The Chechen war was one of the most severe tests the Russian state faced after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It took the lives of many Russian soldiers and some hard lessons had to be learned through the hell of defeat. The main menace for the Russian ground forces were single soldiers with RPGs. This war has shown that the crews and infantrymen in BTR-80s and BMP-2s are sitting ducks for these soldiers armed with simple and cheap rocket launchers. So, the first thing that had to be made is a well-protected personnel carrier and infantry fighting vehicle at the same time. Of course, the budget of Russian state was virtually empty for years after the Chechen war so some cheap but effective solutions had to be made.
The Russian army took several directions in making this IFV. The winning option for the Russian army was BMPT Terminator, based on the T-72 chassis. The new concept that is currently under development is built on T-99 chassis (project Armata), but they also developed an IFV based on obsolete T-55 tanks.
This was enforced by the fact that T-55 was one of the most produced tanks in the history and that there are still thousands all across the globe. For domestic usage, it turned too weak and underpowered but it is still an option for quick conversion in times of need as there is a significant number of T-55s and T-54s in Russian reserve. Several sets of armament are available for this chassis.
BTR-T was made as a rather simple conversion of T-55. The turret is taken down and the body is additionally protected with armour plating and reactive armour, even on the top. This increased the weight to some 38 tons but provided the protection against RPG attacks for the crew and infantry. BTR-T has 2 crew members and can carry up to 5 passengers.
As for the weapons configuration it has several options. All of these options are made of combinations of 9M113 Konkurs ATGMs, 2A42 30 mm auto cannons, AGS-17 30 mm grenade launchers, 2A38 30 mm auto cannons and 12.7 mm NSV heavy machine guns. All of the weapons are fitted with the high elevation capability to engage targets on top of the buildings in the urban warfare.
BTR-T is propelled by the 520hp diesel engine and that means that it is pretty much underpowered compared to the modern tanks.
All in all, this is a decent and very cheap solution for urban warfare that can save lives and carries out assignments that would be very dangerous for any other IFV of classic configuration. The only reason the Russian army didn’t decide to make it serial is the fact that they have other options but it is a valuable addition to almost any other army that has T-55s in its arsenal. Unfortunately, no contracts for export were made up to date.