BTR-82A vs M113: Why the ‘Russian’ Isn’t a Competitor to the ‘American’

APC Armored vehicles

The Russian TV show “Voyennaya priyemka” (Russian propaganda TV show, ed.) aired another bold report on equipment captured in Ukraine.

This time, the Russian military fired at an M113A3 armored personnel carrier (converted back to an APC Sidam-25 anti-aircraft gun) using a BTR-82A 30mm automatic cannon. This was done from a point-blank range of 100 meters.

Predictably, the BTR-82A missed most shots, with only two shells hitting the target. These two shells managed to cover the short distance and penetrate the side of the M113, which is to be expected given the close range.

This demonstration is somewhat embarrassing considering that the Russian BMP-3, touted as having no analogues, has similar aluminum sides with a thickness of 43 mm. It’s important to note that the M113 is an APC, whereas the BMP-3 is an IFV, marketed as a competitor to the Bradley!

The purpose of this demonstration remains unclear. It was evidently more of a spectacle than a genuine test.

The propagandists also inadvertently highlighted a major flaw of the BTR-82A gun: its extremely low accuracy.

Момент промаху БТР-82А при стрільбі с мінімальної дистанції

M113 armor protection

In fact, the armor protection parameters of the M113 were studied long ago by the Soviet Union during the Vietnam War. This analysis was conducted by the 38th Research Institute, and the findings were also published on the btvt.info website.

The protection characteristics of the M113 armored personnel carrier, whose hull is welded from rolled sheets of aluminum alloy, are detailed in the table below.

Stability of hull parts M113 from B-32 rounds of different calibers

Designation Thickness, mm Obliquity of armor plate, deg 14,5 мм 12,7 мм 7,62 мм
Distance, m Approach angle Distance, m Approach angle Distance, m Approach angle
Upper glacis plate 38 45 400 0 No penetration 0 No penetration 0
Lower glacis plate 38 30 800 0 160 0 0
Hull above fender 43 0 100 42 100 72 100 90
400 50 250 90
800 75
850 90
Below fender plate 31 0 100 34 100 46 100 56
400 48 400 54 350 90
800 47 800 90
1000 54

The body armor parts of the M113, which serve different purposes and have varying thicknesses, are constructed from aluminum alloy designated as 5083 in the United States. This alloy is known for its excellent weldability, with a tensile strength of approximately 30 kgf/mm², and it does not require additional heat treatment.

The primary alloying element in this aluminum alloy is Magnesium (Mg), with a content ranging from 4.5% to 5.0%. It also contains Manganese (Mn) in the range of 0.6% to 0.8%, Chromium (Cr) up to 0.1%, and Titanium (Ti) up to 0.1%. The chemical composition of the alloy, expressed as a percentage, includes aluminum as the base element.

All welds on the armored parts are made without additional reinforcement or further processing of the weld bead. The seam width does not exceed 12 mm. At junction points where armor plates meet, one plate typically has a sample to halt the second sheet.

APC Armored vehicles