MAZ-537 is main soviet tank transporter and further development of the MAZ-535 8x8 artillery tractor. Production of the MAZ-537 commenced in 1963 at the Mink Motor Vehicle Plant. The MAZ-537 tank transporter can tow semi-trailers with medium and main battle tanks with a maximum weight of 50 000 kg both on roads and rugged terrain. It is still capable of towing any MBT currently in service with the Russian or Ukrainian Army. Most versions of the MAZ-537 are used as tank transporters however it was designed also as heavy load carrier and construction vehicle for use in remote areas.
The MAZ-537 is powered by a D-12A-525 V-12 diesel (almost the same engine was used in T-34 tank), developing 525 hp. It is worth mentioning, that this engine had a short service life. Vehicle has a full-time all-wheel drive. There is a power assisted steering of front four wheels. Standard equipment includes an engine pre-heater, to assist starting in cold climate, and powerful cab heaters. A central tyre inflation system is fitted, to provide better traction over sand and soft ground. A forward control cab provides seating for driver and three passengers.
The machine was on the line about 40 year, and this fact underscores its unique qualities: a high all-terrain mobility and excellent traction performance, durability and reliability, ease of operation and service, the ability to work in different geographical and climatic conditions. Thus despite its age this heavy military vehicle is still in service with a number of countries, including Ukraine and Russia. While in Russia it was partially replaced by KZKT-7428 in 1990's, in Ukraine it remains main and the only tank transporter.
Circa 80% of the tank transporter fleet of Ukraine is currently in awful condition and requires refurbishing and modernization. The youngest tractor of Ukrainian Armed Forces left the factory in 1989. For tanks and infantry fighting vehicles transportation and for loading them to railway flat-cars only two tractors are used that stretches the loading for the whole day. Just like the other Soviet-made vehicles, MAZ trucks do not meet modern standards of ecology and economy which turned to be a great challenge for Ukrainian army in modern circumstances.