Russian heavy-duty vehicles on a roll

TWO Russian military vehicles that look like tanks and still have a big machinegun are about to take Northern thrillseekers on rides and may even cruise the streets of Launceston.

Tassie Tank Adventures offers rides in military vehicles and has just upgraded its firepower with the arrival of two Soviet-era camouflaged armoured personnel carriers.

Both were made in Poland in the late 1960s.

The MT-LBu, which has tracks, was used to sneak into the battlefield to spot the enemy and direct artillery fire.

The other, called a Skot, has eight wheels and two propellers, so it can travel on land and water.

It carried 10 soldiers into battle and was armed with a machinegun.

The machines were imported by Troy Walker and his business partner, Paul Bartlett, and they are now getting them ready to take paying passengers around an Epping Forest ``assault course'' from December 9.

``The track has lumps and bumps, so you get a great ride,'' Mr Walker said.

``If you take them at any sort of speed, you could get airborne.

``And the Skot is fully operable in a nuclear environment.''

The Skot has a top speed of 100km/h and the MT-LBu can manage 80km/h.

Mr Walker had to render the machinegun on the Skot inoperable before importing it, but he is fitting a gas system so the gun will produce a lot of noise, smoke and kick when it is ``fired''.

``No one else in Australia has them, not even the army,'' Mr Walker said.

``Maybe we should get a contract as the opposing force for the army.

``It's just like Hollywood, but minus the bullets.

``And you can go to work on Monday and say `I went for a ride in a Russian tank on the weekend'.''

Mr Walker said the Skot, but not the tracked vehicle, would be registered and available for special occasions.

``We can even do funerals, like shove the ashes down the barrel and fire you out,'' he said.

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