The Eight By Eight APCs Transforming Modern War
An over-abundance of wheeled armored personnel carriers (APC) are glutting the international arms market.
This trend originates from recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan during the 2000s. It was in either country where both US and multinational forces rediscovered the value of 8×8 APCs in rural and urban battles.
Owing to their speed and varying protection levels, there is now enormous demand for 8×8 vehicles that not only move troops but are “modular”–vehicles which can be altered to suit a particular mission.
This is why major defense contractors everywhere have self-organized their product lines for all-in-one wheeled platforms.
Today’s generation of 8×8 APCs share a number of common traits. These are:
- Uncanny similarities in appearance. (Since most 8×8 APCs look alike, proper identification can be done by observing the arrangement of the wheels and the frontal glacis.)
- Gross weight is in the 20 ton range and transportable by air.
- The ability to move across bodies of water.
- Different levels of armor, including add-on slats or plating, and various active protection systems (APS).
- Multiple weapons for configuration as an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).
- Mounting artillery and other large caliber guns.
The popularity of 8×8 vehicles is also proof of other quiet revolutions sweeping modern military thought. As with small arms, armies around the world are embracing universal standardization to simplify their inventories.
This is simultaneously causing armies around the world to prefer lighter vehicles suited for urban patrols in lieu of tanks, whose production numbers are declining.
But even if 8×8 APCs with main guns are already available to the world’s militaries, wheeled vehicles still can’t replace tanks. At least not yet.
(Austria) Pandur II
The original Pandur APC belonged to the Steyr-Daimler-Puch conglomerate before its acquisition by General Dynamics.
Having acquired almost every Western European military vehicle maker during the late 1990s until the 2000s, General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) manufactures and sells both the Pandur and the Swiss Piranha in 6×6 and 8×8 configurations.
The Pandur’s layout is predictable for the vehicle class it belongs to and its basic form provides NATO STANAG III protection. (It can resist 7.62mm rounds.) The driver sits to the left of the turbocharged six-cylinder Cummins diesel engine, producing 285 horsepower with a top speed of 105 km/h. A commander and gunner control the turret. The 8×8 Pandur has space for 12 passengers but only fits a squad of four as an IFV.
Different variants of the Pandur have been embraced by the ground forces of Austria, Slovenia, Portugal, and the Czech Republic (pictured above).
Originally based on the Swiss Piranha APC manufactured by Motorwagenfabrik AG, the amphibious LAV-25 is now the calling card of North American defense contractor General Dynamics Land Systems.
Ever since its adoption by the US Marine Corps up to nine different variants of the LAV-series have emerged. The LAV supports three crew, a commander, gunner, and a driver seated to the right of a 300 hp diesel engine with a top speed of 100 km/h. Without a turret, a LAV can fit nine passengers.
Based on General Dynamics’ own estimate, some 9,000 LAV-series vehicles are in use around the world. The LAV-series is deployed by the militaries of Canada, Saudi Arabia, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, and Chile.
When the 8×8 LAV-25 migrated to the US Army, it became the Stryker.
Named after two fallen war heroes, the Stryker delivered by General Dynamics Land Systems is the LAV-25 configured as a troop carrier with STANAG IV armor.
Widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Stryker used sensors to detect roadside bombs and was upgraded to survive shaped warheads. Whether using a frontal mine plow, caged in standoff slat armor, or emitting electronic signals to jam incoming detonations, the Stryker represented a major leap forward in vehicular protection.
Powered by a 300 hp diesel engine producing a top speed of 60 km/h, the Stryker carries nine passengers and three crew and is often armed with a remote operated .50 caliber machine gun. To date, 13 variants of the Stryker are available, including a fire support vehicle with a 105mm tank gun (pictured above). The US Army intends to deploy a total of 4,500 Strykers with exports forthcoming.
The ZBL-09 mass-produced by Poly Technologies and Norinco is China’s successful attempt at an amphibious 8×8 APC for the PLA.
The ZBL-09, sometimes referred to as the Snow Leopard, closely resembles its Western European counterparts. Although its exact specifications are unknown, if the ZBL-09 does take after the Patria AMV or the LAV-25, then it’s likely powered by a 300 to 400 hp engine with a top speed in the 100 km/h range. Some sources identify its power plant as a German Deutz BFM1015C diesel engine.
