This picture was taken near Tacna, Arizona at the beginning of April, 2016. I believe the missile is a mock-up of a Scud B and the MAZ-543 launcher, mounted on a trailer. I do not think a dually Ford would be able to move around a real Scud and launcher, but maybe. The Scud B, loaded, would be about 7 tons. But I cannot see sane U.S. military forces allowing an missile fuelled with tons of kerosene and nitric acid out on the highways and desert for a training exercise. Without the fuel or warhead, maybe the Ford could handle it.
The armored vehicle, which looks to be a real BRDM-2 (Combat Reconnaissance Patrol Vehicle), is another matter. This one is capable of being driven about. Some have been reported being used as taxis in Russia today.
If you wonder what it would take to purchase one, they are available for about,$23,000 to $27,000, not counting shipping or import fees. They are meant to withstand small arms fire up to 7.62 mm. I do not know if that is the NATO 7.62X51 armor piercing, or the East Block 7.62X39 or 7.62X54. The 7.62X54 is roughly the ballistic equivalent of the NATO round.
It is not every day that you see former Soviet/Russian or East block missile launchers and armored vehicles in the Arizona desert; unless you are on Yuma Proving Ground. These were not, and that made them interesting.
Back in the middle 1990's, there were rumors and conspiracy theories floating about of Soviet armor being "prepositioned" in the United States, supposedly for a Red Dawn type take over, facilitated by traitors in the Clinton administration. I considered them all bereft of plausibility.
I was shocked and stunned when travelling through West Texas. I saw a whole trainload of Soviet armored vehicles heading West, while I was heading East.
There were T-72 tanks, BMPs, and one or more BRMDs. The train was not short, and I watched with wonderment as dozens of Soviet era armored vehicles headed West on American railroad tracks. This was before widespread cell phones, digital cameras, and only a rudimentary Internet.
When I returned to Yuma Proving Ground a few days later, I thought my tale of Soviet armor would brand me a conspiracy theorist of the first order. But I told my colleagues of the sighting anyway. Truth deserves an audience.
I expected scepticism and disbelief. Instead, I got a "Yeah, we just unloaded them over the last week. They are here for target ID and research use."
I wonder if the BRMD was one of those that came over with that shipment.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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