBV stands for Pansarbandvagn, which translates to armoured tracked vehicle) was a completely new design, from scratch.

PBV 302 at Revinge, 2013
For a larger and more mobile vehicle, the easiest solution would have been to buy the US-built M113 which was just entering service. However, for reasons of neutrality, sovereignty and technological independence, the Swedish authorities preferred a local solution. This led to the PBV 302 in 1961, alongside with the conversion process for the PBV 301 which took place between 1962 and 1963, underlining its stop-gap nature. Both vehicles were quite different.


The general design of the PBV 302 was fairly simple. Hägglund & Söner (the same that manufacture today the famous CV90) started work on the vehicle in 1961, and the preliminary design was ready in 1962, just one year after the project was launched. This first prototype was tested, followed by others, with modifications requested throughout the trials. This culminated in 1966 with the acceptance of the vehicle into service with the Swedish army. Production started the same year and ended in 1971 after 650 had left the factory doors. They replaced the PBV 301 completely, and no PBV 302 was ever exported.


The PBV 302 strongly resembles the contemporary M113 in its shape and capabilities. They were, in the end, designed in the same period. However, the Swedish vehicle had a far more rounded hull and a 20 mm (0.79 in) Hispano-Suiza auto-cannon, just like the PBV 301, which was far more effective than the American cal.50 (12.7 mm). Another difference is that the PBV 302’s hull was made of welded steel. Compared also to the PBV 301, road wheels were quite different to the Str m/41 basis as there are now five, smaller, and with no gap between road wheel 2 and 3. The chassis also has been lengthened from 5.35 m compared to 4.54 m. However, they share a similar type of suspensions.
Its total weight was around 13.5 – 14 tonnes, the same as that of the M113, but the US vehicle was protected by an aluminum-magnesium alloy with 38mm of this alloy frontally compared to 23mm of steel armor on the PBV 302. Their capacities were similar, with a crew of three and eight soldiers in the back. Their top speeds were also similar, around (67 and 66 km/h), due to their similar powered engines (270 and 275 hp). The PBV 302 was of course amphibious.

Prototype, Sextant blog
The particular configuration of the vehicle was due to its rounded hull, both at the front and at the back, contrary to the more angular M113. The driver was seated in the front of the vehicle in the middle, with the engine to his back. The commander and the gunner were to either side of the driver, the first in a rotating cupola to the right and the second in the turret on the left.
Lacking any side viewports or portholes, the infantrymen, who were seated at the back of the vehicle on two benches placed back to back, could instead stand up and fire through two foldable roof panels. This may be the reason why Nuclear-Bacteorological-Chemical (NBC) protection is not mentioned as an option in the documentation. The infantrymen could access the vehicle through the two rear doors.


As already mentioned, the PBV 302 was protected by welded steel armor with a thickness of 23 mm on the frontal arc. The effective thickness is enlarged due to the angle of the front plate and the curvature. The rest of the vehicle was protected against small caliber weapons and shell shrapnel. The cast conical turret was the same as on the Swiss M113 or Gabon’s EE-11 Urutu vehicles. The active protection evolved afterward and the PBV 302 received, as standard, six smoke-grenade launchers and two Lyran flare launchers on the roof.


With the adoption of a Hispano-Suiza de 20 mm automatkanon m/47D type 804 autocannon, the PBV 302 was far better armed than the regular M113. The cannons were available after the SAAB 29 airplanes were retired and disarmed. However, the PBV 302 was not a true Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The cannon could be elevated from -10° to +60° and rotate a full 360°. It could fire high explosive shells in bands of 135 or armor piercing rounds in short magazines of 10 shots.

PBV 302 at Revinge, 2014
This complex system was replaced by the use of ten universal magazines with 30 shots each, giving 300 shots in total (505 according to another source). The cannon had a foldable sight theoretically used for ranges up to 2000 m and precision anti-aircraft fire. The turret was also armed with a coaxial Ksp 58 7.62 mm (0.3 in) machine-gun with 1000 rounds carried.


The heart of the vehicle sat between the crew members. The engine compartment held a Volvo THD 100 diesel capable of developing 270 hp (201 kW). This gave a 19.3 hp/tonne power-to-weight ratio. In turn, this allowed the vehicle to reach 66 km/h (41 mph) on road, with a range of 300 km (186 miles). The suspension used the same components as the Infanterikanonvagn 91 light tank, including the drive wheels at the front, idlers at the rear and 5 rubberized road wheels connected to torsion bars.
The vehicle was amphibious but required some small preparations by the crew beforehand. In water, the vehicle was propelled and maneuvered by its tracks. Its light construction was well adapted to the conditions of the Swedish countryside, wet and muddy in the summer, snowy in the winter. The vehicle had a small ground pressure and a favorable power-to-weight ratio.

Evolution & variants

Despite the small number built, the PBV 302 and its chassis were used for a large number of specialized vehicles


PBV 302A: Basic version
PBV 302B: Improved version with interior spall liner and added armor
PBV 302C: Modernized version with the preceding modifications and a reinforced suspension, new headlights, flare launchers, a new turbocompressor and air conditioning. This version was used briefly in Bosnia and Kosovo before it was withdrawn.

Radiolänkpansarbandvagn 3024


Stridsledningspansarbandvagn 3021: Batallion and brigade-level command vehicle.
Eldledningspansarbandvagn 3022: Advanced artillery observation vehicle.
Batteriplatspansarbandvagn 3023: Artillery command and control vehicle.
Radiolänkpansarbandvagn 3024: Radio communication vehicle.
Pjäsrekognoseringspansarbandvagn 3025: Artillery reconnaissance vehicle.
Sjuktransportpansarbandvagn 3026: Armored unarmed ambulance.
Bärgningsbandvagn 82: Repair and support vehicle based on the PBV 302.
Brobandvagn 941: Bridgelaying vehicle based on the PBV 302.


The PBV 302 was produced by Hagglund & Soner and entered service in 1966. With 350 built, without counting the variants, it was the main armored tracked personnel carrier of the Swedish army for many decades before its retirement in the 2000s. In fact, the first batch of 160 vehicles was retired in 2005, followed by a partial retirement of 210 others (C versions) in 2007.  By 2009 the total retirement was planned, but it was decided that the C versions would remain active until 2018. A project was made to prolong the operational life of the vehicles by 20 years but, given the estimated cost, the proposal was turned down by the army.

PBV 302 IFOR, Bosnia
None were ever exported, as the rules on the matter are very strict in this regard. For this reason, the vehicle is little known outside the realm of the three crowns. The PBV 302 was replaced by the more powerful CV-90 infantry combat vehicles, the BV 308 for winter operations in the north and Finnish Patria wheeled vehicles.

Basic Green BVP-302 in the early 1960s

Standard four-tone Swedish camouflage of the 1980s.