Basic armor protection is in the STANAG III range, making it resistant to 7.62mm and 12.7mm machine gun rounds. The driver sits left of the frontal engine compartment and an additional crewman is located behind him. The turret is manned by two gunners and ample space is available for a squad of six passengers who enter via a ramp behind the vehicle. A total of 12 people can fit inside the ZBL-09.
Only several years old, known ZBL-09 variants include a tank destroyer, self-propelled artillery, an automatic mortar, a command vehicle, and an ambulance.
The Obrneny Transporter was ahead of its time.
For an APC developed in the 1960s and widely used throughout the Cold War the OT-64’s features anticipated contemporary 8×8 APCs.
The OT-64 was jointly developed by Czechoslovakia and Poland. Once in service the OT-64 proved a remarkable improvement on the BTR-60 and found a diverse clientele–exported to India, Hungary, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, and Libya, to name a few.
The basic OT-64 has a top speed of 94 km/h and uses welded steel armor. The driver and commander sit in front, with the 180 hp Tatra diesel engine behind them. A gunner mans the centrally located 14.5mm turret. Twin rotor jet propellers below the rear doors allows it to cross rivers.
Compared to other APCs in the Warsaw Pact and even NATO, the OT-64 was spacious. 13 passengers could fit inside it, entering via two doors and four roof hatches. Without a turret, the OT-64 can accommodate as may as 18 passengers.
Assuming many roles in various wars during the last half century, the OT-64’s staying power isn’t recognized enough. Unfortunately, with more than 1,900 models built, the aging OT-64 is being phased out of service everywhere.
(Finland) Patria Armored Modular Vehicle
Arguably the second most successful 8×8 platform in the world, the AMV is gaining a reputation for its toughness and reliability.
The AMV also conforms to the universal standards of most 8×8 APCs but sound engineering makes it a better proposition. Basic armor level is at STANAG IV and a powerful diesel engine allows for a top speed of 102 km/h. Configured as a personnel carrier the AMV offers space for 12: Nine passengers and three crew.
Completely amphibious, the original Finnish AMV has seven variants including a self-propelled mortar system. The AMV’s modularity is being pushed further as the United Arab Emirates intends to combine its hull and chassis with a BMP-3 turret.
The AMV is used in large numbers by six countries (Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Finland, Sweden, and South Africa) and is license-built by Lockheed Martin as the Havoc and by Denel as the Badger. A reported 1,200 AMV’s are in service around the world.
Never outdone by its allies, the Vehicule Blinde de Combat Infanterie (VBCI) is the Gallic response to the current fashion; a fast, lightweight, and high tech infantry transport with real firepower.
Having entered service in 2009, the VBCI’s specifications match rivals such as the Boxer, Patria AMV, and the Piranha.
Equipped with a 550 hp Renault engine and capable of a 100 km/h top speed, the VBCI’s aluminum hull can be protected up to STANAG V, which is resistant to 25mm cannon rounds. The driver sits to the left of the engine and the commander/gunner is in the turret. The basic VBCI weights a standard 20 tons. Extra armor and a full complement of infantry increases its weight to 32 tons.
Nine passengers enter from a hydraulic ramp behind the hull. Four additional rear hatches allow them to better observe their surroundings while on the move.
The VBCI already has eager customers. A licensed copy was supposed to be manufactured by Russia’s Uralvagonzavod as the Atom but its status is uncertain. 630 VBCI’s are to be deployed with the French Army.
Engineered as a fighting workhorse the Dutch-German Boxer is a chassis attached to a hull with a detachable rear module. This allows rapid configurations into any of its nine variants.
Other distinctive features are a low glacis plate giving the driver, seated left of the engine, an unrestricted view of the terrain. Without a turret, a separate commander’s hatch is available and four rear hatches allow passengers to view their surroundings. There are no firing ports on the Boxer’s flanks and its amphibious mobility is limited.
The Boxer runs on a 720 hp MTU V8 530 multi-fuel engine offering a top speed of 103 km/h.
As an APC armed with a single remote control turret, the Boxer carries eight passengers and three crew. Basic armor protection is at STANAG IV and additional plating can be fitted to resist direct RPG rounds.
The Boxer is the most unconventional among current 8×8 APCs. A joint venture between Rheinmetall and KMW, the Boxer is already deployed by the German Army and the Royal Netherlands Army and was chosen as the British Army’s next-generation wheeled IFV. A total of 500 Boxer’s are currently in service today.
