According to a video posted on Social Media on March 12, 2023, Russia sent Ukraine the BTR-50PU, another type of tracked armored vehicle dating back to the Cold War.
The prolonged war in Ukraine caused heavy damage to the armored fleets of both sides. While Ukraine received a series of modern armored vehicles from Western allies, to make up for the shortfall, the Russian side was forced to re-commission a series of obsolete Soviet combat vehicles. According to a video posted on Social Media on March 12, 2023, Russia sent Ukraine the BTR-50PU, another type of tracked armored vehicle dating back to the Cold War.
This is a big surprise. This APC is more than 70 years old and has been abandoned a long time ago. The appearance of these APCs in the fierce war zone has raised a lot of questions regarding the state of the Russian Army. The BTR-50 is a Soviet tracked amphibious armored personnel carrier (APC) based on the PT-76 light tank chassis, was developed in 1952 and entered service with the Soviet Army in 1954.
The BTR-50 APC has a combat weight of about 14.5 tons, a length of 7.08 m, a width of 3.14 m, and a height of 2.03 m. The vehicle was designed to transport infantry troops and equipment across water obstacles, as well as to provide fire support during combat operations. The crew of three and can carry up to 14 fully equipped troops. It is armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun mounted on a rotating turret, and has an additional 7.62 mm machine gun mounted on the roof. It is also equipped with smoke grenade launchers for concealment.
Like the PT-76, the BTR-50 has a flat, boat-shaped hull. The hull of the BTR-50 is made of all-welded steel with the crew compartment in the front, the troop compartment in the center and the engine compartment at the rear. The armor protection of the BTR-50 is equivalent to PT-76 with a thickness of 13 mm in the front arc, 10 mm in the side and roof, while the rear is only 7 mm, enough to resist light infantry weapons up to 7.62 mm caliber.
The torsion bar suspension consists of six evenly spaced large rubber-tired road wheels with a drive sprocket at the rear and an idler at the front. The BTR-50 is powered by a V-6 6-cylinder 4-stroke in line water-cooled diesel 240 hp, for a road speed of 44 km/h with a cruising range of 400 km. The APC has an amphibious capability and can move through water at a speed of 8 km/h (5 mph) using its water-jet propulsion system.
The BTR-50’s amphibious capability makes it useful for crossing rivers and other bodies of water during military operations. It is currently unclear what role the Russian BTR-50s will play on the battlefield, but due to their obsolescence, they will most likely be only in the back line for defense instead of being assigned to raid units.