Military Review

The development of power: MAZ-535 is gaining strength

The development of power: MAZ-535 is gaining strength
MAZ-535V with the Hawk complex, which included the Tu-123 reconnaissance aircraft. 1963 year. Source:

Minsk Automobile Plant gets rid of non-core equipment

The first portion the material was about Minsk SKB-1, which was engaged in the development of heavy equipment in the interests of the USSR Ministry of Defense. It was here that our protagonist was developed stories - MAZ-535. However, the first-born of the design bureau was not a four-axle ballast tractor at all, but the MAZ-528 (4x4) machine, designed to tow trailers and work with dozer dumps. The tractor appeared in 1955, very much like a large tractor and was equipped with a YAZ-206 diesel engine with a capacity of 206 liters. with. Later, this prototype evolved into an average engineering wheeled tractor IKT-S, or MAZ-538, with an engine already in 375 liters. with. In 1963, due to the fact that Minsk residents could not cope with the growing demands of the military, the machine was moved to Kurgan, to the D.M. Karbyshev wheeled tractor plant (KZKT). Until this time, the company specialized in agricultural machinery and spare parts for tractor engines.


In 1965, the MAZ-535 with all the modifications left Minsk forever. From that moment on, in the heavy military automotive industry, KZKT was responsible for the production tank and ballast tractors, and MAZ was left with more prestigious equipment for the missile forces - already in the early 60s, SKB-1 was in full swing on the two-cab MAZ-534. And KZKT actually finished producing variations on the theme of the 535th car only in the early 90s.

In 1960, MAZ got rid of the production of 25-ton dump trucks - they moved the production to the Zhodino Machine-Building Plant, which later became the Belarusian Automobile Plant, the birthplace of the world-famous BelAZ trucks. I will allow myself a slight departure from the main topic and I will mention that in Soviet times, export versions of equipment were often simply renamed to BelAZ, the image of cars from Zhodino was so high abroad. In particular, KrAZ trucks intended for Europe were rebranded.

Source: Atlas of drawings MAZ-535 and its modifications

Trial MAZ-535B chassis with a launcher for the 2K10 Ladoga missile system. 1960 year. Source:

The MAZ-529B uniaxial tractors, together with the design headquarters, were transferred from Minsk in 1960 to the Mogilev Plant of Handling and Transport Equipment, which we remember as MoAZ. Now it is the Mogilev Automobile Plant named after S. M. Kirov, a branch of BelAZ. All this suggests that it is difficult to overestimate the importance of engineers and designers of the Minsk Automobile Plant for the technical development of transport throughout the Soviet Union. And yet the topic evokes sad thoughts: in Belarus all the enterprises mentioned were able to save, and the domestic KZKT no longer exists.

Armed forces require warriors

Back to the eight-wheel MAZ. The first-born were models 535, dating from 1956, and 535A with a reinforced frame, which was produced from 1957 to 1969. The 535V truck tractor was distinguished from artillery ballast tractors by the balancing suspension of the rear pair of axles without elastic elements, the absence of a winch and tire inflation system, which were additionally reinforced for large loads. On the towed MAZ-535In a biaxial semi-trailer, a launch pad was placed to launch the Tu-213 reconnaissance aircraft of the Yastreb complex. The launch was carried out from the STA-30 launcher. The engine compartment and the cabin for the first time received a partial reservation, which protects the scout from the hot gases. In 1960, experiments were conducted on the installation on 535B of an experimental launcher D-110K tactical complex "Onega" with a 3M1 missile weighing up to 3 tons. In 1961, the truck was already carrying the Ladoga tactical complex with a 3M2 missile, the mass of which exceeded 3 tons, on its back. The first launches from the wheeled chassis were unsuccessful, and in exchange for the complex they adopted the famous 2P16 Luna installation on the PT-76 crawler chassis. Naturally, the resource of the tracked vehicles was relatively small, over long distances the complex had to be loaded onto MAZ-535B wheeled semi-trailers. The main semitrailer of the truck tractor was then a 25-ton MAZ-5248 with four single-wheel wheels.