Video: PBV 302 live


The PBV on Army-Recognition
Additional data and photos
The Pansarbandvagn 302 on Wikipedia (photos)
Additional photos from the Pansarmuseet

Pansarbandvagn 302 specifications

Dimensions (L-w-h) 5.35 x 2.86 x 2.5 m (17’7”x9’5”x8’2”)
Total weight, battle ready 14 t (28,000 lbs)
Crew 3+8 (commander, gunner, driver, 8 infantry)
Propulsion Volvo THD 100, 270 hp (201 kW), 19.29 hp/t
Top speed 66 km/h (41 mph)
Range 300 km (186 mi)
Armament Hispano mk.V 20 mm automatkanon m/47D (0.8 in)
Suspensions Torsion bars
Armor From 8 to 23mm (0.3-0.9 in)
Production 350
Cold War Soviet IFVs


Soviet Union (1985)
Infantry Fighting Vehicle – 2000+ built

The last Soviet IFV

The BMP-3 was the last Soviet-era infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) produced following the BMP-1 and BMP-2. With roughly 2,000 produced, it remains in service today with a number of different operators. They are by far the most capable of the whole BMP lineage with a main armament equal to that of a medium tank. In fact, their main cannon is equivalent to the one sported by the T-54/55. Although much costlier than earlier models, the BMP-3 set a whole new level in IFV design in the 1980s. It had an unconventional layout and 17 variants emerged. The BMP-3 first saw active service in the first Chechen war and Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. Aside from Russia, it is operated today by 11 other countries, with proposals for more. Its planned replacement is the Armata-based Kurganets-25 (revealed in 2015).

BMP-3, Moskow parade rehearsal

Development history

First studies started in 1975, with the Obyekt 685 light tank prototype that sported the 100 mm gun 2A48-1. The definitive BMP-3 was designed and produced by the Kurganmashzavod (“Kurgan Machine Building Plant”). A few variants were built by the Rubtsovsk Machine Building Plant (RMZ).

Design of the BMP-3

The hull of this new BMP-3, made of high-strength aluminum alloy, has a new configuration compared to previous designs. Its unconventional layout has the engine placed in the back right position unlike most IFVs (typically in the forward left position). The driver therefore sits in the centre together with two infantrymen. Five additional infantrymen are seated aft of the two-man turret. The bottom of the BMP-3 has a double hull and the engine is squeezed under the floor of the vehicle. Troops can exit the vehicle from the rear, literally running over the engine. The outside of the vehicle has firing ports and vision blocks, the vehicle carries an R-173 transceiver and R-173P receiver.


Armour is provided by an extra steel plate welded over the aluminum hull and turret, and the spaced armor procured by the trim vane, as like previous IFVs. The turret is also provided with a thick steel spaced armor shield over its frontal arc. Protection against 30 mm gun rounds at about 200 m is assured at the front, machine gun rounds elsewhere. Another interesting feature in passive protection consists of the self-sealing fuel tank being placed in front of the driver, and directly behind the front armor plating. This is built to act as extra armor, most effective against shaped charge warheads, and auto-cannon shells that penetrate the frontal armor. The standard weight of the vehicle is 18.7 tonnes but reaches 22.2 tonnes with all the add-on armor panels mounted. Equipped with such a kit, the vehicle is immune to 12.7 mm machine gun rounds at a range of 100–200 m.
Russian BMP-3 exhibition
Two sets of explosive reactive armor kits (ERA) are currently available: The Kaktus ERA kit (minimal acoustic and kinetic backlash to the armor behind it upon detonation) and additional side armor tiles immune to .50 caliber armor-piercing ammunition at close range, plus side protection from autocannon fire. Other optional equipment includes the Shtora electro-optical jammer disrupting Semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) anti-tank guided missiles signals as well as laser rangefinders and target designators.
For active protection, the BMP-3 possesses two banks of three 902V “Tucha-2” 81 mm smoke grenade launchers. Each vehicle can also lay its own smoke screen by injecting fuel into the exhaust manifolds. The protection kit also includes a chemical agent detector, an FVU filtration system, and automatic fire extinguishers for the main and engine compartments, plus the usual collective nuclear biological and chemical (NBC) protection system.


With a low-velocity 2A70 100 mm rifled gun, the BMP-3 outmatches most IFVs in service by caliber. The main gun can fire conventional shells but also (and most importantly) 9M117 ATGMs (AT-10 Stabber) which compensates for the lack of muzzle velocity. The gun elevates from −5° to +60°. Forty 100 mm-rounds and 8 ATGMs are stored total. The 100 mm gun, already impressive enough, is complemented by a coaxial high-velocity 2A72 30 mm dual feed auto-cannon, capable of 350 to 400 RPM. 500 (300 HEI and 200 APT) rounds are carried. Also coaxially mounted is a standard 7.62mm (0.3 in) PKT machine gun with 2,000 rounds. The hull is also armed with a pair of PKT bow machine guns, each with a supply of 2000 rounds. This makes the BMP-3 certainly the most heavily armed IFV in service worldwide. The main command sight allows engagement of targets 5,000–6,000 meters out with the 9K116-3 “Basnya” ATGM. The range drops down to 4,000 meters with HE-Frag 3OF32 shells. The sight includes a 1D16-3 laser designator and two-plane stabilizer 2E52-2 allowing, according to the manufacturer, accurate fire on the move as well as when swimming.
rear view
Rear view of a BMP-3
The turret’s own automatic loader 2K23 can feed 22 ready rounds (18 more rounds stored in the hull). There is a 1V539 ballistic computer, cross-wind sensor, 1K13-2 gunner’s sight/guidance device, PPB-1 gunner’s sight, and OU-5-1 IR searchlight. The commander is given an optical sight 1PZ-10, doubled by a day/night vision TKN-3MB plus IR searchlight OU-3GA2.
In 2005, the Peleng fire control system (Belarus) was introduced and consists of a SOZH-M gunner’s sight, integrated laser RF, new missile-guidance channel, Vesna-K targeting system with thermal imaging camera, automatic target tracker AST-B, new stabilization system, new ballistic computer, revised sensors and PL-1 IR laser projector.


The first batches of the BMP-3s were equipped with the UTD-29, 450 hp engine. Later production series were given the 500 hp UTD-29M. Developed at the Transmash Diesel Engine Plant in Barnaul it provides a range of 600 km (370 mi) for an output of 27 hp/tonne. This is a four-stroke, liquid-cooled diesel coupled with a four-speed hydro-mechanical power unit transmission and with power takeoff for two water jets (single-stage, axial, auger-type). The steering systems use a gear differential with hydrostatic drive. There is also a track adjusting mechanism, remotely controlled from the driver’s station, including tension force indication. Registered top speeds are 72 km/h (45 mph) on road, 45 km/h (28 mph) off-road and 10 km/h (6.2 mph) when swimming. The suspension counts torsion bars on all six double-wheel units and hydraulic shock absorbers. Drive sprockets are at the rear, idler at the front, and the tracks rest on three return rollers per side. As a standard, there is no rubber-type or rigid side skirt protection.
Aside from the fact that the BMP-3 is amphibious, it is also light enough to be carried by cargo planes.

