At ADEX 2018, the Israel-based defense contractor is progressing towards with a new BTR-70S-mounted variant being introduced to the public for the first time in Azerbaijan.
Elbit Systems' SPEAR 120 mm automatic mortar system fitted on an SBS BTR-70 armored personnal carrier
(Picture source Army Recognition)
This upgrade program was first highlighted by Azeri newspaper in August 2017. It then confirmed that SBS’s SPEAR 120 mm automatic mortar complex of Elbit Systems was being mounted on BTR-70 chassis.
Azerbaijan State Border Service's (SBS) BTR-70s are currently being modernized at the service's maintenance center. The vehicle with new engine and control system is indexed as BTR-70S.
The Elbit Systems SPEAR mortar system is equipped with cutting-edge fire control, navigation, automatic aiming and propulsion systems, which facilitate a fully-autonomous operation and provide increased fire power and accuracy (within 30 meters of the Circular Error Probability (CEP) radius. In addition, the RMS’’ advanced target data collection and identification capabilities enhance situational awareness and increase crew survivability. SOLTAM SPEAR is offered both independently as a standalone installation or as an integral part of a larger artillery unit or formation. It is compatible with all types of 120mm smooth bore mortar systems and munitions.
The Soviet BTR-70 8×8 amphibious armoured personnel carrier was shown in public for the first time during the November 1980 parade in Moscow. Around 70 vehicles were delivered to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in 1991.
The hull of the BTR-70 is of all-welded steel armour construction with improved protection over its frontal arc compared to the original BTR-60 series. The standard version of the vehicle is fitted with one-man turret armed with a 14.5 KPVT and a 7.62 mm PKVT machine gun.
The engine compartment is at the rear of the hull and is fitted with a fire extinguishing system. The vehicle is motorized with a new Diesel engine KAMA-740.11.240 and improved transmission. The vehicle can run at a maximum road speed of 80 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 550 km. The original single water-jet at the rear of the hull is removed which would indicate that the vehicle lost its amphibious capabilities.
The troop compartment is to the rear of the turret with three firing ports and one vision block in each side of the hull. Between the second and third axles is a small door that opens to the front. The vehicle can carry a total of 10 soldiers including commander, driver and gunner.