Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Russian all-terrain vehicles on duty in the Arctic: Burlak goes to EMERCOM exercises

A mobile home for polar explorers

1 april 2023

Since 26 March 2023, an unprecedented exercise of the Ministry of Emergency Situations 'Safe Arctic 2023' has been taking place in nine regions of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation. More than 60,000 people, two state corporations, 40 foreign guests from the Euro-Asian region, Africa and Latin America, as well as 10 economic actors, will practice different scenarios for disaster and accident prevention on land, in the water and in the air. There will also be equipment tests—during the first expedition, 76 participants will try out 20 of the latest and most advanced Arctic vehicles, outfit, equipment and gear.

Among them will be the domestic all-terrain vehicle Burlak. This Russian all-terrain vehicle has come a long way in its development, showing a positive example of import substitution and the prospects of developing the vehicle industry for the needs of the Arctic region.

From Makar to Burlak

Engineer Alexey Makarov's first all-terrain vehicle was released in 2011. It was an AWD six-wheel monster assembled from donor parts of Toyota SUVs. In 2009, the engineer purchased two Land Cruiser 78 and 80 models at an auction in Japan, and the first prototype was created based on the extended chassis of one of the cars. After successful tests in the YNAA, during which the all-terrain vehicle covered 320 km of rugged terrain in 5 days, the engineer set about building a second unit. That's how the Makar all-terrain vehicle was created.

The vehicle was originally prepared for expeditions into regions with a harsh climate. Not only high cross-country mobility and reliability were important, but the vehicle was also equipped with bunk beds, a wood burning cooker, kitchen, cabins, a 400-litre fuel reserve and a very modest consumption of around 15 litres per 100 km on the highway and 4 litres per hour off-road. In creating the all-terrain vehicle, Alexey Makarov focused on the use of components manufactured by foreign companies. This proved to be a fateful decision—as early as 2015, he announced that he would stop producing the Makar. Despite its success with off-road enthusiasts and its high performance during expedition tests, series production of the all-terrain vehicle based on foreign parts did not pay off even in the 9-year time frame. The concept had to be changed, and so the Burlak all-terrain vehicle was invented.

A new beginning in the domestic automobile industry

The all-terrain vehicle Burlak was developed in the same year 2015, and in 2016, it already set off on its first autonomous expedition to the North Pole. Alexey Makarov has dispensed with most foreign components in favour of domestic parts. The Toyota chassis was replaced by a space frame of its own making, which allowed for the addition of a sealed sump and positive buoyancy for the all-terrain vehicle. Of the important foreign-made components, only the Cummins 2.8 ISF turbo diesel engine remains, which is made in China. By the way, it is also installed in the GAZelles and Sobols that drive through the streets of our cities.

The concept of a self-contained base on wheels remains—the passenger version of the Burlak can accommodate up to 15 people, has bunk beds, a kitchen and other amenities for a comfortable stay. The all-terrain vehicle models for Polar regions have an autonomous snow melting tank for hot drinking water, a heating system and life support in case of extreme situations.


'The car can autonomously house a group of people in comfort. You can stand upright in the car. A man of average height of 180 cm can easily move inside the interior of the vehicle and it is really unique, it has no analogues,' says Roman Pankratov, Commercial Director of the company.


Thirteen modifications of the Burlak have been certified for work in the Far North: the all-terrain vehicle can carry loads, it can be fitted with a small drilling rig or a crane-manipulator, and there is an ambulance station format. The company's website states that their vehicles operate in the Chukotka, Khanty-Mansi, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Areas, Komi Republic, Yakutia, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Magadan Region and the Antarctic. In February 2023, construction of the second Burlak all-terrain vehicle production plant began in the Kurgan Region. Up to now, the company has been producing three cars a month, but with demand rising, output needs to be increased to a minimum of 30. The new plant will create 300 new jobs. 

As a result, today the all-terrain vehicle Burlak has become one of the examples of successful development of the domestic automobile industry, directly linked to the growth of the AZRF economy, as the residents' need to develop infrastructure, ensure freight transport and safe transport of people requires modern technological solutions, whose production is localised in our country.

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