Friday, April 29, 2016

The BRDM-2 - Ideal SHTF Daily Driver? Discuss.

 Boyevaya Razvedyvatelnaya Dozornaya Mashina

     As a light hearted way to usher in the weekend, I present the BRDM-2. There has been some buzz about armored vehicles for the prepping community.  Some claim that they are not daily drivers, parts are hard to find, yadda yadda.  I am writing this article to dispel some of these misconceptions, present some size comparisons and offer up a perhaps more reasonable alternative to armored transport - the vaunted BRDM-2!
Yes, there are some Central Europeans who use these as daily drivers.

    The BRDM-2 was designed as an armored reconnaissance and scout vehicle.  It was widely used and has seen use by almost 40 countries, officially.  They were introduced in 1962, and produced through 1989.  It weighs 7 tons, is 18' 10" long, 7' 9" wide and 7' 7" tall.  Carrying a crew of 4, its armor ranges from 2 - 14 mm.  They have a 17" ground clearance.  They come originally with a 140 hp GAZ-41 series gasoline engine, though later variants have been seen with IVECO diesels.  The originals have poor ergonomics.  It is thought that at least 7,200 were made over the production run.

      The BRDM-2 can be bought on the open market, as well as parts for them.  The BRDM will run you from $6,680 and shipping will probably be about $2K.  Might as well buy TWO for that price!  Consider it your own parts block.  No matter how you slice it, that is a LOT of capability for the money.  A. LOT.  One of these costs LESS than the Cummins engine option in 2016 on a Dodge ($8,995).  Ask yourself which one you would have more fun in.  Ask yourself which one would shrug off small arms fire.  Question answered.

     Converting the BRDM to modern use has been done by many an armory.  A common modification is to remove the quirky retractable belly wheels (all 4 of them!  Chain driven! Madness!) and plate over them with the requisite 2 -3 mm plate to make a watertight hull that also shrugs off life's unpleasantries and make room for your crew of 4.  I refer you to this DTIC paper on alternative vehicle designs to flesh out what these wheels are and how they operate.  Go to page 18, figure 17 for BRDM 2 specifics on the belly wheels.  The rest makes for interesting reading.  Note that where they mention "TATRA" trucks, that swing arm system is used on the OT-64 SKOT.

     Another option I read about was a British owner that put his own diesel in for the tame 140 hp gas motor (less flammable, too).  I would think that an American Cummins BT4 would go well with this setup.  They use the same tires & turret as the OT-64 SKOT.  It has a central tire inflation system from the factory.  Later Polish BRDM-2M-96 modernization models have side doors on the hull to assist in crew survivability, as well as a 165hp Iveco Aifo 8040 6-cylinder diesel upgrade.  These have enough room for two more passengers. All BRDM 2 come stock with a 4 ton internal winch in the bow with a 30 meter cable.

     That these vehicles are not front line service vehicles should not concern the prepper.  They are damn good enough, they have been around for 50 or so years, parts are readily available and they exist at a price point and physical scope that the reasonably skilled backyard mechanic/welder can have a FIELD DAY with them.  Under 19 feet long is smaller than many full size pickup trucks.  It is shorter than a 2001 Dodge Ram Quad Cab w/ long bed, if that provides a reference for you.  So, doable as a daily driver.  The adept can probably parallel park it in a city.

Internal layout cutaway of BRDM-2
     For those looking for putting the FUN in FUNctional, the BRDM-2 is amphibious.  Equipped with a forward trim vane and a single, shrouded prop in the stern, it can traverse reasonable stretches of water.  I would NOT suggest trying to take it off a beach, though.  There is amphibious in a European sense, and amphibious in a "beaches of Tarawa" sense.  Here is a video clip of hobbyists mud bogging and off roading privately owned BRDM-2:

    Try THAT in a warmed up pickup truck.  Try doing it 50 times.  Which one does the warrantee matter for?  Which one NEEDS a warrantee?  One thing is for sure, driving something like a BRDM-2 won't require "truck nuts", because it IS a 7 ton truck nut.

 Written by StopShoutingBlog contributor and #FAB50 Blog Award Winner Partyzantski, coolest cat on teh inner webs, retired Mustang, former FID embedded Senior 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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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now I just need to remember to buy a winning Lotto ticket, and I know what the first $20K will be going for.
Maybe 30 so I can get two of those vehicles, put in an American engine of some kind, and have spare parts for the rest of it.