Russia Unveils Armored Bulldozer

Less “killdozer,” more “survivedozer”

Armored B10 Bulldozer

Armored B10 Bulldozer

Military Informant

Running right now in the city of Nizhny Tagil, the Russia Arms Expo 2015 is a chance for the former superpower to show off its latest military hardware. Amidst the broken tanks and hypothetical fighter-hunting drones sits a somewhat more mundane craft: an armored bulldozer, Russia's first since the Soviet Union's World War II-era BAT-M.

Armored bulldozers may call to mind America's 2004 "Killdozer" rampage, where a 56 year old man in a heavily armored bulldozer destroyed several buildings before taking his own life.

Military armored dozers are instead a tool of directed violence. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the American military used bulldozers to demolish buildings suspected of hiding insurgents. The Israel Defense Forces use custom-modified Caterpillar bulldozers, known as D9s, to level buildings in support of infantry. These extra-armored dozers feature armor to keep the crew inside safe from rifle and machine-gun fire.

The armored bulldozer is a tool of urban warfare, moving with troops and crushing buildings with snipers inside, in situations where artillery or airstrikes are too risky for troops. It's hardly a clean weapon of war--destroying buildings can easily cause civilian casualties, and leave plenty of people homeless after a conflict.

That's a pretty grim fate, but converting a vehicle whose best civilian use is demolition into a tool of war is unlikely to create something not deadly. As the war in Eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists continues to drag on, there's a chance these modified dozers will crash their way into combat.