BMP-3 Variants

Upgrade by KBP and Kurganmashzavod which features a new turret and engine. The turret includes a new automatic fire control system with ballistic computer, new SOZH gunner’s sight and laser rangefinder plus an ATGM guidance channel, a thermal imager, a new TKN-AI commander’s vision device, laser illuminator and new ammunition loading system for ATGM. It also opens a whole new range of 100 mm laser-guided ammunitions, HE-FRAG rounds and APDS (armor piercing discarding sabot) rounds. Passive armor is now immune to 12.7 mm armor-piercing rounds at 50 m range. The engine is now a 660 hp UTD-32. Sub-variants of the M includes additional armor, “Arena-E”/”Shtora-1” systems, options like an air conditioner.
BMMP (bojevaya mashina morskoj pekhoti)
Naval infantry version fitted with BMP-2 turret.
BMP-3K (komandnyi) Tactical command variant fitted with the R-173 radio, larger intercom system, AB-R28 independent portable power unit, TNA-4-6 navigation kit, “Ainet” round fuzing capability. No bow machine guns, whip antennas mounted at the rear and 3+3 crew.
BMP-3F Rebuilt naval variant with improved seaworthiness, buoyancy, state 3 sea swimming, being even capable of firing accurately at sea state 2. To achieve this, there is no self-entrenching equipment, a lightweight vane, and an air intake tube fitted. The turret also is protected by anti-surge vanes. The refurbished water jet propellers allow for a 10 km/h swim. The BMP-3F is able to come ashore under rough sea and towing another similar model. A SOZH targeting system with integrated laser rangefinder and ATGM guidance channel is also installed, proven to seven hours of continuous rough seas operations.
BRM-3K “Rys” (Ob.501) 1993 Surveillance variant: 1PN71 thermal sight (3.7x/11x, 3 km range), 1PN61 active-pulse night vision device (3 km range), 1RL-133-1 (“TALL MIKE”) I-band surveillance radar (3 km personnel, 12 km vehicle), 1V520 computer and a TNA-4-6 navigation system. Armament reduced to the stabilized 30 mm gun 2A72 plus coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun.
BMP-3 Dragoon Modernised BMP-3 with an unmanned turret, new power plant moved to the front, and hydraulic ramp. Intended mostly for export.
BREM-L variant at the tank bihatlon 2014
BREM-L “Beglianka” (Ob.691) Armoured recovery vehicle with five-tonne crane and 20/40 metric tonne capacity winch.
9P157-2 “Khrizantema-S” Specialised Anti-tank version fitted with the Khrizantema (AT-15) system, radar and laser guidance. Two 9M123 missiles on launch rails, radar stowed and deployed during transit. Automatic reloading system, internal magazine for more 15 more in sealed canisters. Optional manual external loading from the outside. Dual guidance system for electronic countermeasures, operation in all weather conditions and night operations. 9M123 missiles are supersonic (400 m/s or Mach 1.2), range 400-6,000 meters. 10 are operational at Ingushetia, November 2012, as part of artillery units.
9P163M-1 “Kornet-T” Second anti-tank version, Kornet (AT-14) missile system. Two 9M133 missiles on extensible launch rails, 16 rounds in reserve, and automatic loader. 9P163M-1 guidance system allowing two missiles to be fired at once, on different laser channels. First delivered in 2003 (replaced Shturm-S) first 20 in service by 2012, given to motorised units.
2S18 “Pat-S” (Ob.697) Self-propelled 152 mm howitzer 2A61 “Pat-B”, prototype, later giving the 2S31.
2S31 “Vena” Fire support vehicle, 120 mm mortar (2010)
DZM “Vostorg-2” CEV (Combat engineer vehicle) with a dozer blade and excavating bucket, Prototype.
UR-07 Mine clearing vehicle replacing the UR-77 “Meteorit”. Bigger steel hull, two rear launch ramps for firing rockets towing hose-type mine-clearing line charges.
UNSh (Ob.699) Basic chassis for specialized variants.
KhTM Driver trainer variant
TKB-841 Hermes Air-defence vehicle with high-velocity missiles and radar system (prototype).
UDAR Unmanned ground vehicle, centre hull raised to fit the Epoch Remote Control Turret.

Venezuelan BMP-3 in parade.


Outside of the Russian Army (More than 720 vehicles, 200 more in delivery), the BMP-3 has been sold to Azerbaijan (100 BMP-3M), Cyprus (43 in 1995), Indonesia (17+37 BMP-3F in 2010 and 2014), Kuwait (118 in 1995 and about 200 by 2014), South Korea (33 in 1996, 37 in 2005), Libya (14 9P157-2 TDs), Ukraine (4) United Arab Emirates (250: Abu Dhabi, 402: Dubai in 1992–1997 with “Namut” thermal sight, modular armour “Kaktus”, UTD-32 engine), Turkmenistan (4), Venezuela (130 BMP-3M), and Morocco (60) – apparently not yet delivered.
In addition, the BMP-3 was proposed to Greece and India but without success, whereas Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Brazil are potential operators that contacted the company.

Service history

The BMP-3 was first shown in public during the 1990 Victory Day parade. It has been given the NATO code IFV M1990/1. In total, since then, the BMP-3 serial production underwent 1,500 modifications.
The BMP-3 had its nose bloodied for the first time with the First Chechen War. Second notable engagements and combat action were with Emirati forces in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, where it remains actively deployed.
In May 2015, a three-year contract was signed for “hundreds” of additional BMP-3s until replacement by the Kurganets-25 in last stages of development. The BMP-3 is currently marketed by Rosobonexport in two variants: The basic BMP-3 (add-on armour, SOZH-M sighting system, FOV gun stabilizer, Vesna-K night sight) but also the BMP-3F optimized for marine operations. The latter features anti-surge vanes on the turret, and an improved lightweight anti-surge vane for the driver, elongated telescopic air intake snorkel and the Self-entrenching equipment is retired.

