Kirovets, the Russian gun tractor originally designed to haul artillery over the Steppes, has happily adapted to civilian life since the cold war. The company has recently announced that the latest K8 series will be launched later, in 2022

Kirovets gun tractor
Many ex army Kirovets found their way into civilian service after the Cold War

According to the company, the tractor will be powered by a diesel engine from the Tutaev Motor Plant (TMZ). This will have a power rating of around 600hp, a 165hp boost over the present largest offering, the K-743M.

Past models equipped with home produced engines, paid scant attention to emission regulations and hence remained mainly in Russia. Later tractors, equipped with Cummins or Mercedes units, are available for sale within the EU.

However, the new engine will have 'electronic control', which suggests common rail fuel injection, greatly increasing the chances of it meeting the emission standards.

Goodbye gearsticks

Furthermore, the tractor will be equipped with a constantly variable transmission (CVT), bringing it up to date and increasing its appeal to farmers in the west.

Kirovets are produced at the St. Petersburg tractor plant which notes that it produces around 3,000 tractors annually. It also claims to manufacture 70% of the components on site.

Kirovets drilling
Kirovets offer plenty of power for the money

Other than the former eastern bloc states, the company has a presence in Germany and North America, where they are sold under the MTZ badge. Despite this label, they remain a completely different company to the Minsk Tractor Works, more commonly known as Belarus.

Kirovets rising in sophistication

An emission compliant engine, coupled to a modern transmission which is designed to deliver the power smoothly to the wheels, is a big step forward. The combination should greatly increase the tractor's desirability amongst farmers who have hitherto shunned the brand due to a perceived lack of sophistication.

Kirovets at Agritechnica
Selling the brand at Agritechnica

Naturally, price is also a factor, and although no figures are mentioned for the forthcoming K8 series the current range topper, the 435hp K-743, is listed at $220,000, or approximately €180,000.

European and American manufacturers usually ask at least €350,000 to €400,000 for tractors within this power bracket.