Vityaz DT vehicle
Specifics of the Russian all-terrain vehicle (ATV)
The Vityaz two-section tracked vehicle is indispensable in remote Russian regions where jokes about Russia’s notoriously bad roads, which are said to be one of the country's two top problems, are justified by the local climate. This project looks at the various factors and events that have led to its current design.
First off-road trips

Soviet all-terrain artillery caterpillars used in the 1950s are considered prototype versions of the Vityaz DT-10P and DT-30P vehicles. At that time, Soviet people started actively developing the country’s northern regions. A highly maneuverable vehicle capable of crossing difficult obstacles and carrying bulky loads was sorely needed in Siberia, the Far East and the Arctic.

“The intensification of this process can be explained by the military-strategic objectives of that period,” Konstantin Oskolkov, the general designer of the Vityaz vehicle family, writes in his book. According to Oskolkov, several war games, including Polar Bear, Polar Star and others, were conducted at that time, involving military units from the United States, Canada and other countries and using custom-made equipment especially adapted to the Extreme North environment. This equipment proved ineffective during the war games, owing to its poor reliability, low fuel-efficiency, unimpressive all-terrain capability and maneuverability. Soviet vehicles of that period also had the same drawbacks.

In 1913, British inventor Bramah Joseph Diplock unveiled the first two-section all-terrain vehicle at an exhibition in London. He used a kingpin hinge to connect the main vehicle and a trailer mounted on non-driving caterpillar tracks. The hinges turned with the help of a worm-gear tandem. The screw was located on the lead vehicle and linked with the rear section.
Overcoming deep snow and swamps

Where did the new mechanism have to operate? The term “off-road” usually denotes swamps, marshes, forests, snowdrifts, soil eroded by inclement weather and various other obstacles (ditches, moats, steep inclines, etc.)

The situation is aggravated by the fact that, unlike water and air, the physical properties of soil layers change quite often. The state of a single soil layer may change depending on humidity levels. Scientists have tried to assess the ability to traverse various soil layers using 11 parameters but were unsuccessful. Therefore they started subdividing soil layers, depending on their states, rather than types.

Soil-layer stages, depending on water-saturation levels

“Soils with a high plasticity level are among the most difficult environments for tracked all-terrain vehicles. Surfaces with these soils are mostly considered impassable for ground vehicles and therefore render them virtually useless,” Konstantin Oskolkov explains.

Ground Conqueror

The Vityaz family of dual-section vehicles, the DT-10P, DT-20P and DT-30P, are an entirely new type of ATV capable of overcoming any soil layer.

Their commercial production began in 1982. Today, Vityaz is the only Russian company that manufactures unique amphibious two-section tracked transporters. Its all-terrain vehicles feature a freight capacity of 3-30 metric tons and can operate successfully off-road, traversing swamps, marshes and high snowdrifts. They operate in the freezing and extreme sub-zero temperatures of the Russian North, Siberia, the Arctic and the Antarctic, as well as the extremely high temperatures of sand deserts in Central Asia and the Arabian Peninsula, in extremely humid tropical regions and in the thin atmosphere of mountain plateaus. Their versatile design makes it possible to use them as basic platforms for weapons, cranes, loading-unloading equipment, dredges and other multipurpose equipment.

Dual-section all-terrain tracked vehicles carry more freight and are more and maneuverable than their single-section equivalents. Vityaz uses a unique system that allows both sections to bend horizontally and vertically, enabling the vehicle to cross any terrain. Hydraulic cylinders, located between sections, can operate in several modes. They turn the vehicle and provide a smooth ride, acting as an improvised pneumatic suspension system and blocking sections to overcome obstacles up to 1.5 meters high.
A DT-10PM crosses an obstacle course
Vityaz DT vehicle
Alikina Svetlana
Zhukov Sergei
Karaulov Pavel
Kostomarova Yelena
Volkov Alexander
Yelena Kontuzova-Vantula
Yemtsev Konstantin
Shorokh Pavel

This project has been created using data from Uralvagonzavod Corporation

Photo: Uralvagonzavod; RIA Novosti (Yakov Ryumkin, Mikhail Ozersky, Vasily Shaposhnikov, Pyotr Malinovsky)

Vityaz Goes North
Russia can now boast of its presence in the Arctic, with the Vityaz ATVs playing their part in protecting Russia’s national interests in this strategically significant region. In early 2016, tests of a modified version of the Vityaz DT-10MP were launched at the Russian Armed Forces’ Arctic Brigade base in the Murmansk Region. The military has taken note of its unique specifications and performance while operating in this hostile environment.
The DT-30PM’s cabin seats five and features automatic heating and ventilation systems
Elastic rubber-fabric caterpillars and a swivel turning device eliminate the “bulldozer effect” and prevent the destruction of the ground under the caterpillar tread, thereby minimizing the impact on soil.
The design makes it possible for the vehicle modules to bank relative to each other and to raise or lower the nose and stern sections; therefore the vehicle is able to overcome virtually any obstacle.
Two all-metal sections are linked as trailer components. The first section carries 12 metric tons, and the second one carries 18 metric tons. The latter may accommodate a flatbed with a covering or a platform for installing equipment.
A four-speed transmission with differential locking allows the ATV to select the optimal driving mode for any road conditions
Weight — 29 t
Freight capacity — 30 t
Engine power — 710 h.p.
Ground speed — 44 kph
Speed in water — 5 kph
Average specific ground pressure — 0.3 kg/cm²
Civilian version
Geophysical research and geological prospecting
Search-and-rescue missions
Delivering food, fuel and vehicle engine supplies to remote areas
Groundbreaking operations at mineral deposits
Building roads across ice and snow
Building and maintaining fuel and energy facilities in remote areas
Military version
Carrying service personnel and military hardware
Weapons platforms
Operating conditions
temperatures between -50°C and +40°C
Relative air humidity up to 98%
Wind speed up to 20 m/sec
Atmospheric precipitation (rain, snow, hail)
Vityaz vehicles are actively used in the Murmansk, Tomsk and Chita regions, in Kamchatka Territory, in Karelia, in Chukotka and in other Russian areas. Deputy Uralvagonzavod General Director Vyacheslav Khalitov says that dual-section transporters also have a substantial export potential. Like polar regions, equatorial countries also requiring effective all-terrain vehicles are interested in them.
Vityaz DT vehicle