ZiL-3906 “Aeroll”

To move through swamps and dense taiga with a lot of trees, a lightweight all-terrain vehicle smaller in size than 49065 was created.

ZiL-3906 “Aeroll” was developed in 1978 by a team of ZiL designers together with the Research Institute of the Tire Industry and the Department of K-Z of the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School. Its main task was to search and evacuate Soviet cosmonauts from hard-to-reach places where the Blue Bird could not reach.

Up to a certain point, the Aeroll moved on the Blue Bird, but when they reached a difficult area, the Aeroll was lowered from the Blue Bird’s body with the help of a crane and continued moving on its own.

The unique design of the all-terrain vehicle provided it with amazing maneuverability. Compared to the Niva, the body of the all-terrain vehicle was shorter, but at the same time it was wider than the American Humvee. On each side of the Aeroll, 13 pneumatic rollers were installed, mounted on a cantilever, and a chain resembling a bicycle.

Thanks to this unusual engineering solution, the Soviet all-terrain vehicle easily overcame any off-road conditions: mud, marshy swamps and deep snow. Tests carried out in 1979 showed that Aeroll could move through virgin snow 500 mm deep at a speed of 15 km/h. On hard ground its speed was 25 km/h, and in swampy conditions – 8 km/h. It was also possible to move on the water surface.

As you can see, there were no barriers for the ZiL-3906.

Aerolla pneumatic rollers were 700×500×150 mm in size and had a special tread pattern. They allowed the all-terrain vehicle to move not only off-road, but also on asphalt. However, for driving on asphalt there was a special car – ZiL-49065 “Blue Bird”.

The all-terrain vehicle was equipped with a hydraulic drive and not the most powerful engine – the Aeroll was equipped with a GAZ-71 engine with a power of 115 horsepower. This engine was designed to create pressure in the hydraulic system, which was then transmitted to the drive sprocket through torque converters.

The all-terrain vehicle was able to turn and turn in a confined space thanks to the blocking of the onboard clutch. The control of the car was implemented in a very interesting way: to accelerate, you had to tilt the steering wheel forward, and to slow down, you had to tilt it back.

Despite its small carrying capacity – only 100 kg (after all, the Aeroll was created not for transporting cargo, but for evacuating astronauts), it proved to be a reliable assistant in difficult conditions. Thanks to unique pneumatic rollers, this compact all-terrain vehicle easily rescued tracked vehicles stuck in swamps.

The Aeroll cabin was created according to aviation principles, providing convenience and safety for the driver. At the rear of the all-terrain vehicle there was a small body with a kung.

Unfortunately, Aeroll never went into mass production. Perhaps the reason was the limited range of its application or the complexity and high cost of the design. Also probably influenced by unsuccessful tests, during which the ZiL-3906 broke the chain and rims of the pneumatic rollers.

Assembly: Moscow (USSR)

Years of production: 18 of July, 1978

Production: 1 unit

Length: 3800 mm

Width: 2250 mm

Height: 1885 mm

Crew: 2

Engine: 8 cylinders; 4250 cc

Power: 115 HP

Max speed: 25 km/h

Fuel consumption: 19 l/100 km

Weight: 3279 kg

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