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Armored Cars: RIDA Buran

May 15, 2020


A refreshing outlier among today’s armored trucks is the Buran from a Russian automaker that specializes in modified luxury cars. This particular model was unveiled in 2019 and is now being advertised for exports. Its appearance subscribes to the aesthetics for a tough off-road vehicle, which it is, but what really sets it apart are its broad variants. The Buran can fit as many as 10 people–two in the cab with eight passengers behind them–or assume the role of an ambulance without passing for a 15 ton MRAP. In fact, a fully loaded Buran is still lighter than a tactical 4×4 at just 9.8 tons.

The secret to the Buran’s adaptability is its manufacturer’s expertise in assembling elongated chassis for discerning buyers. This is why the Buran comes in as many as seven variants. There’s a basic single cab with a flatbed; the Buran Cargo that has a canvas sheet over the semi-enclosed bed at the back; the Buran APC5 with its double cab (pictured above); the even larger APC6 and APC10; the Buran ASV for security and special operations forces; the Buran MCEV for medical evacuation.

When it comes to protective features the Buran’s entire cab offers STANAG I ballistic resistance making it impervious against most infantry small arms except for machine guns. An upgrade to STANAG II is available to clients. The Buran eschews the monocoque hull–a manufacturing process where the vehicle’s entire body is welded together from steel panels–for a unique configuration where a separate armored compartment or “subframe” encloses the chassis, along with the fuel tanks, and serves as the floor of the cab. The rest of the vehicle is then assembled on top. The shape of the compartment assumes a v-shape at the bottom but isn’t the same as those found on MRAPs. To save its passengers from explosions the Buran combines an external armor covering with a secondary “mild steel” covering inside the cab. Its armor, by the way, is thick enough to survive grenade blasts and other small explosives.

The Buran’s combat optimization is substantial as each of the doors have circular firing ports for passengers to shoot their weapons. There are roof hatches as well and as many as four could be added on a Buran to enable passengers who want to fight without exiting the vehicle. If armed passengers (like a VIP security detail) must ride outside the cab there are handlebars on the roof for them to grip while they’re perched on the steps below the doors. Whether the Buran is able to mount large caliber weaponry on its roof hasn’t been specified in its promotional media. The mobility of the Buran relies on a five-speed manual transmission system that tuns a four-stroke diesel engine managing almost 200 horsepower and a 100 kilometer top speed. The snorkel near the windshield allows the Buran to move on water and it manages a fording depth of three feet.

The Buran has already turned heads in Belarus and may soon find customers from countries in Russia’s orbit. Its greatest selling point is being superior to pickup trucks with questionable survivability in tough situations.

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