Armored reconnaissance and patrol frigate: test drive BRDM-1

Intelligence – the eyes and ears of the army. In order to successfully cope with the tasks, scouts needed specialized armored, fully corresponding to the needs of the military. Reconnaissance cars are often the first to go, risking to meet the enemy troops or minefields. Therefore, their own carriage had to be small, and the machines themselves – have a high dynamic performance and increased permeability. Which of these problems was solved successfully, we find out today.


T pecifications job received from the military, instructing the Gorky Automobile Plant Design Bureau to develop an armored vehicle capable develop at highway speed to 90 km / h, at the same time to overcome the trenches and ditches widths up to 1.2 meters and boost water obstacles swimming, the divergence was provided at the height of waves up to half a meter. Initially it was planned to create a floating version of the widely used in the army BTR-40, previously assembled in the same size. However, in the process of developing rapidly it became clear that the modified armored vehicle to the requirements of small forces will not work: the new car had to develop from scratch. As a result, a special team of CB Gorki car truly unique car was created, in those years, which has no even close analogues in the world.

The main units with shared innovation armored vehicle GAZ-40, so in the original document remains its primary designation – GAZ-40P ( “floating”) in the military machine was encrypted by the acronym BRDM-1.. The first prototype armored car produced in February 1956. Subsequently, together with several instances of military acceptors exposed machine hard trials, which included, for example, forcing the swim the Strait of Kerch. Military trials were satisfied, and BRDM by the Minister of Defense orders of 10 January 1958 was adopted by and put into serial production.

Machine intelligence was sealed carrying hull of welded from rolled sheets with thickness from 6 to 12 mm, which provided protection for the crew from small arms, artillery shells and fragments of anti-personnel mines. Pontoon hull shape has been carefully calibrated in terms of hydrodynamics and the armored car provided minimal resistance when moving afloat.

The upper “deck” has a “cabin”, an armored cap that accommodates a crew of four. The front part of the machine stands strong intelligence “jaw” volnootrazhatelnogo shield and hood louvers bristled air intake system.


To be inside the BRDM-1, you first need to get on the “deck”. Typically, a crew of four enjoyed a “ladder” in the rear of the vehicle.

Once at an altitude of more than half of the land need to pull armored hatches, closing access to the passenger compartment.

Now just need to go to the front of the machine, maneuvering between seats, wheel arches and levers.

However, there is another option – in the sidewall of the armored car deployed a special recess, using which a driver through the open advance bronelyuki tower could get behind the wheel.

But only if they have been opened in advance: for safety purposes, they may be opened only from the passenger compartment.

Behind the wheel

Like many military vehicles, launch BRDM – this is a whole procedure. By clicking switch reject the inclusion of “weight”, then look for the following among many of these on the instrument panel. Finally, we find it and under the inscription “ignition”. After that, pull the choke control of the carburettor itself, and clearing his throat a little bit of sleep, she comes to life in front row “Six” with an index of the GAZ-40.

The main differences from the “civilian” version, used on the GAZ-51/63 – a carburetor, camshaft and advanced liquid cooling system. As a result, the motor capacity was increased to 90 liters. from. Paired with the engine running mechanical four-speed transmission, combined with the two-stage razdatkoy.

Under normal conditions, the torque is transmitted to the rear drive wheels, which also allows to save a little fuel. On the roads, the driver can connect the front axle, even on the move, with no slippage of the rear wheels. If necessary, you can optionally turn on and downshift, and – lock the front and rear cross-axle differentials. However, all these options are not enough for the military.

The experience of the last war has shown that a special reconnaissance car has to overcome ditches and trenches. To meet the requirements needed to develop a unique chassis, consisting of four main wheels and four more, two on each side, located within the wheelbase.

Additional wheels measuring just 700h250 mm (by the way, borrowed from aircraft) in the stowed position were poluutopleny into the housing, and at arrival in the projections they rotate, rolling the car over obstacles. To overcome the difficult areas off-road driver-mechanic lever in front of the included chain drive and lowered them by hydraulics.

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We, of course, not a tank, but the meaning is almost the same: there is a tower, a gun, there is no armor … only tracks, but there are 8 wheels – too bad. The main function of the BTR-82A – delivery to the place of landing …

Each of the wheels had its own drive. Thus, of the four-wheeled armored car BRDM in the Eight-turned. As a result, cross-country, he could compete with tracked vehicles – at the maximum speed on the highway at 90 km / h armored overcame ditches widths up to 1.22 m, rises up to 31 degrees and a vertical wall height of 0.4 meters.

Front and rear axles are suspended on four longitudinal semi-elliptic leaf springs and shock absorbers are equipped with double lever. The basis of the bridges were taken by GAZ-63, which have BRDM were sealed gears and central tire inflation system. Tightness was necessary to ensure that the requirements of the second war – because intelligence machine had to be able to swim.

The aft hulls mounted water cannon, borrowed from the amphibious tank PT-76. The four-bolt 425 mm diameter water sucked through the suction pipe in the bottom and threw it through the hole in the stern. When traveling on land it camouflaged bronezaslonkoy also operated from the driver’s seat.

