Airports need shuttles and snowplows, sure. But an airport in Moscow just bought a tank.
Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport bought a gently used BREM-1 armored recovery vehicle, to be specific. The rugged vehicle was originally designed to haul damaged tanks off the battlefield. At Domodedovo, it will be used to tow planes in the event of emergency.
The Soviety Army built the BREM-1 back in the 1970s and '80s to tow the new (at the time) T-72 main battle tank. In fact, BREM-1 is based on the T-72 chassis. The 41-ton vehicle has tracks for all-terrain handling. With its V-46 diesel engine producing 780 horsepower, the vehicle can tow a staggering 125 tons, about the equivalent of three T-72s.
BREM-1 also has a dozen blades originally meant for clearing obstacles and a swing crane with a 12-ton capacity originally meant for removing tank engines. The tank-tugger is still in service with the Russian Army today.
Domodedovo Airport officials must have thought a BREM-1 was just the thing for wintertime plane problems. Moscow gets wicked cold and the BREM-1 can tow airliners that slide off slick runways. Tank tracks give the vehicle traction that wheeled vehicles lack.
The former armored recovery vehicle is also fitted with electric welding equipment. The airport also gave its new toy an orange and black Tony the Tiger paint job, perhaps to make it easier to see in wintery conditions.
The airport bought its BREM-1 from longtime tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, responsible for the T-72 tank and now the new generation T-14 Armata main battle tank. A spokesman for Uralvagonzavod’s parent company, Rostec, that other Russian airports will likely follow suit and buy their own vehicles. Watch out for the bright orange paint job then next time you land in Moscow.