Monday, March 28, 2016

Russian Team Designs Vehicle to Drive to the North Pole

Designing a vehicle that can withstand the rigors of driving in the Arctic isn't easy, but is exactly what a team of Russian explorers set out to do with the "Burlak," an amphibious truck that is currently being tested in a remote region of the Ural Mountains, with the intention of eventually driving to the North Pole.

ExWeb has the scoop on this amazing looking new vehicle designed and built by Alexey Makarov. The Russian explorer has a history of creating such trucks, having designed previous vehicles that have been used on motorized expeditions into the Arctic and all the way to 90ÂșN. Those other models were used in expeditions in both 2009 and 2013.

The Burlak weighs 4 tons and is more than 6 meters (19.6 ft.) in length. It stands 3.2 meters (10.5 ft) high and 2.9 meters (9.5 ft) wide. It is based on a Russian amphibious military vehicle called the BTR-60 and the Toyota Land Cruiser, although ExWeb says that the transmission and transfer case are completely unique. The cabin of the Burlak includes four beds, a kitchen, a sink, and a shower. It has also been insulated with special materials and it pipes heat from the engine into the interior to help keep it warmer.

Makarov says that he built on his previous experience driving through the Arctic, creating a more safe and secure truck for such motorized expeditions. He is currently testing the prototype model of the Burlak by driving from the coast of the Kara Sea, through the Russian Arctic, and ending at Baidarata Bay. Another model of the truck is expected to be built following this rolling test.

Then, in 2017 the two vehicles will be driven to the Russian polar station located  on Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago in anticipation for the start of their first true test in the Arctic – a 2018 drive to the North Pole and back again from the Russian side of the ice.

The fact that this vehicle can cross open water, drive on rugged terrain and ice, and survive in the extremely cold temperatures of the Arctic makes it an intriguing expedition option indeed. It's still two years away from taking off on its journey, but it should be fun to see how it performs when it does.

Who else wants one of these?

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