TAB-77 (1977)

Socialist Republic of Romania (1982-1990), 167 or 184 made


The TAB-77 (Model 1977 Armored Amphibious Transporter) was an armored personnel carrier designed and manufactured in Romania. It constitutes the combat and transport for the infantry in mechanized units. This was the successor of the TAB-71, and was in turn replaced by the B-33 Zimbru, now in turn phased out. The reference model for this new national industrial endeavour, was the Soviet BTR-70 APC, which was purchased for evaluation but not adopted. The TAB-77 was a different at many levels, although still very close in general appearance. Designed in the 1970s (details are foggy), the TAB-77 entered service in 1977, hence the name, and it was manufactured either from 1978 or 1982, all the way to the end of the cold war in 1991. Romania also manufactured the BTR-70 under Soviet license, but only for export and for the German Democratic Republic. So it is not counted here as being a "pure" BTR-70. It was marketed by ROMARM.


The TAB-77 armored personnel carrier had the same layout, with the driving compartment forward, two seats for a driver anc co-driver/commander, each having rounded hatch above, armoured shutters and a set sights with armoured glass. The main fighting compartment was located at the center of the vehicle, with access and exit through the same vaguely triangular lower side doors, forcing the troops to exit very close to the wheels.

At the rear was located the engine compartment. The troops were seated on eight side seats facing outwards the pistol ports and a single back seat for a total of nine. They were separated from the engine by a fireproof bulkhead. There were the TAB-77 has three pistol ports either side for firing on the move. All soldiers have day vision devices, while the commander and driver/engineer each have an infrared night vision device. Alternative to the troops, the vehicle could carry a max payload of 1.5 tons.


The major change compared to the original BTR-70 is the procurement by Romanian of two French Saviem 797-05M1 diesel engines rated for 132 horsepower each at 3000 rpm, so 264 total (power to weight ratio 19.77 HP/t) driving all eight wheels, although only the forward pair are steerable. The right engine powered the axles I and III, the left one the axles II and IV. There was a 4+1 Manual transmission with planetary gearbox.

Suspension is independent, with torsion bars, and the vehicle is equipped with a centralized tire pressure inflation and regulation system. The steering wheels forward are driven by a hydraulic servomechanism. For self-unditching, the TAB-77 was fitted with a powered winch at the front connected to the transmission. At the back rear is located a unique water jet thruster. The two propellers behind can move the vehicle when swimming at 9 km/h, direction ensured by a rudder, after the trim vane has been erected and the bilge pump activated. The vehicle had a Ground clearance of 0.525 m, a tank capacity of 290 liters with an average consumption on road of 40-50 liters/100 km, and off-road of 100-110 liters/100 km. Its overall autonomy was 550 km on road, but it could accelerate to 80-85 km/h, and it can swim at 9 kph and stay in water for 15 hours.


The armor of the armored personnel carrier provides protection against artillery shrapnel and bullets fired from a distance of at least 100 meters. The vehicle is also equipped with a protection system against the effects of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), having a filter ventilation installation.


The main armament consisted of the same 14.5mm MTB heavy machine gun (short for Mitralieră Transportor Blindat, the name of the KPV machine gun manufactured under license in Romania). It had a 80° elevation if needed inside its conical turret mount, and came with 600 rounds in 12 metal boxes.
The secondary armament was the coaxial turret 7.62mm PKT machine gun (also manufactured under license) with came out with 2500 rounds in 10 metal boxes.
Additionally, one of the nine troopers had an AG-7 grenade launcher, the rest were provided 21 F1 defensive grenades.

Variants, Exports & Operations

TAB M1984



'Transportorul Amfibiu Blindat' or "amphibious armoured transport". Shares the same turret (LOTA aiming system) as the TAB-71. New diesel engines.

TAB-77 M1983:

Upgraded version with a 30 mm gun and 9M14M "Malyutka" ATGM. This unique prototype was fitted with the MLI-84 infantry fighting vehicle turret as an IFV variant, and tested in the summer of 1982 but not standardized for production. Instead another versions with a modified turret and smaller gun was tested.

TAB-77 M1984:

Upgraded version with a 23 mm gun and 9M14M "Malyutka" ATGM. 30mm A436 autocannon/Maliutka IFV variant tested in 1984, ten built and presented at the Bucarest military parade in 1986, but production cancelled due to the lack of guns. It could have been the Romanian equivalent to the Russian BTR-82.

TAB-77A R-1451/M

Command vehicle with additional radio equipment, R-1070 and R-1451M, additional whip antennas and a rear-mounted generator.

