Success in using self-propelled, wheeled or tracked, rocket-projecting vehicles against the Germans during World War 2 (1939-1945) prompted the Soviet Union to continue development of such weapons into the post-war years. In 1947, a new system was developed and adopted in 1952 as the "BMD-20". The design consisted of the ZiS-151A military truck (three-axled, 6x6 wheeled) mated to a four-rocket launcher component firing the MD-20F series surface-to-surface battlefield rocket. The type was eventually exported to several Soviet-allied nations including Cuba and North Korea.
As fielded, the vehicle weighed 8.7 tons and sported an overall length of 7.2 meters with a width of 2.3 meters and a height of 2.8 meters. Drive power was supplied by a gasoline-fueled engine of 92 horsepower output allowing for road speeds up to 60 kmh with road ranges reaching 520 kilometers. The basic truck design held the engine in a forward compartment as part of the enclosed cab. A crew of eight was typically assigned to the functions of the vehicle.
Over the rear of the truck was set the rocket-launching section atop a trainable mounting. This component fitted four ready-to-fire rockets of 200mm caliber weighing 195 kilograms. Range of these weapons was 19 kilometers and the full lot could be released in under five seconds with reloading taking just as long. Resupply was managed by accompanying vehicles.
The North Korean Army is still known to field the BMD-20 series MLRS vehicles despite their Cold War-era status. These vehicles are believed to rely on the ZiL-157 series military truck instead of the original ZiS-151A series models.