Infobox Weapon

caption=Ex-Syrian or ex-Egyptian BTR-50PK APC in Yad la-Shiryon Museum, Israel. 2005.
type=Amphibious Tracked Armoured Personnel Carrier
service=1954 - present
used_by=See Operators.
wars=See Service History.
production_date=1954 - 1970
length=7.08 m [ "Global Security"] ]
width=3.14 m
height=2.03 m
weight=14.5 tonnes
suspension=torsion bar
clearance=370 mm
fuel_capacity=400 l
speed=44 km/h (road)
11 km/h (water)
vehicle_range=400 km
primary_armament=none or 7.62 mm SGMB medium machine gun (BTR-50P) (1,250 rounds)
14.5 mm KPV heavy machine gun (BTR-50PA)
7.62 mm SGMB medium machine gun (BTR-50PK) (1,250 rounds)
armour=Homogeneous, cold rolled, welded steel
13 mm front
10 mm sides
10 mm top
7 mm rear
engine=V-6 6-cylinder 4-stroke in line water cooled diesel
engine_power=240 hp (179 kW) at 1,800 rpm
pw_ratio=16.6 hp/tonne
crew=2 (driver and commander) (+20 passengers)

The BTR-50 (BTR stands for "Bronetransporter" (БТР, Бронетранспортер, literally "armoured transporter") [ †] is a Soviet amphibious armoured personnel carrier based on the PT-76 amphibious light tank chassis. The BTR-50 was tracked, unlike most members of the BTR series, which were wheeled.


Like the PT-76, the BTR-50 has a flat, boat-shaped hull. Unlike the PT-76 it has a new superstructure added to the front of the vehicle. The hull of the BTR-50 is made of all-welded steel with the crew compartment at the front, troop compartment in the center and the engine compartment at the rear. It has an ability to transport up to twenty fully equipped infantrymen who sit on benches which run across the full width of the troop compartment. They mount and dismount the APC by climbing over the sides of the hull. Driver sits in the center of the front of the hull and has three vision blocks and periscopes located at the top of the sloping glacis plate. During night operations the center periscope is switched for the TVN-28 night vision device which gave the driver a clear vision up to 60 meters. The driver also has a small hatch that opens upwards and while it can't be used for the driver to leave the vehicle, it can be opened by the driver in relatively safe areas for extra vision. When in combat the hatch is closed and the driver can use a vision block for a limited vision. Under the driver's seat there is an emergency hatch which can be used by all crew members. The commander who sits on the left hand side of the front of the vehicle has three vision blocks and periscopes in a projecting bay and a copula with vision block on its basis facing forward. It is located on top of projecting bay, opens forwards and can be locked vertically. The vehicle can operate in temperatures between -40°C and +40°C. [ "Morozov"] ]

The torsion bar suspension consists of six evenly spaced large rubber-tired road wheels with the drive sprocket at the rear and the idler at the front. Road wheels are hollow to ensure additional amphibious abilities. Usage of hollow road wheels increased APC's buoyancy by 30%. There are no track-return rollers. The first and last road wheels have a hydraulic shock absorber and the steel tracks with a single pin have 96 chain links each when new. There is a small, thin, horizontal skirt over each track. The engine used in the BTR-50 is the V-6 6-cylinder 4-stroke in line water-cooled diesel engine developing 240 hp (179 kW) at 1800 rpm gives it a road speed of 44 km/h with a cruising range of 400 km. The vehicle can cross 30° side slopes, 60° gradients, 1.1 m high vertical obstacles and 2.8 m wide trenches. The engine has a cooling system and initial heater (intended for ignition when air temperature is -20°C or below). The BTR-50 amphibious APC had the 5 gear manual shaft-type transmission system similar to the one in T-34/85 medium tank. The gearbox has four forward gears and one reverse gear. The vehicle has a side clutch that enables it to make turns, mechanical transmission and a bandbrake. The vehicle has three fuel tanks, two in the right side of the front of the engine compartment and the other one at the rear. All three fuel tanks carry 400 liters of fuel when combined. The vehicle has four mounts for additional external fuel tanks in the rear of the hull. The two mounts on the corners of the hull are for a flat type external fuel tanks and the two mounts in the center of the rear of the hull are for a drum type external fuel tanks.