Despite having the appearance, dimensions, speed, amphibious capability, and armaments proper for an 8×8 APC, West Germany’s Bundeswehr considered their Spähpanzer Luchs (or Lynx) a scouting vehicle and nothing else.
The Luchs entered service in 1975–the same year as the Fall of Saigon–and between 400 and 500 vehicles were produced in total by Henschel Wehrtechnik, known today as Rheinmetall.
The Luchs had a crew of four, a turret armed with a 20mm cannon, and a 390 hp Daimler-Benz turbocharged engine behind the hull providing a top speed of 90 km/h. Two propellers ensured its mobility for river crossings.
Successive upgrades allowed the Luchs to remain in service until the 1990s. All Luchs 8×8’s were decommissioned by the early 2000s. Although the Luchs is now a historical relic, its superb design and performance should never be forgotten.
If the OT-64 were built today, it would be the Kestrel. It makes sense given the OT-64’s long service with the Indian military.
The Kestrel was first revealed to the public at the DefExpo trade show on February, 2014. The similarities with the OT-64 are the arrangement of its road wheels, the layout of its hatches, twin amphibious propellers, and the hull shape.
Internally, however, the Kestrel is the modernized OT-64 that never was. As a joint venture between manufacturing conglomerate Tata Motors and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), its 22 ton weight and “modularity” is standard for 8×8 platforms.
With an unnamed 600 hp engine, the Kestrel’s top speed would be in the 150 km/h range. Basic armor protection can be upgraded until the STANAG IV level and the armament is scalable as well.
Up to 12 passengers enter via rear swing doors, with eight firing ports available for skirmishing. Like the OT-64, only two crew members are needed at the front of the vehicle.
As an IFV, the Kestrel supports a 30mm turret and as many as two anti-tank missiles plus different mounts for machine guns. The Kestrel isn’t in production and it’s unclear if Tata Motors will market it abroad.
Iveco’s latest 8×8 APC is a worthy rival for its peers–the Pandur, Boxer, and VBCI.
Instead of a dedicated IFV like the LAV-25 or the Freccia, an earlier Italian 8×8, the SuperAV is a streamlined amphibious platform that can be configured for different missions.
First unveiled in 2009 at an arms show in the Czech Republic, the basic model of the SuperAV is much lighter than similar vehicles. But once prepped for battle, it can weigh up to 27 tons.
The SuperAV’s most impressive features are its engine and its amphibious systems. The former is an Iveco Cursor 13 turbocharged diesel engine with 560 hp. The SuperAV’s top speed is 105 km/h and its maximum range is 800 kilometers.
Its layout is conventional. The driver sits to the left of the engine. The commander is behind the driver. Each crew member has roof top hatches and additional hatches are found behind the turret space. 10 passengers can fit inside the SuperAV, entering from a hydraulic ramp at the rear.
The SuperAV is being licensed-built by BAE Systems as the Marine Personnel Carrier.
The impressive VBM Freccia by Iveco-Fiat-Oto Melara/Finmeccanica is another underrated 8×8 platform. Owing to low production numbers and limited use, its finer qualities are often dismissed.
Easily as capable as most European wheeled APCs, the Freccia’s is equipped with a 550 hp air cooled diesel engine and has a top speed of 105 km/h. An independent suspension system allows it to cross rugged terrain without too much difficulty.
At 25 tons, the Freccia is heftier than its peers but offers superb STANAG IV protection for its three crew members and six passengers, who enter the vehicle from a hydraulic ramp at the rear.
The basic model of the Freccia already included a turret armed with a 20mm cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The Freccia’s only drawback is its lack of amphibious accoutrements and few variants. Since 2007, 250 Freccia’s have been in service with the Italian Army.
(Japan) Type 96
Japan’s military was ahead of the curve when it adopted the Komatsu Type 96 in the mid-1990s.
Not to be confused with the Chinese tank of the same name the almost 20-year-old 8×8 Type 96 only plays a minor role in the JGSDF where ample numbers of heavier and better armed vehicles are available. Its exterior conforms to the prevailing layout of most 8×8 platforms in Europe and North America. But the Type 96 is slightly smaller and lighter than its foreign peers.
