The leading edge transporter, known as LuAZ under the index 967, is an all-wheel drive amphibian with a small payload. The equipment was created for military purposes (evacuation of the wounded, transportation of ammunition, etc.). Let's take a closer look at the features of this unusual SUV.
The Front End Transporter or TPK is a vehicle focused on performing assigned tasks in close proximity to enemy positions. The development of such equipment for the domestic army began in the 50s of the last century. The multi-purpose off-road vehicle had to go wherever the soldiers could walk or crawl. In this regard, LuAZ became the basis for creating a compact all-terrain vehicle. The height of the car was only 70 cm, and the ground clearance was almost 30 cm. The unit in question was designed with all-wheel drive and the ability to swim.
Combat and related missions of this vehicle:
- delivery of ammunition as close as possible to the firing position;
- evacuation of the wounded from the battlefield;
- deployment of tacticallanding groups around enemy positions;
- tactical weapon carrier, such as grenade launcher, machine gun, mortar.
The leading edge conveyor of this series has gone through a thorny long road of design and development. As a result, the designers came to a logical and rather interesting solution. The equipment was equipped with a sealed body resembling a trough, a frame was welded into the bottom. They named the 1969 sample of the year - the LuAZ-967 amphibian.
In the front-engine non-standard layout, the longitudinally mounted V-engine MeMZ-968 (formerly 966) constantly drives the front wheels. The rear elements are powered directly from the gearbox. In it, in addition to the four modes of the ZAZ type, there is an additional lowered position. This speed is activated only after the rear axle is turned on using a special lever located on the floor in the center of the body. Another lever-type controller is designed to lock the cross-axle differential at the rear.
The front end conveyor suspension unit LuAZ-967 is completely independent with transverse torsion bars and shock absorbers (separately for each wheel). The filling of the amphibian is hidden below deck, including two passenger seats. They are neatly hidden, forming a flat area with a folding driver's seat that rises in the center of the platform.
In addition, in a kind of hold there is a fuel tank, a battery,pipelines and a niche for accessories. The reverse part of the bottom of this technique is smooth, which is convenient when moving through the water. In combination with high ground clearance, this feature becomes an additional advantage of the car in terms of patency in mud and other problem areas. On some samples, rigging in the form of loops is provided in the lower part, playing the role of fasteners for additional platforms that serve to transfer troops.
What's under the hood?
Under the cover on which the windshield is thrown, there is a naturally aspirated engine and a number of accessories. Among them are a pair of launchers of different designs. One used the classic for the Soviet Army system "primus" on gasoline. This model is designed for preliminary thorough heating of the power unit. The second version has an atypical configuration. The working fluid is a special flammable composition injected into the intake manifold. Cans with the specified agent were supplied as a set, the purpose of the system is an emergency start of a frozen “engine”.
Also, under the hood of the LuAZ amphibian there is a pump for pumping water. The motor is additionally equipped with an oil cooler with electric blowing (fan). The connection of this node is provided for long-term movement of a loaded machine in specific conditions. In reality, overheating an existing engine is almost impossible.
In technical terms, the brainchild of the Lutsk Automobile Plantlooks quite "car". But the consumer side is simply amazing with specific innovations and nuances. Not only is only the lower part of the body provided, but also the standard awning is designed as simply as possible. It covers only the upper part of the body, there is no talk of any sidewalls.
The driver's seat is located in the middle of the platform. This construction has an interesting rationale. Firstly, the alignment is not disturbed while overcoming water obstacles. Secondly, a pair of lying places on the sides is provided. After all, the conveyor is also focused on the evacuation of the wounded, and therefore, the kit also included two stretchers placed along the sides. Two or three more people could sit behind the driver on a “comfortable” rug. If the transport moved without bedridden passengers, camouflaged seats with backs were put forward in place of the stretcher.
The leading edge conveyor has another unique feature. The driver's seat was transformed in such a way that it was possible to lie on it with your chest. This is due to the need to disguise, not becoming an easy target for the enemy. At the same time, the driver was driving the car from a kind of shelter. For the same reason, the height of the steering column folded almost to a horizontal state.
