The newest version of the Piranha III, entered service in Switzerland, the machine for intelligence WMD. Filters for the analytical laboratory are clearly visible in the stern of the machine.
The adaptable Piranha combat vehicle was adopted and modified by countries such as Canada, Saudi Arabia and the United States to perform various tasks ranging from a command post to a bridge-laying vehicle. There is no doubt that at present, the family of wheeled combat vehicles Piranha from the consortium General Dynamics European Land Systems - MOWAG among all Western models in service is the most numerous in its class.
Despite the fact that Piranha was originally developed for operations in Europe, its flexibility (adaptability) was appreciated by users all over the world by adopting this vehicle. The total number of Piranha machines issued and included in the list is over 10 700; that is, its mass production will continue for several years.
This includes vehicles manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada for the North American market, for example, the American Army’s Stryker BTR and its variants.
Today, production of Piranha is conducted in Canada, Switzerland (Piranha III) and the United States. Licensed production was also arranged in the Chilean company Cardoen (later FAMAE) and in the British GKN Defense, which delivered the cars to Saudi Arabia under a contract with MOWAG. The UK also supplied vehicles to the Kuwaiti National Guard, Oman and Qatar.
Canada not only manufactures the Stryker BTR family for the US Army, but also produces the previous Piranha II for the National Guard of Saudi Arabia.
Piranha was originally developed at its own expense by the Swiss company MOWAG (currently part of General Dynamics European Land Systems) as a family of light armored vehicles in 4x4, 6x6 and 8x8 configurations with excellent unification of self-propelled components that could be used for a wide range of combat missions and roles .
From the outset, the 6x6 configuration was popular in the domestic and international markets, but the last 18 years have been the 8x8 version, which has a larger volume and load capacity and can perform a wider range of tasks.
Some time ago, Sweden ordered a batch of Piranha 10x10 machines in a highly specialized configuration, but now all the machines on the market are focused on the current production model of the Piranha III in the 8x8 configuration.
Starting from the early stages, one of the key areas of the concept was the creation of a modular design that would easily adapt to the specific requirements of each customer.
As such, all Piranha III serial machines have the same basic package, but they are distinguished by considerable flexibility at the subsystem level; that is, they can be installed a variety of engines, transmissions, suspension systems, weapons systems, they can have different levels of protection and the location of the seats. All recent buyers place great emphasis on protection; Popular elements in this area are, for example, individual roofs and attached to the sides of the crew and landing forces. In addition, anti-splinter lining and hinged armor kits are almost mandatory. Most buyers also require much higher levels of protection against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). On this basis, along with mounted passive armored panels, the Piranha III can also be equipped with lattice armor, dynamic protection units (DZ) or protection systems of various types.
The Belgian park Piranha IIIC is the basis of the modernized armed forces of this country
All of the above components add weight and volume to the machine. The base weight of the Piranha III is usually around 16 tons, but the full combat weight with weapons, crew and extra armor can go up to 27 tons. Despite this, it maintains a high level of mobility over rough terrain.
Known about the recent large orders of machines Piranha III 8x8, produced at the Swiss factory; They came from Belgium, Brazil, Ireland, Romania, Spain and Switzerland.
Indeed, the Swiss army has long been the main buyer of Piranha, the total number of Piranha II 8x8 machines was 515 units, which were supplied from January 1995 to 2002 year.
The first vehicles to be commissioned by the Swiss army were the 310 self-propelled 6 x 6, many of which were recently converted for special tasks, and the rest in the BTR, command and control vehicles and anti-tank installations Dragon.
All of them were equipped with a Rheinmetall Landsysteme Type 606A1 single-seat turret with an external M12,7 HB 2-mm machine gun and 76-mm smoke grenade units.
These machines had attachment points for installing hinged passive armor in a frontal arc, but it was never installed.
Compared to the earlier Piranha, the Swiss Piranha II had a slightly elongated body, wider wheels to improve grip, and diesel fuel tanks were moved and installed on each side of the ramp to increase the internal volume.
Since then, the Swiss army has ordered highly specialized versions of the latest Piranha IIIC serial machines, starting with 12 command points 8x8, which entered service in 2001 – 2003 years.
