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Ukrainian soldiers conduct field tests with new BTR-4MV1 8x8 IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle

According to a tweet posted by praisethesteph on July 20, 2023, the Ukrainian army has conducted training exercises with the latest generation of locally-made 8x8 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV); the BTR-4MV1. This vehicle, used by the 5th Brigade of the National Guard, represents an upgraded version of the BTR-4 model, boasting new weapon systems and improved armor. 
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The prototype of BTR-4MV1, still used by the 5th 'Slobozhansk' Brigade of the National Guard, during training. (Picture source : praisethesteph)

Visually, the BTR-4MV1 exhibited distinctive elements, including a monolithic armored plate at an acute angle replacing the standard front windows and a new ramp in the stern instead of the usual armored doors.

The design of the BTR-4MV1 was the result of collaboration with the Ukrainian army, taking into account their combat experiences in eastern Ukraine from 2014 to 2015. This prototype marked a significant step in the development of the experimental BTR-4MV model, which itself was an improvement over the serial Ukrainian BTR-4E.

Through a modular approach and the incorporation of spaced armor, the BTR-4MV1 achieved a higher level of protection, allowing for swift replacement of outer layer elements in field conditions, thereby enhancing its defensive capabilities. The technological solutions utilized in the BTR-4MV1 aligned with the latest NATO armament trends, and the modular armor approach resembled that of the best armored vehicles used by NATO countries.

According to reports, the BTR-4MV1 offered all-around protection equivalent to STANAG 4569 level 3, providing protection against 7.62×54R ammunition at a distance of 30 meters. The frontal armor, classified as "3+," could withstand 12.7×99 mm ammunition at the same range. The vehicle's front and sides were equipped with armor plates capable of providing protection against up to 25 mm caliber ammunition, which was classified as level 5 defense. Additionally, the hull could be equipped with additional reactive armor for added security.

The multi-purpose compartments of the BTR-4MV1 allowed for the installation of extra fuel tanks, floats, or additional armor, offering flexibility for various missions and configurations.

The BTR-4MV1 was adaptable for different tasks, ranging from patrol missions to serving as an amphibious vehicle for marines, made possible by utilizing combat modules that facilitated the replacement of the vehicle's armament.

Equipped with a BM-7 "Parus" turret, the BTR-4MV1 housed a 30mm ZTM-1 automatic cannon, a 7.62mm KТ-7.62 machine gun, a 30mm KBА-117 AGL (Automatic Grenade Launcher), and two Barrier Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launchers, providing it with enhanced versatility and firepower.

Weighing between 24 to 25 tons, which was 2 to 3 tons more than the BTR-4, the BTR-4MV1 featured an 8x8 wheel formula and was equipped with a 450hp Deutz BF6M 1015 CP diesel engine paired with an Allison automatic transmission. It retained its amphibious capability, ensuring mobility across various terrains, with a top speed of 110 km/h on land and the ability to swim across water obstacles at speeds up to 10 km/h.

The report of the BTR-4MV1 during training demonstrated the Ukrainian military's commitment to enhancing its defense capabilities and testing locally-made materials in real combat conditions. Initially presented at the “Weapons and Security-2017” exhibition, the BTR-4MV1 was later reported to have participated in trial tests in December 2017.

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The BTR-4MV1 8x8 APC prototype at Arms & Security 2017 (Picture source Army Recognition)

Despite the increased armor protection and various upgrades, the BTR-4MV1 had some drawbacks, including an archaic undercarriage design, issues with cross-country mobility, and layout deficiencies. As a result, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine initially showed no interest in this development.

However, in February 2021, a photo emerged online showing the experimental BTR-4MV1 painted in desert camouflage and being transported to the UAE by the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau for display at the IDEX-2021 defense exhibition in Dubai. This vehicle was also demonstrated to the Peruvian Army in November 2021, after the international exhibition SITDEF 2021.

Confirmation of the vehicle's deployment in actual combat emerged in March 2022, with sightings of the armored personnel carriers in battles on the outskirts of Kharkiv, where they were assigned to the 5th Slobozhan Brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine, which still use it at this day. It was also spotted in June 2022, but the location is unknown.

Subsequent sightings occurred in October 2022, both in the Kharkiv region. The BTR-4MV1 was initially painted in desert camouflage and later in green camouflage on top of the factory “desert” camouflage, marked with Ukrainian recognition signs.

The BTR-4 was also seen during the Balakliia-Kupiansk offensive operation between September 8 and September 16, 2022, and after the battles in the newly liberated Izium during the same month. Later on, the vehicle was spotted in Kupiansk city center when Ukrainian troops entered the city, distinguished by its characteristic armor and a flag painted on its left side.

On October 12, 2022, the Tysk Telegram channel released a photo featuring the BTR-4MV1 along with the crew and local population in one of the liberated villages in the Kharkiv region, signifying the vehicle's combat debut and its role in the region's liberation from Russian invasion forces.

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The BTR-4MV1 8x8 APC prototype at Arms & Security 2017 (Picture source Army Recognition)

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