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ZiS-485 (BAV-485)

6x6 Amphibious Transport

The BAV 485 series 6x6 amphibious transport was in service from 1952 to the 1980s.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 5/14/2019
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Year: 1952
Manufacturer(s): Automotive Factory No. 2 - Soviet Union
Production: 2,000
Capabilities: Amphibious; Support/Special Purpose;
Crew: 2
Length: 31.30 ft (9.54 m)
Width: 8.20 ft (2.5 m)
Height: 8.73 ft (2.66 m)
Weight: 11 tons (9,650 kg); 21,275 lb
Power: 1 x ZiL-123 6-cylinder, in-line, water-cooled gasoline-fueled engine developing 110 horsepower to a conventional wheeled arrangement; 1 x PTO propeller drive.
Speed: 37 mph (60 kph)
Range: 329 miles (530 km)
Operators: Albania; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Egypt; Hungary; Poland; Romania; Soviet Union
The ZiS-485 (BAV 485) 6x6 amphibious transport was similar in scope to the World War 2-era American DUKW series of which the Soviet Union received nearly 500 of through Lend-Lease. The BAV 485 was first unveiled in 1952 and was intended to hold fast to the lightning-speed concepts of Soviet military land warfare doctrine learned through many devastating battles against Germany throughout the Second World War. The type served well up until the 1980s with the Red Army and Warsaw Pact allies before being replaced by the tracked PTS series of amphibious transports which promoted better cross-country performance and were inherently larger is size.

From the outset, it was seen that the ZiS-485 would be fielded alongside the GAZ 46 series of 4x4 wheeled amphibious reconnaissance vehicles then in service with the Red Army. The GAZ 46 was designed along similar lines as the ZiS-485 and entered service in the 1950s. It featured four road wheels and part-time 4x4 capability (rear drive) with a boat-like chassis fitted atop a standard automobile-like hull. While the GAZ 46 could serve as a "go-anywhere" reconnaissance platforms, the ZiS-485 would serve to bring soldiers to the front.

The ZiS-485 sported a boat-like hull herself complete with an up-kicked bow at the front and slab-sides. In her original form, the vehicle was based on the ZiS-151 series heavy duty truck family. The waterproof boat structure sat atop a six-wheeled chassis offering 6x6 capability with a front-mounted engine and rear drive power. Power for the system was derived from a single ZiS123 6-cylinder, in-line, water-cooled gasoline engine outputting at 110 horsepower and tied to a 5-speed, dual range dry plate twin disc clutch transmission system. Performance specifications included a top speed of 37 miles per hour (6mph in water) and an operational range of 330 miles. Water propulsion was handled by a dedicated PTO propeller drive. The ZiS-485 featured a running length of 31 feet, 4 inches, with a width of 9 feet, 2 inches and a height nearing 8 feet, 8 inches. Overall weight was listed at approximately 21,278lbs.

The ZiS-485 was crewed by two standard personnel and passengers were loaded and unloaded via a rear loading ramp or by simply scaling the sides of the vehicle in the event of an emergency. The rear loading ramp also helped to facilitate the loading/unloading of smaller vehicles, equipment or supplies as needed. The main cargo area was open air though a heavy tarp cover was made available to protect the crew, passengers and supplies from the elements. The driver sat behind a three piece windscreen with the forward panel split in two portions. Armament (optional) consisted of a single 12.7mm DShKM heavy machine gun for self-defense.

Once the ZiL-157 truck entered service, the ZiS-485 family was upgraded to a more modern form, utilizing the basic underlying components of the ZIL-157 series. This resulted in the ZiS-485 designation change to ZiS-485A (or similarly the "BAV-A") to signify its upgraded nature.


1 x 12.7mm DHsKM heavy machine gun.

200 x 12.7mm ammunition (estimated).

Variants / Models

• ZiL-485 (BAV-485) - Base Series featuring 6x6 chassis of the ZiS-151 truck.
• ZiL-485A (BAV-485A) - Modernized Variant featuring 6x6 chassis of the ZiL-157 truck.
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