The Type 96 uses a 360 hp diesel engine and is capable of a 100 km/h top speed. Aside from a modicum of armor protection, smoke dischargers are set in the vehicle’s rear and an M2 .50 caliber machine gun is its main armament.
The Type 96 deploys with a crew of three who enter via individual roof hatches. Space is available for six passengers who enter through a hydraulic ramp in the rear. Aside from small side windows twin hatches on the roof allow passengers additional visibility while on the move.
Estimates suggest between 270 to 350 to even 500 Type 96’s are in use by the JGSDF.
Is it the best wheeled APC in the world today? That remains to be seen.
It does qualify as the newest. Although its existence was known for several years now, the Boomerang (sometimes spelled Bumerang) was first revealed to the public during the May 9, 2015, V-Day parade in Red Square.
The Boomerang marks a complete departure from the storied heritage of the BTR-series while retaining its predecessor’s essential aspects. It’s amphibious–with twin waterjets in the rear hull–and carries soldiers but, like a Western APC, it’s also modular and designed to form the basis of a vehicular family.
The most remarkable aspect of the Boomerang is the intentional emphasis on armor protection and firepower. The variant displayed to the public is encased in ballistic panels. Its turret is noteworthy too with its 30mm cannon and four long-range Kornet ATGMs.
It’s unclear if the Boomerang will completely replace the BTR’s currently used by Russia’s armed forces. The latter are just too plentiful and ubiquitous while it appears the Boomerang’s production won’t ramp up for some time.
Russia’s pioneering BTR-series remains the most successful wheeled platform ever. Beginning with the amphibious BTR-60, mass-produced at time when most APCs were thinly armored boxes, BTR’s have fought and died (in a vehicular sense) throughout every modern war in the last 60 years.
More than 5,000 BTR-80’s have been built since the 1980s. The BTR-80’s main difference from its predecessors are its side doors located mid-hull.
Today the BTR-82A, successor of the rugged BTR-80, is proving itself in the mud and concrete of Eastern Ukraine. Manufactured by the Military Industrial Company (MIC), the BTR-82A is the current favorite of Russia’s motorized units. Unlike the BTR-80’s inadequate firepower the BTR-82A has a remote controlled turret armed with a 30mm cannon and a 7.62mm machine gun. The turret also carries six smoke dischargers and a fire control system.
Other upgrades are a 300 hp Kamaz engine, providing a top speed of 100 km/h.
The BTR-82A’s robust armament doesn’t mean it sacrificed its original role. Ample space for eight passengers is available. There are three firing ports on either side of the vehicle and another one up front.
The BTR-82A is available for export. Its successor the BTR-90 is no longer viable and the high tech Boomerang is the Russian Army’s preferred APC in the near future.
(Romania) Saur 2
The Saur is arguably the most impressive post-Soviet 8×8 APC to emerge from Eastern Europe. While competition exists from Serbia, Ukraine, and Poland, Romania’s own attempt at engineering an APC outside the influence of the BTR-series is admirable for several reasons.
The Saur is fast, amphibious, and increasingly capable of mounting different weapons modules. Unfortunately, its armor protection is low and information on its internal upgrades is scarce. The Saur’s diesel engine is located at the front left of the hull. The driver sits beside it while the commander and gunner man the turret.
Space is available for nine passengers who enter from a hydraulic ramp at the rear. Roof hatches and six firing ports are available for combat on the move. Manufactured by state-owned Romarm the Saur-series is only in limited production and export orders have yet to materialize.
In a world full of cookie cutter 8×8 APCs, the Lazar begs to differ.
Recently unveiled by manufacturing conglomerate Yugoimport in two variants, the Lazar is the only 8×8 APC model successfully configured as an MRAP with a dedicated 30mm turret. Its sibling, the Lazar II, is a predictable 8×8 APC with independent suspension that wouldn’t look too out of place next to its Western European peers.
Owing to a scarcity of details from its manufacturer exact specifications for either vehicle are unavailable. What is obvious, however, is the Lazar-series is being optimized for asymmetrical combat. This explains the ample firing ports for its ten passengers, seated back-to-back, who enter via a pair of swing doors in the rear. Twin roof hatches are located behind the turret for better visibility while on patrol.
On the Lazar I, the driver and commander each have side doors to reach the cab. The Lazar II, on the other hand, has a single door for the driver and mounts a fire control system, a remote control turret, a radar subsystem, and digital cameras to provide maximum visibility while the crew is buttoned up.
