armor and 730 horsepower

“Flying” KamAZ-4911. Source:

Army sports projectile

In the previous parts of the story, dedicated to the KamAZ-4310 family, there was talk about the Mustang family and its comparison with foreign counterparts.

But in the KAMAZ range of all-terrain vehicles there are machines that are hard to find analogues in the world.

Very few such trucks were produced – only 15 copies. And they were intended for an unusual mission of emergency delivery of military supplies and personnel to hard-to-reach areas.

The car received the name KamAZ-4911 “Extreme” and was equipped with an eight-cylinder YMZ-7E846 engine with a capacity of 730 hp. with. with a gigantic torque of 2,700 Nm.

With a total weight of 15.6 tons, KamAZ had a record power-to-weight ratio of 46.7 liters. with. per ton. The engine was shifted to the center of the wheelbase, which improved axle weight distribution and cross-country ability, and also made it possible not to nod off when jumping on trampolines.

Such layout solutions gave out sports roots in the 4911th car. Indeed, an extreme two-axle truck capable of 180 km / h and acceleration to 100 km / h in 16 seconds has been released for FIA homologation.

SuperKamAZs: armor and 730 horsepower

KamAZ-4911 Extreme. Source:

In the early 2000s, the FIA ​​demanded that the trucks participating in the rally raids be based on production trucks.

Conditionally, of course, otherwise no one would have entered the Dakar race in that case. For rejuvenation, that is, to meet the requirements, it was allowed to release only 15 cars from the assembly line, which was done in Naberezhnye Chelny. 99% of the cars were copies of the famous “Dakar” KamAZs of the early 2000s, which became real symbols of Russian motorsport.

In 2021, the KamAZ-Master team won the Dakar rally-marathon for the eighteenth time, which this time took place in Saudi Arabia. For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that in recent years the truck race, or, as they are also called, camions, has been taking place without much intrigue.

There is a factory team “KamAZ-Master” with an impressive budget and there are several amateur racers trying to simply compete with the guys from Naberezhnye Chelny. Nine years ago, the Belarusian MAZ plant entered the rally-raids, but at the moment Minsk dwellers cannot compete on equal terms with KamAZ – either the equipment will fail, or the experience will not be enough.

Kamaz people manage to win both in number and skill. Compare, MAZ brought two cars to Dakar-2021, and KamAZ-Master four cars at once! As a result, the pilots from Naberezhnye Chelny won the entire podium.

Sports car from “KamAZ-Master” and its civilian version. 2003 year. Source:

But back to the main character – the extreme KamAZ-4911.

The car was distinguished by a number of non-trivial design solutions. For example, in addition to leaf springs, so-called hydropneumatic springs are installed in the suspension – with built-in shock absorber valves. The suspension struts of the high-speed KamAZ were borrowed from the BMD.

All this allows a rather large truck to take on uneven terrain at high speed, lifting off the ground by one and a half to two meters in height. In full compliance with the rules of world motorsport and common sense, the cab is equipped with safety arches.

KamAZ-4911. Source:

KamAZ-4911. Source:

The rather big appetite of the “combat” camion is designed to satisfy two fuel tanks of 450 liters each.

For such a record technique in Naberezhnye Chelny in 2003 they asked for more than four million rubles. For comparison, the average wage of a worker on a KamAZ assembly line was about 5 thousand rubles. According to the publication “Autoreview”, one car 4911 out of fifteen assembled was bought by the Emirati sheikh, and one more went to the oilmen.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations and the airport services showed interest – they hoped that an excellent fire engine would come out of the high-speed car. It is not known how many cars produced are now on the move, but most of them are in the Russian army. A couple of trucks with protective green and sandy colors can be seen in newsreels from races at the training grounds in Bronnitsy and in Kubinka at the Army forum.

Armor for baby KamAZ

The second major milestone in the 4310’s history, in addition to constant upgrades, was the armor equipment.