Links & sources

On sovietarmourblog – Robosonexport page
additional data
Also, and
Additional open source photos (wikimedia)

BMP-3 specifications

Dimensions 7.14 m x 3.2 m x 2.4 m
(23ft 5in x 10ft 6in x 7ft 1in)
Total weight, battle ready 18.7 tonnes
Crew 3+7 (driver, cdr, gunner, 7 infantry)
Propulsion UTD-29M diesel 500 hp (375 kW) 27 hp/tonne
Suspension Independent shock absorbers and torsion bars
Speed (road) 72/45/10 km/h (road/off-road/water)
Range 600 km (370 miles)
Armament 100 mm gun/launcher, 30 mm autocannon, 3x PKT 7.62 mm MGs
Armor 35 mm frontal arc to 8 mm (1-1.2 in)
Total production 2000 – current


BMP-3 early
Early BMP-3

Camouflaged BMP-3, 2 tone camouflage
BMP-3 KFOR 1995
BMP-3 KFOR, ex-Yugoslavia, 1995
BMP-3 Camouflaged Russian
Russian camouflaged BMP-3



Russian BMP-3

South Korean BMP-3

9P157-2 “Khrizantema-S version.

BMP-3F Marinir (Indonesian Marines)

Russian camouflage

Cypriot BMP-3
variants BMP-3
Various references of variants

BMP-3 of the United Arab Emirates – model kit artist rendition

Russian BMP-3 at ETIF-2010

Russian BMP-3 at ETIF-2010

BMP-3 Azeri in a parade at Baku


BMP-3 of the UAE landing in a Kuwait port in a joint exercize – USN photo

WW2 US Tank Destroyers

37mm GMC M6 Fargo

  USA (1941)
Tank destroyer – about 5,380 built

The Fargo, first American tank hunter

The 37 mm Gun Motor Carriage M6 (GMC) was the first American tank destroyer of the war. It was designed in a rush. When America declared war on Japan on 8th December 1941, Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States, bringing America fully into World War II.
The United States Army needed to equip its infantry units with a mobile anti-tank support weapon. At that stage, the 37 mm (1.46 in) Gun M3, introduced in 1940, was the standard anti-tank gun of the day. The 37 mm calibre was thought to be effective against Japanese armored fighting vehicles and the 1940 generation of German tanks that were used to invade Poland and France.
Early tests performed with an M3A1 mount on a standard Ford GP showed the vehicle could not take the recoil stess. The experiment was abandoned for a sturdier platform - Source: Weapons of Patton's armies, p.118
Early tests performed with an M3A1 mount on a standard Ford GP showed the vehicle could not take the recoil stess. The experiment was abandoned for a sturdier platform – Source: Weapons of Patton’s armies, p.118
By early 1942, trials began. The designers soon found out that the standard Jeep was not suitable to take the 37 mm gun’s recoil when it was fired. A new gun platform vehicle needed to be found. The Dodge WC 52 3/4 ton truck looked like an extended Jeep.
It was the only vehicle available in large numbers that could be quickly converted into an anti-tank weapon. It was also the cheapest at only $4,265 a piece. A 3-inch GMC M10 Wolverine tank destroyer cost $47,905. The M6 Fargo soldiered on to the end of the war. Other companies were involved in its construction. Dodge built over 5,300 vehicles, although not all were armed with the 37 mm.
Dodge WC55 M6 37 mm GMC, as built in mid-1942 - Photo
Dodge WC55 M6 37 mm GMC, as built in mid-1942 – Photo”


By November 1941, US Army ‘tank attacker’ formations were created to support infantry units. They were tested in war game exercises in the Carolinas with some success. By late 1941, it was proposed that Tank Destroyer (TD) battalions be created. One was to be assigned to each division plus 165 additional ones at the disposal of the US Army General Head-Quarters (GHQ).
On 27th November 1941, the first of the 53 TD battalions were created, controlled by GHQ, headed by Leslie McNair. They preferred cheaper gun carriers  for this purpose and not tanks. The impetus of an aggressive armored fighting unit’s mobility was hindered by the use of towed anti-tank guns. The en portee self-propelled gun (SPG) solution was believed to be the best solution.
Factory-fresh, bare M6 GMC ordnance photo - Source: National Archives, From Weapons of Patton's armies, p.120
Factory-fresh, bare M6 GMC ordnance photo – Source: National Archives, From Weapons of Patton’s armies, p.120

Factory codes and trials

After the unsuccessful trials of mounting the 37 mm (1.46 in) M3 gun on Jeeps, the same gun was mounted on longer, sturdier 3/4 trucks, with a better range, room and ammunition storage facilities. In the summer of 1941, the prototype was given the project name of the T21. The T22 was the developed alongside, a larger armored 6×6 vehicle that will lead to the M8 Greyhound armored car.
The various tests on the T21 included rear-mounted and forward-mounted guns. The production model was going to be called the ‘M4 37mm Gun Motor Carriage’ but this was quickly changed as the ‘M6 37mm Gun Motor Carriage’ to avoid confusion with the ‘M4 37 mm gun carriage’ which was a towed anti-tank gun. The Dodge/Fargo series of light military trucks were mass-produced: over 255,000 were produced and 5,380 were converted into M6 37 mm GMCs.

Design of the M6 Fargo

The final M6 was developed from a 3/4ton 4×4 Dodge WC52 truck, a combination that was factory designated the WC55. The vehicle was totally unarmored, except for the large 0.25 in (6.4 mm) thick gun shield, which only protected the crew when facing the enemy. Caught from the side or the rear, the crew were open to injury from small arms fire and exploding high explosive shell shrapnel.
The rear of the vehicle’s chassis was fitted with a star-type riveted pivot and the gun was normally fired to the rear. When fired forward, the gun could not be fully depressed, and the blast could shatter the windshield and injure the driver and co-driver. Firing from the rear, the gun shield also protected the driver and it facilitated a quick escape or change of location. The vehicle was capable of carrying eighty rounds.
Improvised front mount for a M2 HMG cal.50 (12.7 mm) on a M6 GMC. It was used for anti-aircraft protection - Photo:
Improvised front mount for an M2 HMG cal.50 (12.7 mm) on the M6 GMC. It was used for anti-aircraft protection – Photo:
There is no photo evidence so far of additional armor being mounted on the vehicle. The M6 GMC offered good off-road capabilities thanks to its large roadwheels and semi-elliptic leaf spring, although it was inferior in cross country performance to the half-tracks, especially in the muddy winter months in Tunisia. Its Dodge T-214 6 cylinder 4-cycle inline gasoline engine developed 99 hp (74 kW) for a 29.7 hp/metric ton power to weight ratio and top speed of 55 mph (89 km/h) on road. Its operational range was about 180 miles (290 km) by road.