The Lazar is not yet in service with the Serbian army. But potential exports are already expected from clients in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
As the wealthy city-state strives for self-sufficiency in its defense needs, a new APC was essential for its small army.
The Terrex is a remarkable achievement for the state-owned arms manufacturer ST Kinetics. Rather than settle for importing the LAV series or a rival model, ST Kinetics produced its own APC in eight variants, including a mortar carrier and an engineer vehicle.
The Terrex is no different from many current 8×8 platforms when it comes to performance. Its 450 hp Caterpillar C9 engine allows for a top speed of 105 km/h. Armor protection and weapons are scalable depending on the mission.
A notable feature are front, rear, and side cameras that provide visibility on the move while the crew is buttoned up. C4ISR and GPS interfaces can also be accessed from within the vehicle.
The driver and commander are ensconced at the front, beside the engine. An additional roof hatch is located behind the turret and 12 passengers can fit inside by entering from a hydraulic ramp at the rear. Twin propellers allows the Terrex to ford rivers and streams at 10 km/h.
The Terrex is now in service with the Singapore Army.
(South Korea) Wheeled Armored Vehicle/Infantry Combat Vehicle
For more than a decade now, South Korea’s manufacturers teased several wheeled APCs, with no resulting adoption by the armed forces.
Hyundai Rotem, a subsidiary of the automaker, just introduced a new 6×6 and 8×8 model on their website. Meanwhile Doosan DST, the manufacturer of South Korea’s tracked APCs, has its own wheeled modular armored vehicle called the Black Fox.
Although exact specifications are scarce, Hyundai indicates its unnamed Wheeled Armored Vehicle or WAV platform began development in 2012. Despite South Korea’s close ties with the US, rather than license-build a LAV-25 or Stryker, the WAV appears to be modeled on different 8×8 APCs.
Instead of a glacis plate the vehicle’s front is raised and reinforced with armor like Turkey’s PARS and there appears to be a small camera in the middle for the driver’s visibility. A feature similar to the Singaporean Terrex. The power plant, located front right, is unknown but judging from similar 8×8’s is probably a diesel engine in the 500 hp range. Probable top speed is between 100 to 105 km/h and maximum range is 600 km.
Without additional layers of protections or modules, the basic WAV will have at least STANAG IV armor. A combination of a bilge pump and twin water jet propellers at the rear hull allows for amphibious crossings at either 8 or 10 km/h. The WAV configured as an APC carries nine passengers, who enter via a hydraulic ramp, and two crew. A pair of side doors and a driver’s hatch allow access to the front. Four additional hatches are behind the turret.
An estimated 600 of these vehicles will have entered service by 2020.
The Stryker, the LAV-25, and every Western European 8×8 platform today share a common ancestry with the Motorwagenfabrik AG Piranha. The original Piranha was a radical approach to developing an armored car by using the same hull on a 4×4, 6×6, 8×8, and 10×10 chassis.
Originally embraced by Canada in 1977, thus begetting the LAV-25 and its descendants, the Piranha attained its current form after General Dynamics acquired MOWAG in 1999. Today the Piranha joins the Pandur in GDELS‘ modular APC product line.
The Piranha 5, the latest in the series, shares the same performance characteristics as the LAV-25 except for a large 580 hp MTU diesel engine and a slightly varied selection of upgrades. The Piranha’s dissimilar appearance to the LAV-25 is best explained by its contemporary armor kit and superficial improvements such as headlights and a sturdier frontal trim vane for water crossings.
The Piranha 5 is the best argument for the value of a bespoke wheeled APC
(Taiwan) CM-32 Yunpao
The so-called Clouded Leopard is part of Taiwan’s protracted armed forces modernization program. As the basis for a universal 8×8 platform the government sponsored joint venture behind CM-32 closely follows its European peers in form and function.
The crucial differences between the CM-32 and, for example, models such as the Patria or LAV-25 are subtle ones.
The CM-32 reportedly uses a 450 hp diesel engine–larger than the average 8×8–with an impressive top speed of 120 km/h. The CM-32 fits six passengers and three crew and offers STANAG III level protection. Variants include a 105mm assault gun and a self-propelled mortar system.
