Logistics are at the heart of every well-fueled, well-armed military and, for the Soviet Union during its heyday, this was provided for - in part - by the ZiL-131 military truck. The truck arrived in all-wheeled, 6x6 triple-axle arrangement seating a pair of axles under the rear of the chassis. The driving cab positioned the driver at front-left with the engine compartment immediately forward. Production of the ZiL-131 was had from 1964 until 2012 at which point the AMUR plant was shuttered due to bankruptcy (then produced as the AMUR-531340). Despite this, sheer numbers of the truck ensure it a place on the modern battlefield.
The civilian market form is the "ZiL-130".
For its part in Soviet history, the ZiL-131 succeeded the ZiL-157 series trucks of 1958. These were similarly arranged in 6x6 with a driving cab aft of the engine and a flexible / modular rear flat bed. Unlike the ZiL-131, the ZiL-157 was only utilized by the Soviets, China, Vietnam, and North Korea but has, itself, been formally succeeded by the more modern ZiL-4334 series trucks in Russian service.
Dimensions of the base vehicle include an overall length of 7.04 meters, a width of 2.5 meters, and a height of 2.5 meters. Curb weight is 6,700 kilograms. Its payload can reach up to 5,000kg for in-road traveling (less so when going off road).
Key qualities of the truck are its large road wheels and high ground clearance, allowing it to traverse cross-country and water sources. The suspension system includes solid axles coupled to leaf springs. Power is from a ZiL-130 6.0L V8 diesel engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission system with 2-speed transfer case. A pair of 45-gallon gasoline tanks fuel the engine.
The versatility of the ZiL-131 is key to its success, having been the host vehicle for a variety of field solutions including the BN-21 "Grad" Multiple Launch, Rocket Projector (MLRS) vehicles (detailed elsewhere on this site) relied heavily on by the Soviet / Russian army. Beyond this, variants that have appeared include models utilized by border guard elements, specialized fire trucks, MEDEVAC, SCUD missile carriers, general transport (open flatbed or soft/hard covered), dedicated Command Posts (CPs), fuel tankers, and even mobile field bakeries.
Operators of the ZiL-131 currently (2022) include many former Soviet allies and supported states - notable entries being Georgia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Syria, Ukraine, and Vietnam. Former operators are Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Iraq, and Yugoslavia.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
General utility-minded design to accomplish a variety of battlefield tasks, typically in a non-direct-combat fashion.
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.
Wheeled arrangement gives this system an inherent road-running capability, enhancing mobility.
Design includes such features as a track-link system or high ground clearance to better traverse offroad.
Crew is provided (either as standard or optional) protection against Nuclear-Biological-Chemical agents for enhanced survivability in contaminated zones.
Crew has access to night-vision equipment, allowing for low-light or night time operations.
Vehicle (or its variants) has an inherent troop-carrying capability, providing protected cover for embarked allies in contested areas.
Vehicle's proven running gear and overall makeup lends itself well to fulfill other battlefield roles by way of specialized designs.
23.1 ft 7.04 m
8.2 ft 2.49 m
8.2 ft 2.49 m
14,771 lb 6,700 kg
7.4 tons LIGHT
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base ZiL-131 production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
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