M6 GMC, 601st TD batallion, Tunisia, November 1942.
M6 GMC, 601st TD batallion, Tunisia, November 1942.
Camouflaged M6 GMC, Tunisia, winter 1942-43
Camouflaged M6 GMC, Tunisia, winter 1942-43

The M3 37 mm gun

The 1940 37 mm (1.46 in) M3 gun was produced mainly by the Watervliet Arsenal. It fired the M74 Armor Piercing (AP) shot, which could penetrate 1.4 inches (36 mm) of armor at 500 yds (460 m). In order to improve performance, the Armor Piercing Capped (APC) M51 projectile was fielded. It could penetrate 2.4 in (61 mm) of armor at 500 yds.
The High Explosive (HE) M63 Projectile was also used as an anti-personal round. The gun could depress from -10° to +15°, had a 60° traverse, and a 25 rate of fire per minute with a well-trained crew. The ammunition round’s dimensions were 37 mm × 223 mm. The breech had a vertical block, the recoil lessened by an hydrospring. The muzzle velocity was 884 m/s (2,900 ft/s) and it had a maximum range of 6.9 km (4.3 miles).

The M6 GMC Fargo in action

The design was standardized in February 1942, production started in March, and lasted until October, when the 5,380th came out of the factory floor. It was the first and most current American tank destroyer when the 1st Division, the “Big Red One”, landed in Tunisia, North Africa for Operation Torch. Two units used them, the 601st and 701st Tank Destroyer Battalions, until early 1943.
The initial idea of using three tank destroyer units, one light, one heavy and one towed was soon abandoned. A mixed heavy (M3 75mm GMC) and light (M6 37mm GMC) unit was introduced before the landing in North Africa.
By early 1942, the British 8th Army reported that their 2 pdr (40 mm) gun was already no longer sufficient and their 6-pdr was preferred (soon copied by the US and called the 57 mm M1). It was found the smaller caliber gun could not penetrate the uparmored German tanks. The US Army was aware of these reports but still deployed these now obsolete guns in North Africa. The M6 GMC rapidly became disliked by its crews and the vehicle was sent on to the Pacific Theatre, where it served in 1943 and 1944.
Nice photo of a brush mud-painted M6 GMC in Tunisia using cactus to camouflage.
Nice photo of a brush mud-painted M6 GMC in Tunisia using cactus to camouflage. There were extra rear stowage racks and the shield protection was somewhat augmented by the addition of the crew’s latched stores – Photo: Zaloga, US TDs in combat
Knowing the standard M3 gun was now obsolete, the US Army planned its successor. The M3 GMC and T12 GMC replaced it, based on the standard White M3 half-Track. The M6 GMC was declared ‘limited standard’ in September 1943 but its use lasted until January 1945 when it was finally declared obsolete and retired for good.
Its North African service left the impression of a failed expedient, its gun described in reports as “woefully inadequate” against German armor.
By mid-1943, remaining M6s were converted back into WC carriers, while the 37 mm guns were mounted onto M2 halftracks as the M2 w/ M3 37 mm. These were used by the armored infantry, and were others given to the French Army, which later made their way with FFI (Interior French Forces) in France. They were used due to a lack of better solutions from the liberation until 1945. Comparatively, the M3 GMCs gave far better results.
An album on the M6 Fargo

GMC M6 Fargo specifications

Dimensions (L-W-H) 4.52 x 2.2 x 2.1 m
14ft 8in x 7ft 2in x 6ft 9in
Curb weight, battle ready 3300 kg (7,350 lbs)
Crew 4 (driver +3 gun crew)
Propulsion Dodge T-214 6 cyl. gas. 99 hp
Top speed 55 mph (89 km/h) road
Maximum range 180 miles (290 km) road
Armament 37 mm (1.46 in) M3 gun
Armor 6.4 mm (0.25 in) gun shield

Video of a 37 mm GMC life fire demo by

Links and sources

US tank destroyers in combat, Steven J Zaloga, 1996.
RP Hunnicut: Armored Car: A History of American Wheeled Combat Vehicles
Weapons of Patton’s armies
More specs on

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Modern US protoypes


 USA (1995)
Infantry Fighting Vehicle – 1 built

An M113/Bradley hybrid

The Egyptian Infantry Fighting Vehicle (EIFV) is a part of the Mobile Tactical Vehicle Light (MTVL) family built by United Defense (now a part of BAE Systems). The MTVL is a modification of the prolific M113 tracked armored transport vehicle with a different suspension (6 roadwheels instead of 5), new engine and a longer hull. The MTVL was made available either as a new vehicle or as a conversion kit for already existing M113s.
A large number of M113 variants are in service with the Egyptian Army. The M113A2 version was imported starting in 1980, with 2320 units being acquired, along with 52 M901A3s, 280 M577s, 275 M548s and 72 M981 FISTV. Besides these vehicles, the Egyptians also employ no less than 1030 AIFVs (former Dutch YPR-765s, and some Belgian vehicles). The AIFV is an intermediary between an Armored Personnel Carrier and an Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
The Egyptian High Command took into consideration the modernization of these vehicles, with the support BAE Systems. Many internet sources claim that 1200 units have been converted after 1995. However, this is not true. The EIFV was never ordered by the Egyptian army and it never entered service. Only one vehicle is known to have been built.
Unfortunately, no original information from United Defense or from the Egyptian army can be tracked on the internet at this moment. This might help explain where the 1200 value came from and if there was really an order at any point. A request for more information from BAE Systems has remained without answer.
The YPR-765, still in service with the Egyptian army and often mistaken for the EIFV.
The YPR-765, still in service with the Egyptian army and often mistaken for the EIFV.

Ease of Production

The EIFV was only marketed to Egypt, and was meant to encompass an ensemble of upgrades which would have made it largely superior to the AIFV. All these upgrades were meant to be carried out by the tank production unit of the Egyptian-controlled Arab Organization for Industrialization.
The modifications meant to be carried out on the M113 would have made it a mixture between the old US APC and the Bradley IFV, but at a far smaller cost than that of the latter. The upgrade was estimated to have cost around US$311,000 per vehicle, far smaller than even the current average cost of a Bradley, of US$3,166,000 per vehicle.

The Design of the EIFV

At a first glance, three things immediately differentiate the EIFV from the M113. The first is the extra roadwheel, a feature taken from the MTVL chassis on which the EIFV is based. (Work had already been started in the US on a stretched M113 with an extra roadwheel as early as 1976 with an extra roadwheel making the M113A2 0.66m longer than normal) The second is the large Bradley turret on top of the vehicle.
Lastly, the add-on armor present on the sides and front of the vehicle. Egypt was already doing experimentation with its own version of applique armor by the mid-1980’s, building at least one example demonstrated on an M113A2. They were well aware of the limited protection provided by the plain M113A2.

Egyptian-made applique armor package for the M113A2 – Source: Jane’s Armour & Artillery, 1985-86
The EIFV was, in effect, a true Infantry Fighting Vehicle, while also conserving a reasonable troop carrying capacity, being able to transport 6 infantrymen and their equipment.
The turret was that of the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, with the same auto-cannon meant to take on infantry, unarmored targets and lightly armored vehicle. It was also armed with anti-tank TOW II BGM-71 missiles, which allowed it to take on Main Battle Tanks at ranges of up to 4200 m. The problem of the increased weight caused by the extra internal volume and the turret is partially addressed by the use of a more powerful diesel engine and improved drive train.


