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Special wheeled chassis


The MAZ-543 heavy truck was developed to fulfill a number of duties in remote areas

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1962
Configuration 8x8
Cab seating 1 + 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (empty) 17.3 t
Maximum load 15 t
Length 11.7 m
Width 3.07 m
Height 2.92 m
Engine D12A-525 38.9-liter diesel
Engine power 525 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range ~ 650 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 0.6 m
Trench ~ 2 m
Fording 1.3 m


   The MAZ-543 evolved from the previous MAZ-537 series a specialist carrier vehicle which was used to carry numerous missile and artillery rocket systems. It was designed in the 1960s and entered service with the Soviet military in 1962. It was first publicly revealed in 1965 as a part of the Elbrus ballistic missile system (more commonly known in the West as the Scud).

   The MAZ-543 heavy trucks are using separate cab compartments on each side of the engine. Each with tandem seating for two. The cabs are made of fiberglass. On newer versions of the MAZ-543 the cab layout was revised.

   The MAZ-543 is powered by a standard tank engine, developing 525 hp. The same engine, as well as many other automotive components were used from the previous MAZ-537. Vehicle has a full-time all-wheel drive. Standard equipment includes an engine pre-heater and powerful cab heaters. This heavy load carrier is also fitted with a central tyre inflation system. This vehicle is highly mobile and can travel off-road.

   The MAZ-543 was used to carry numerous missile and artillery rocket systems such as the Elbrus (Western reporting name SS-1 or Scud series), and the Rubezh (SSC-3 or Styx) coastal defense missile system. Other vehicles are used as command and erector vehicles for the S-300 (SA-10 or Grumble) long-range air defense missile system.

   In the early 90s a new vehicle was developed to replace the MAZ-543. It was the Belarusian MZKT-7930 Astrolog, which entered service with the Russian Army in 2000 and is currently being produced in small numbers.




   MAZ-543P a baseline chassis with a payload capacity of 19 600 kg. It was used to carry the Temp-S (Western reporting name SS-12 of Scaleboard) short-range ballistic missiles.

   MAZ-543A appeared in 1967. It is a more capable version, with a payload capacity of 22 000 kg. Layout of the engine compartment was revised. Though it retained two forward control cabs on each side of the engine. This vehicle was used as a chassis to carry Elbrus (Western reporting name Scud) and Temp-S (SS-12 or Scaleboard) short-range ballistic missiles. Also here a number of other vehicles, based on this chassis. There were experimental emergency vehicle and crane, based on the MAZ-543A, that did not reached production.

   MAZ-543M improved version, which appeared in the early 70s. It had some improvements over its predecessor. Passenger cabin on the right was removed and the engine compartment was futher revised. This allowed to free some space at the rear for weapons and special equipment without extending the wheelbase. The MAZ-543M was used as a base for the Smerch MLRS, Rubezh coastal defense missile system, Bereg self-propelled artillery system and a whole host of other specialized military vehicles.

   MAZ-7310 cargo truck intended for civilian application. It is a variant of the basic series. This vehicle was revealed in 1974 and entered production in 1976. Other variants of this vehicle are the MAZ-7510 dump truck, and the MAZ-7910 pipeline carrier. An aircraft crash tender, the AA-60 (7310)-160.1, has also been produced. At least one experimental variant powered by a 1 100 hp gas turbine has been developed for trials.

   MAZ-7410 is a prime mover with a shorter wheelbase, which entered production in the mid 1970s.

   Wanshan WS580 is a Chinese heavy high mobility chassis with 8x8 configuration, which was based on the MAZ-543. Technology was transferred to China from Belarus. This Chinese vehicle evolved into a whole host of indigenous special wheeled chassis, such as Wanshan WS2400, that were carrying ballistic missiles and other military equipment. Later production models were based on Belarusian MZKT designs, but benefit from German technology transfer. These are fitted with German engines and transmissions.




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