By Harold Hutchison
Throughout history, Russia has often been guilty of ripping off some American designs. They flat-out stole the B-29 (which they called the Tu-4 “Bull”), the Su-25 Frogfoot looks a lot like the Northrop YA-9, and then there’s the An-72 Coaler, which looks a bit like Boeing’s YC-14.
However, there is one American weapon the Russians are certainly not guilty of ripping off: the Stryker IAV. This is because Russia was way ahead of America in that department, thanks to the BTR-60/70/80/90 family of vehicles. In fact, the U.S. Army could learn a thing or two by getting their hands on the latest versions.
A BTR-80 (right) next to an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (left). (U.S. Army photo)
Like the Stryker, the BTR is an eight-wheeled vehicle that carries infantry into battle. When it first deployed in 1960, the BTR-60 had a crew of two, could hold 14 passengers, and was armed with a 14.5mm KPV heavy machine gun and a 7.62mm machine gun. The M1126 Stryker, by comparison, has a crew of three, holds nine troops, and carries an M2 heavy machine gun or a Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher.
A BTR-80A, showing the 30mm autocannon. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)
The Soviets improved on their design with the BTR-70, which cut the troop load to seven and upped the crew to three, while maintaining the same armaments. The Soviets then put forth the BTR-80, which supported up to eight infantry. A variant of this IAV, called the BTR-80A, is equipped with the same 30mm autocannon as used on the Russian BMP-2, an amphibious infantry fighting vehicle.
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The ultimate version of the BTR, the BTR-90. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)
The ultimate version of the BTR is the BTR-90. This vehicle brings roughly the same firepower as the BMP-2 in the form of a 30mm autocannon, the AT-5 Spandrel anti-tank missile, can carry seven grunts, and also adds a 30mm AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher. By comparison, the M1296 Stryker Dragoon has just a 30mm Bushmaster II chain gun.
Learn more about the BTR in the video below:
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