Since the beginning of the 90s, the Russian army was no longer a key customer for automotive enterprises. The Gorky Automobile Plant was no exception. The lion's share of the profit then (and even now) was brought by one and a half "GAZel" and medium-tonnage GAZ-3309 ("Lawn"). Therefore, the rules in matters of defense orders were dictated rather by engineers and marketers from Nizhny Novgorod than by military ranks from the Ministry of Defense. It is still difficult to understand why they abandoned the cabover layout of the new car. Perhaps it was the wish of the military, taking into account the experience of the mine war in Afghanistan, or a simple unification with the civilian "Lawn". Most likely, the views of the military and the capabilities of the factory workers converged successfully. In any case, the development according to the old GAZ-66 templates using the aggregate base of commercial vehicles has reduced both costs and time.
The first copies of the Shishigi successor, which appeared in 1995, carried the 3309P index and were hybrids of a frame, a cab, controls from a bonnet "gas" and a GAZ-5441 turbodiesel, a gearbox, a transfer case, bridges, wheels and a body from GAZ- 66-40. Due to the bonnet arrangement, the frame became longer, which increased the wheelbase, improved directional stability, but negatively affected maneuverability (the turning radius increased by 1 meter). Already in 1996, the vehicle passed state tests and was adopted by the Russian army. A serious advantage of the new light truck was the cost, comparable to the price of the GAZ-66-40 - these were the fruits of wide unification with existing vehicles. A minus can be considered a civilian frame, not fully designed for high loads of military operation. In the final version, the new "Shishiga" received the name GAZ-3308 "Sadko" and was initially equipped with gasoline engines ZMZ-513.10 and ZMZ-5231.10 with a capacity of 125-130 hp.
Diesel (and from a tractor) on "Sadko" appeared only in 2003 on the GAZ-33081 version and developed 122 hp. with. Attempts were made to launch trucks with a 150 hp six-cylinder Steyr turbodiesel into a small series. s, but, for obvious reasons, this cannot be sold to the army, but for commercial exploitation it turned out to be expensive and difficult. In addition, for the ancient transmission, the torque and power of a foreign motor were already excessive and, if handled carelessly, were able to "break" it. The GAZ-3308 inherited from Shishiga a funny feature - when the front axle was turned on, it was necessary to move the car back and forth in order for the gears to engage. Simultaneously with the military version, a civilian version of the Sadko was launched into production, equipped with simpler wheels (the clearance eventually decreased) and deprived of tire inflation with pneumatic release to the trailer.
The car came to taste not only in the Russian army, but also in Ukraine, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia. The Sadko was delivered to Syria in the mid-2000s and has now become one of the symbols of the confrontation between the army and terrorist organizations. On Syrian soil, the GAZ-3308 was used as an artillery tractor, a platform for anti-aircraft guns, and even as a carrier for the GOLAN 400 MLRS. The network also posted photos of an army Sadko with a 57-mm ZIS-2 cannon in the back. In total, under contracts by 2007, the Gorky Automobile Plant delivered about 2,000 trucks to Syria.
In 2014, the first information appeared about the next generation of "Sadko", which received the "Next" prefix. We can say that in the last generation, the truck has risen one step higher - the carrying capacity has grown to 3 tons. The cab is now unified with the "Lawn-Next" family and is distinguished by truly passenger comfort. The Yaroslavl diesel engine YaMZ-534 with a capacity of almost 150 liters is installed on "Sadko-Next". with., and the real highlight was the push-button transmission control system.
Among the numerous modifications of "Sadko", the most unusual were GAZ-3325 "Eger" and GAZ-3902 "Vepr". In the first case, this is a huge pickup truck with a two-row cab, and in the second, a car with an all-metal passenger body for five or twelve people. Two years ago, the second generation of these cars debuted with a very peculiar facial expression - the trucks received intricate headlights from the Vector Next bus. Such equipment cannot be called completely military, but in Nizhny Novgorod they really hope for army orders and regularly exhibit "Jaegers" and "Veprey" on the "Army" forums.
Fantasies on the theme and successors of the case
GAZ-66 is gradually leaving the Armed Forces of Russia - cars are sold from places of storage, replenishing the fleet of private owners throughout the country. The former countries of the Eastern bloc are also gradually getting rid of the Soviet legacy, implementing "Shishigi" almost all over the world. Recently, there was news that the GAZ-66 from the storage rooms of the Hungarian army appeared on the free market in the United States. The availability of spare parts, unpretentiousness and unique cross-country ability allowed various design bureaus to develop their own vision of the new "Shishigi" over time. One of the most striking examples of this was the GAZ-66 "Partizan", which can be distinguished from the overseas Hummer H1 only with close acquaintance. The domestic clone of the American jeep appeared in 2003, inherited from the Shishigi a shortened frame, an aggregate base and individual body elements. It was necessary, of course, to thoroughly redraw the layout of the truck, change the suspension for a lighter body and confine ourselves to installing only 4 seats. The most interesting thing is that the car was built at the Gorky Automobile Plant, obviously, in search of new market niches. According to another version, "Partizan" appeared in the club of amateur enthusiasts from Nizhny Novgorod and was mostly just a show car, released in a very limited edition.
In the early 2000s, the GAZ-66 aggregate base formed the basis for the huge 12-seater Barkhan SUV, which combines the comfort of a passenger car and the remarkable cross-country ability of an army all-terrain vehicle. This technique in various variations was produced for specific orders and did not receive wide distribution.
GAZ-66 was in many ways created for the Airborne Forces, but now the winged infantry is finally getting rid of the legendary vehicle - the most lightweight KamAZ of the Mustang family are being replaced. In particular, the KamAZ-43501 model with a shortened platform and the ability to airborne landing. You can distinguish an airborne vehicle from an ordinary KamAZ 4x4 by the lowered cargo platform and wheel wells. Of course, this is a completely different truck - it has more power (240 hp) and the carrying capacity has been increased to 3 tons.
In 2014, the MZKT-5002 00 Volat was built to replace Sadko and GAZ-66 in the border troops of Belarus. Interestingly, the military initially turned to the Minsk Automobile Plant for help, but they refused to contact the small-scale order. They agreed to help at the Moscow wheeled tractor plant and developed a light version of a truck from the famous Volat (Bogatyr) series. In many ways, this is a complete analogue of the Russian KamAZ for the Airborne Forces, it is equipped with a 215-horsepower YaMZ-53452 turbodiesel and a completely independent suspension of all wheels.
Despite the fact that the descendants of the GAZ-66 were ousted from the ranks of the Airborne Forces, the platform still has a future. Cars of the Next series will not only appear in the Russian army soon, but are also actively offered in export markets, in particular, in Indonesia and the Philippines.