After prolonged wait, Indonesian Marine Corps are finally getting their BTR-80A replacement. After sending all seven of their BTR-80A assets into Lebanon as a part of Indonesian Peacekeeping Force, Indonesian Marine Corps (Korps Marinir TNI AL) needs new armored fighting vehicle as it seems that their BTR-80A will be stationed in Lebanon permanently, whilst its force are anually cycled between Army and Marines.
Naturally, Indonesian Marine Corps looks east for their weapon systems needs. Indonesian military industry are seen as incapable of building or offering an amphibious infantry fighting vehicle yet. But instead of Russia as the traditional supplier of their needs, Indonesian Marine Corps through the Indonesian Department of Defense picks BTR-4 (Bronentransporter-4) from the KMDB (Kharkiv Morozov Design Building Bureau) Factory in Kharkov. KMDB was originally owned by the Soviet Union, but then after the breakage of the Union, the factory falls into Ukrainian Government. The factory itself is a powerhouse, offering legacy products such as T-64, T-80, and T-84 Main Battle Tanks.
BTR-4 is a evolution from the BTR-3E, which is still offered by KMDB. As KMDB try to diversify its customer base, they try to look West by offering NATO standard configuration and systems to the customer who get accustomed to NATO products. Thus, the BTR-4 is born with this mindset. Although from outside BTR-4 still resembles the BTR-80/82, it differs a lot in so many aspects. KMDB revised the layout arrangements in BTR-4, moving the engine to the center section, between the driver and the troop compartment. By doing so, the troops can disembark/ embark from the rear ramp door which offers better protection than the BTR-80 family with its engine mounted in rear where the troops disembark from the small side door.
The seven BTR-4 ordered by the Indonesian Marine Corps are specificially tailored with the features that has never seen before on the BTR-4. Called the BTR-4M for Marinized, Indonesian version of the BTR-4 are tropicalized for operation in hot and humid climate. It also featured bouyancy boxes in front and side hull for preparing the machine to swim in the open seas for the amphibious landing. The engine grille and exhaust pipe also protected from water intrusion. A Snorkel pipe also installed to prevent water ingressing into the engine compartment. With all the modification, BTR-4M has different mechanism for deploying its fording plate compared to the original BTR-4. The BTR-4M also provided with ECU (Environmental Cooling Unit) to keep the troops comfortable during rides to the operational area, and all of the compartment also sealed by the NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) filter and seal.
BTR-4M is installed with Deutz BF6M 1015CP engine, made by Deutz Germany and comply to Euro II standard. This engine is considered superior to the Ukrainian made 3TD engine which also offered for the BTR-4. With 490hp output and coupled to Allison 4600SP automatic transmission with 6 forward and 1 reverse gear, BTR-4M can sizzle its way in highway up to 100 km/ hour or 70 km/ hour cross country. The vehicle can also swim in the water up to Sea State 3 with a flick of the switch to activate the water propeller with minimal preparation.
BTR-4M ordered by the Indonesian Marine Corps are provided with two configuration for its weapon systems. Some will be provided with simple turret and 12,7mm machinegun, while others will be equipped with the Parus Remote Controlled Weapon Systems. Parus RCWS offers no intrusion to the troops compartment so the troop capacity will not be affected by the RCWS installation. The main weapon of the Parus RCWS is 30mm ZTM-1 autocannon, which is comparable to Russian 2A72 cannon. It fires HEI, APFSDS, or fragmentation rounds to provide flexibility against any type of target. For anti infantry there’s 30mm automatic grenade launcher AGS-17S and 7,62mm PKT medium machinegun.
It offers hunter/ killer system in which the commander of the vehicle are provided with independent panoramic camera systems which are extendable above the RCWS to seek and designate target. For anti tank mission there’s two laser guided Baryer (Barrier) Anti Tank Guided Missile which effective range up to 4 kilometers. If everything went as planned, BTR-4M will be shipped from Ukraine to Indonesia in late 2016 and will be placed in the Marine’s Cavalry Regiment.