BTR-50 is amphibious thanks to its flat, boat-shaped hull which is hermetical and ensures minimal resistance when APC is afloat and can swim after switching on the two electric bilge pumps, erecting the trim vane which improves the stability and displacement of the vehicle in water and prevents the water from flooding the bow of the APC and switching the driver's periscope for a swimming periscope that enables the driver to see over the trim vane. There is also a manual bilge pump for emergency use. The bilge pumps keep the APC afloat even if it is hit, damaged or leaks. In water it is propelled by two hydrojets, one in each side of the hull, with the entrance under the hull and exits at the rear of the hull. There are also additional assistant water-jet entrances in both sides of the hull over the last road wheels. The rear exits have lids that can be fully or partially closed, redirecting the water stream to the forward-directed exits at the sides of the hull, thus enabling the vehicle to turn or float reverse, for example to go left the left water-jet is covered, to go the right the right water-jet is covered and to make a 180° turn the left water-jet sucks in water and the right water-jet pushes it out. This system was designed by N. Konowalow. It is the same system as the one used in PT-76 amphibious light tank. The vehicle has a low freeboard of 15 m to 20 m and lacks a snorkel therefore it has swimming capability limited to only the calmest waters.

Its armour composed of homogeneous, cold rolled, welded steel is very thin by modern standards, 13 mm in the front, 10 mm on sides and top, 7 mm in the rear. While its maximum armour protects it fully against small arms fire and small artillery shell fragments, it doesn't protect it against big artillery shell fragments and a .50-calibre machine gun fire which can penetrate BTR-50 maximum armor of 13 millimeters. Also while its front armour protects it against 7.62 mm small arms fire, the 7.62 machine gun fire can sometimes penetrate it. The vehicle is equipped with an IR driving light and an IR searchlight. It lagged behind other Soviet armoured fighting vehicles because it had no fire or NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection systems, which significantly reduced its effectiveness. The only APC variant to have NBC protection system was the BTR-50PK. [ "JED The Military Equipment Directory"] ]

ervice history

The BTR-50 was developed in 1952 and entered service with the Soviet Army in 1954. The BTR-50P was first shown in public on November 1957. It served in motorized rifle regiments of tank divisions and mechanized brigades in the Soviet and East German armies. The typical mechnized brigade consisted of three battalions of which each had thirty APCs and one command vehicle. They were replaced in front line service by BMP-1 IFV. Command vehicle variants were employed by many Warsaw Pact armies. Finland still employs the BTR-50 chassis as the basis for a communication vehicle used within the latest digital field communication network.

Along BTR-50, the OT-62 TOPAS were used by Egypt and Syria in the Six-Day War (1967). Some vehicles were captured and commissioned by the Israel Defense Forces. Both sides used BTR-50 APCs during War of Attrition (1968 - 1970). During operation "Raviv" (8-9 September 1969) - an amphibious raid across the Suez channel three T-54 tanks and six BTR-50 APCs were used to wreak havoc behind the Egyptian lines. During the Yom Kippur War (1973) the BTR-50 and OT-62 TOPAS APCs were also employed by both sides. Some of the Israeli BTR-50 and OT-62 TOPAS were later transferred to the South Lebanon Army. [ [ Tiran ] ]



* BTR-50PKM - upgraded BTR-50PK with UTD-20 engine developing 300 hp (224 kW), new steering and brake systems.


* R-82 - improved BTR-50PU command vehicle with different radio sets and with a collapsible AZI frame antenna.