MAZ-537V with a semitrailer-container for the A-35 complex missile. Source:

Missile road trains on the Moskvoretsky bridge after the parade - MAZ-537A tractors with GR-1 missiles (right) and MAZ-537 with R-26 missiles. 1965 year. Source:

But the appetites of the Ministry of Defense grew, as did the masses of goods transported. That is why the most common model appeared in the first wave of Mazovian heavy vehicles - MAZ-537. This machine was mainly intended for the transportation of tanks and other armored vehicles and has been in this role ever since. The power of the Barnaul motor was increased to 525 liters. with. that this has seriously improved the traction capabilities of the machine. Now a four-axle tractor could transport 5247 tons on a low-bed semi-trailer ChMZAP-50, as well as up to 75 tons as part of road trains with strategic weapons. It was MAZ-537 that scared the foreign attaches of the R-9A intercontinental ballistic missile in parades. The MAZ-535A ballast tractor carried out a similar trick with the R-36 missile. Now the 537th in the army performs not only the classic role of a tanker, but also serves in the Strategic Missile Forces - it carries amyl and heptyl rocket fuel components. For this purpose, two filling tanks ZATs-1 and ZATs-2 are mounted on the semitrailer. Among the few modifications of the 537th car there was a variant with the letter G equipped with a 15-ton winch located behind the engine compartment. Also in Minsk, they developed the MAZ-537D with an alternating current generating station and version 537E also with a generator that fed the hub electric motors of an active semi-trailer with a total weight of up to 65 tons. One of the few options for using the E-series machines was the unified transport and handling unit of the transport and launch container for the Strategic Missile Forces. This 41-meter giant consists of a tractor and an active triaxial semi-trailer with all steered wheels. The main objective of this machine is transportation and crane-free reloading of the launch container. There is a version of a similar purpose with a five-axle fully-controlled semi-trailer - the curb weight of such a road train exceeds 125 tons. Even the giant carriers with a 48x48 wheel arrangement have been developed and assembled!

Transport and reloading road train 15T284 with a 48x48 wheel arrangement. Source:

The upgraded transport unit 15T145MD for heavy missiles with a total mass of 125 tons. Source:

A machine for transporting rocket fuel components. Source:

The production range also included the onboard MAZ-537A, which can still be found at military airfields of the former Soviet Union. Up to 15 tons of cargo could be placed in the back of this tractor. If we compare the 535A and 537A, the latter will be longer (increased from 8780 mm to 9130 mm), wider (from 2805 mm to 2885 mm), lower (from 2915 mm to 2880 mm) and with a larger base from 5750 mm, milking 6050 mm . In general, during the modernization, the Belarusian giant has grown a little in almost all directions. And the appetite of the 537 version grew to 125 l / 100 km, which forced designers to increase the capacity of fuel tanks to 840 liters. The latest version was MAZ-537K, on ​​which the crane was mounted.

MAZ-537K. Source:

In 1962, the Ministry of Defense insisted on a kind of revocable campaign, when all the MAZ-535A and MAZ-537 issued by that time were modernized. Among other things, the frame was reinforced, the engine heating system was refitted, the stamped exhaust manifolds of the engines were replaced by cooled cast ones, additional oil filters were installed in the hydromechanical transmission, and they were also replaced with more advanced bearings in the torque converter. In addition, the cardan shafts from the transfer case to the axles were replaced and the fastening of the rear intermediate shaft flange to the same box was changed.

There was a short chapter in the history of MAZ-537 with the installation of missile systems for various purposes, and this took place in comparison with the latest at that time MAZ-543. In 1962-1963, the 537G tractor became the carrier of a semi-trailer with the installation of an R-16 intercontinental ballistic missile, whose weight was close to 147 tons. The entire load was borne by a 8T139 biaxial transport trolley, and the task of the tractor was to deliver the rocket to the launch pad. They tried to install the Temp operational-tactical complex (later Temp-S) with a nuclear warhead on the MAZ-537 and even conducted comparative tests in 1963. Compared with the long and better adapted to transport missiles MAZ-543, which in the end won.

MAZy / KZKT modern Russian army. Source:

From the late 50s and early 60s, the Minsk Automobile Plant gradually increased the production of technically sophisticated vehicles, which, with their extraordinary capabilities, gained respect among the troops and received the sonorous name “Hurricane”. Now cars of different generations and from different manufacturers can be found not only on the roads and on the roads of the post-Soviet space, but also in Europe - in particular, cars are very fond of in Germany and they continue military service in Finland.

The twists and turns of the production of the first eight-wheeled MAZs in mass production and the subsequent transfer to Kurgan will be dedicated to the end of the cycle.

