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Russian Forces Spotted with Modified MT-LB Equipped with MT-12 gun

On July 11, 2023, we reported on Army Recognition about a modified MT-LB by the Ukrainian army, as well as other hybrid vehicles. Well, we can now add to this non-exhaustive list a new hybrid vehicle spotted in the ranks of the Russian army. The Russians have created their own fire support vehicle based on an MT-LB, integrating the vehicle with the MT-12 100mm anti-tank gun
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MT-LB APC with MT-12 anti-tank gun. (Picture source: Youtube footage video )

Usually, the MT-12 anti-tank gun is towed by an MT-LB, but here the Russians have mounted it on an MT-LB chassis to undoubtedly give it more mobility. Ukrainians and Russians often use such vehicles as improvised artillery. Currently, we know of at least two of these modified MT-LB vehicles in the possession of the Russian side, with one of them reportedly damaged.

Developed by the Soviet Union and introduced in 1961, the T-12 quickly proved its worth on the battlefield. The T-12 is an artillery piece originally designed to succeed the BS-3 cannons of the same caliber, and it gained popularity thanks to its impressive performance.

With its smoothbore 100mm cannon, the MT-12 is capable of penetrating the most resistant armor. Its sub-caliber 3BM23 projectile can penetrate up to 225mm of steel at a distance of 1000 meters. It also has a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) projectile, the 3BK16M, which can penetrate up to 400mm of steel. Additionally, it is equipped with a guided missile, the 9K117 "Kastet," capable of neutralizing armor with a thickness of 550 to 600mm. Such versatility makes it a formidable weapon on the battlefield.

Its robust design and the ability to be towed by the MT-LB make it a mobile artillery piece ready to be deployed rapidly on various fronts. Modern military operations require maximum flexibility.

The MT-LB was designed by the Central Auto and Tractor Directorate and manufactured by the renowned Kharkiv Tractor Plant. Weighing in at 11.9 tonnes (13.1 short tons; 11.7 long tons), it measures 6.45 meters (21 ft 2 in) in length, 2.86 meters (9 ft 5 in) in width, and 1.86 meters (6 ft 1 in) in height. The vehicle can accommodate a crew of two and carry up to 11 passengers.

The MT-LB features armor with a maximum thickness of 14 mm, providing essential protection for its occupants. Its main armament options include a 12.7mm NSV/Kord heavy machine gun or a 30mm AGS17D/AGS-30 Automatic grenade launcher, or a 30mm 2A42/2A72 autocannon. Additionally, it is equipped with a secondary armament consisting of a PKT machine gun with 2,500 rounds of ammunition.

The vehicle is propelled by either a YaMZ 238 V-8 diesel engine. The YaMZ 238 engine generates 240 horsepower at 2,100 rpm, while the SW 680 engine produces the same power at 2,200 rpm. With a power-to-weight ratio of 20 hp/tonne. Its torsion bar suspension allows for smooth movement over various terrains.

One of the MT-LB's distinguishing features is its amphibious nature. It can navigate water bodies with a speed of 5 to 6 km/h (3.7 MPH), ensuring operational versatility in diverse environments. On land, it reaches a maximum speed of 61 km/h (38 mph) on roads and 30 km/h (19 mph) off-road. With a range of 500 km (310 mi) on roads.

The combination of these two components ultimately creates a third one, a new anti-tank vehicle that combines the qualities of both. Nevertheless, these are equipment that is starting to show its age, with the T-12 cannon being in service since 1961 and the MT-LB being a model designed in the 1950s. One may wonder if this new hybrid vehicle can provide a real advantage on the battlefield against modern equipment provided by international aid to Ukraine.


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