Friday, May 20, 2016

Affordable Armor - the OT64 in review

In my personal and professional life, I refer from time to time to the concept of expanding the horizon.  I am going to do that here by introducing a relatively obscure bit of armor that is actually affordable (at least from an acquisition perspective).

No, Amazon does not seem to carry this  :(


A brief, obligatory history of the OT-64 from Mortar Investments:
"History: The OT-64 is an amphibious armoured 8x8 vehicle of Czechoslovak-Polish production. The Czechoslovaks produced the engines, the transmission (both by Tatra) and the under-cart, the Polish were in charge of the armour and of the weaponry. In use since 1964 by the Czech, the Slovak, the Polish, the Hungarian and other armies. Last served in the Bosnia war."
The bottom line is you get an about 30,000 pound, armored box that hauls 18 of your friends and 2 crew with a air-cooled Tatra T-928-14 V-8 177 hp, V-8 air cooled diesel engine (just a smidge under 12 liters displacement, burns 35 liters an hour!).  And yes, it floats and is amphibious.

A stunning example that was marketed at $80,000. all fixed up.

Of course, at this point you are captivated by the idea of owning a 7.5 meter long behemoth best described as an armored Winnebago!  Who would not???  So to slake your curiosity, here are some videos.

And in this one, it appears like there is a whole community of folks who just enjoy spending weekends tooling around, mud bogging in OT64s and handling AK47s.  What an opportunity to not only train as your local motorized rifle company (what an AMAZING "NPT" you could create!), but have a picnic to boot while cementing your tribe!  Organizational TO&E can be found HERE if you want to dream big.

In case you could not tell, I am SMITTEN with these. 

Replace "BMP' with OT-64 SKOT, much of the rest of the equipment is met or exceeded by average American Joes.  Not all, but much of it.  Great local security!
Want to buy one?  YOU CAN!  Go to and be ready to part with 15-20k USD.  To start.  The true cost of these lies in the operating expenses, I will wager.  At 4,500 built, these beauties are a thing of beauty.

The relative size of an OT64 SKOT is a point worth pondering.  At 14.5 tons (32,000 pounds), 7.44 m long (24.4 feet), 2.55 m wide (8.36 feet), 2.71 m tall (8.89 feet).  It has 6-13 mm of armor.  This is a seriously large vehicle.  It will not fit a suburban lifestyle.  Forget parking garages, park it where you want! You don't "parking boot" the OT64, it parking boots YOU!  They can't "boot it", nor will many places even try to tow it.  Bridge tolls would be pricey, if it goes by axle count.

Another aspect of the OT-64 is that it would make for quite a spacious rolling C2 node, in other words a radio and communications carrier.  Already well on the way to being a 32,000 pound Faraday Cage, there is space galore to put in radio racks and other comm gear to your heart's delight. Here are some pictures of from an avid hobbyist on original comm gear in a C2 (R2M) variant OT64 go to around picture 82 of 511(!) to see what was originally in there, and imagine what you could achieve with modern, digital electronics.  There are so many photos at that site that give detail of systems and subsystems of the OT-64.  AMAZING!

What sort of systems might one want to put into an Americanized OT-64?  It would be natural to want to install a high frequency (HF) system, a very high frequency (VHF) as well as ultra high frequency (UHF) radio suites.  It would not be wrong to add some form of wireless router system for use, either.  Citizens Band (CB) would be a useful afterthought.  Some radios, like the Yaesu FT857 pictured above provide multiple capabilities in one unit.  It transmits between 5 and 100 watts, and gives you great flexibility.

These options would allow for great flexibility in your communications and ability to take care of all manner of issues, all in one rugged installation.

OT-64 Review written by StopShoutingBlog contributor and #FAB50 Blog Award Winner Partyzantski, coolest cat on teh inner webs, retired Mustang, former FID embedded military Advisor, SASO trainer and scenario developer, Electronic Warfare Aviator, PME instructor, certified Force Protection and Anti-terrorism officer and combat seasoned USMC (0202) field grade intelligence officer. When not blogging or maintaining weapons proficiency at the range, he enjoys cat herding and travel to off-the-beaten-track locales. 

You can follow him on Twitter @Partyzantski   

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