The Russian BRDM-2 4×4 Scout Car


The Russian BRDM-2 4×4 Scout Car (Bronirovannaya Razvedyvatelnaya Dozornaya Mashina) was developed and manufactured in the former USSR (Russia) for the roles of either reconnaissance or Command & Control in the Russian Army and other WARSAW pact countries.


The Russian BRDM-2 4×4 Scout Car

It entered service in Russia during 1966. Production was completed by the Molotov GAZ plant in Gorkiy, Russia replacing that of the BRDM-1. Production ran from 1962 until 1989 and some 7000 were built.

Improvements over the BRDM-1

A new layout accommodating a one man Heavy Machine Gun turret, a rear mounted more powerful engine for better mobility and improved amphibious capability, NBC protection system and night vision equipment for the crew.


The vehicle is a all-welded steel construction offering protection from Machine Gun fire. The engine is located at the rear, with the new crew compartment occupy the front and middle of the vehicle. The driver sits on the left and the commander to his right upfront. They are protected with 19mm of steel armour and bullet proof windows. They also have armoured shutters they can lower across the windows and then use the periscopes mounted above their windows. The rest of the compartment behind them is used to accommodate the various equipment dependant on role. Access to the crew compartment is via the roof hatches above the commander and driver.

The BRDM-2 has an IR spotlight and four IR driving lights, as well as an over pressure collective NBC filter system. The IR spotlight is located on top of the commander’s periscope. The vehicle also has R-123 radio and an antenna on the right hand side of the hull next to the commander’s hatch, for communication. There’s also a winch mounted internally at the front hull with a 30 m cable and capacity of 4 tonnes.

Wheeled reconnaissance vehicles offer greater mobility on the road compared to track vehicles, but can not match their off-road mobility. To improve on the BRDM-2’s off-roading, it has a pair of retractable powered wheels on either side of the vehicle between the front and rear standard wheels. They are lowered when going off road to provide additional traction and power over rough terrain. It also had a central tyre pressure system that could increase or lower the air in tyres to assist in off-roading.

To cope with the multitude of rivers running through North Europe, which was the anticipated battlefield if fighting had broken out during the Cold War, the BRDM-2 has a large single water-jet in the rear of the vehicle to power it across these rivers so as to conduct reconnaissance for the following Russian Armoured Fighting Vehicles. A trim vain would be erected at the front and internal bilge pumps switched on to pump any water that was taken onboard.

Models and Role

BRDM-2 basic reconnaissance vehicle, distinguished by its turret, which is the same as that mounted on the BTR-60PB. The conical turret mounts a 14.5mm Heavy Machine Gun and a coaxial 7.62mm MG.

This model carries a crew of four: the commander, the gunner, the driver, and the co-gunner. It also has a land navigation system that gives co-ordinate readings. Late Production version had mushroom-type vents on top of engine compartment. Final production model had two additional turret periscopes, one on top of turret and the other one on the left hand side of the turret and a TNA-2 navigation apparatus.

BRDM-2M starts at 0.53 seconds in to the video

BRDM-2M Modernised version. There are actually several upgrades with this designator. All of them have the original gasoline engine replaced by a diesel engine (GAZ-562 of 175 hp or Steyr D.245-9 of 136 hp), six MB smoke grenade dischargers on the back of the turret and some are additionally fitted with a BTR-80 style turret, new wheels, GPS etc. The version that was selected by the Russian armed forces is made by Arzamas. All models have engine exhaust on the right-hand-side of the vehicle only.

BRDM-2UM was the command and control vehicle without turret. It carries the radio equipment and field commanders in the crew compartment as well as a 1 kW generator.

BRDM-2-Rkhb was the radiological and chemical reconnaissance vehicle. It had various sensors for testing of contaminated ground/air and two flag dispensers mounted on the rear which would be laid to mark a safe path for following vehicles through contaminated area’s.

Anti-Tank was another role the BRDM-2 was used for. It had a launcher that was raised from the crew compartment. Through out its service life various anti-tank missiles were used with different launchers, the Snapper, the Swatter and Sagger.

These missiles would be guided on to their targets via a crew member who used a sight to track the target and would make flight corrections to the missile via a control panel which sent these corrections via wires attached to the missile and the launcher, hence the term Wire Guided Anti-Tank Missile.


Engine: 140hp GAZ-41 6-cylinder water cooled petrol
Power-To-Weight: 20hp/tonne
Combat Weight: 7 tonne
Top Road Speed: 100km/h
Top Water Speed: 10km/h
Operational Range: 750km
Vertical Obstacle: 0.4m
Trench Crossing: 1.25m
Gradient: 60%
Side Slope: 30%
Length: 5.75m
Width: 2.35m
Height: 2.13m

Operator Upgrades

Czech Republic

LOT-B aka the BRDM-2/99 (lehký kolový obrněný transportér) Upgraded with the 162hp Renault DCI 4C turbocharged diesel, side hatches, slat-type armour over vision ports, a new NBC protection system, GPS, boxed-in exhausts, six MB smoke grenade dischargers, reworked turret with square extrusion on side, new day/night vision devices, an NSVT 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun and the retractable powered wheels have been removed.

OKV-P (obrněné kolové vozidlo pro policii) Police variant with a turret replaced by a spare wheel and a hatch next to it. It also has side hatches on each side of the hull, bigger armoured windows, police lighting array mounted on the roof, large front bumper.


BRDM-2M-96 Retractable powered wheels removed to create greater space in the crew compartment allowing two additional troops to be carried. The removed wheels also mean that doors have been added in the hull sides to offer greater protection to the crew and troops as they disembark the vehicle.

It’s fitted with the PNK-72 night vision device for the driver which during night time operations is used instead of the normal TNP-A day sight. It replaces the original TWN-2B night vision device. The commander has the POD-72 day/night sight which gives him a field of view of 360 degrees. It is mounted in the front of the commander’s copula.

It also has new seats for the crew, new heater for the engine and fighting compartment, GPS and new communication equipment. This upgrade package was designed in 1996 for Polish Kosovo Force units.

BRDM-2M-96i is a further upgrade introduced in 1997 of the BRDM-2M-96 and fitted with the 165hp Iveco Aifo 8040 6-cylinder diesel engine as well as other minor modifications.

BRDM-2M-96ik “Szakal” (Jackal) Designed in 2003 by WZMech for the Polish troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has the Iveco Aifo 8040SRC 6-cylinder diesel engine, air conditioning unit and other modifications.

Known Operators during 2006

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cape Verde Islands, Congo, Croatia, Cuba, Czech republic, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gaza, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen and Zambia.

Combat History

The BRDM-2 participated in several wars. It took part in Soviet War in Afghanistan. Those vehicles as well as derelict ones restored back up to working state are now used Afghan National Army. BRDM-2 armoured scout cars also were used during either Six-Day War (1967), War of Attrition (1968–1970) or Yom Kippur War (1973) by either Egypt or Syria. During one of these conflicts Israel managed to capture a number of BRDM-2 armoured cars. The BRDM-2 has also seen service with Iraqi Army during the Gulf War and 2003 invasion of Iraq.

BRDM-2 armoured scout cars were used during the Ten-Day War and first operations in Croatia during Croatian War of Independence by Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and against the KLA during the Kosovo war. BRDM-2 armoured scout cars were used by Polish, Ukrainian and Russian units of the Kosovo Force.