The BRDM four-wheel-drive amphibious scout car first appeared in the spring of 1959 and rapidly became the standard light wheeled reconnaissance vehicle in most of the Warsaw Pact armies. It was replaced by the newer BRDM-2 and the Hungarian FUG scout cars. Resembling a cross between the GAZ-46 (MAY) amphibious jeep and the BTR-40 armored personnel carrier, the BRDM combines am-phibious features with full armored cover. Cross-country ability is heightened by the use of a centralized tire pressure regulation system and through the use of two sets of small belly wheels which can be lowered to add flotation and assist in crossing gaps.
The BRDM-1 reconnaissance 4X4 vehicle was built in a number of variants, including the BRDM-1Rkh NBC Reconnaissance Armoured car and the BRDM-1U wheeled armored command vehicle. Four versions of the BRDM are in existence: the basic BRDM reconnaissance vehicle; the BRDM-rkh radiological-chemical recon-naissance vehicle with marking-flag dispensing devices; the BRDM-U command vehicle distinguishable only by extra radio antennas; and three different antitank guided missile carriers for AT-1 SNAPPER, AT-2 SWATTER, and AT-3 SAGGER antitank missiles. All versions of the BRDM are propelled in the water by a single water jet. Recognition of the BRDM-rkh is facilitated by the presence of two canvas box-shaped devices mounted outboard on the rear deck. These are the marking-flag dispensers.