The MT-LB ( Mnogotcelevoi Tyagatsch Lyoghki Bronirovannyi ) was first designated M 1970 since it was initially identified
by the West in 1970. Its design is based on the MT-L light transport vehicle and prime mover. The MT-L, which is unarmored
and turretless, was first developed for geological research in the far north.
The MT-LB amphibious armoured tracked vehicle is fully amphibious, propelled in the water by its tracks. The low-silhouette
MT-LB has a flat-track suspension consisting of six road wheels with no return rollers. The box-like welded steel plate hull
has a crew compartment at the front, engine immediately behind on the left side, and a troop compartment at the rear which
has inward-facing folding seats for 11 infantrymen. The flat hull roof has two forward opening troop exit hatches. Early MT-LB's
had no drivers hatch, only a small domed top, so the driver and commander had to enter and exit the vehicle trough 1 hatch.
The infantry enter and leave the vehicle by two rear doors which are provided with firing ports. The total of four firing
ports also include one on each side of the vehicle. The small turret to the right at the commander's position mounts a single
7.62-mm PKT machine gun. Standard equipment on all vehicles includes an NBC protection system. Night vision equipment includes
a TWN-2B infra-red periscope for the driver with a range of 40 m. The MT-LB has air-actuated brakes which can be connected
to a trailer. It can also tow a trailer or weapon weighing up to 6500 kg or carry up to 2000 kg of cargo or stores.
The MT-LB is a multipurpose vehicle. When used as an APC, it can carry eleven personnel besides its two-man crew (driver
and commander-gunner). It also is used as a prime mover for various types of artillery. In this case it can also carry the
artillery crew (six to ten personnel). It is frequently used as prime mover for the 100 mm antitank gun T-12/MT-12. As a cargo
and general transport vehicle, it has a cargo capacity of 2 tons (towed load 6,5 tons).
The MT-LB can employ an extra-wide-track with an "aggressive" grouser to make over snow and swamp operations
easier. The wide-tracked version, designated MT-LBV, has a track which is 565 mm wide compared to the normal 350 mm wide track.
The wider track reduces ground pressure from 0.45 to only 0.28 kg/cm2.