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Light utility truck


Hundreds of thousands of Soviet GAZ-66 light utility trucks were produced

Entered service 1964
Configuration 4x4
Cab seating 1 + 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (empty) 3.44 t
Maximum load 2 t
Length 5.65 m
Width 2.34 m
Height 2.44 m
Engine ZMZ 4.2-liter petrol
Engine power 115 hp
Maximum road speed 95 km/h
Range 875 km
Gradient 67%
Side slope 44%
Vertical step ~ 0.6 m
Trench ~ 0.6 m
Fording 0.8 m


   The GAZ-66 light utility truck entered production in 1964 at the Gor'kiy Automobile Plant, where it replaced the earlier GAZ-63 on the lines. Originally produced for both civilian and military use, the military versions gradually became paramount. The overall design follows the usual Soviet guidelines of relative simplicity, strength and versatility. There are no design frills on the GAZ-66 as it is an orthodox forward control design capable of being produced in, or modified into, many different versions. This truck had been produced for 35 years. Its production ceased in 1999. Nearly 1 000 000 of these trucks were built. The GAZ-66 is still used by the Russian Army, many ex-Warsaw Pact armed forces and wherever Soviet influence has spread. Many are used throughout the Middle East and nations in Africa.

   The GAZ-66 was simple in design and technology. Also it was easy to maintain. The basic cargo/utility model has an all-steel cargo body with an optional canvas cover over bows mounted on a chassis frame that can be arranged to carry any number of body styles. Cab is mounted over the engine and provides seating for the driver and one passenger. Standard equipment of the GAZ-66 includes a powerful cab heater and an engine pre-heater but these are omitted on models intended for tropical use.

   The GAZ-66 is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 petrol engine, developing 115 hp. Vehicle has a full-time all-wheel drive. This truck made its name for its superb cross-country mobility. A self-recovery winch was fitted on some models. Models produced from 1968 onwards, the GAZ-66A, have a central tyre pressure system and may feature a soft-top cab. Vehicle can operate in climatic conditions ranging from -50C to +50C.

   The GAZ-66B is modified version for the airborne forces. It has an opened cab with a canvas cover. Its windscreen can be folded over the bonnet. This military truck can be airdropped.

   The GAZ-66-40 was the final production model. It is powered by a GAZ-5441 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 123 hp.

   There are numerous sub-variants of the GAZ-66, with or without winches, and with many equipped for special roles such as NBC decontamination, oil supply vehicles and numerous van-bodied versions for uses varying from command vehicles to mobile offices and communications centers. The GAZ-66 is used to carry the 82 mm Vasilyek automatic mortar, a vehicle/weapon combination known as the 2B9.

   A follow-on GAZ-3308 Sadko was developed as a replacement, however Russian Army preferred the KamAZ-4350, which offers more payload. However the GAZ-66 remains in widespread use and full replacement may take some time.


Video of the GAZ-66 light utility truck




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