* BTR-50YVI ("yhtymän viestijärjestelmä") - command and staff version of the BTR-50PK, fitted with digital communication system YVI-2, a telescopic mast, 12.7 mm NSVT heavy machine gun and additional armour. Fielded in 1994.
* BTR-50PUM - upgraded BTR-50PU with the equipment of the R-145BM (BTR-60) and with smoke grenade launchers, 12.7 mm NSVT heavy machine gun and additional armour.
** BTR-50PUM1 - modernized PUM with Western radio sets.

former Czechoslovakia

* OT-62 TOPAS (OT-62 stands for "Obrněný Transportér vzor 62" - "Armoured Personnel Carrier model 62") ("TOPAS" stands for "Transportér Obrněný PÁSový" - "Tracked Armoured Personnel Carrier") - series of BTR-50 variants developed jointly by Poland and Czechoslovakia. They are similar to BTR-50PK but have side hatches in the hull sides, stronger PV-6 engine with power of 300 hp (224 kW) and with two projecting bays like the BTR-50PU.

former East-Germany

* SPW-50P ("Schützenpanzerwagen") - NVA designator for Russian-build BTR-50P.
** SPW-50PK - NVA designator for Russian-build BTR-50PK.
*** SPW-50PK(Akl)
*** SPW-50PK(D)
*** SPW-50PK(B) ("Bergefahrzeug") - BTR-50PK converted into a recovery vehicle for the recovery of other vehicles at water obstacles. It weighted 14 tonnes and had a crew of two (commander and driver), with seats for four auxiliary personnel. During rescue operations the vehicle can accommodate up to eight rescued personnel. The SPW-50PK(B) is fitted with R-123M and R-124 radio sets, a rear-mounted towing coupling, towing gear, towing hook, two extra towing cables, two special quick-release shackles, standard shackles and snap hooks, searchlight, two lifebelts, life jackets, a set of tools, fire extinguishers and four fenders.
*** SPW-50PK(LA) ("Luftabwehr") - command vehicle for air defence units.
*** SPW-50PK(MRF) ("Minenräumfahrzeug") - with mine clearing system.
*** SPW-50PK(Pi) commando vehicle for combat engineer ("Pioniere") units.
*** SPW-50PK(S) - command and staff vehicle.
*** SPW-50PK(BBS) ("Batteriebeobachtungsstelle") - artillery forward observer vehicle.
*** SPW-50PU - NVA designator for BTR-50PU.

