It looks like a heavily armored (possibly production) variant of Zil’s wild armored car may have made it into operational service with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). The video below, posted in June, shows the futuristic armored truck roaming Russian roads with other jet black armored vehicles normally associated with Russia’s security forces.
Another video, also from June, shows no less than three of these vehicles in a convoy. Before these sightings, Zil’s war wagon, sometimes referred to as the “Punisher” or “Chastiser,” has only been shown in detail in a much more lightly armored, seemingly prototype version, with a more heavily armored variant briefly appearing in Russian FSB promotional videos.
Although the version shown in those promotional videos looks similar to the one shown in this candid video and the one lined above, showcasing experimental technology in a staged highlight reel is a far cry from operating under real-world conditions.
Looking at these recent videos, these vehicle may be at least a partial response to the American Mine Resistant Armored Protected (MRAP) concept. As far as what tactical utility a bright-red grill has? You got me!
Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.