TAB-77A R-1452

Signals vehicle with R-1452 radio, dummy turret, seven whip antennas, telescopic mast, two rear generators and pintle-mounted LMG on the hull roof. The Communication and signals vehicle variant that mounts a new low-profile turret armed with a 14.5 mm KPVT heavy machine gun and new additional communications equipment. It mounts eight antennas including a pod-type mast on the right side of the hull roof. Mounted externally behind the vehicle are two cargo compartments housed. The TAB-77R-1452 is equipped with the same low-profile structure, but with a simulated machine gun in the turret. The same generators rest in the rear and on the roof they are equipped with seven fixed antennas and a single telescopic antenna.


"Punct de commanda şi observare mobil de artilerie": Mobile Artillery command post and forward observer vehicle, equipped with range finders in a large unarmed turret. Armament was down to a single pintle-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun mounted on the hull's roof. It is an outpost command and artillery variant, with the turret removed and a long cupola replaced, which is covered by additional armor sheets and observation equipment; It deploys backwards when opening from the passenger compartment. The cupola contains an optical sighting system. Mounted above the commander's cupola at the front of the tank is a 7.62 mm PKMS machine gun. This version has additional communications equipment but the brand or references of this equipment have not been specified.


Tractor de evacuare şi reparat auto: Evacuation and repair variant (ARV) with a 5t crane and dozer blade. Engineers vehicle; dedicated to repair and recovery, it mounts a hydraulic crane, which is located across the back on the roof when not required, a front-mounted bulldozer type shovel and stabilized together with a towing pulley.


Shorter 4x4 version, already treated there.

TAB Zimbru (B33):

Believed to be a heavily modified and/or improved version of the TAB-77, based on one of the Russian variants of the BTR-70, it is only known that the B-33 Zimbru is, in fact, a copy of the BTR-80 TBP. in service in the Romanian Army under the name TAB Zimbru.


This is a 6×6 traction APC, jointly developed between the military industries of Romania (RATMIL) and Turkey (Roketsan-Otokar). This was evaluated by the Turkish high command but at the end of 2006, it did not enter production for the Romanian or Turkish forces. In 2005, Romania supplied some of these to Bangladesh, with 9 RN-94 (6 × 6) being delivered in the APC/ambulance configuration for use in operations under United Nations command.

Chinese TAB-77:

License built TAB-77 (few) for evaluation in the 1980s. Licensed acquired from Romania in 1984, heavier vehicle at 14t.


China: Single test vehicle for tests, currently on display at Norinco headquarters in Beijing.
Romania: In 2010, according to the annual reports sent to the UN, Romania had 162 TAB-77s in service.
Libya: 5 TERA delivered in 1986.
The vehicle was also tested by, or competed in a local competition in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan. Prior to the end of the cold war it was also tested by the GRD (Democtratic Republic of Germany) and Poland, but not adopted.

The TAB-77 in action


TAB-77 armored personnel carriers were used during the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War.[8] Although reliable,[9] the vehicles have proven to be vulnerable to improvised explosive devices.[10][11] Some vehicles were tropicalized and equipped with air conditioning.[12]

Links and sources

Foss, Christopher F. (2009). Jane's Armour and Artillery: 2009-2010. Jane's Information Group.
Foss, Christopher F. (2006). Jane's Tank Recognition Guide (în engleză). Harper Collins. pp. 406–407.
General-locotenent (r) ing. Urdăreanu, Tiberiu S. (2004). Jurnal 1978-1988. Editura Militară.
Transportorul amfibiu blindat pe roți TAB-77. Manual. Bucarest. TABs, TAB-77
The B33 Zimbru
photos on wiki commons
On wikipedia (in Romanian).

Specs. TAB-77

Dimensions:7.42 x 2.94 x 2.34 m
Total weight:13 tons
Crew:Driver/mechanic and gunner +9 soldiers fully equipped
Propulsion:2× Saviem 797-05M1, diesel 132 hp 3000 rpm 19.77 HP/t
Max speed80-85 km/h road, 9 km/h water
Range:290 liters, 550 km (road)
Armament:1× 14.5mm HTVP (600 rds), 1× PKT 7.62mm (2500 rds)
Armour:14 down to 6 mm, see notes
Total production:Between 167 or 184


TAB-77 in basic livery

Camouflaged TB-77 in the 1990s

TAB-77 in Afghanistan

Replacement: ROMARM TAB B-33 Zimbru


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