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MLBSh new version of Russian MTLB light armoured tractor

Russia's Remdiesel company has unveiled the updated variant of the MTLB light armoured tractor designated MLBSh (Multi-Purpose Light Protected Amphibious Chassis). According to the official catalogue of the Remdiesel, the MLBSh features a laden weight of 10,500 kg, a payload of 2,500 kg and a crew of two. The volume of the vehicle's cargo compartment reaches 5.5 cubic m, and it can tow a 7,000 kg trailer.

MLBSh Remdiesel new version of Russian MTLB light tracked armoured vehicle tractor 925 001MLBSh new version of MTLB tracked armoured vehicle tractor at Army-2016, International Military Technical Forum near Moscow, September 2016

Unlike the basic variant, the MLBSh is powered by a KAMAZ-740.50 diesel engine with a power output of 360 h.p. that provides a power-to-weight ratio of 27 h.p./t to a fully loaded tractor. The MLBSh has a maximum speed of no less than 65 km/h, an average cross-country speed of 40-45 km/h on an unpaved surface road, a swimming speed of 5-6 km/h and a cruising range of 500-700 km depending on the type of the road. The vehicle features a relatively low average ground pressure that does not exceed 0.5 kg/sq cm. The organic manned turret armed with a 7.62 mm PKT medium machinegun has been replaced with an open mount for a 12.7 mm heavy machinegun, namely a Kord or an NSVT.

The MLBSh is a high-speed tractor intended to transport people and cargoes in an internal compartment in a rugged terrain. The vehicle was unveiled at the Army 2017 defense show held outside Moscow in August.

The tractor seems to be an effort to bring the ageing MTLB to the modern level. The integration of a new diesel engine reduces fuel consumption and increases the tractor's maneuverability.

The MTLB is believed to remain the organic light armoured tractor of Russia's armed forces in the foreseeable future, as it is a reliable and cost-effective vehicle that can be successfully used in rugged terrains, owing to high cross-country capacity and low ground pressure.

The MTLB can be a chassis for a number of weapon systems, in particular, the Strela-10 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. Even newest combat vehicles can be mounted on the time-proven tractor. Therefore, the extension of the tractor's service life is required. The MLBSh can be used as a firefighting vehicle and a civil tractor also.

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