1. Home
  2. / Science and Technology
  3. / Why the ZIL 135, a military truck from the Soviet Union, is so admired and remains in use today despite its controversial history
reading time 3 min read Comments 0 comments

Why the ZIL 135, a military truck from the Soviet Union, is so admired and remains in use today despite its controversial history

Written by Rafaela Fabris
Published 21/05/2024 às 14:15
Why the ZIL 135, a military truck from the Soviet Union, is so admired and remains in use today despite its controversial history
Photo: Global Knowledge/Disclosure

Find out how the ZIL 135, designed by the Soviet Union, gained respect for its ability to tackle difficult terrain and carry heavy loads, remaining in use today in many parts of the world.

Many of the items we use every day, such as zippers and adhesive tape, originate from military needs. During the Cold War, rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union resulted in the creation of many advanced technologies. One notable example of this innovation is the ZIL 135, a Soviet military truck designed to tackle difficult terrain and carry heavy missiles.

The ZIL 135, developed in the 1950s, is a four-axle, eight-wheel drive truck capable of operating on virtually any terrain. Originally, it was created to help protect the vast territory of the Soviet Union, which faced mobility challenges due to poor roads and harsh weather.

In 1955, the ZIS 134 prototype appeared, which showed good performance

With the end of World War II, the Soviet Union began work on a cargo truck for remote areas. In 1955, the ZIS 134 prototype appeared, which showed good performance, but had problems with engines and carrying capacity. In response, Soviet engineers revised the design, resulting in the ZIL 135 in 1958, which could operate on both land and water.

The ZIL 135 was designed to carry Luna M missiles, which weighed around 2500 kg and measured almost 10 meters in length. An important innovation was the removal of the suspensions, fixing the axles directly to the chassis, which improved the vehicle's stability. A system that adjusted tire pressure on the fly was added to cushion impacts.

Two motors were installed behind the cabin, each moving the wheels on one side

Another highlight was the engine configuration: two engines were installed behind the cabin, each moving the wheels on one side. Even if one engine failed, the other could continue to move the truck, ensuring operation in remote areas.

The Soviet Union presented the ZIL 135 at a military parade in 1961, impressing the president Nikita Khrushchev. Mass production began in 1965, and more than 5.000 units were produced over nearly four decades. The ZIL 135 has been adapted for different uses, including water trucks, dumpers, cranes and missile platforms.

Even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the ZIL 135 continued to be used. Today, it can still be found in military operations in North Korea and in civilian activities in Russia and countries that were part of the Soviet Union. The ZIL 135 is a symbol of technological legacy Soviet era and an example of how military innovation can have lasting impacts.

Register
Notify
guest
0 Comments
Feedbacks
View all comments
Rafaela Fabris

Talks about innovation, renewable energy, oil and gas. Updates daily on opportunities in the Brazilian job market.

Share across apps
0
We would love your opinion on this subject, comment!x
()
x