The ending should ...
Articles from this series:
MAZ-535: heavy child of the Cold War

The editorial board of Voenniy Obozreniye urgently needs a proofreader. Requirements: impeccable knowledge of the Russian language, diligence, discipline. Contact: [email protected]

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

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Keeping
    Keeping April 9 2020 19: 16 New
    I read it with interest, thank you very much!
    I would like to know in more detail what it means to love cars in Germany and about serving in Finland.
    For the sake of idle curiosity, but how many of them are from the modern army, where does the spare part come from?
    1. Evgeny Fedorov
      April 9 2020 19: 28 New
      Thanks. In Germany, after the merger, there remained a certain number of MAZs (and not only), which now dispersed to private owners and various clubs of technology lovers. Perhaps part of the countries of the Varash treaty part went to them. Cross-country ride regularly. For example, here is Across Finland. They were in service.

      I do not think that they refused such tankers.
      1. Keeping
        Keeping April 9 2020 19: 32 New
        Thank you for your reply!
        By the way, yes, on the Eurosport channel I saw a competition in mud on trucks, I definitely saw MAZs and Tatras there
        1. Evgeny Fedorov
          April 9 2020 19: 34 New
          Yes, they have a little idiotic competition - who will pull someone. They hook, for example, the Tatra to the KrAZ-255B and tear the transmission ...
          1. Narak-zempo
            Narak-zempo April 10 2020 12: 12 New
            Quote: Yevgeny Fedorov
            Yes, they have a little idiotic competition - who will pull someone. They hook, for example, the Tatra to the KrAZ-255B and tear the transmission ...

            Why idiotic? Real Men Sport ™. Especially if the equipment is state-owned, and the Real Man ™ will definitely not pay from your pocket for repairs laughing
      2. Den717
        Den717 April 12 2020 10: 21 New
        Quote: Evgeny Fedorov
        I do not think that they refused such tankers.

        Why do they need this smut with MAZs?
      3. Hydrogen
        Hydrogen 4 June 2020 15: 49 New
        Why do they need such a monster?, 125l per 100km, it’s too much, next to it the clerk should go.
    2. neri73-r
      neri73-r April 9 2020 19: 43 New
      And what does it mean from different manufacturers? From different manufacturers inside the USSR?
      Now cars of different generations and from different manufacturers can be found not only on the roads and on the roads of the former Soviet Union, but also in Europe
      1. lwxx
        lwxx April 9 2020 19: 46 New
        Since 1963, the Maz 537 began to be produced in Kurgan.
  2. Gato
    Gato April 9 2020 19: 28 New
    SDA for MAZ:
    Approaching the intersection, look for other MAZs nearby. If not, feel free to continue driving. fellow
    1. _Sergei_
      _Sergei_ April 10 2020 05: 01 New
      I had a driver in a KRAZ-260 and never gave way to anyone. Not a single accident in two years. Once, while driving along the main road at the intersection, I got up to let the Kraz-255 pass. I told him "we are on the main". He answered me "he has a bigger car."
      1. Katanikotael
        Katanikotael April 10 2020 17: 19 New
        Not a single accident with him, or at all?
        1. _Sergei_
          _Sergei_ April 10 2020 18: 28 New
          But with such tricks of his for 2 years of service, not a single accident. The elders were afraid to ride with him in part. Somehow my nerves withstood.
  3. Elturisto
    Elturisto April 9 2020 20: 06 New
    Thanks to the author. The power of the Country of the Soviets is the time of the titans ...
  4. impostor
    impostor April 9 2020 20: 45 New
    Today watched the 537th, which hurricane. Ears is laying, VESCH, but how much does he eat a hundred?
    1. polar fox
      polar fox April 9 2020 21: 05 New
      Quote: impostor
      how much does he eat a hundred?

      80-120 liters. Depending on version (this is on the highway)
  5. Tima62
    Tima62 April 9 2020 22: 17 New
    An interesting article, but there are a couple of points:
    1 -
    MAZ-528 (4x4) car designed for towing trailers and working with dozer dumps. The tractor appeared in 1955, very much like a large tractor and was equipped with a YAZ-206 diesel engine with a capacity of 206 liters. with.