To water “pass back”, there were reverse pipes directing water to the sides at an acute angle. It provides high speed water jet afloat – up to 9 km / h – and good maneuverability (turning radius “armored” afloat – only 1.5 meters). Operate the machine in the realm of Neptune are called water rudders mounted in the discharge pipe of the jet – this close to the mechanic-driver placed an additional lever on the left. If the damage jet BRDM could reach the shore and on their own due to the rotation of the wheels When the second or third gear.

In order to prevent flooding of the power department afloat, in front of the machine installed volnootrazhatelny shield. On land it fixed in the down position – for improving security and improved front visibility.

Another challenge was to ensure the normal operation of the engine when driving on the water when the ventilation louvers on the hood closed. Cooling radiator provide increased size with a powerful fan, and additional engine cooling is done by sea water passing through the heat exchanger. But that’s not all – the engine does not overheat, needed to divide the air flow and install all seals.

If water somehow get inside the BRDM, for its pumping used all the same water jet, which is the wheel to create the necessary vacuum. If the water jet did not work, the driver applied the bilge pump. Initially, it was a manual, but later work replaced the electric driver. Jams samovytaskivaniya machine was carried out using a capstan with a cable of 50 meters in length, mounted in the front. the gearbox is driven by the crankshaft via the nose gimbal and chain transmission.

Remember the test BTR-40? Compared to the BRDM in the management of it seems a car. Like the BTR-well, BRDM layout is a circuit arrangement with a front engine-transmission compartment. Installing the engine in front of the massive housing provided dismounting of the crew members, but strongly worsened review from the driver’s seat. And, in fact – in front triplexes only visible massive hood yes rendered on brackets adjustable mirrors, which further established the owner – they somehow help when maneuvering. Side viewing is not at all, a tiny “air vents” can be used only for communication with the outside world, but not for driving.

At the disposal of the driver had a periscope and night vision device, which greatly facilitated the driving at night. But the commander relied private radio station R-113 and devices of chemical and radiation survey: roentgenometer DP-3B and VPHR device.

Steering borrowed from colleagues ZiL – facilitate maneuvers potyazhelevshy machine is designed gearbox on the “157-th”. To tell the truth, it does not help her – a huge effort on the steering wheel, even despite the fact that the diameter of the rim to the wheel size increased from the Volga. Incidentally, an interesting fact: since the machine was going to Gaza, Zilovskoye logo on “foreign” handlebars mashed.

Stool without safety belts instead of a driver’s seat is already warmed by body heat, his feet rest on the pedal – let’s go! Nizhnevalny the engine by pressing the accelerator pedal dissatisfied grumbles when multi-ton machine of starts to move in the city. As to the “fortieth”, the driver here is to know the tricky science of switching gears with double squeezing. Private donors and brakes – are not provided with any amplifiers sealed drums reluctant to upset the heavy armored car. Mehvoda, squeezing the brake pedal, probably, is the image of the enemy saboteur under the soldiers’ boots – affectionate relationship brakes do not like.

purchase history

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Alex and previously visited pages of our magazine with their cars. Regular readers already know the story of the restoration armored GAZ-40. In the case of BRDM, the car had come to him in a much better condition and was bought out by one of those same enthusiasts. Of course, in spite of the good condition, armored car demanded a new owner petting and restoration.

The case was sandblast and paint again, set new bridges, springs and shock absorbers. In addition, other rubber seals installed in manholes and straps for closing / opening. Many of the details to complete the image had to be created anew by historical documents.

Like the APC, BRDM also has a license plate of “peaceful Soviet tractor” (registration required for the rights tractor category C) and has received the full right to travel on public roads. However, usually only BRDM participates in military and historical gatherings and festivities.

model history

Milestones create BRDM-1, we have already told at the beginning of this material, so it remains only to summarize. Serial production of armored vehicles continued until 1966, a large number BRDM were supplied to the Soviet armed forces, as well as – allies in the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union friendly Third World countries. In 1973, Egyptian troops crossed the Suez Canal on the BRDM and seized a bridgehead Israeli troops. The BRDM GDR National People’s Army was armed reconnaissance troops under its own designation SPW-40. But just over the years it was in service with more than 20 countries, among them – Syria, Egypt, Israel, Cuba, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Namibia and Vietnam.

Photo: GAZ 40P (BRDM 1) 1957-66

Initially the machines were equipped with heavy machine guns Goryunova 7.62 mm, mounted on a bracket in front of the crew compartment, and on the machines issue since 1961 has put general-purpose machine gun PKT Kalashnikov same caliber 7.62 mm. The crew members were firing from personal weapons through the slits in the sides and aft cabin.

Photo: GAZ 40P (BRDM 1) 1957-66

Based on BRDM it has been developed and a number of special machines, including self-propelled anti-tank complex with six missiles 9P110 “Baby”, command vehicle management and cars radiation and chemical reconnaissance.

The editors thank INGO “Military-Technical Society” and personally Alexey Migalina for providing a test car.

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