The MZKT V-1 is a new multirole 4×4 from Belarus. It was unveiled in 2016 and entered service with the Belarusian armed forces the following year. The truck is manufactured by Volat Defense, whose catalog spans various wheeled transports for military use, whether it’s hauling supplies or ballistic missiles.
Background and technical information about the MZKT V-1, alternately known as the MZKT-490100, remains outside the public domain. Like many “tactical” 4×4’s in its niche the MZKT V-1 uses commercial parts but its armor is probably strong enough to survive shrapnel fragments and small arms fire.
The MZKT V-1 is designed for traveling across any kind of terrain but only manages to ford shallow waters–it isn’t amphibious. To tell it apart from similar looking trucks, note the sloping bumper that contains a towing winch located underneath the grille emblazoned with the “Volat” logo. Judging by its promotional imagery it appears to have an independent suspension system. But its high ground clearance suggests its chassis is housed in a v-shaped hull for deflecting mine blasts.
Since it weighs just 11 tons an unloaded MZKT V-1 should be air transportable by cargo plane. Its power plant is classified but it’s common knowledge light military trucks run on turbo diesel engines providing anywhere from 250 to 300 horsepower, producing a top speed that averages 120 kilometers per hour.
The truck’s basic configuration offers seating for the driver and co-driver along with six passengers. The MZKT V-1 is capable of performing different roles, be it convoy protection or urban warfare. It won’t prove wanting in a serious fight either; a round circular roof hatch doubles as a weapon station for remote controlled armaments.
The MZKT V-1 used as a scout vehicle can go to battle with a turret armed with a 12.7mm machine gun and an automatic grenade launcher. It even has a special UAV launching system to provide a bird’s eye view of the combat area. Another MZKT V-1 variant is patterned after the Russian Kornet-D with a retracting mount carrying four Shershen anti-tank missiles.
The ballistic protection level of the MZKT V-1 hasn’t been revealed but manufacturers often gloss over this detail by claiming they can tailor their vehicle’s armor to whatever the customer requests. The MZKT V-1’s other defensive features are more apparent. Smoke grenade dischargers can be installed on the roof. Each of the doors have reinforced windows and circular firing ports.
Since the MZKT V-1 can perform intelligence gathering or ISR missions, it isn’t a stretch for CBRNe detection, navigation, and electronic warfare equipment to be installed in its cab.
Volat Defense hopes to position its MZKT V-1 for end users who need a reliable light truck. It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn about other variants being teased soon, such as an ambulance or command vehicle. The Belarusian army is still the sole operator of the MZKT V-1. Because of its newness its prospects in the tactical vehicle market are a question mark–at least a dozen similar 4×4’s are available across Europe. At the very least it’s proof Belarus’ automakers have what it takes to compete with the best of them.