Many of us wonder. Which is the best armored personnel carrier in the world? Which is the greatest modern APC and why? Our Top 10 analysis is based on the combined score of protection, firepower, capacity and mobility. All of the armored vehicles mentioned here are great, however not all of them have seen combat during military operations yet. Analysis is based on specifications and available data. Why all APCs listed here are wheeled? Because currently there is a trend that tracked vehicles are retired from this role due to their poor protection against mines. Why all APCs listed here have 8x8 configuration? Because 8x8 configuration offers better overall mobility, internal volume and payload capacity. This list includes only operational vehicles, that are currently in production. After exhaustive research I was surprised with the results.
Currently top 10 best armored personnel carriers in the world are these:
Nr.1 AMV (Finland)
The Patria AMV was developed in association with the Finish Defense Force. It revealed in 2001. This APC has some export success. Export operators are Croatia, Poland and Slovenia. Some other countries also ordered this armored vehicle.
With maximum level of protection the front arc of the AMV withstands 30-mm armor-piercing rounds. Vehicle also has a top-class mine protection. It withstands blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT. Two uparmored Polish Army vehicles were hit in Afghanistan by RPG-7 rockets, however armor was not penetrated and vehicles managed to return to base.
The baseline version is armed with remotely-controlled 12.7-mm machine gun, or 40-mm automatic grenade launcher.
This APC is fitted with a powerful engine, developing 490 or 540 hp. The baseline variant is fully amphibious.
Nr.2 Piranha V (Switzerland)
The Piranha V is the latest and most protected vehicle of the MOWAG Piranha line. The latest Piranha V is actually a wheeled infantry fighting vehicle. However its APC version is also available. It was revealed in 2010. The Piranha V is in service with Monaco.
Vehicle has an all-welded steel armor hull with integrated add-on composite modular armor. With maximum level of protection the Piranha V withstands 25-mm armor-piercing rounds all-round. Vehicle has a double floor with a V-shaped hull and is well protected against landmines and IED blasts. It withstands a 10 kg anti-tank mine blast under any wheel. This APC is also available with active protection system.
In APC configuration this vehicle is proposed with 12.7-mm machine gun, or 40-mm automatic grenade launcher.
The Piranha V is fitted with a powerful engine, developing 580 hp. It has good off-road mobility due to its height-adjustable semi-active hydropneumatic suspension.
Nr.3 Kodiak (Canada)
The Canadian LAV III Kodiak is a license-produced version of the Swiss MOWAG Piranha IIIH. It entered service with Canada in 1999. The Kodiak has been exported to New Zealand. Its modified version, the Stryker, is in service with the US Army.
A ceramic add-on armor kit provides all-round protection against 14.5-mm rounds. Some sources claim, that front arc of the Kodiak with add-on armor withstands 30-mm hits. This armored vehicle has a strengthened bottom for improved protection against landmines and IED blasts.
The Kodiak is armed with a turret-mounted 25-mm chain gun and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. Its derivative Stryker is not that well armed.
Nr.4 Terrex (Singapore)
The Singaporean Terrex is one of the latest and most advanced armored personnel carriers. It entered service with Singaporean armed forces in 2006.
Maximum level of all-round protection is against 14.5-mm armor-piercing rounds. Vehicle has a double V-shaped hull, which deflects mine blasts away from the vehicle. The Terrex can withstand up to 12 kg TNT explosion under the hull and the vehicle still keep on moving.
The baseline version is armed with remotely-controlled 40-mm automatic grenade launcher and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. Alternatively it can be fitted with remotely-controlled 12.7-mm machine gun.
The Terrex is fitted with a powerful engine, developing 400 hp. The Terrex is exceptionaly mobile due to its powerful engine and advanced Timoney independent suspension system. This APC is amphibious.
Nr.5 Boxer (Germany/Netherlands)
The Boxer is one of the latest and most advanced armored personnel carriers. It was jointly developed by Germany and Netherlands. As with all German vehicles it is well engineered and reliable.
It is a truly modular vehicle with interchangeable snap-in modules. It uses a single chassis for different purposes, including infantry carrier, command vehicle, ambulance, supply carrier and so on. Modules can be replaced in less than an hour. Some other armored vehicles are also claimed to be modular. However they never really exploit their modularity.
Modular armor of the Boxer is made with special ceramic mix. Every mission module has its own primary safety cell. It is claimed that front armor withstands 30-mm rounds. All-round protection is against 12.7-mm fire. Damaged armor slabs can be easily replaced in field condition. The triple hull floor is shaped for maximum protection against anti-tank mines. Also this APC has low radar and acoustic signatures, making it harder to detect.