Former USSR

* BTR-50P (Ob'yekt 750) (1952) - The first production version with an opened troop compartment. The vehicle has no integral armament but has a pintle mount for the 7.62 mm SGMB medium machine gun. Early production BTR-50P models had folding ramps at the rear of the hull to enable a 57 mm M1943 (ZiS-2) anti-tank gun, 76.2 mm M1942 (ZiS-3) divisional gun or an 85 mm D-44 division gun to be loaded onto the engine decks and fired from them as well. The weapon could also be fired when the vehicle was afloat, but only when the water-jets were in operation. This innovation had one great flaw, the muzzle of the artillery piece was usually over the open-topped personnel compartment and as such submitted any occupants to a considerable amount of concussion and fumes. Those ramps were absent in later production models.
** BTR-50P converted into an artillery portee vehicle. They are modified to carry an artillery piece within the crew compartment thus placing the muzzle of the gun outside the vehicle. While mainly seen carrying the 57 mm ZIS-2 anti-tank guns there were also two other varriants of this vehicle that carried AA weapons:
*** ZTPU-2 ("zenitnaya samokhodnaya ustanovka") - air-defence version of the BTR-50P, equipped with two 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine guns and 1,280 rounds. Prototype.
*** ZTPU-4 ("zenitnaya samokhodnaya ustanovka") - air-defence version of the BTR-50P, equipped with four 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine guns and 2,560 rounds. Prototype.
** BTR-50P converted into a Forward Air Control vehicle with a second superstructure on top of the normal one.
** BTR-50P converted into a NBC reconnaissance vehicle with a second superstructure on top of the normal one.
** BTR-50P with a longer front of the vehicle.
** BTR-50PA (Ob'yekt 750M) (1954) - BTR-50P with a 14.5 mm KPV heavy machine gun mounted on a pintle mount in the front of the troop compartment.
*** BTR-50PA with its heavy machine gun mounted on the commander's cupola.
** BTR-50PK (Ob'yekt 750K) (K stands for "krisha" - "roof") (1958) - BTR-50P fitted with an armored roof and the troops entering and dismounting the vehicle via two rectangular roof hatches that open to either side. There is also another rectangular roof hatch in the front of the roof. BTR-50PK is armed with a pintle-mounted 7.62 mm SGMB medium machine gun. This variant has an NBC protection system. The vehicle has two ventilators, one at the front of the troop compartment on the right side and one at the rear of the troop compartment on the right side. It is likely that these vehicles were mostly not produced but upgraded from BTR-50P APCs. There was another production lot of BTR-50PK which had a single firing port on each side of the superstructure. They are rarely seen in use as armoured personnel carriers as the majority of this production lot consisted of specialized variants such as command vehicles before being replaced in production by another production lot with two firing ports on each side of the superstructure.
*** BTR-50PK fitted with a locater light in the center of the engine deck. This variant has been issued to Soviet marine units and river crossing assault units.
*** BTR-50PK converted into a training vehicle with four cupolas on top of the roof.
*** BTR-50PK with a longer front of the vehicle.
*** UR-67 (ustanovka razminirovaniya) - Mine-clearing vehicle equipped with a UR-67 rocket launcher system which has three launchers firing UZP-67 or UZR-3 tubes filled with explosives. The UZP-67 or UZR-3 are carried in a fabric tube container carried inside the hull of the vehicle. The mine clearing procedure is composed of driving the vehicle to the edge of a minefield and aligning it before the rockets are fired from its elevated launcher at the rear of the vehicle. As the rocket travels it tows the line charge, which is secured by a line to the launcher vehicle, across the minefield. The line charge is then positioned by the vehicle crew using the securing line and detonated to clear any mines in its vicinity. The cleared lane is usually 60 m to 150 m long and 2 m to 5 m wide. The vehicle has a crew of three. Some of the vehicles were based on BTR-50PK APC while some were based on PT-76 amphibious light tank. Used to be known in the West as MTK and MTK-1. Only a small number remains in service, most have been replaced by the UR-77.
*** BTR-50PN (1958) - early command vehicle with 3 radio sets (including an R-113) and with only 3 whip antennas. Only a small number was build.
*** BTR-50PU ("mashina upravleniya") (1959) - unarmed command vehicle. Carries crew of 10. Has an armoured roof with oval hatches and 4 whip antennas. Most of the BTR-50PU's have two projecting bays on the front of the vehicle instead of one (respective NATO codes: BTR-50PU(2) and BTR-50PU(1)). The vehicle has a total of ten seats of which four are for the commander and his staff, four are for the radio operators and two are for the vehicle's commander and driver. The staff compartment has a collapsible table for maps and documents, a small table for the commander, two hammocks for resting and three ladders. An emergency escape hatch is provided in the floor of the vehicle and the interior of the vehicle has thermal insulation. The specialized equipment consists of KN-2 and KP-2 navigation devices, an AB-1-P/30 1 kW generator (located on the rear engine deck), R-105, R-105U and R-113 VHF radio sets, R-112 HF transceiver, R-311 HF receiver, a collapsible 11 m mast antenna for R-105U, a light 10 m telescopic mast for R-112, R-403BM relay-set, R-120 intercom and P-193A 10-line field telephone switchboard with six TAI-43 field telephones and four cable reels each with 600 m of two-wire cable. Navigation system includes a gyro course indicator and course plotter (former indicates the vehicle's course and the latter plots it in a rectangular co-ordinate system). Some vehicles have different numbers of stowage boxes in different arrangements on the rear engine decks. Some vehicles also have a second generator.
**** BTR-50PU with a longer front of the vehicle.
**** BTR-50PU-2 - Improved version with more modern radio equipment, most probably the R-123 and R-130M. Externally similar to the BTR-50PU but with the portable generator located immediately behind the troop compartment.
**** BTR-50PUM - modernised model, equipped with a large telescopic antenna mast AMU and radio sets R-123 (3x), R-130, R-326, R-405D and T-218. This model has a square antenna stowage box on the right front side of the hull.
**** BTR-50PUM-1 (1972) - latest model with a crew of up to 8 and fitted with radio sets as mounted in the R-145BM (BTR-60): R-111 (2x), R-123MT, R-124 and R-130M.
** MTP-1 ("mashina tekhnicheskoj pomoshchi") - technical support vehicle with a raised troop compartment and equipped with a light crane.
*** Polyesye - civil version of MTP-1.