All of them have a Caterpillar diesel engine with horsepower 400. with an automatic transmission ZF and rather traditional, rather than hydropneumatic suspension. In order to increase the internal volume, starting from the commander’s place, they have a roof up, they are equipped with an auxiliary power unit, which allows the additional communication equipment of the command post to operate with the main engine muffled.
Later, 36 machines entered service for the task of providing “radio access”.
The next version of the Piranha III, entered service with the Swiss army, was a radio surveillance and data transmission machine, which was also intended for electronic warfare (EW). A total of eight of these machines were delivered to the Swiss army with a set of EW manufactured by Thales.
In accordance with the weapons purchase program for the 2008 Swiss Army, MOWAG was awarded a contract worth 260 million Swiss francs (USD233 million) for almost 250 armored wheeled vehicles, which were delivered in various versions in 2010 – 2012. These machines included 12 intelligence machines OMP Piranha ALS 8x8 with equipment from Thales, 220 BTR DURO IIIP 6x6 and 12 DURO IIIP in a secure lab configuration for analyzing applications weapons mass destruction (WMD).
Piranha machines are used for real-time reconnaissance of weapons of mass destruction; they are equipped with sets of additional armor, remotely controlled Kongsberg Protector combat modules, armed with an 12,7-mm machine gun M2 HB and installations of 76-mm smoke grenades. The Protector is also installed on a number of other Swiss Army vehicles, including the MOWAG DURO IIIP currently supplied, and the Piranha 6x6 vehicles, converted to protected command posts.
PPS intelligence specialists work with on-board air, soil and water diagnostics systems to create maps of contaminated areas and transfer this information to higher echelons using on-board communications equipment. Accordingly, they have complete protection against OMP plus an auxiliary power unit (APU) to operate all systems with the main engine shut off.
Ultimately, the Swiss army adopted the 26 machines equipped with combat control systems. This consignment consists of 6 command posts and 20 armored radio access points, 8 in basic configuration and 12 with enhanced functionality.
All of these machines have a raised roof to increase the internal volume, and the options with the “radio” can be identified by their telescopic mast, which can be carried horizontally in the stowed position and lifted vertically to the working position.
The Swiss army regularly returns Piranha vehicles to MOWAG in accordance with modernization programs.
Belgium's decision to transfer its main armored units a tank (MBT) as a medium-sized, mobile force was a success for Piranha, which was selected as the basis for the new aircraft. In fact, Piranha replaces a large range of cars from MBT Leopard 1 and ending with the BTR series M113.
Belgian Piranha cars
The needs of the Belgian army in Piranha IIIC will be fulfilled in three batches of 138, 81 and 23 machines, respectively. The first tranche has already been completed, but options for tranches #2 and #3 must still be exercised.
Tranche # 1 provides for the supply of 64 BTR, 19 BMP, 18 direct fire installations, 6 ambulances, 14 command posts, 8 engineering vehicles and 9 BREMs.
The first machines and some of the specialized options were manufactured at Swiss manufacturing facilities, but then the Belgian company Jonckheere took responsibility for welding the steel case, while CMI Defense / EMI performs the final assembly and sends the finished Piranha IIIC machines to the buyer.
MOWAG remains the main contractor and retains responsibility for the manufacture of the tower and power train for Belgian vehicles. She also installs the suspension and power unit with a Caterpillar C9 / ZF automatic transmission. Belgian cars are equipped with electronic architecture from Thales.
The base BTR is equipped with a remotely controlled combat module FN Arrows, armed with an .50 machine gun of the M2 HB caliber and smoke grenade installations, while an Elbit module with an 30-mm ATK MK 44 gun and an 7,62-mm coaxial machinegun is installed on the BMP. Both modules are equipped with optics from the Belgian company OIP.
The direct fire option does not have such firepower as the Leopard I tank that it replaces, but nevertheless has a relatively protected two-man LCTS tower from CMI Defense with an 90-mm Mk 8 cannon and a paired 7,62-mm machine gun. Ammunition for the gun is supplied by MECAR.
Standard equipment for all variants includes protection against OMP, switchable all-wheel drive, central wheel inflation system and anti-lock braking system.
Exact protection levels are classified, but MOWAG claims a high level of protection as a result of the modular booking, which includes splinterproof basements, curtain armor and double bottom.
