Tiger Tamers: how we tested an armored car for 11 million

We have never seen such a car in our editorial tests! Seven tons of curb weight, six-millimeter armored steel and the chassis from an armored personnel carrier: the Tiger SBM visited the Dmitrovsky autotest site. We drove it a lot on asphalt, cobblestones and off-road. We even managed to get stuck...

When representatives of the military-industrial company (MIC), which produces armored personnel carriers and Tigers in Arzamas, invited us to test the Tiger, I was not surprised. Autoreview regularly talks about military equipment: I had to drive armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, the tracked Kurganets-25 and the Pantsir anti-aircraft gun.

But do you know how the Tiger differs from them? Because anyone can buy it! And not only in the civilian, unarmored version - for example, Shantsev and Zhirinovsky have them, and Nikita Mikhalkov even has two of them.

From now on, the Tiger that will be discussed is offered for sale - in the SBM version (special armored vehicle), with protection according to the fifth class of the Russian GOST from Kalashnikov assault rifle bullets with a heat-strengthened core. Accepted to supply internal troops of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs by order of 2014. The price on the open market is from 11 million rubles. Well, shall we take it?

Ours versus imports

A serious problem remained: a foreign engine! Initially, it was planned to install the Austrian Steyr, but it turned out to be too expensive - and until 2010, the Tigers were equipped with a Brazilian-made Cummins turbodiesel. But if it was suitable for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, then for the Ministry of Defense the use of units of a potential enemy (Cummins headquarters is located in the USA) was unacceptable.

Under the hood is an in-line Yaroslavl “four” with a capacity of 215 hp. Fire extinguishers of the fire protection system are clearly visible

And then the GAZ Group got its own suitable engine - YaMZ-534. Of course, it is also not 100% Russian: it was developed in collaboration with the Austrian company AVL and initially consisted largely of imported components. But in 2020, when I visited the production of such motors, their localization level reached 75% with a further output of 80%. Along with this engine, the Tiger received a “hump on the nose”: since the YaMZ is larger than the Cummins, a characteristic elevation appeared on the armored hood.

It is necessary to briefly mention another story, a political one, - how the Ministry of Defense under the leadership of Anatoly Serdyukov decided to abandon the Tiger, purchasing Italian analogues of IVECO LMV. Here they received the name Lynx, and experts sarcastically nicknamed them “scat” - they say, armored Lynx. We don’t want to say the word “kickback,” but it is known for certain that “brats” were imported under the guise of ambulances (even with stretchers in the back), deceiving customs, then they were allegedly assembled on our soil, screwing several parts to ready-made armored cars... All this overlapped with problems with the cross-country ability and security of the “scat”, which we have written about more than once. According to our information, the Ministry of Defense managed to receive 375 vehicles instead of the expected 1800. The story ended with the arrival of Shoigu, and although Lynxes serve in the troops, there will never be any further purchases of them.

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Protected modular vehicle "Wolf"

All-wheel drive lightweight modular wheeled platform for creating armored personnel carriers, trucks, tractors, chassis for ATGMs and short-range air defense systems, command and staff vehicles, reconnaissance patrol vehicles, and medical vehicles.

VPK-3927 “Wolf” vehicles are designed for transporting personnel (from 8 to 18 people), cargo, and towing trailers weighing up to 2.5 tons. The maximum speed is 120 km/h.

They do not have an all-welded body, which is an important difference from the Tiger armored car. The modular design of the family is the basis for the creation of new generation unified transport platforms.

Mounted armor provides all-round protection for the crew from all major types of small arms (even when firing an armor-piercing bullet from an SVD rifle) and shell fragments.

One of the features of the car is the ability to change the ground clearance from 250 mm to 550 mm.

Modern realities

Time has passed, military strategy has changed, the appearance of the modern army has changed, and the development and production of such equipment, thanks to the growth of industrial capabilities, has moved to a completely new level. Today's models of armored vehicles are protected vehicles that increase the mobility of military and special units. Such vehicles are used in the army - for reconnaissance, raids behind enemy lines, delivery of soldiers to the battlefield and their fire support. Police special forces, forced to work in cramped urban conditions, also show particular interest in this technology.

Historical reference

From the moment the first cars appeared, their developers immediately began to have ideas for equipping crews with a system of protection against shrapnel and bullets. These plans were brought to life a short time later - with the outbreak of the First World War, the period of which can be considered the finest hour of the “iron monsters”. The first Russian armored vehicles were produced in 1904 by the French. Already in January 1905, these vehicles took their place in the active army. By the way, the author of such a vehicle was M. A. Nakashidze, who then served as a podesaul in the Siberian Cossack regiment. Armored vehicles of that time were comparable in mobility to cavalry and had reliable protection from bullets. The presence of its own weapons and the shortcomings of the tanks of that time made this “miracle weapon” a real means of combat.