* BTR-50P fitted with a 23 mm ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft autocanon and additional plates around the engine decks to maintain its amphibious ability.
* BTR-50PK armed with Czechoslovak twin 30 mm M-53/59 anti-aircraft auto canons in an open-tub mount.


* OT-62 TOPAS (OT-62 stands for "Obrněný Transportér vzor 62" - "Armoured Personnel Carrier model 62") ("TOPAS" stands for "Transportér Obrněný PÁSový" - "Tracked Armoured Personnel Carrier") - series of BTR-50 variants developed jointly by Poland and Czechoslovakia. They are similar to BTR-50PK but have side hatches in the hull sides, stronger PV-6 engine with power of 300 hp (224 kW) and with two projecting bays like the BTR-50PU.


* BTR-50PK "(Yugoimport SDPR upgrade)" (2005) - upgrade package for the BTR-50PK offered by the Serbian defense firm Yugoimport SPDR. The package adds a turret (from the Yugoslav M-80 APC), a 30 mm cannon, a 7.62 mm Zastava M86 machine gun, four smoke grenade launchers and two AT-3 Sagger anti-tank missiles.

outh Lebanon

* BTR-50PK converted into an improvised medevac vehicle with a cut down front and a hatch in the front.


* BTR-50M - BTR-50PK upgrade made by Morozow. It features improved fire power and mobility, both of which can be carried out without the other. The fire power improvement is accomplished by adding one of two new fighting modules (turrets), both of which are armed with a 30 mm ZTM1 or 2A72 autocannon, 7.62 mm KT-7.62 or PKT coaxial general purpose machine gun, 9M113 Konkurs (NATO: AT-5 Spandrel) anti-tank guided missile system and 30 mm AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher. The mobility improvement is accomplished by replacing the old Soviet-made V-6 6-cylinder 4-stroke in line water cooled diesel engine with a Ukrainian-made UTD-20 6-cylinder 4-stroke V-type water cooled diesel engine, replacing the old gearbox with a planetary and replacing the old transmission with hydraulic volumetric transmission. The suspension has also been improved through adding of three return rollers. The vehicle also has a new system air intakes and exhausts on the left hand side of the front of the engine deck. The mobility improvement can also be applied to BTR-50PU vehicles. As a result of this the vehicle has bigger combat capabilities, lower fuel consumption and higher power to weight ratio. There are two versions of this modernization that differ slightly in the number of rounds, grenades and missiles it carriers as well elevation and depression ranges and stabilization of the 30 mm gun and height as they use different fighting modules (turrets). Thanks to the new engine the vehicle can operate in temperatures between -40°C and +55°C and has increased road speed of 75 km/h. Both available 30 mm autocanons are stabilized in vertical axis (the second variant has a two axis stabilization) and have electro-mechanical aiming drives. Both have aimed firing range of 4,000 meters. Both also can be elevated or depressed between –10º to +60º (in the second variant the 30 mm gun can be elevated or depressed between –4º to +60º). The vehicle carries 150 of 30 mm rounds (the second variant carries 350 of 30 mm rounds). Both available 7.62 mm general purpose machine guns have an aimed range of 1,600 meters. The vehicle carries 2000 7.62 mm machine gun rounds in four batches of 500 rounds per each (the second variant carries the same number of ammo for the general purpose machine gun but carries it in two batches of 1000 rounds per each). The ATGM system has a minimal range of 100 meters and maximal range of 4,000 meters. The vehicle carries four missiles. The automatic grenade launcher has a maximal firing range of 1,700 meters. The vehicle uses a number of aiming instruments to aim its armament. These include TKN-5 day/night sight with laser rangefinder, PZU-7 day sight for firing at air and ground targets and 9Sh119M1 anti-tank guided missile system sight. As a result of all these changes the vehicle is now higher and heavier. The vehicle is 3,085 meters high (the second variant is 2,895 meters high). The vehicle has grown and now it weighs 16,6 tonnes (the second variant weighs 16.8 tonnes).


