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Amphibious light tank

PT-76 tank

The PT-76 light amphibious tank was designed as a reconnaissance vehicle

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1951
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 14.2 t
Length (gun forward) 7.63 m
Hull length 6.91 m
Width 3.14 m
Height 2.33 m
Main gun 76 mm
Machine guns 1 x 7.62 mm
Elevation range - 4 to + 30 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 40 rounds
Machine guns 1 000 x 7.62 mm
Engine V-6B diesel
Engine power 240 hp
Maximum road speed 44 km/h
Amphibious speed on water 10 km/h
Range 370 km
Gradient 70%
Side slope 35%
Vertical step 1.1 m
Trench 2.8 m
Fording Amphibious


   The PT-76 amphibious light tank entered service with Soviet Army in 1951. It was designed as a reconnaissance vehicle. Production continued until the late 1960s and around 12 000 of these tanks were built. Around 10 000 were used by the Soviet military, while around 2 000 were exported to Soviet allies around the globe. By 1995 Russian military had only 200 of these tanks in service. Russian naval infantry units operated last 30 of these tanks until 2015, when the type was completely retired from the Russian service. Despite its age this light tank is still in service with at least 25 countries. However numbers are reducing.

   The PT-76 has an ideal design for amphibious capability, but both has a number of limitations as a fighting vehicle. Its amphibious design with a boat-like hull and limitations in weight allowed less armor protection. Thin tank's hull is vulnerable to 12.7 mm machine guns and artillery fragments. Later production vehicles were fitted with an automatic fire suppression and NBC protection systems.

   This light tank is armed with a 76 mm gun. It has a maximum effective range of 1.5 km and rate of fire of 7 rounds per minute. By modern standards this gun is considered light, but it can easily defeat lightly armored vehicles. A total of 40 rounds are carried for the main gun. Original PT-76 tanks had no gun stabilization. So these tanks could not fire accurately on the move. An improved PT-76B model with a fully-stabilized gun was produced since 1959.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. Some tanks were fitted with a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun on top of the roof.

   Vehicle has a crew of three, including commander, loader and driver.

   The PT-76 is powered by a V-6B diesel engine, developing 240 horsepower. Vehicle is fully amphibious without additional preparation. It is propelled on water by two waterjets. Auxiliary fuel tanks can be installed for longer operational range.

   In the late 1970s a new amphibious light tank was developed in the Soviet Union to replace the PT-76 in the reconnaissance role. However during development this new vehicle was repurposed as infantry fighting vehicle and was adopted in 1987 as the BMP-3. Instead a different light tank was developed for the airborne troops and naval infantry. It was adopted by the Russian airborne troops in 2005 as the Sprut-SD. However only a relatively small number of these light tanks (around 50-75) were delivered to the airborne units. The Russian army evenmtually left without proper replacement for the PT-76.




   PT-76 Model 1 with a D-56T gun.

   PT-76 Model 2 with a D-56TM gun. The gun had a double-baffle muzzle brake and fume extractor. New vision and communication devices were fitted. Hull of this tank was raised by 13 cm. Original tanks were upgraded to this improved standard and received new guns and equipment.

   PT-76 Model 3 with a D-56TM gun.

   PT-76B, fitted with new fully-stabilized D-56TS gun, improved observation and communication equipment. Production of this variant began in 1959 and it replaced in production the original PT-76 tank.

   PT-76M, featured improved seaworthiness and was intended for naval infantry units. However this light tank was not accepted to service and the Soviet naval infantry units were equipped with the PT-76B.

   Polish PT-76 variant features a separate commander's hatch and a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun.

   Type 63, variant of the PT-76 produced in China. It has a new turret with a more powerful 85 mm gun.

   M1985 is a North Korean amphibious light tank. In concept it is similar to the PT-76, but has a number of features of the Chinese Type 63. It is armed with a 85 mm main gun.

   PT-76(M) is an Indonesian upgraded version of the PT-76. Not to be confused with the Soviet PT-76M variant. The tank is fitted with a Cockerill 90 mm gun and new fire control system with day/night sights. The gun is capable of firing a wide range of munitions, including APFSDS, HEAT, HESH, HE, and canister rounds. It is also capable of launching Falarick 90 anti-tank guided missiles. These have a maximum range of 4 km. This significantly improved long-range anti-tank capabilities, as the 90 mm gun would not be effective against modern main battle tanks. Original V-6 diesel engine was replaced with the Detroit Diesel 6V-92T engine, developing 300 hp. The tank retains its original transmission system.

   BTR-50P amphibious armored personnel carrier. This armored vehicle has considerable troop carrying capacity and accommodates 20 troops. The BTR-50P had an open top, covered only by a canvas cover. Troops had to enter and leave the vehicle over foe sides. The BTR-50PK had a fully enclosed troop compartment. The only armament is a pintle-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun.

   ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft gun.

   ASU-85 airborne assault gun.

   FROG-2 and FROG-5 missile launching vehicles.

   Kub short-range air defense missile system. Its downgraded export version is known Kvadrat. It uses a heavily-modified chassis of the PT-76 light tank, fitted with radars, or launcher with 3 missiles. This system was produced since 1967 until 1983. Western reporting name for this air defense system is SA-6 or Gainful.



PT-76 tank

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PT-76 tank

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PT-76 tank

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PT-76 tank

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PT-76 tank

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