I am wondering whether I should go with the BTR-70 or BTR-80, I am largely leaning towards the BTR-80. However, are there any other options I might have that would be more cost effective or that would better fulfill the criteria I have?
Keep in mind, I am exactly 6'0 feet tall, my father (likely to be the driver or the commander/gunner) is also 6'0 feet tall, my best friend is about 5'11, and most of my friends are between 5'11 and 6'1 tall.
Myself = 1.828 meters
Father = 1.828 meters
Best friend = 1.803 meters
Most of my friends are between 1.803 and 1.854 meters
I don't believe any of us would be at home in a T-72 or any sort of Soviet tank of the T series. I had considered going the route of a T-72 and heavily modifying it, removing all shell storage, removing the gun, and basically turning it into an armored transport, indeed a HEAVILY armored transport, but I don't know if I or anybody I know would comfortably fit in the driver's section or any section with how tall we are. I've also thought about BMPs but I've heard those have comfort issues. I'm not looking for a vehicle to go a few miles down the road so I can have everybody pour out and fight a battle. I'm looking for a vehicle that might have to go 3,000 to 5,000 miles while keeping the occupants safe from occasional small arms fire and possible environmental issues (radioactive fallout, chemical contaminants, etc).
The main thing I see myself doing with the vehicle is using it to carry myself, my father, a few very close friends, maybe four to six people (at most), along with a dozen or more rifles, several shotguns, a dozen or so crates of rifle ammunition, several dozen jerry cans of water, several crates of food (mostly heavy military rations and then of course light weight freeze dried food), basic camping equipment (sleeping bags) for a few people, and that's about all I can think of right now. So basically a maximum of six people (counting the driver and the commander) and perhaps 1,000 kilos of equipment/gear/ammo as cargo.
I think now it might be best to post a copy of the criteria from the original thread...
My main criteria for SHTF vehicle...
Armored to the extent that it can at least withstand some .30 caliber rifle and MMG fire, ideally .50 caliber rifle and HMG fire. I don't mind if it requires a bit of extra cash to upgrade the armor to give it protection against .50 caliber, also I plan on wearing personal body armor (Level IV) while inside the vehicle, so whatever fire is coming into the vehicle would first be penetrating the vehicle before it can begin to attempt to penetrate my personal armor. Still I'd rather not have it come down to trusting my personal armor to stop a .50 caliber that may have expended a lot of energy getting through the front armor or may have only expended a little energy getting through.
Engine as easy to maintain as possible. I'm not a diesel mechanic but I know one and could probably pick up a few tricks in over a couple of months.
Fully amphibious, ideally without preparation aside from buttoning up, minimal preparation is okay as long as it is still amphibious.
Wheeled is preferred, tracked is okay if it meets all other criteria.
Ability to carry at least a half-dozen people (counting crew), and provide some room for at least a few people to sleep/rest at a time, even if just lying in a seat and propping legs up somewhere. There should also be the ability to carry at least a dozen rifles, spare parts for rifles, and upwards of 5,000 to 10,000 rounds of small arms ammunition for said rifles.
Ability to mount an HMG (such as Browning M2) as a primary armament, is a major plus.
Ability to mount an MMG (such as M-240 or M-60) as a secondary armament, is a major plus.
Full NBC protection.
Transmission doesn't matter, standard is okay, automatic is okay.
Capable of handling most light obstacles and of some degree of self-recovery (I won't exactly be able to call for an armored recovery vehicle if the thing gets stuck in mud).
Smoke launchers are an added plus.
Multiple entrances/exits, either rear/top, sides/top, sides/rear, or some combination. Best one I can think of would be rear and top or sides and top.
Ability to shoot with personal weapons from inside the vehicle, particularly at threats alongside the vehicle.
Some ability for decent internal lighting would be a great bonus as well.
For the bulk of my criteria I feel the BTR-80 is the best way to go, particularly in regards to "best bang for buck" since it can do what I want it to do, and I believe it can do it cheaper and better than the next best alternatives.