Sadko and the other successors of Shishigi

Child of unification

Since the beginning of the 90's, the Russian army was no longer a key customer for automobile enterprises. Gorky Automobile Plant was no exception. The lion's share of the profit then (and now) was brought by the GAZelle lorry and the medium-tonnage GAZ-3309 (GAZON). Therefore, the rules in matters of defense order were dictated by engineers and marketers from Nizhny Novgorod rather than military officials from the Ministry of Defense. It is still difficult to understand for what reason they abandoned the cabless layout of the new car. Perhaps this was the wish of the military, taking into account the experience of the mine war in Afghanistan, or a simple unification with the civilian "Lawn". Most likely, the views of the military and the possibilities of the factory workers successfully converged. In any case, the development of the old GAZ-66 patterns using the aggregate base of commercial vehicles made it possible to reduce both costs and time.

One of the first prototypes of the GAZ-3309P

The first copies of the Shishigi successor, which appeared in the 1995 year, carried the 3309P index and consisted of hybrids from the frame, cab, controls from the bonnet "gas engine" and the GAZ-5441 turbodiesel, gearbox, transfer case, axles, wheels and the body from GAZ- 66-40. Due to the bonnet layout, the frame became longer, which increased the wheelbase, improved directional stability, but negatively affected maneuverability (the turning radius increased by 1 meter). Already in 1996, the car passed state tests and was adopted by the Russian army. A major advantage of the new light truck was the cost, comparable to the price of the GAZ-66-40 - these were the fruits of widespread unification with existing cars. A minus can be considered a civilian frame, not fully designed for high loads of army operation. In the final version, the new Shishiga received the name GAZ-3308 Sadko and was initially equipped with gasoline engines ZMZ-513.10 and ZMZ-5231.10 rated at 125-130 hp

GAZ-3308 "Sadko" in the Russian army

The diesel engine (moreover, from the tractor) on the Sadko appeared only in 2003 on the GAZ-33081 variant and developed 122 l. from. There were attempts to put in a small series trucks with a six-cylinder Steyr turbodiesel with an output of 150 l. with, but, for obvious reasons, such an army cannot be sold, but for commercial exploitation it turned out to be expensive and complicated. In addition, for an ancient transmission, the torque and power of a foreign motor were already excessive and, if handled inaccurately, were able to “break it”. GAZ-3308 received a funny feature as a legacy from Shishigi: when the front axle was turned on, it was necessary to move the car back and forth so that the gears engaged. At the same time as the military version, the civilian version of Sadko was launched into production, equipped with simpler wheels (clearance decreased as a result) and devoid of tire inflation with pneumatic outlet to the trailer.

MLRS SAKR in Egyptian performance

The machine came to taste not only in the Russian army, but also in Ukraine, in Egypt, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia. “Sadko” was delivered to Syria in the middle of the 2000’s and has now become one of the symbols of the confrontation between the army and terrorist organizations. On Syrian soil, GAZ-3308 was used as an artillery tractor, a platform for anti-aircraft guns, and even as a carrier of the GOLAN 400 MLRS. The network also showed photos of the Sadko army with an 57-mm ZIS-2 gun in the back. In total, under the contracts for the 2007 year, the Gorky Automobile Plant delivered about 2000 trucks to Syria.

Sadko and the other successors of Shishigi

Sadko in the deadliest performance: Syrian MLRS GOLAN

A truck from Nizhny Novgorod is used in Syria by both government forces and terrorists

"Sadko" on the way to Syria

57-mm anti-tank gun in the back of the GAZ-3308

In 2014, the first information appeared about the next generation of "Sadko", which received the prefix "Next". We can say that in the last generation the truck stood a notch higher - load capacity increased to 3 tons. The cabin is now unified with the Lawn-Next family and is truly truly comfortable. The Yaroslavl YaMZ-534 diesel engine with an output of almost 150 l is installed at Sadko-Next. with., and a real highlight was the push-button transmission control system.

"Sadko Next" in civilian performance

"Sadko Next" for the army and on the tests in Indonesia

[/ Center]
Pickup "Huntsman Next" and the bus "Boar Next" hope for a military future

Experience evolution: Sadko Next workplace and GAZ-66-40

Among the numerous modifications of the Sadko, the GAZ-3325 Huntsman and the GAZ-3902 Vepr became the most unusual. In the first case, this is a huge pickup truck with a two-row cab, and in the second - a car with an all-metal passenger body for five or twelve people. Two years ago, the second generation of these cars made their debut with a very peculiar facial expression - trucks received intricate headlights from the Vector Next bus. Such equipment cannot be called completely military, but in Nizhny Novgorod they really hope for army orders and regularly exhibit "Huntsman" and "Boar" on the "Army" forums.

Fantasies on the topic and successors

GAZ-66 is gradually leaving the Armed Forces of Russia - cars are being sold from conservation sites, replenishing the fleet of private traders throughout the country. The former countries of the eastern bloc are also gradually getting rid of the Soviet heritage, realizing Shishigi almost all over the world. Recently appeared newsthat GAZ-66 from the Hungarian army's storerooms appeared on sale in the United States. Availability of spare parts, unpretentiousness and unique cross-country ability allowed various design bureaus to develop their vision of the new “Shishigi” over time. One of the most striking such examples was the GAZ-66 Partizan, which can be distinguished from the overseas Hummer H1 only by close acquaintance. The domestic clone of the American jeep appeared in 2003, inherited from Shishigi a shortened frame, an aggregate base and individual body elements. Of course, I had to thoroughly redraw the layout of the truck, change the suspension to a lighter body and limit myself to installing all 4 seats. The most interesting thing is that they built the car at the Gorky Automobile Plant, obviously, in search of new market niches. According to another version, “Partizan” appeared in the club of amateur enthusiasts from Nizhny Novgorod and to a greater extent was just a show car, released in a very limited edition.

GAZ-66 "Partizan"

At the beginning of the 2000-s, the GAZ-66 aggregate base formed the basis of the huge 12-local SUV "Barkhan", combining the comfort of a car and the remarkable cross-country ability of an army all-terrain vehicle. This technique in various variations was produced for specific orders and was not widely used.


GAZ-66 was largely created for the Airborne Forces, but now the winged infantry is finally getting rid of the legendary car - the most lightweight KamAZs of the Mustang family are being replaced. In particular, the KamAZ-43501 model with a shortened platform and the ability to airborne landing. You can distinguish from a conventional KAMAZ 4x4 airborne vehicle by a lowered loading platform and wheel-mounted niches. Of course, this is a completely different truck - it has more power (240 hp) and its load capacity has been increased to 3 tons.

KamAZ-43501 for the Airborne Forces is the successor of the Shishigi in the winged infantry

To replace the "Sadko" and GAZ-66 in the border troops of Belarus in 2014 year was built MZKT-5002 00 "Volat". It is interesting that the military initially turned to the Minsk Automobile Plant for help, but they refused to contact a small-scale order. They agreed to help at the capital’s wheeled tractor plant and developed a lightweight version of the truck from the famous Volat (Bogatyr) series. In many ways, this is a complete analogue of the Russian KamAZ for the Airborne Forces, it is equipped with an 215 ‑ strong YaMZ ‑ 53452 turbodiesel and a completely independent suspension of all wheels.

"Shishiga" in Belarusian

Despite the fact that the descendants of the GAZ-66 were ousted from the ranks of the Airborne Forces, the platform still has a future. Machines of the Next series will not only soon appear in the Russian army, but are also actively offered in export markets, in particular, in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Evgeny Fedorov
Photos used:,,,,
Ctrl Enter

Noticed a mistake Highlight text and press. Ctrl + Enter

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in