While most European buyers did not require any amphibious capabilities, the floating options were acquired by Spain and Brazil.
These variants of the Piranha IIIC, in service with the Brazilian Marine Corps, are fully amphibious. They move afloat with the help of two propellers mounted in the stern under the hull, although the remotely extended water deflector plate and bilge pumps must be activated before entering the water.
The first fixed-term Brazilian contract was signed in 2006 for six armored personnel carriers and one evacuation vehicle, which were to be deployed to Haiti as part of a UN mission. These vehicles are equipped with mounted armor and a protected .50 (12,7-mm) machine gun mounted on the roof. Some machines were equipped with a laser detector connected to an 76-mm smoke grenade installation to protect against laser-guided weapons.
The first order was followed by one more in five BTR, this order was executed in accordance with the schedule. The most recent order placed in 2008 year consists of additional 18 machines; they are delivered in 2014, in 3 configurations, BTR, sanitary and control point.
The Spanish Marines also have in service with the 18 Piranha IIIC amphibious vehicles in BTR versions, sanitary and command and control station. The BTR is equipped with a single turret armed with 12,7-mm and 7,62-mm machine guns.
The Spaniards expect an extra 21 machine, which should be delivered by 2014 year. A total of 9 options were ordered, including engineering, fire support, evacuation and reconnaissance, as well as the three options already mentioned. One batch of 4 machines will be equipped with Lance towers from Rheinmetall Landsysteme, armed with an 30-mm MK 30 cannon and a 7,62-mm machine gun.
The Irish army, meanwhile, took delivery of a total of 80 Piranha III machines with a hydropneumatic suspension for improved maneuverability and driving comfort.
They are equipped with a diesel engine MTU 6V183 TE22 with power 400 hp With an automatic transmission ZF Economat 600 (also installed on Danish cars), the vehicles are equipped with a fire extinguishing system, air conditioning systems and protection against weapons of mass destruction.
Brazil urgently ordered a small batch of amphibious Piranha Ill for its forces included in the peacekeeping mission in Haiti. The propeller is visible in the stern
Sanitary option Piranha Swiss Army - it is a converted anti-tank installations
The first batch of vehicles for Ireland consists of an 34 BTR with a single Thales FVT800 turret armed with 12,7-mm M2 HB and 7,62-mm MG machine guns and four control points also equipped with a FVT800 turret. All 40 machines, including sanitary and evacuation options, were delivered by 2002, and a batch of 25 machines soon followed.
The latest order for 15 pieces included 9 machines with a remote-controlled Kongsberg Protector combat module with an M2 HB 0,50 machine gun of caliber and six with an Oto Melara turret armed with an ATK Mk 30 XM machine gun and a twin 44 mm machine gun.
Romania urgently ordered the 31 BTR Piranha IIIC for its forces in Afghanistan, the first vehicles were delivered at the end of 2007, although MOWAG refused to provide a precise delivery schedule.
The base Romanian BTR is equipped with a stabilized Elbit combat module with an 12,7-mm machine gun M2 HB.
As the experience of the Belgians and other buyers of 90-mm LCTS90 towers, such as Kuwait, has shown, Piranha has proven to be an efficient platform; through MOWAG, a wide range of weapon systems can be ordered or they can be upgraded according to government programs.
One of the largest weapons systems installed on the Piranha III 8x8 was the CMI Defense CT-CV turret, armed with an 105-mm rifled gun and an 7,62-mm coaxial machine gun. An automatic loader was installed in it, which made it possible to reduce the crew in the turret to two, the commander and the gunner. In total, 16 ammunition ready for firing is mounted in the automatic loader installed in the aft niche (tournaments) of the turret.
The Piranha III can also be equipped with a whole range of anti-tank weapons and even anti-aircraft systems, for example 35-mm Skyranger from Rheinmetall Air Defense Oerlikon. Alternatively, MOWAG offers a fire support vehicle from closed positions with a turret armed with an 120-mm mortar and an option for electronic warfare.
