Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ, Russian: Производственное республиканское унитарное предприятие «Минский автомобильный завод», Open JSC "Minsky Avtomobilny Zavod") is a state-run automotive manufacturer association in Belarus, one of the largest in the Eastern and Central Europe.
It was built shortly after Second World War. The first MAZ model (MAZ-200) used the General Motors design 2-stroke engines. Later on the new original engines were developed and were implemented in MAZ-500 series. Not only the plant itself, but the entire living infrastructure were done in short time. Apartment buildings, shops, medical clinics, cinemas etc. were built in short proximity to the MAZ plant, providing plant workers with first hand (though limited) necessities. On many construction places the German war prisoners were working together with Russian construction workers. Majority of those buildings are still in service today.
It manufactures heavy-duty trucks, buses, trolleybuses, road tractors and semi-trailers for semi-trailer trucks, and cranes. MAZ was, and possibly is, the world largest manufacturer of TELs (Transporter-Erector-Launchers) for many of the world's mobile ballistic missiles, from the widely proliferated MAZ-543 used to carry and launch the Scud B up through the recent Topol M's impressive 8-axle TEL.
At the end of the Soviet times, MAZ was the largest manufacturer of heavy trucks in the Soviet Union, and the only one for some truck categories. After the Soviet Union dissolving, MAZ production has dropped substantially, as happened with many enterprises in ultra-industrialized Belarus oriented on the needs of one very big country. The mentioned above production of the public transportation vehicles was an result of the following diversification of the company.
The association consists of the MAZ plant proper, located in Minsk, which is the main enterprise of the association, as well as several secondary enterprises:
- РУП «БААЗ» (in Baranavichy)
- РУП «ОЗАА» (in Asipovichy)
- РУА «КЗТШ» (in Zhodino)
- РУП «Литмаш» (in Minsk),
- ПРУП «ДЭМЗ» (in Dzyarzhynsk)
- РУП «СтройМАЗтрест» (in Minsk)
MAZ city busses can be found all over Belarus as well as in the Ukraine, Russia, Romania and Polish part of Silesia.
Among other recent production, MAZ city buses (see pictures below) can be found all over Belarus as well as in the Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Polish Silesia and Estonia.
- Main article: MAZ-MAN
In 1997 together with concern "MAN" ( "MAN" ) set up a joint Belarusian-German company JSC "MAZ-MAN", Minsk, in which by 1998 had established full-scale production of heavy vehicles using the car and engine production MAN and MAZ. One of the priorities of the enterprise is the production of tractors for the international carriage with wheel formula 4x2 and 6x4, suitable for use in Europe and meet all European requirements. The production of flatbed trucks, dump trucks, front-end loaders. Based on the MAZ-MAN has launched production of concrete mixers, fueling vehicles, etc.
- MAZ-535 MAZ-537 - The MAZ-535 and the heavier version MAZ-537 were developed in the early 1960s and built to transport rockets and tanks of various types.
- MAZ-543 - The MAZ-543 was also designed for the transport of medium-and long-range missiles and has the same specifications as the MAZ-537. The MAZ-543 is best known as mobile missile launch pad of Scud missiles known. In addition, there are various modifications of the vehicle, such as the MAZ-547 as a mobile launch pad for SS-20 missiles or the MAZ-7917 as a launch pad of Topol intercontinental missile .
- MAZ-7904 - The MAZ-7904 is the largest wheeled vehicle that was in the USSR ever designed for military purposes. This prototype, in 1982 as a support vehicle for intercontinental ballistic missiles were designed, but never close to a series of stages.
- MAZ-7907 - The MAZ-7907 was designed in 1985 and two prototypes were produced, of which at least one seems to have been used after the collapse of the USSR for transportation of bridge parts and ships. Their fate is unclear.
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