Russian "Burlak" Amphibious Vehicle Wants to Make It to the North Pole and Back

The Burlak off-road vehicle 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Remember the Sherp? It was a ridiculous Russian amphibious off-road vehicle that you just couldn't help fall in love with. It had outrageous proportions, an asymmetric front end, and the controls of a tank.
Now, some fellow countrymen of the guys behind the Sherp thought it would be a good idea to make a similar vehicle, but strap another axle on it this time. The result is something called the "Burlak" (that's Russian for "hauler," apparently), which is nowhere near as cute as the Sherp, but looks at least just as fun.

There's something fascinating about these Russian vehicles: they are tremendously flawed, something that gives them a lot of character. They look like they've been made in a shed by a group of men who didn't follow any initial plan - they knew where they wanted to go, but had no idea how they were going to get there. That's something that can never happen anymore in a place where budget meetings take up more time than the manufacturing itself. A place like the West.

The Burlak has ambitious plans. Well, it doesn't, it's just a machine, but the people building it want to get it to the North Pole. But that's not all: they want to make this the first ever autonomous trans-arctic auto expedition. Given the recent use of the word "autonomous," you might be a little confused right now. Just to make it clear, it's got nothing to do with the car driving itself.

That would be a shame, considering the Burlak's hull is built like a house, complete with shower and a kitchen. It offers access to all of the vehicle's systems and engine for easy repair and maintenance, because nothing spells "frostbite" better than having to hold a wrench at minus a gazillion degrees.

Aleksey Makarov (for anyone who's played the Modern Warfare franchise, that's not a name that evokes pleasant memories), the man who developed the Automotive Transarctic Expedition, wants to use two Burlaks to reach the North Pole and return with the same vehicles, without the help of supply drops from the Arctic aviation. That's why they call their attempt "autonomous."

The first Burlak is currently in a test phase and will soon face its toughest challenge so far: a three-week expedition along Baydaratskaya Bay on the Kara Sea. If everything turns out nicely, the six-wheeler will get a twin brother and together they will set off to a polar station at Severnaya Zemlya archipelago next year. Russia Today reports that the actual attempt will take place in 2018.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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