The BTR-80 armored personnel carrier (APC) is a combat wheeled amphibious vehicle designed to transport motor rifle units, provide fire support to them on the battlefield, and fight from inside the vehicle. The experience with operating the BTR-60 and BTR-70 APCs in a variety of climatic conditions and their combat use in different countries was widely used in the development of the BTR-80.
The APC’s frontal hull section houses a driving compartment, which accommodates a driver and a commander of the armored personnel carrier. The troop compartment combined with the fighting compartment occupies the central part of the vehicle. The engine compartment is placed in the rear of the fighting vehicle.
All these layout solutions give the BTR-80 the following advantages:
- good visibility and high activity of the occupants, low fumes contamination of inhabited compartments, good floatability (providing and maintaining a trim by stern), the desired angles of approach and departure through the placement of the power plant in the rear;
- uniform wheel load required for a high cross-country capacity of the vehicle;
- a high trench crossing capacity (up to 2 meters wide) and blast survivability of the running gear through the use of a four-axle wheeled running gear layout;
- capability to move behind tanks along tank tracks and a good lateral stability (side roll to 25 deg) due to a broad wheel track, smooth bottom and a high ground clearance.
The crew enters and leaves the vehicle through either the upper hatches in the hull roof or side doors which enable the crew to get into and exit even when the vehicle is on the move.
The BTR-80’s armament includes: a twin mount comprising the 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine gun and 7.62mm PKT (PKTM) machine gun with the traverse angles of 360 deg and elevation angles of +60 to -4 deg. The crew can use their personal weapons protected by the vehicle’s armor through firing ports in the hull sides or destroy low-flying air targets through the firing ports in the upper hatches of the vehicle. The APC is fitted with the TKN-4GA combined gunner's sight for aimed fire from weapons day and night.
Hull and turret armor reliably protects the crew from 7.62mm bullets and shell fragments, while the frontal armor - also against 12.7mm bullets.
High mobility of the APC has been achieved through the use of an eight-wheel running gear with 8x8 all-wheel drive, a powerful and economical diesel engine, an independent wishbone torsion-bar suspension and bullet-proof tubeless tires. The BTR-80 is capable of crossing water obstacles in stride and without preparation.
The KI-80N or KI-126 bullet-proof tubeless tires with remote pressure regulation enable the BTR-80 to keep moving for up to 200 kilometers even after they have been punctured by bullets of all calibers and have lost all air pressure.
A four-axle 8x8 wheeled running gear, a hub-reduction final drive with wheel-hub drives have resulted in a smooth bottom, while an independent torsion bar suspension, high ground clearance and track width, close to the tank one, have provided a capability to move along the tank column ways.
There is a winch with a pulling force of 4 to 6 tons for self-extrication of the stuck armored personnel carrier.
A family of combat and logistic support vehicles has been developed and built around the BTR-80 chassis: a battalion commander APC, nuclear and chemical reconnaissance vehicle, a variety of communications, control and command staff vehicles, a armored medical vehicle, an armored recovery vehicle and the 120mm Nona-SVK self-propelled artillery gun.