The hull and the chassis are welded, from aluminum alloy 5083, like the original M113. The EIFV is 5.26 m long, with a width of over 2.82 m. It is protected from all sides against shrapnel and fire from heavy machine-guns with a caliber of up to 14.5 mm.
Modular additional armor is placed upon this standard armor. It is composed of eight sections of unknown composition on each side. These allow the EIFV to withstand 23mm armored piercing rounds without excessive extra weight. Optionally, the EIFV could receive NBC protection, air conditioning and supplementary weapon ports.
2-view drawing of the EIFV
2-view drawing of the EIFV


Like all similar Infantry Combat Vehicles, the EIFV counted on the classical combination of a rapid fire cannon for short ranges, coupled with advanced sighting system and a large variety of munition types,  and anti-tank missiles for long range action. The M242 gun was taken directly from the Bradley, although it was also used on the Striker/LAV series. It is capable of firing between 250 and 500 rounds per minute with a great reliability, being able to fire 22,000 rounds on average before any problems occur. It was effective up to 3000 m in direct fire and 6800 m in indirect fire, with an initial velocity of 1,100 m/s. The 800 25×137 mm rounds stored on board ware of the HEI-T M792 (explosive and incendiary), MK210 HE (explosive), M791 APDS-T (Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot – Tracer) and M919 APFSDS-T (Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot – Tracer) types, or training rounds.
For anti-tank duties, the EIFV, just like the Bradley, counted on a pair of BGM-71 TOW II guided missiles. The TOW is an already old system, but well proven, developed by the Hughes Aircraft Company in the 1960s. Its operational range is 7200 m, with a speed of 278-320 m/s. In its most recent version, the missile is armed with a tandem HEAT warhead, capable of piercing 600 to 800 mm of armor in theory (however, a CIA study claimed far lower values). One of the few disadvantages was that the vehicle had to be stationary in order to guide the missile with any precision. Four reserve missiles are carried in the hull.
The secondary armament consists, besides the weapons of the onboard infantrymen, of a 7.62 mm FN MAG machine-gun placed coaxially to the 25 mm gun in the turret, with 2500 standard rounds with tracers.

One of the rare photos of the EIFV, taken from a United Defense advert.
One of the rare photos of the EIFV, taken from a United Defense advert.


The heart of the EIFV was a new powerpack consisting of an electronically controlled Detroit 6V53TIA turbodiesel which could develop 400 hp@2800 rpm. This gave a power to weight ratio of about 20 hp/tonne. It is coupled to an Allison X200 transmission with 4 gears. In order have room for the turret and the infantrymen, the hull is elongated compared to the M113 and received a 6th roadwheel, although the suspension changes are more substantial.
The MTVL, on which the EIFV is based on, weighed 17.7 tonnes. The Bradley turret and ammunition and the extra armor would have probably added several tonnes more on top of this value, although the EIFV was probably lighter than the 27.6 tonne Bradley.
The EIFV was advertised as being air transportable using the C130 Hercules.

Other Equipment

The EIFV featured a passive infrared vision device for the driver, who was situated in the front left part of the hull, with the engine compartment to his right. He also had a pivoting access hatch with four day periscopes mounted (and the infrared episcope in the center). The vehicle commander and the gunner were placed in the turret, which was also equipped with passive and active infrared devices.
Six soldiers could be carried on board, and could enter/exit through the hydraulic rear ramp, taken from the M113. Fuel was stored in two external fuel tanks at the rear of the vehicle, flanking the rear door.

Use in Service?

The EIFV was marketed exclusively to the Egyptian Army, which had a large fleet of M113s and was an avid buyer of Western AFVs. The EIFV was offered as an upgrade kit for already existing M113s.
However, none were ordered and it never entered service with the Egyptian army.
Many online sources claim that 1200 were built and are used, but this is entirely false. Where this info has come from is unknown. There is a possibility that some discussions or even that an order was in the works from the Egyptian army, but nothing materialized for the EIFV.


EIFV illustration - Illustrator: David Bocquelet
EIFV illustration – Illustrator: David Bocquelet
Avertising for the EIFV
Advertising for the EIFV

Photo of the EIFV prototype from

Front view of the EIFV from

Brazilian armor

EE-11 Urutu

Brazilian tanks Brazil (1974)
Wheeled APC – 1,500+ built

Brazil’s wheeled viper

The Urutu (Crossed Pit Viper) is the APC cousin of the Cascavel (Rattlesnake) wheeled tank. In 1970, the Brazilian Engesa company was confident in its conversion/modernization program for the venerable M8 Greyhound. Engesa launched a study for a combat wheeled APC, largely based on the mechanical elements of the contemporary EE-9 Cascavel.
One of its main features is Engesa’s Boomerang double-axle rear drive suspension system. The base version is not NBC protected in order to cut down costs for the export market. Nonetheless, the Brazilian Army adopted it and the Brazilian Marines to this day use a tailored amphibious variant. Production stopped in 1987, with unclear numbers emerging, but over 1,500 appear to have produced.
Cascavel and Urutu side by side, 2010 Brazil Soldier's Day
Cascavel and Urutu side by side, 2010 Brazil Soldier’s Day
At least 800 Urutus have been exported to 20 countries. The most prolific users are Iraq (200) and Libya (180) and the vehicle saw action in many theaters of operation over the past 40 years. The Urutu also has been developed into 9 variants so far. Although the Brazilian Army is known to operate 226 vehicles (as of 2010), many have been in storage for years before a modernization program came out.


Externally, the Urutu shows an immediate resemblance to the EE-9, with its 6×6 chassis. Indeed, the chassis is almost the same, but it was modified to carry a larger sloped hull. Development started in January 1970 at Engesa, S. José dos Campos (São Paulo) and the first prototype rolled out in July 1970. The idea was partly to “decline” the Cascavel chassis into an AFV for export purposes. Indeed, some of the customers that purchased the Cascavel also bought the Urutu, having their maintenance costs reduced thanks to standardization.
Urutu's double wishbone suspension being tested off-road
Urutu’s double wishbone suspension being tested off-road
The same idea was behind the French Panhard AML/M3 APC duo. Production officially started in 1974 and lasted for 13 years. The bulk of the deliveries went to export, the last customer being Colombia in 1992. The prototype was refined and made amphibious and a production order was also placed by the Brazilian Army. It Brazilian service it is designated the “Carro de Transporte Sobre Rodas Anfibio” (CTRA), entering service in 1974.
The first production Urutu in 1974.
The first production Urutu in 1974.


