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Tracked vehicle launch

Norfolk-based Specialist Vehicle Trading (SVT) at the Emergency Services Show launched in the UK the Terex ZZ3 all-terrain amphibious tracked vehicle, described as a rugged, durable commercial vehicle.

Made in Russia, the ZZ3 is a 4.6-metre-long, road-legal, fully amphibious vehicle that can transport six people or an 800 kg payload across the most extreme of terrains, which are otherwise impassable by a conventional land-based vehicle.
Powered by a 2.8-litre, 131 ps Cummins turbo-diesel engine, the ZZ3 can cruise at 40 mph on tarmac, and may be driven by anyone holding an H-licence on UK roads.

Fully amphibious, the ZZ3 is described as a go-anywhere machine enabling operators to traverse lakes and slow-flowing rivers, driven by its tracks, at speeds up to 4 mph. It can also be employed as an unmanned vehicle and remotely operated with 32-bit military-grade encrypted technology at distances of up to 100 miles.

Unlike most tracked vehicles, the ZZ3 will be fitted with a steering yoke which controls the tracks and makes the driving skills required relatively familiar for drivers. The 500 mm wide rubber tracks ensure traction and also a low-impact footprint thanks to a ground pressure of just 0.168 kg/cm2, allowing it to sit on top of fresh snow, for example.

The Terex ZZ3 is madeby Russian Machines (RM) as part of a joint venture with the US heavy truck manufacturer, Terex. Several hundred examples have been produced over the last 20 years for use typically in oil and gas exploration, or utilities, besides by the emergency services.

SVT is the first agent to be appointed for the ZZ3 outside Russia and two standard models will be initially available – the six-seater Crewbus and the two-seater plus payload Cargo pick-up – both priced from £73,000 excluding taxes and delivery. Visit

The Cargo model will accommodate two Euro pallets (total 800 kg) and the flat load bed is customisable to each operator’s specific requirement. The ZZ3 is left-hand drive only and can be operated in temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Centigrade.

The vehicle made its UK debut at the 2012 Emergency Services Show, at the Stoneleigh Park showground near Coventry (21-22 November).

Tim Dockerty, Director, Specialist Vehicle Trading, says: “For two decades ZZ3 all-terrain vehicles have been carrying people and cargo to the remotest regions of Russia in the severest weather imaginable and across the most demanding off-road conditions, with a remarkable safety and reliability record. However, the ZZ3 has remained something of a secret outside its country of origin. Now, as the first agent to be appointed for this amazing vehicle outside Russia, we are pleased to have the opportunity at the Stoneleigh Park show of demonstrating ZZ3’s wide range of talents to the UK emergency services sector, for which we think it can offer a unique set of capabilities and significant new access opportunities.”

Unlike conventional tracks which are flat across the width of their base, the 500 mm-wide track pads of the ZZ3 have chamfered edges allowing the track to ride over small obstructions (rocks, gravel etc) as the vehicle turns, enhancing both pad and track longevity and improving manoeuvrability. This feature, in combination with its low ground pressure means the ZZ3 is said to be suitable for use in environmentally-sensitive areas or disaster zones where a minimal vehicle ground pressure combined with a resilience to sharps is essential. The hull is made from 4 mm-thick steel, with 4 mm-thick cross-members, providing added strength. As a result, the hull is capable of withstanding substantial impacts, while also providing a low centre of gravity as it is the core structure of the vehicle: the upper body, engine and running gear are all mounted to it.
The upper body of the ZZ3 is constructed from 0.9 mm thick sheet steel, more than twice the thickness of bodywork used in standard road car manufacturing. A heater/fresh air cooling unit ensures passengers are kept comfortable whatever the conditions outside, and there are blower outlets in the left and right footwells, centre dash and below the windscreen. To aid safety in icy conditions, the rear view external mirrors are heated.

Electric front windows, central locking and a basic CD-radio unit with two door speakers are available. Operators can choose to upgrade to an integrated satellite navigation-equipped entertainment system with four forward speakers and four speakers in the passenger compartment (Crewbus only).
The dashboard is representative of a standard four-wheeled commercial vehicle, giving the interior the feel of a conventional means of transport. As a result, switchgear controls are close to hand, logically positioned and are identified with familiar graphics.

The controls for the engine pre-heater unit and the remotely-operated engine bay cooling flaps (for use in warmer conditions and when the engine is working particularly hard at low speeds and in the low ratio gear range), are within reach.

An exterior roof-top spotlight is controlled via a ceiling-mounted joystick between the driver and passenger seats. The driver sits higher than most standard passenger and light commercial vehicles (hip-point is 1200 mm from the ground), offering a commanding view of the surrounding terrain.


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