The MT-LB light multipurpose tracked vehicle is intended for transporting troops, gun crews, ammunition and various military cargos, towing artillery systems and trailers and evacuating casualties over cross-country terrain, as well as on dirt and hard roads. Its chassis is used as a platform to mount various weapons and military equipment, including ATGM systems, air defense systems, NBC reconnaissance vehicles, engineer vehicles, and other weaponry.
The basic vehicle is fitted with a 240hp automotive diesel engine and two-loop manual transmission with a planetary steering mechanism. The engine is located in the middle of the chassis and the transmission, combined with final drives in a single unit, is in the nose. The original transmission enables the vehicle to turn around with a radius equal to half its width. The vehicle uses a torsion bar suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers and a small-link track 350 mm wide. The MT-LB transporter with the maximum load of 2.5 tons on the platform can move at a top speed of 60 km/h and cross water obstacles afloat. A turret armed with a 7.62mm machine gun (ammunition load of 1500 rounds) and the PP-61B day periscope sight is installed on the vehicle.
The MT-LBM upgraded transporter-tractor is equipped with a more powerful engine and manual transmission with a hydrostatic steering unit. It features greatly enhanced firepower. The 6MA machine gun- and 6MB gun-armed versions are available. The gun-armed MT-LBM is fitted with a night sight. The vehicle has a lower load capacity (1.0 tons), however its maximum trailer capacity remained unchanged (6.5 tons).