The Romanian Army operates around 400 TABC-79s, an armored personnel carrier that entered service in 1979 and was in mass production until the mid-1980s.
The TABC-79 was developed based on the experience of the Soviet-era armored fighting vehicles BTR-60 and BTR-70, manufactured under license in Romania as TAB-71 and TAB-77 respectively.
The TABC-79 was completely new built, about the same size as the BRDM-2. The design was inspired by the TAB-77 and most of its components and features. The TABC-79 is classified as a reconnaissance APC in the Romanian army. It is now known officially as the “ABC-79”
Compared to the TAB-77, the hull of the TABC-79 is shortened by 1.80 meters, and the wheel-train was reduced to two axles, with independent roadwheels, making it an agile 4×4. Most if its components are shared with the TAB-77. The hull is of all-welded steel construction, providing protection against 20 mm rounds, shell splinters and small arms fire.
The original configuration is kept, with the commander and driver seating at the front, their view protected by windscreens and armoured shutters, plus single-piece hatches above, opening forward, and four PF2 day periscopes to the front and sides. The commander was given an AON1 IR searchlight mounted. Armor of this APC provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The TABC-79 is completed with an NBC protection system as standard.
The crew of three and the rear passenger compartment can accommodate four soldiers. Troops enter and leave the vehicle through small triangle-shaped doors in each side of the hull, doors at the rear of the hull or a single roof hatch. It is a significant advantage over the BRDM-2, that has only roof hatches for entry and exit.
For self-defense, the TABC-79 is equipped with a turret-mounted 14.5 mm machine gun and a coaxial 7.62 mm MG machine gun. Both weapons are located in a small one-man turret which is identical to turret of the TAB-77 and the earlier TAB-71M.
The TABC-79 is equipped with a modern 132 hp SAVIEM 797-05M1 diesel engine, similar to that on the TAB-77. Due to its lighter weight, the TABC-79 is much faster and more agile than the 8×8 APC, with a top speed of 80 km/h and a range of 700 km. It retains full amphibious capability, relying on a single water-jet in the rear for propulsion. On the water, it swims at a maximum speed of 10 km/h.
TABC-79 participated in the 1989 revolution that broke out in Bucarest. Some operated with the IFOR in Bosnia during the Operation Joint Endeavor (1995-96) in peace-keeping operations. Other participated in various missions in Afghanistan.