Unfortunately, controversies over quality control issues and cost overruns have almost ruined the CM-32’s prospects. Mass production began in 2010 and an estimated 650 CM-32’s will enter service with the Taiwanese military.
The FNSS PARS, or “Leopard” in Turkish, is a departure of sorts from other 8×8 platforms in use today.
This is mainly found in the vehicle’s front where a raised glacis plate protects the driver and gunner who are seated side by side. Entering from twin roof hatches the PARS’ crew operate the vehicle from an air-conditioned weapons station.
Another distinction is its high tech suspension system. The PARS can elevate itself by 500mm, tilt forward, and balance itself sideways while traversing slopes. Most remarkable is its adjustable controlled suspension.
Two optical cameras and two thermal cameras at the front and rear provide visibility. Aside from the turret smoke discharges and APS’ can be placed on four different parts of the roof. Basic armor protection is at STANAG IV.
Depending on its configuration–there are six variants–up to 8 passengers can fit inside the PARS who enter via a circular rear door. There are four additional roof hatches are behind the turret for better visibility during patrol. There is also an escape hatch at the right side of the hull between the first and second road wheels.
The PARS is equipped with a 550 hp water cooled diesel engine located behind the crew–and its cooling vent is to the left side of the hull. Top speed is at 100 km/h. Two waterjet propellers at the rear of the hull propel the PARS at 8 km/h across rivers and streams. The PARS is license-built in Malaysia as the AV-8.
Despite its striking resemblance to the Patria AMV, Otokar‘s courageous stab at the wheeled armored vehicle market isn’t a case of re-branding a popular model.
The fully amphibious Arma is a 24-ton APC with a 450 hp water cooled turbocharged diesel engine. Its top speed of 105 km/h makes it superior to older rivals like the original LAV-25 or the BTR-60. Even 6×6 stalwarts like the VAB or the Fuchs are a bit lacking compared to the Arma’s own 6×6 configuration.
The engine is located beneath the frontal glacis plate. Beside the engine are seated the driver and commander, who each have separate hatches and viewing slits. Unless a turret is attached to the roof the Arma provides space for 10 passengers. Firing ports on its flanks and roof mounted smoke dischargers are part of its basic protective features.
Eight variants of the Arma are available and customers may choose additional improvements. Limited numbers of the Arma’s 6×6 variant have been purchased by Bahrain.
The SEP (a complicated Swedish acronym) was a long-term R&D project undertaken by BAE Systems to create a next generation universal armored vehicle for the Swedish Army. Ever practical, the hull of a Hägglunds IFV was mounted on a wheeled chassis to create the basic model for the SEP.
The SEP program launched in 1996 and by the time it was ready for production in 2008 the unfolding global financial crisis forced the Swedish Ministry of Defense (MoD) to cancel it.
Little is known about the SEP’s performance characteristics. Like most Western APCs, it was available in a 6×6 and 8×8 chassis. Unlike its peers, however, the SEP was designed to perform many roles. Driven by a two-man crew it could transport eight infantrymen over challenging terrain and provide fire support with a remote control turret.
An enigmatic feature of the SEP was its built-in stealth capabilities and the reported 24 different variants it could transform into. More than any other vehicle in its class the SEP had the potential to become the ultimate fighting machine.
The BTR-4 is another attempt by an Eastern European country to work around the limitations of the BTR-series.
This is apparent judging from the BTR-4’s appearance. When the first models were delivered to the Ukrainian Army in 2008 by Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building (KMDB in Russian), the BTR-4’s “European” influences were quickly noted.
Retaining the BTR’s features–amphibious, lightweight, and rugged–while increasing its performance, the BTR-4’s best asset is a formidable turret armed with a 30mm cannon, twin ATGMs, and six smoke dischargers. KMDB are offering different weapon modules as well. At least 10 BTR-4 variants exist.
Imitating Western European models like the German Fuchs and the French VAB, side doors and ballistic glass panels were installed for better access and visibility at the front of the vehicle. With the 500 or 600 hp diesel engine relocated behind the driver, space is available for a specialized turret module and between nine to 12 passengers.
Already in limited use with Ukraine’s embattled ground forces in Donbass, the BTR-4 has succumbed to anti-tank weapons and taken its fair share of battle damage. But it’s currently the best APC in Ukraine’s arsenal and is now enjoying strong demand from abroad.