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Armored bridgelayer


The MTU-72 bridgelayer is based on a modified T-72 main battle tank chassis

Entered service 1974
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (with bridge) 40 t
Length 11.64 m
Hull length ~ 7 m
Width 3.46 m
Height 3.38 m
Load class MLC-50
Bridge length (single span) 20 m
Bridge length (multi span) 30 m
Bridge payload 50 t
Construction time 3 minutes
Engine V-46-6 diesel
Engine power 780 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.85 m
Trench 2.8 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording (with preparation) 4.5 m


   The MTU-72 armored bridgelayer is a combat engineering vehicle, designed to launch an assault bridge for tanks and other military vehicles across trenches and water obstacles. It entered service with the Soviet Army in 1974. It replaced or supplemented the previous MTU-20 and MT-55 bridgelayers, based on the T-55 medium tank. Production of the MTU-72 ceased in 1990. Its replacement - the MTU-90 is ready for production, however due to funding problems it received no orders yet.

   The MTU-72 bridgelayer is based on a modified T-72 main battle tank chassis. A number of the Soviet T-72B or T-72M1 tanks were converted to armored bridgelayers by removing the turret and replacing it with a bridge-launching system. Some sources mention, that some bridgelayers were produced utilizing newly-built T-72 chassis.

   This armored bridgelayer carries an MLC-50 class bridge. The MTU-72 lays it's bridge horizontally (cantilever type) rather than vertically as with majority of other bridgelayers. The main advantage of such design, is that it can not be observed some distance away by the enemy. Thie bridge is 20 m long and can span a gap of 18 m. It is possible to span a gap of 30 m by laying second bridge from the first one. The bridge is made of aluminum alloy construction and weights 6.4 tonnes. It has a payload capacity of 50 tonnes and provides passage for tracked or wheeled vehicles. It takes 3 minutes to lay the bridge, while recovery takes 8 minutes. Laying and recovering of the bridge is done by the crew without leaving the vehicle. The bridge can be recovered from either end. For transportation the bridge length is reduced by folding both ends.

   Some sources claim, that armor protection of the MTU-72 is equivalent to 200 mm of steel armor. This armored bridgelayer is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems. There is a pintle-mounted 7.62-mm machine gun for self-defense.

   Vehicle has a crew of two, including driver and commander (bridge operator).

   The MTU-72 is powered by a V-46-6 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 780 hp. This armored bridgelayer is fitted with front-mounted stabilizer blade at the front, which is also used as a dozer blade for clearing obstacles. The MTU-72 is fitted with a deep wading equipment and can ford water obstacles up to 4.5 m deep.

   There is a similar former Czechoslovakian version - the MT-72. This combat engineering vehicle weights 41.5 t, and the bridge itself weights 6 t. Another similar prototype, the BLP-72, was developed in the former East Germany and used a scissors-type bridge. It should have been ready for series production in the late 1980s, but the project was cancelled.


Video of the MTU-72 armored bridgelayer








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