The ASU-85 (Russian: Авиадесантная самоходная установка, АСУ-85, Aviadesantnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka, 'airborne self-propelled mount') is a Soviet-designed airborne self-propelled gun of the Cold War Era. From 1959 it replaced the open-topped ASU-57 in service but was in its turn replaced by the BMD-1 from 1969.
With it's low AP and average HE canon, the ASU-85 is intended to be an anti-infantry vehicle, with a HMG giving it a mean of defending itself against their transports. However, it has a terrible operational range and speed, preventing it from being used offensively. Also, it is mostly outclassed by the SU-122-54, which fits the role much better most regards. This is a unit designed for one task and it is not particularly good at it.
The ASU-85 incredibly cheap price and modest armour can allow a player to mass them in large numbers as cannon fodder, and even score a few kills against light armoured assaults.
The HMG of this unit may have some utility against air units, forcing them to switch targets, however don't expect to be scoring points in this way unless you are playing against inexperienced opponents.
An unexceptional vehicle in terms of competitive value, the ASU-85 can be still interesting for players building decks with underdog units, or wishing to have some extra challenge.
Development of a new assault gun for the armed forces started at the OKB-40 design bureau of the Mytishchi Mashine Building Plant (MMZ), under the supervision of chief designer Nikolaj Aleksandrovich Astrov. The first Ob'yekt 573 prototype was ready for factory tests in the second half of 1953. This first vehicle was followed by a small batch of three improved vehicles that were evaluated by the armed forces in 1956-1957. The improved vehicles were powered by a new, horizontal six cylinder diesel engine, the YaMZ-206V, instead of the original V-6 of the PT-76.
In 1958 the order to start series production of the SU-85 - as it was initially known (although there was already a vehicle with that same name, based on the T-34) - was given. However, as a result of an order from the Ministry of Defense to add an armoured roof (the initial vehicles were still open-topped), series production could only begin in 1961. By then, the configuration was already out of date and in the second half of the 1960s the VDV became the main operator of the SU-85 and renamed it into ASU-85.