VPK upgrades BTR-87 infantry carrier

By Dmitry Fediushko, Moscow

Russia’s Military Industrial Company (Voyenno-Promishlennaya Kompaniya, VPK) continues developing its BTR-87 8×8 armoured personnel carrier (APC) programme, up-gunning the vehicle and increasing its firepower. The modernised APC was unveiled at the Army 2019 defence show held in Kubinka near Moscow in late June.

The BTR-87 is, in fact, a variant of the BTR-82A, with a frontally mounted powerpack and rear troop compartment. Like the BTR-82A, the new carrier is designed to transport motor rifle units and provide firepower on the battlefield. The VPK does not specify the protection of the BTR-87, but it is believed at the level of the baseline model.

The BTR-87 weighs 16 tonnes and is 7,560 mm long, 2,985 mm wide, and 3,020 mm high. The APC is powered by a 312-hp YaMZ-53602 diesel engine, allowing a maximum road speed of 90 km/h and a swimming speed of 9 km/h. The powerplant is coupled to a five-speed mechanical gearbox, which can be replaced by an automatic one.

Unlike the BTR-80 and BTR-82A carriers, the BTR-87 has been fitted with a 32V01 remotely controlled weapon station (RCWS) designed by the Burevestnik Scientific Institute (a subsidiary of Rostec’s Uralvagonzavod corporation). The RCWS is armed with a Gryazev-Shipunov 2A42 30 mm automatic cannon and a Kalashnikov PKTM 7.62 mm general-purpose machinegun. This armament suite has been reinforced with two 9M120 Ataka AT-9 Spiral-2 anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).

The baseline 32V01 unmanned weapon station weighs 1.5 tonnes and carries an ammunition load of 300 30 mm rounds (200 high-explosive fragmentation and 100 tracer armour-piercing ones) and 1,000 7.62 mm cartridges. The module’s sensor suite comprises a daylight TV camera, thermal imager, and laser range-finder.

It should be mentioned that the early variants of the BTR-87 were fitted with an updated manned combat module of the BTR-82A.

The BTR-87 APC is supposed to be primarily intended for export as the Russian military now operates the BTR-82A carrier.

Photo by Dmitry Fediushko