This welded steel hull is wrapped around a 6×6 chassis, with the engine compartment in the front-right side of the vehicle. The vehicle has front drive and a distinctive rear Engesa Double Axle Boomerang Drive. The vehicle looks relatively stubby with a short nose, barely sloped, unlike many wheeled APCs seen today. However, the upper nose part is well-sloped, with some limited added protection from the folded trim vane.
The vehicle is amphibious by default, with propulsion assured by two propellers when in water. This was seen as a vital asset for export, as well as the choice of a proven and available engine. The driver’s front-left compartment was given three vision blocks with the central block optionally swapped for an IR device. The drive also has a single-piece hatch. Behind the driver stands the gunner, also given peripheral vision blocks in the turret version.
Access to the interior is done through a left side door and a large rear hatch door for the troops. 11 soldiers are carried, plus the commander/gunner, seated on benches. The soldiers can fire their weapons through ten gun ports. Fuel jerrycans can be stored on each side of the rear door, on the back plate.
EE-11 ambulance version - Source: Military Today
EE-11 ambulance version – Source: Military Today


The frontal arc is protected by 12 mm (0.5 in) thick two-layer steel plating, while the rest of the vehicle is only protected by 6 mm (0.25 in). The external layer is made of hard steel, while the internal armor features increased viscosity. Overall protection is insured against small arms fire, mine splinters and artillery fragments. The EE-11 Urutu was fitted with an automatic fire suppression system. The NBC protection system is optional. Many vehicles also have smoke dischargers. A windscreen can also be erected over the driver’s position.


The Urutu, in its standard configuration, had a single cal.50 (12.7 mm) machine gun mounted on top of the roof. Variants are also fitted with various tailored turret-mounted armament. The cal.50 can be protected either by a simple frontal shield, or an open turret (complete shielding).
Brazilian modernized version of the EE-11 with a cal.50 turret.
Brazilian modernized version of the EE-11 with a cal.50 turret.


As designed, the Urutu was given a Detroit diesel engine producing 158 hp, and the prototype was able to reach a top speed of 110 km/h (70 mph) on good terrain. As much as 80 km/h (50 mph) are claimed to be reachable in off-road conditions. Originally, the vehicle has a range of 750 kilometers (460 mi), but an upgrade brought it to 950 km (590 mi).
The Urutu is equipped with disc brakes and an automatic tire inflation system. For amphibious operations, it is propelled at 8 km/h (5 mph) by two propellers with kort-nozzles and steered by two rudders at the rear. The diesel has a cooling system comprising a water-to-air radiator for the engine water, oil coolers for the engine and transmission and transfer case oils. When swimming there is a keel cooler, while the air inlet and outlet louvres are closed (top, right of the driver).
2-view drawing of the Urutu.
2-view drawing of the Urutu.
The Detroit 6V-53T is a 6-cylinder water-cooled diesel developing 260 hp at 2,800 rpm. It is coupled to an Allison automatic transmission with 4 forward and 1 reverse gears. The independent front suspension consists of double-wishbone arms, coil springs and double-action hydraulic shock-absorbers. They are driven by hypoid angular transmission, plus bevel differential gears, and the axles can be pressurized for amphibious use. The rear suspension consists of semi-elliptical springs and double-action telescopic shock absorbers, a trademark of Engesa. The EE-11 Urutu can negotiate gradient up to 60% and side slopes up to 30% and climb a vertical obstacle of 0.6 m.
Tunisian EE-11 Urutu fire support variant.
Tunisian EE-11 Urutu fire support variant.

Variants of the EE-11

Mortar Carrier: Armed with an M936 81 mm (3.19 in) mortar and a crew of four.
Infantry Fighting Vehicle: This version is given a 25 mm (1 in) cannon, coupled with an ATGM launcher.
Fire support variant: Large turret fitted with the Cockerill Mk.III 90 mm (3.54 in) cannon or the EC-90 from the EE-9 Cascavel. 12 of these have been purchased by Tunisia according to photos and most sources.
Anti-aircraft variant: Equipped with two 20 mm (0.79 in) autocannons.
Recovery Vehicle: Unarmed version given a hydraulic crane, and full maintenance kit/gear.
Anti-riot variant: This version is given fences on all windows and smoke launchers.
Ambulance: Modified to carry four stretchers, full medical kit and personnel.
Command Vehicle: The command vehicle is modified to monitor the battlefield, with two map tables, document storage, and full communications set.

Exports: Urutu around the world

Brazil alone is still reportedly operating 226 Urutus today. The list of former or present registered operators also includes Angola, Bolivia (24), Chile (37, no longer in service), Colombia (76), Cyprus (10), Dubai (60), Ecuador (18), Gabon (12), Guyana, Iraq (formerly 200), Jordan (28), Libya (180), Nigeria, Paraguay (12), Suriname (15), Tunisia (12 with the 90 mm gun and 6 of the APC type), Uruguay (18), Venezuela (38) and Zimbabwe (7).
Urutu of the Jordanian police
Urutu of the Jordanian police

The EE-11 in action

Brazilian Urutus have been placed into storage at the end of the Cold War. According to Spanish sources, the Exército do Brasíl (army) operated 515 vehicles, while the Infanteria de marinha do Brasíl (Marines) had 219 in service. 226 vehicle have been modernized in the 1990s (the engine and gearbox in particular). This upgrade program was led by the Army’s São Paulo War Arsenal branch, as a stopgap until the arrival of the new VBTP-MR in 2012. Brazilian vehicles have been deployed with United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Brazil-UN).
Brazilian Urutu in UN colors during the United Nations' Stabilisation Mission in Haiti in 2004
Brazilian Urutu in UN colors during the United Nations’ Stabilisation Mission in Haiti in 2004.
The vehicle was well-proven in combat and it is still in action in some of the hotspots on the globe today. It was bloodied in the Colombian civil war, Chadian–Libyan conflict, Iran–Iraq War, Invasion of Kuwait, 1990-1991 Gulf War, 2011 Libyan civil war and Iraq Civil War.