* -
* - 200 BTR-50 and 150 Type 77. []
* -
* -
* - 26 BTR-50P and BTR-50PK captured from JNA, they are planned to be sonn replaced by Patria AMV.
* - 250 BTR-50PK and BTR-50PU and 500 OT-62 TOPAS. 100 were upgraded to BTR-50PKM standard.
* - Used BTR-50PK but withdrew them from service, only 70 BTR-50PUM1 and BTR-50YVI left.
* -
* - 20 BTR-50PU-II
* - BTR-50PK
* - 300 BTR-50, OT-62 TOPAS and BTR-60 as of 2000, 2002 and 2005. [ [ Iranian Ground Forces Equipment ] ]
* - 300 BTR-50 and BTR-60 as of 2000, 2002 and 2005. [ [ Kazak Ground Forces Equipment ] ]
* - 700 BTR-50, OT-62 TOPAS and BTR-60. [ [ Army Equipment ] ]
* -
* -
* - There were 1,110 BMP-1, Type 86, VTT-323, Type 63 (YW-531), BTR-40, BTR-50, BTR-60 and BTR-152 in service as of 1985. There were 2,200 VTT-323, Type 63 (YW-531), BTR-40, BTR-50, BTR-60 and BTR-152 in service as of 1990 and 1995. There were 2,500 VTT-323, Type 63 (YW-531), BTR-40, BTR-50, BTR-60 and BTR-152 in service as of 2000, 2002 and 2005. [ [ Equipment Holdings - Korean People's Army ] ]
* -
* - APC withdrawn, only 1,000 BTR-50PU, BTR-50PUM, MTP-1 and UR-67 are still in service. [ [ Russian Armed Forces: 1999 -2003 | Russian Arms, Military Technology, Analysis of Russia's Military Forces ] ]
* - 14 BTR-50PU
* -
* -
* - 1,000 BTR-50, OT-62 TOPAS, BTR-60 and BTR-70 APCs.
* -
* - 40 bought from Syria in 1984.

Former Operators

* - Passed on to the unified German state.
* Iraq - - All destroyed or scrapped.
* - Captured a number of BTR-50 APCs from Egypt and/or Syria during Six-Day War. Wiithdrawn from service in 2002. [ [ Army Equipment - Israel ] ]
* -
* - passed on to successor states.
*/GER - Taken from GDR's army. All were scrapped or sold to other countries.
* - 14 BTR-50PK in Socialist Republic of Serbia, passed on to successor states.


External links

* []
*fr icon []
*ru icon []
* [ Communication system of a formation at the Finnish Defence Forces website]
* [ OT-62 / TOPAS at]
* [ Type 77 APC at]

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