In 2008, the Piranha IIIC was shown with the REBS-ABLK (Rapid Emplaced Bridge - Adaptable Bridge-Launching Kit) complex installed - [quick bridge building - an adaptive bridge laying complex] from General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas - Germany, which is a further development The REB model was originally developed for the US Army Stryker Brigade Combat Group. Currently, the US is operating a modified HEMTT 8x8 (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck - heavy military terrain vehicle) chassis from Oshkosh, and, apparently, it was intended to increase the level of unification of Stryker machines if necessary. With the REBS-ABLK installed, the Piranha IIIC can deploy the MLC 50 bridge (Military Load Class 50) with the 13,8 span of a meter, which allows overcoming walkways up to 13 meters wide.
Bridge building complex REBS-ABLK based on Piranha IIIC
Going along the beaten path (the development of the Piranha family at his own expense), from 2007 onwards, MOWAG is also privately developing the universal armored vehicle Piranha V 8x8.
Stryker holds strong positions in the US Army
The largest single buyer of the Piranha family of machines is the US Army with its LAV-III 8x8 machines manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada, which are known as Stryker.
By the end of 2009, the US Army received about 4154 vehicles from the general order in 3000 vehicles, mainly in the BTR configuration. In the US Army, the base version of the BTR transports 9 infantrymen and a crew of two people (driver and commander / gunner), who manages the Kongsberg Protector combat module installed under the American program for the development of a general remotely controlled combat module.
In addition to the machine gun. 50 caliber or 40-mm automatic grenade launcher installed in the combat module Protector, the American versions usually have at least two anti-tank Javelin missiles.
Along with the BTR, the American army is armed with other Stryker options: anti-tank, 120-mm mortar transporter, reconnaissance, fire support, engineering, command and control station, evacuation of the wounded, reconnaissance of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the howitzer MGS; The latter has a low-profile turret with an 105-mm gun.
This family is protected by passive armor, which is capable of stopping 14,5 mm caliber armor-piercing bullets, as well as dynamic protection units (ERA) ordered in the middle of 2009. Meanwhile, the vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan were equipped with lattice armor, although it will be replaced in a planned manner with dynamic protection. Armor top protects against 152-mm artillery shells of air explosions.
These cars showed themselves well during the war in Iraq and were favorably marked by their crews during the ensuing counter-insurgency. They were also well received in Afghanistan and, as a result of feedback from the troops, the American army began a series of modernization.
Due to the fact that Canadian and American users reported difficulties in moving over rough terrain, the upgrades were mainly focused on improving mobility. In this regard, the armored command revised the program, respectively, the suspension load capacity for 60000 pounds weight was increased, larger wheels and brakes and a new 450 hp engine were installed.
Machines deployed in Afghanistan in the intermediate combat brigade groups Stryker were also subjected to merciless mine and IED attacks, and now the army is studying the possibility of installing a dual V-shaped hull to improve bottom protection. The new anti-explosion kit, including increased ground clearance, new internal bottom plates and anti-explosion seats, is also installed on the machines in the field. The cars with the installed KAZ Trophy from Rafael were tested, but orders for such a configuration have not yet been received.
The first prototype of the Piranha V was completed in 2009 and was factory tested before its official presentation at the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris.
The lack of a real machine did not prevent the Piranha Evolution project from gradually flowing into the Piranha V, which was chosen as the general purpose vehicle of the British program FRES (Future Rapid Effect System - Advanced Perspective Rapid Impact System), although this program "ordered to live long" due to irreconcilable differences between General Dynamics UK and the British Department of Defense.
Eurosatory 2014 exhibition. Piranha III + (two photos above) and Piranha V
Compared with the current Piranha III production machines, the new Piranha V has a large total mass of 30 tons and a constructive margin that far exceeds this mass. This reserve allows you to have significant potential for the introduction of future upgrades and technological innovations.
However, there is a great family resemblance and the overall layout of the Piranha V is similar to the layout of the current production machines Piranha III. The driver sits in front of the left, the diesel power unit is located in front of the right, and the remaining internal space of the machine allows you to create a variety of specific options.
The first copy of the Piranha V is equipped with a MTU diesel engine with a power of 400-430 kW, coupled with an ZF Economat automatic transmission, but various engine and transmission combinations can be installed.
The machine will also be equipped with a new high-efficiency drive system FEDS (Fuel Efficiency Drive System), which is a diesel engine combined with an electric hybrid system. MOWAG reported that a hybrid diesel-electric drive can be installed with the appropriate development of technology and will be able to demonstrate its operational advantages.