Since the 90s of the last century, “local” and “capsule” booking of cargo vehicles has become a common trend. The experience of Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and the Chechen Republic forced to look for new approaches to the protection of personnel and crews of transport equipment.

Of course, no one was going to turn KamAZ trucks into wheeled tanks – the priority was protection against small arms, small fragments and the most common improvised explosive devices. At the same time, it was important to mislead the enemy and prevent him from unambiguously identifying the level of protection of the box and the cab of the truck.

The very first “Highlander”. Source:

Over the past thirty years, both craftsmen in repair bases and quite respectable firms have been engaged in booking army KamAZ trucks.

Let’s start with the smallest two-axle machines. The Moscow company “Tekhnika” by order of the Internal Troops in 2009 booked the smallest baby-KamAZ-43501, intended for the Airborne Forces. The car received the sonorous name “Highlander-3958”. The cockpit is equipped with hidden armor, which is difficult to detect even from 5-10 meters.

But the armored car clearly signals its purpose. Outside, the armored car is unmasked by eight loopholes along the sides (one for each soldier) and two in the aft doors. The kung is declared explosion-proof, although the shape of the bottom is not V-shaped, but the seats are attached through a shock-absorbing system to the ceiling.

The logical evolution of the armored car was the transition to the bonnet layout in the “Highlander-K” model. This made it possible to seriously increase the explosion protection of the crew from undermining under the front wheels.

Highlander-K “from OKB” Tekhnika “(Moscow). Source:

But there is no limit to perfection – experts pointed out to the engineers that there was no communication between the cockpit and the troop compartment in the kunga.

And quite rightly so. If the driver is injured, there is no way to promptly provide medical assistance and replace the fighter at the combat post. That is why further evolution has led to the emergence of armored vehicles (more precisely, even armored personnel carriers) with unified command and control and airborne departments. But this is a topic for another story.

In 2015, the Moscow Technika received an order for the modernization of the bonnet Highlander for one of the countries of Latin America (presumably from Mexico). The export vehicle was created on the proven platform of the two-axle KamAZ-43502 and optionally equipped with a 250-horsepower Cummins SB6.7 diesel engine.

With a curb weight of 11.9 tons, the payload was only a ton – the rest was “eaten” by armor of the 5th class of protection. In 2015 prices, the armored car cost about 9.5 million rubles. In the future, the frankly terrible car was ennobled to the version of “Highlander-M” and offered to the National Guard and the Military Police. It turned out, however, also not very aesthetically pleasing.

Highlander-M for Mexico. Year 2015. Source:

Modern “Highlander-M”. Source:

Finishing the story with OKB “Tekhnika”, one cannot fail to mention the newest three-axle armored car “Highlander-SSN”, developed for special units of the Russian Guard.

The engineers returned to the cabover configuration, apparently in an effort to increase the troop compartment, designed for 12 fighters. Archaic enough on such a formidable machine are two machine-gun turrets on the roof, the arrows in which are protected very conditionally. Remotely controlled installations are now becoming the gold standard. But either the technological level of “Technics” did not allow to create something like that, or the customer was stingy.

“Highlander-SSN”. Source:

“Patrol” from JSC “Asteys” in the characteristic livery of the Russian Guard. Source:

It is worth noting that bonnet biaxial armored vehicles based on KamAZ are made not only at Tekhnika. But also at KamAZ itself (more precisely, Remdizel) – the Typhoon-K and Typhoonenok families. And also to JSC Asteys from Naberezhnye Chelny.

The armored vehicles of the latter company are named “Patrol”. And in 2017, several hundred copies were delivered to law enforcement agencies.

The main users of armored vehicles from Asteis are the Russian Guard and the Military Police.

The latest models of the Asteys-7020 biaxial armored vehicles were presented at the Army-2020 forum. And on one of them, a remotely controlled shooting module was installed on an experimental basis.

To be continued…

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