Despite being well protected the standard Boxer is armed only with remotely controlled 12.7-mm machine gun, or 40-mm automatic grenade launcher. There are some proposed versions with turret-mounted cannons.
Nr.6 Stryker (USA)
The Stryker APC is being produced in large numbers. It entered service with the US Army in 2003. Currently US Army operates over 4 000 of these armored vehicles.
Maximum level of all-round protection with add-on armor is against 14.5-mm armor-piercing rounds. Vehicle has a strengthened undercarriage and can survive mine blasts. It is claimed that Strykers are superior to other APCs regarding survivability against IEDs.
Strykers in APC configuration are armed with remotely-controlled 12.7-mm machine guns or 40-mm automatic grenade launchers.
This APC takes advantage of high-tech information technologies. It is fitted with a battlefield information management system. It links up with other similarly equipped vehicles and command posts.
The Stryker APCs operate in rapid deployment Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. Each brigade has more than 300 Strykers of all variants, including APCs, reconnaissance vehicles, 105-mm fire support vehicles, 120-mm mortar carriers, command vehicles, engineering vehicles, ambulances, ATGW carriers and NBC reconnaissance vehicles. These brigades can be airlifted and deployed anywhere in the world within 96 hours.
Nr.7 Pandur II (Austria)
The Pandur II is a further development of the previous successful Pandur APC. The Pandur II is also a commercial success. It is in service with Austria, Czech Republic and Portugal. Slovenia produces this APC under license. The Slovenian version, known as Krpan has some improvements.
Maximum level of all-round protection with add-on armor is against 14.5-mm ammunition. The baseline version has a flat bottom though, which do not protect well against landmines.
The baseline version is armed with a 12.7-mm machine gun. There is a wheeled IFV version, armed with a remotely-controlled 30-mm cannon.
Some variants of this APC are fully amphibious.
Nr.8 AV8 (Turkey)
The AV8 armored personnel carrier was developed in Turkey by FNSS to meet a Malaysian Army requirement. It evolved from the Turkish Pars, which in turn was developed by American GPV. First vehicles were delivered to Malaysia in 2013.
Front arc provides protection against 14.5-mm armor-piercing rounds. All-round protection is against 7.62-mm armor-piercing rounds. Vehicle has a V-shaped hull and withstands blasts equivalent to 8 kg of TNT under any wheel and 6 kg under the hull.
The most numerous version of this APC is fitted with a 30-mm cannon and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. Some APCs will also have anti-tank guided missile launchers.
Vehicle is fitted with a powerful engine, developing 523 hp. It seems that the AV8 has the same sophisticated active suspension, used on the GPV armored vehicles and the Pars.
Nr.9 BTR-4 (Ukraine)
The Ukrainian BTR-4 gradually evolved from the Soviet BTR-80. Ukrainians managed to fix a lot of design flaws of its predecessor. First APCs were delivered to Ukrainian Army in 2009. The BTR-4 also received substantial export orders from Iraq, Kazakhstan.
This armored vehicle has a different layout, comparing with Soviet and Russian 8x8 armored personnel carriers. The main drawback of the Soviet APCs was a rear-mounted engine. Troops have to leave the vehicle through the side doors, thus being exposed to enemy fire. The BTR-4 has engine and transmission mounted in the middle and troop compartment at the rear. Its layout is similar to that of Western design.
A baseline version provides all-round protection against 7.62-mm ball rounds and artillery shell splinters. It seems that the front arc withstands 12.7-mm rounds. Add-on armor can be fitted for improved level of protection. Vehicle also withstands 6 kg anti-tank mine blasts.
This armored personnel carrier is available with numerous weapon modules, armed with 23-mm or 30-mm cannons, and often anti-tank guided missiles.
The BTR-4 is fitted with a powerful engine, developing 500 hp. Vehicle is fully amphibious.
Nr.10 BTR-82 (Russia)
The BTR-82 is the latest variant of the BTR-80 series of 8x8 wheeled armored personnel carrier. It was revealed in 2009 and entered service with the Russian Army in 2011. It has been exported to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
The previous BTR-80 offers all-round protection against 7.62-mm rounds. Its front arc withstands 12.7-mm rounds. It is claimed that protection of the new BTR-82 is slightly better. However add-on armor kit is not available. Protection against landmines has been improved over the predecessor. Overall protection of the BTR-82 is rather poor comparing with the latest Western APCs.
The baseline version is armed with externally-mounted 14.5-mm machine gun. There is also a BTR-82A, armed with a 30-mm cannon.
However the BTR-82 inherited some design limitations, such as rear-mounted engine. Because of such layout ambushed troops have to leave the vehicle via side doors, under direct enemy fire.
Unlike many Western rivals this APC is fully amphibious. On water it is propelled by a rear-mounted waterjet.
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