Hydropneumatic suspension has a clearance control system and is said to provide high mobility and excellent comfort conditions for the crew while on the move. The central tire inflation system will be installed as standard.
The base body of the machine is all-welded from steel sheets with attachment points for installing mounted armor and splinter podboy. However, the user can obtain the required level of protection using a modular booking kit, which was designed to counter threats from IEDs and charges such as a shock core. The booking kit is modular, it can be changed to meet new threats or as new booking technologies are developed. On the Piranha V can be installed various protection complexes, for example Saab LEDS (Land Electronic Defense System), which has already been shown on Piranha III.
As for the serial machine Piranha III, its crew will be provided with individual seats attached to the sides and the roof in order to increase its survivability. The landing party can quickly land or leave the car through the hydraulic ramp in the stern. A surveillance system can also be installed to improve circular situational awareness for the shooter, driver, and landing force.
Standard equipment will include an overpressure protection system against over-pressure protection, a fire extinguishing system for the engine compartment, an air-conditioning system, an integrated starter-generator based on 100 kW and a modular electronic architecture.
Before making the first prototype of the Piranha V, a number of subsystems were extensively tested on other platforms.
For example, some of the elements of the Piranha V were installed on the Piranha Evolution, which took part in the FRES UV Trials of Truth tests conducted at the Bovington test site at the end of 2007.
Piranha Evolution had four-axle steering, a Kongsberg Protector combat module, General Dynamics UK electronic architecture, improved situational awareness, a centralized tire inflation system and a Bowman digital communications system.
The company MOWAG note that the Piranha V will move in the market along with the serial Piranha III. In the past, new buyers sought to buy the latest Piranha III series cars, while “regular customers” often buy an older version to unify their parks. For example, New Zealand acquired LAV III (based on Piranha III), and Australia bought LAV II (based on Piranha II).
New roles for the Swiss Piranha
The Swiss anti-tank fleet Piranha 6x6 is currently undergoing a major overhaul and is being redesigned for various options.
At first, a single TOW turret from each side was mounted on these vehicles, eight more missiles were placed in the combat pack inside the vehicle and charged manually.
However, in accordance with the contract issued to MOWAG in December 2005, for the replacement of unarmored 40 ambulances Piranha pieces were converted into an armored sanitary version and sent back to the Swiss army in 2006 – 2007.
The front of the existing hull was retained, but the fuel tanks were moved overboard between the second and third road wheels and the feed was raised to the full width of the vehicle, thus providing additional space for three reclining or six sedentary patients and four crew members.
This option has no weapons, but two groups of forward-directed 76-mm smoke grenade launchers are mounted on each side of the roof.
Standard equipment includes a full range of medical equipment to meet the most immediate needs, including bus and splint materials, respiratory respiratory equipment, blood transfusion equipment, oxygen, and dressings.
Sanitary options have recently been returned from the Swiss Army to MOWAG for the installation of a communications and battle management system (FIS Heer). This system is also installed on some MOWAG Eagle 4x4 reconnaissance vehicles and Piranha II 8x8 reconnaissance vehicles according to a program scheduled to begin in August of the 2011 year. In accordance with this program, a total of 333 systems will be installed.
In addition, after testing the prototype in the Swiss Army in 2005, the 160 of the Swiss anti-tank installations were converted to protected command posts in accordance with the contract issued to the company MOWAG in December 2006.
In addition to installing the FIS Heer system, these machines also have wider wheels than the original machine, and now the same wheels are installed on the Piranha II 8x8 BTR. As a system integrator, MOWAG was responsible for converting 160 machines into a command center option. The first modernized machine was put back into the Swiss army in 2008 year. Final deliveries were held in 2009 year.
During the modernization, the roof mounted installations of the ATOW TOW were removed, and the roof was remade to install the Kongsberg Protector remotely controlled module with an 12,7-mm M2 HB machine gun and two groups of 76-mm electric-powered smoke grenades.
In total, the fleet of approximately 100 anti-tank installations Piranha 6x6 will remain in the Swiss army.
Anti-tank unit Piranha of the Swiss Army MOWAG, reworked under the control point and equipped with a Kongsberg combat module with an 12,7-mm machine gun M2 HB