The floating SUV in question has a winch. However, its purpose is different from the classic counterparts of jeeps. The mechanism provided for pulling up a wounded soldier during combat. ATas a sled, a kind of lodgement was used, which comes with the kit. It is worth noting that the effort of the winch was not enough to pull out the car (150 kg), and the cable is not designed for excessive loads.
For this parameter of the front edge conveyor, in addition to standard elements, a pair of hinged elongated panels was responsible. They were the prototypes of modern off-road sand trucks. In fact, this is what they are, only with enhanced strength, designed to overcome loose soil over trenches, bumps and equipment leaving a lake or river along an unsteady shore.
In the transport version, these elements were fixed in two positions. In the upper position, the "traps" served as boards holding cargo and people. The lower position was used when it was necessary to lower the silhouette of the conveyor on the battlefield or to facilitate the loading of the wounded or special items. There is a hypothesis (which has not been officially confirmed) that these sidewalls were used as spare fuel tanks, containing about 20 liters of gasoline.
Features of the LuAZ front edge conveyor
The following are the main parameters of the machine in question:
- overall dimensions - 3, 68/1, 71/1, 58 m;
- wheelbase - 1.8 m;
- road clearance - 28.5-30 cm;
- gross weight – 1.35 tons;
- fuel tank capacity - 68 l;
- engine size - 0.9 or 1.2 l;
- power - 27 or 37 liters. p.;
- brake system - drums front andback;
- suspension unit - independent system on all axles;
- speed to the maximum - 75 km/h.
Several variations have been released based on the above transporter. Below is a list with a brief description:
- LuAZ-967M (TPK) is a modified version of the base model. Among the differences are a more powerful engine, electrical equipment (unified with the UAZ), improved hydraulics (comparable to the Moskvich).
- LuAZ-969 is an SUV for the agricultural sector, converted from a military version. The car was equipped with a motor from the Zaporozhets, it was distinguished by practicality and reliability, although it did not swim.
- LuAZ-967A - differed slightly from the basic modification (several improvements and a new MeMZ-967A engine with increased power).
In terms of comfort, TPK offers only one option - to go where you can not go on foot. You just need to forget about different heaters, soft seats, doors and a roof. Otherwise, LuAZ will be perceived as a very unusual convertible. The driving position is rather atypical, but not as terrible as it might seem. The legs will have to be turned to the sides, since there are shift levers and a transmission tunnel between the knees. This does not cause any particular inconvenience (considering the class of the car), since the feet are placed in special niches.
Squeezing the pedals does not cause problems, the accelerator is responsive, although not everything is smooth with the reaction to pressing. The conveyor accelerates satisfactorily, transmissionincluded with a tight click, but are easy. The steering wheel is a different story. Accuracy is practically not observed in it, a backlash and a certain “extension” are immediately felt. Interest appears when moving at speed. There is a feeling of "karting", as you have to sit on the longitudinal axis and quite low. It is worth noting that the civilian version of the 969 is noticeably different in this regard (landing closer to the nose and 10 centimeters higher). What can be said about speed? Despite the passport indicator of 75-80 km/h, already after 50 km/h the crew's feelings are close to extreme.
Off-road, the purpose of the leading edge conveyor really shines. The car overcomes all sorts of obstacles, moving confidently through a mixture of mud and melted snow in places where it is unrealistic to pass in the “swamps”. Keeping the engine running at a stable level, persistently moving forward, the small SUV leaves behind a "torn" track, which is a match for UAZs and their counterparts.
In more liquid areas, the “subject” crawls slightly on the ground with a smooth bottom, but this does not prevent him from going further. The only thing that may be required is an increase in gas. Even if there is a fear of slipping, you can connect the differential. On a smooth and icy surface, a different picture is observed (TPK skids furiously, striving to bring the torque to the peak level). The problem is solved quite simply - you need to turn on the overdrive and the 4 x 4 mode, or load the car as much as possible.
The LuAZ front line transporter is a truly legendary army vehicle. Although she did not have the comfort and appearance of formidable jeeps like the Tiger or the Hummer, she performed her task properly. Apparently, therefore, its civilian version was also a success in domestic open spaces. And even now it can still be sometimes found in villages and villages.