Although it looks like a low-end sci-fi movie prop, this could be Russia's version of the armored Humvee of the future. With drastically angled armor plating and a huge grill, Zil claims that this yet-to-be-named armored car has been commissioned by the Russian Army and will likely enter production soon. Yes, it looks like an agricultural tool from 2059, but that's exactly the kind of stuff Zil makes.
Zil, which is probably most famously known for their tractors and Soviet-era limousines used by the Communist Party's big wigs, has a lot riding on this new design. It's core business has been usurped by foreign manufactures, so Zil needs to go big or go home.
The Russian techno war wagon is said to be based on the chassis of a Humvee, although it seats many more people (10 in total), and sports disparate proportions. Zil claims the body was designed using "advanced 3D modeling," with a special emphasis on building a psychologically intimidating and "menacing" aesthetic.
The seating layout allows for firing positions both front, back, and towards the sides, with a series of clam-shell doors and a huge partitioned rear hatch out back. Even though this metallic beast looks futuristic, it's running on a leaf springs and drum brakes – a far cry from the super-capable suspensions seen on other next generation armored cars, such as Panhard's CRAB and IMI's Combat Guard. Power comes from a Cummins inline-4 diesel engine with 185bhp, transferred to all four wheels via a five speed manual gearbox and two speed transfer case.
This Zil creation's armor plating looks fairly thin and the seating and components inside looks like they came off of a 1980s Ford F150, Best Buy shelves circa 2001, and from a local bus station. Still, the rumor mill says this could be the vehicle of Russian armed forces in the near term, with multiple configurations in the works and supposedly a series of modular components that can be quickly added and removed.
It's not clear if this seemingly sparse armored car has anything to do with the similar looking 'Punisher' concept that was featured in some Russian special police promotional videos, like the one below. Apparently, that vehicle had a chassis based on the Kamaz 4X4 truck, a much more potent engine and far more advanced armor. Maybe Zil will flesh out its concept on the way to production with a new suspension, engine, drivetrain, interior, armor and, um, everything else I guess.
But like so many things Russia, who really knows?
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com