Links and Sources

The EE-11 on Wikipedia
The EE-11 on Army-recoignition
The EE-11 on Army Guide
The EE-11 on Military Today
Dedicated gallery on Pinterest

EE-11 Urutu specifications

Dimensions 6.1 x 2.6 x 2.9 m
20′ x 8’5” x 9’5”
Total weight, battle ready 14 tons
Crew Driver, 12-14 soldiers
Propulsion Detroit Diesel 6V-53T, 260 hp
Suspension 6×6 independent coil springs
Speed 105 km/h (61 mph)
8 km/h (5 mph) on water
Range 750 km (460 mi)
Armament cal.50 (12.7 mm) Browning M1920 HMG
Total production 1,500 in 1974-1985

Early type EE-11 Urutu APC with the Brazilian Army, 1970s
Early type EE-11 Urutu APC with the Brazilian Army, 1970s
Late version EE-11 APC with the Brazilian Marines
Late version EE-11 APC with the Brazilian Marines
Late type Urutu of the Brazilian Army
Late type Urutu of the Brazilian Army
Urutu in UN livery with United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti
Urutu in UN livery with United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti
EE-11 Urutu fitted with the Cockerill MkIII 90 mm (3.54 in) gun in a large turret
EE-11 Urutu fitted with the Cockerill MkIII 90 mm (3.54 in) gun in a large turret
EE-11 Urutu Armored Recovery Vehicle
EE-11 Urutu Armored Recovery Vehicle
Export EE-11 APC in a sand livery
Export EE-11 APC in a sand livery
Tunisian fire support vehicle with the Cockerill 90 mm turret
Tunisian fire support vehicle with the Cockerill 90 mm turret

Additional photos

Urutu used by the Peshmergas, Northern Irak
Urutu used by the Peshmergas, Northern Irak
Bolivian EE-11 IFV with a 20 mm (0.79 in) autocannonv
Bolivian EE-11 IFV with a 20 mm (0.79 in) autocannon
Bolivian EE-11 IFV
Bolivian EE-11 IFV
Model references
Model references
Fire support variant in Cypriot service
Fire support variant in Cypriot service
Advertising flyer for the Urutu from Engesa
Advertising flyer for the Urutu from Engesa
The rear of a Tunisian Urutu APC
The rear of a Tunisian Urutu APC

WW2 Italian Armored Cars

SPA-Viberti AS43

Italian armour ww2Italian Social Republic (1944)
Armored car – 2+ built

The RSI Armored Car

In September 1943, the Italian government under General Badoglio signed an armistice with the Allies. The Germans, however, were well aware of the negotiations and were prepared. German troops freed Benito Mussolini from imprisonment and took control of North and Central Italy. Under “Il Duce’s” leadership, the Italian Social Republic (Repubblica Sociale Italiana or RSI) was formed, along with the National Republican Army (Esercito Nazionale Repubblicano or ENR).
The new army was given the task of cleaning up the area of partisans. But, by 1944, there was a catastrophic shortage of armored vehicles. This forced the RSI to look for alternatives, like using the all-wheel drive chassis of artillery tractors or trucks as a basis for new armored vehicles. The Army requested a reconnaissance and combat armored vehicle that would use the simple AB40/41 chassis and the AB43 hull, which were still produced under German control.
However, the AS43 was developed instead and produced in 1944 by Viberti. A few were built, but the exact production records are unknown, some sources stating as few as only two vehicles being built. The submitted design was approved on 28 January 1944 and production started in April.
These were assigned to the armored Group “Leonessa” of the National Republican Guard and used to fight partisans in Piedmont.


The AS43 used a modified TL37 chassis. However, the whole armored body and engine were taken directly from the FIAT SPA S37, which had good off-road capabilities thanks to its very large roadwheels. The armored body was roomy enough to carry a few infantrymen, but the real addition to the design was the adoption of the AB41 turret. It was also apparently possible to install an RF-3M radio with a whip antenna.
The armored sloped hull was made of uniform 8.5 mm (0.33 in) thick plates, protecting from light machine-gun and rifle bullets. The Carrozzeria Speciale AS43 was based on the Autoprotetto S37 one, but modified and tailored for the new vehicle. The cab could be accessed through two two-fold side doors and the rear of the vehicle was completely redesigned. The front compartment housed the driver and the commander. Behind it, the main fighting compartment housed the gunner and 10 loading racks for the 20 mm (0.79 in) ammunition and 6 racks for the 8 mm (0.31 in) ammunition.
The turret was placed on top of the fighting compartment. It was the same turret that was used by the L6/40 light tank and the AB41 armored car. The main weapon was a 20 mm (0.79 in) Breda 20/65 Modello 1935 autocannon. The secondary weapon was the classic 8 mm (0.31 in) Breda Modello 38 coaxial machine-gun.
The AS43 was powered by the SPA 18VT, 4-cylinder, 4053 cc liquid cooled gasoline engine that developed 67 hp. It was fed by a 120-liter fuel tank. The transmission included a propeller shaft, a 4-speed transmission and mechanical brakes. It had 4×4 drive which, combined with the exceptionally large roadwheels, gave excellent off-road characteristics. This was a typical Italian solution for non-tracked artillery tractor. The axles had individual spring suspension at the front, and leaf suspensions at the rear.

The AS43 in action

The overall idea was to produce a sturdy car that was cheap enough for mass production, as it used the largest possible number of parts from other tanks and armored cars, maximizing standardization. However, there was no mass-production, and the numbers produced can be deduced from a few photos, only showing a couple of vehicles. Two were shown at a parade in Torino on May 9, 1944. Also two were given to the second and the third Company of the Leonessa Group in May 1944. They were attached to the “Manganiello” Black Brigade in Valtellina during the last month of the war. They were based at the barracks of Dabormida (Dabormida) near Turin.
The performance and capabilities of the vehicle are not recorded. A possible problem point would have been the stability, as the vehicle was tall and possibly top-heavy due to the turret.


SPA-Viberti AS43 on Wikipedia (It)
Fiat AS43 on Aviarmor
Paolo Crippa, La AS43 blindata. L’ultima autoblinda italiana della Seconda Guerra Mondiale.
“I reparti Corazzati della Repubblica Sociale Italiana”, Marvia Edizioni, Voghera (Italy), 2006.

AS43 specifications

Dimensions (approx. values) 5 x 1.9 x 2.5 m (16’5”x6’3”x8’2”)
Total weight, battle ready 6.5 tons
Crew 3 (driver, commander, gunner)
Propulsion Fiat 18VT
Suspension 4×4 independent coil and leaf springs
Speed (approx. values) 50 km/h (30 mph)
Range (approx. values) 400 km (250 mi)
Armament 20 mm (0.79 in) Breda 20/65 Modello 1935 autocannon
8 mm (0.31 in) Breda MG
Armor 8.5 mm sides, front and rear (0.33 in)
Total production 2+ in 1944

The AS43 in Leonessa’s standard sand yellow color. This scheme was used by the unit until January 1945. Afterward they might have received a camouflage scheme made of green and brown spots on top of this.


A parade in Torino in 1944, showing two AS43 and an AB43 in the background.
A parade in Torino in 1944, showing two AS43 and an AB43 in the background.
Closeup of the vehicle with the GNR Leonessa group initials on the turret and showing the open side door.
Closeup of the vehicle with the GNR Leonessa group initials on the turret and showing the open side door.
Regio Esercito, ww2 italian tanks poster