    The same Wikipedia about YaAZ 206
    Power: 165 liters. with. at 2000 rpm (YAZ-206A)

    Power: 180 l. with. at 2000 rpm (YAZ-206D)

    Power: 205 l. with. at 2000 rpm (YAZ-206B)

    and the automotive industry of Belarus gives 165 horses
    and the second - about the wheel formula 48-48
    Transport and reloading road train 15T284 with a 48x48 wheel arrangement. Source:
    In the photo, the MAZ 8x8 tractor and the 8-axle semi-trailer. If we take 2 carts on each axis (4 supports), we get 8x4 = 32, all leading. Add 8 MAZ - we get 40x40. I am wrong?
    1. Tima62
      Tima62 April 9 2020 22: 32 New
      I am wrong?
      Understood: the MAZ additional pushing tractor was included in the road train set (in the photo it is visible from behind with an uncoupled bar). He adds the lacking figure eight 48-48.
      All is correct smile
  6. Alien From
    Alien From April 9 2020 22: 50 New
    Thanks to the author !!!!!!!!!
  7. Free wind
    Free wind April 10 2020 05: 32 New
    Sometimes I look at all this, it seems that many did not care about defense capabilities, but about their own ambitions. The reconnaissance Hawk complex, the one-time complex, one launch and everything is destroyed, the truck also seems to be. The launch was carried out remotely, from 30 -50 meters. Although the tractor there is the cheapest component. One start and a small town flew into tartarara, the price was prohibitive. More than 50 complexes have been produced. Yes put it all on the same MIG. But Tupolev has his own ambitions. Why on a huge car, at a speed of 30 km per hour, use expensive and brittle independent suspension, Moreover, on most trawls and semi-trailers there were not even springs, a balancer and a rigid beam. Again, someone's Wishlist. In my opinion, quite simple bridges and spring-balancer suspension are quite enough. why fence the garden, I don’t understand anything. To this day, disputes about what a rogue should be, with a dependent or independent suspension, have not subsided. The photo with the crane is interesting, the ZIL-157 was pulled out of the garage from the garage, the cable was hooked from the front and the soldier was lying under the machine, probably the starter was screwed up, all other breakdowns from the top were being repaired. I have never seen such truck cranes. The load capacity seems to be no more than 5-6 tons. paws it seems not even. On such a colossus, to put such a krantik is somehow strange.
    1. Vladimir_2U
      Vladimir_2U April 10 2020 08: 32 New
      Quote: Free Wind
      But Tupolev has his own ambitions
      That same fruit was. Nice guy!
    2. KVIRTU
      KVIRTU April 12 2020 19: 29 New
      This Hawk is not disposable, like all Tu drones, min 10 launches. You can confuse shock with Hawk, but there was also a budget version of the OTRK, an ordinary air defense missile, with special warheads, like the B-612. The article was sensible on the site.
  8. Aleksandr72
    Aleksandr72 April 10 2020 09: 56 New
    In childhood, we also called MAZ-535 (according to adults, of course) "Hurricane". I saw him for the first time as a child, I was 10 years old, when such a MAZ on a carriage-trailer brought us a huge Japanese bulldozer "Komatsu" - we were actively building something then. Then I was impressed by the dimensions of the car, which we, the boys, climbed up and down. And it was just MAZ, not ZIL-135: I remember exactly how the monster's wheels were interlocked in pairs.
    1. Free wind
      Free wind April 10 2020 20: 58 New
      I apologize, but the two-cab MAZ-543 began to be called Hurricanes, it began to appear in civilian life. If you saw a tractor with a continuous cab, it was most likely a graduate of the Kurgan plant, MAZ-535 could hardly get into a civilian. From the year Kamatsuhi began to supply us with 82-83, the D-355 model, this bulldozer became our main Kamatsu model. Have you definitely seen Kamatsu? So then they were quite rare until 85 years old. Prior to this, Catopillers and Theotalis were very actively used.
      1. Aag
        Aag April 11 2020 20: 25 New
        Thanks to the author for the article. And for the memories, I had a chance to ride in the 537th during my cadet years. The school's suburban base was located on the coast of the Gulf of Riga. They drove along the beach. (There, the tank repair plant ran its products.) The instructors did not mind some "pranks" - you will get into the dunes, - the impressions are unforgettable, - the roller coasters are resting! On the rise, you can only see the sky behind the frontal. The ridge passed, with the front axle separated from the ground, - behind the glass the horizon, the sea, the beach, only sand before your eyes, you seem to bury yourself. And the instructor: "Gas, gas!"
        At the end of the lesson, "washing" the unit, 30 kilometers per hour in shallow water! The spectacle is enchanting, - the green Monster bursting from the rainbow !!!
        ... And after all, nobody worried about the universal joints ...
      2. Eug
        Eug April 15 2020 08: 44 New
        There were many hurricanes as airfield fire engines.
      3. IQ12NHJ21az
        IQ12NHJ21az April 18 2020 18: 03 New
        MAZ-537 was called "Hurricane", at least in the Ostrogozh training school, and all its graduates. He goes not 30 km / h, much faster. Himself on a 100-kilometer march to 70 km / h accelerated.