Advantages and disadvantages

The value of the vehicle lies in the fact that it perfectly performs its functions in the conditions for which it was originally created - the “Tiger” moves confidently and easily transports cargo off-road. In fact, this jeep can only stop when it sits on its belly or gets stuck on half its body. The car's interior is decorated using natural materials and has a high-quality stereo system with six speakers. Comfortable seating for the driver and passenger is ensured by adjustable seats, which are heated, as well as armrests on all seats.

Among the few disadvantages, we note the insufficient controllability of the car when driving at high speeds on a knurled track. However, it is simply difficult to expect anything else from a car weighing 6.5 tons, even if it is equipped with a standard hydraulic booster.

Demanding consumers pay attention to the somewhat primitive interior of the Tiger, as well as the insufficient quality of the seams and rivets used. Many people note excessive noise levels when driving, which is determined by the location of the gearbox in the cabin


The above Tiger models have slightly different designs. To see and compare these models you need to look at photos of Tiger cars

and appreciate their assembly and coloring. You will be able to see photographs of the Tiger with a removable body and appreciate this unique idea of ​​the developers. In addition to photographs, you will be able to watch interesting test drive videos and see how skillfully this car will overcome difficult obstacles. However, he will do this with ease and you can see the full power of the Tiger models.

The GAZ company primarily hopes for large orders for the Tiger vehicle from various military companies. After all, such equipment will be very useful for the military in force majeure situations and for terrorist actions. Moreover, the developers advise installing any machine gun at the rear of the cabin, and then the Tiger could become a wonderful combat vehicle for the front. The Tiger would also be perfect for delivering civilians to hard-to-reach places in any military situations. But if you use this vehicle with armor, you can easily launch it into the front positions and pass any obstacles with it. It will be a powerful off-road machine with an excellent, smooth ride.

How did it all begin?

In 1999, King Abdullah II of Jordan began to become concerned about the state of the country's armed forces. Soon, in order to modernize them, a special company Design and Development Bureau was created on his initiative. Jordanian military experts believed that the royal army needs a special SUV, an alternative version of the American Hummer. The Arabs were not happy with the armored vehicles produced in the United States because they were very expensive and very expensive to maintain.

The creation of a new armored car was entrusted to the company Bin Jabr Croup Ltd, which soon transferred the order to Russian designers from the Gorky Machine-Building Plant. The Russian side's task was to design three prototypes of an armored car with different body options. The equipment was developed exclusively for the needs of the army; the creation of a civilian version was not envisaged. Since American Hummers often broke down, the new armored vehicles had to be easy to manufacture and reliable enough to operate in harsh desert conditions.

"The army can maneuver successfully"

Experts agree that domestic engineers managed to implement the best technological solutions to date in Atleta.
Such armored vehicles allow the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to carry out combat missions in any region of the world, regardless of natural and climatic conditions. “First of all, armored vehicles give units of motorized rifles, paratroopers, and military police the mobility they need so much in the theater of operations. Our army can successfully maneuver, has the ability to conduct reconnaissance activities, patrol the area and quickly transfer forces to the required location,” said Dmitry Litovkin.

The expert noted that with each new generation, Russian armored vehicles improve cross-country ability and security. Litovkin recalled that wheeled vehicles are a priori more vulnerable than tracked vehicles.

  • Armored car "Athlet" at the Army 2019 forum

Nevertheless, modern domestic armored vehicles are designed in such a way as to ensure the highest level of crew survival during explosions and shelling, the expert argues. For this purpose, reinforced bottoms are made, special seats are installed that absorb the energy of the blast wave, and new armored hulls and anti-fragmentation materials are created.

“At the same time, it is very important to maintain a balance when designing an armored vehicle. Under no circumstances should a vehicle be overloaded with armor or weapons, otherwise it will lose maneuverability.

I think that the key to the high quality of Russian armored cars is the high requirements from the Ministry of Defense and, accordingly, the serious tests to which prototypes are subjected,” Litovkin explained.

“It is appropriate to recall that army explosion-proof armored vehicles in post-Soviet times have become a new niche for the defense industry of our country. Previously, such machines were not produced at all. However, domestic enterprises quickly mastered the production of modern machines of various types and continue to improve them,” Murakhovsky emphasized.

Ease of use

All varieties of the Tiger have in their arsenal remote adjustment of air pressure in tires, an automatic fire extinguishing system and engine heating, which facilitates its starting at ultra-low temperatures. The machines are equipped with electric winches. The steering wheel and front seats are adjustable both in height and horizontally. The equipment can be equipped with automatic transmission, air conditioning and anti-lock braking system. Recently, the Tiger armored car rolled off the assembly line of the Arzamas Automobile Plant, the model of which was equipped with an on-board control system that has the functions of information control over the operation of electrical equipment, as well as navigation.

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