BTR-152 is one of the oldest Soviet APC. 15,000 were produced from 1950 to 1962. It can transported 18 troops and had a 9-15mm steel armor which can withstand firearms and fragments. It uses the ZiS-123 gasoline engine and can achieve the speed of 75km/h on road.
Several hundreds of this BTR were supplied to Hanoi during the Vietnam war.
The BTR-152 was highly praised by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) in the war, thanks to its high mobility and good transport capability.
BTR-152 in a military training.
However, after decades of service, the condition of the BTR-152 was severely decreased. Furthermore, BTR-152 also has a number of shortcomings, which make the vehicle become more and more unsuitable in the recent years. For example, the gasoline engine has a small workpower, and not very fuel-effecient in the circumstance that, the oil and gasoline price are rising. The aging gasoline engine also causes many inconveniences in maintenance and repair.
BTR-152 also does not have power-assisted steering system, no signal-light, no rear-view mirror, which limit the mobility especially in urban environments. The cross-country capability is also limited due to poor suspension. The troop chamber also does not have top cover and therefore provides no protection from the top.
As a result, the PAVN deemed that BTR-152 has low relability and effeciency, and this vehicle needs urgent modernization to maintain the service capability.
The BTR-152 modernization project was proposed by captain Nguyễn Huy Trưởng, member of Department of Tank and Armoured Vehicles in the Institute of Military Vehicle Technology. His project was awared the Military's Youth Creativity Prize in 2011.
The modernization program mainly focused on increasing the mobility, cross-country capability and fuel effeciency of the vehicle.
Military officers of 2nd Military Zone were examining and testing a modernized BTR-152
To solve the problem of fuel effeciency, the PAVN replaced the old gasoline engine with a diesel engine, with a new gear system for the engine. This solution was actually applied in many other military vehicles such as U-ran 375D, Zin 130, 131; Gaz 53, 66. Experiments showed that, the new diesel engine in BTR-152 have a slightly better workpower and much better fuel effeciency.
A new power-assisted steering system was incorporated into the vehicle to increase the mobility. Rain-wiper, signal lights, rear mirror was also incorporated to increase the safety and visibility in urban area. Suspension, compressed air system, electricity system were fixed and improved to increase the loading capability and stability in works. Interior, ventilation, tyres, communication devices,... were also revamped.
A top cover was installed into the troop chamber to provide protection from the top.
A newly revamped BTR-152.
The modernization project of BTR-152 was considered successful. The revamped vehicle has a 9.1% higher workpower, and significantly more fuel efficient (the old gasoline engine consumed 60-70 litre gasoline for 100km, while the new diesel engine consumed 30 litre of DO for 100km). The apprearance was nicer, and it is easier to use.