Over time, views on war, industry opportunities, and many other factors determining the shape of troops changed. As a result, armored cars have now turned out, if I may say so, not in high esteem. In any case, in quantitative terms. A modern armored vehicle is considered, first of all, as a mobile protected vehicle for the army or special forces. Thus, the armored car is trying to “close” several niches at once: the actual vehicle, like the old “Willis” or the modern “Humvee”; a mini-armored personnel carrier that takes soldiers to the battlefield and supports them with fire and a BRM intended for reconnaissance and other “rear raids”.
In the past few years, a new wave of interest in armored cars has been observed in Russia and some other countries. One of the reasons for this is the experience of the recent military conflicts - the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq - where the weak protection of the existing vehicles “surfaced” in a rather unpleasant manner. Let's consider the state of affairs in the field of construction of armored vehicles on the other side of the state border. For obvious reasons, the talk will be exclusively about serial machines, and not about artisanal gan tracks, “technicals” or prototypes that exist in single copies.
For various reasons, for several decades now, classic armored cars have not been used in the American security forces - in the army, marines, and police. Instead, the fighters use light armored personnel carriers. However, the realities of the Afghan or Iraq wars are forcing the army and special forces to change something. As a result - a huge amount of homemade products based on the good old HMMWV. Directly in the workshops “on the ground”, various elements of booking are installed on them, for example, taken from their outdated or damaged vehicles. There are no uniform recommendations or instructions for installing such protection, and the soldiers themselves refer to the whole direction of artisanal “creativity” as hilbilly armour or hajji armour (village or Arabic booking). At the same time, the words “hillbilly” and “hajji” have an obviously politically incorrect meaning.
In the middle of 2009, Oshkosh Truck received an order to supply thousands of M-ATV armored vehicles. I must say, this armored car is sometimes referred to as an armored personnel carrier or even attributed to a new class of MRAP technology (armored vehicles protected from mines), but because of a number of characteristics of M-ATV, it can be considered an armored car. The maximum combat weight of this armored vehicle reaches 14,5 tons, and the payload is up to 1800 kg. Most of the cargo is placed in a separate body above the rear axle. The armored car is equipped with a 370-strong turbocharged Caterpillar C7 diesel engine and an Alisson 3500SP automatic transmission. With such a power plant, the M-ATV accelerates on the highway to 105 km / h. The creators of the car emphasizes that the design allows you to drive faster, but for some reason it was necessary to limit the maximum speed using on-board electronics.
Oshkosh machines made armored protection together with the Israeli company Plasan Sasa Ltd. The M-ATV's own armor meets the 1 and 2 levels of NATO standard 4569 protection - protection against conventional and armor-piercing bullets of the 7,62 mm caliber, as well as against fragments and anti-personnel mines. "Oshkosh" and "Plasan" claim that it is possible to install additional booking elements that improve protection up to 3-4 levels (mm 14,5 bullets and more powerful mines). The armament of the armored vehicle is mounted on the remotely controlled turret of the CROWS system. It can be a M7,62 240-mm machine gun, a M12,7HB Browning M2HB, an Mk40 automatic grenade launcher or a BGM-19 TOW anti-tank missile launcher. The M-ATV crew consists of four people.
In addition, at the moment, the Pentagon is continuing the competition for a replacement, or at least an addition to the Humvee. However, so far three companies participating in the tender are building prototypes and conducting their tests. In general, all three machines do not represent something revolutionary new, although they have interesting solutions and know-how. One of them was offered by BAE Systems. All the glazing of their prototype consists of the same trapezoidal multilayer glass units. Thus, if the windshield is damaged to the extent that the driver stops seeing something, the broken block can be rearranged, for example, at the door, and the whole glass can be transferred from there by the crew to the place of the broken one. An interesting solution, although it has its drawbacks. So, frontal glazing has a smaller area than with the "traditional" design. However, such a machine still has more protection than HMMWV, even with hillbilly booking.
In 2003, the armored car Fennek entered service with the German and Dutch armies. The four-wheeled armored car, developed by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and the Dutch SP Aerospace and Vehicle Systems BV, was originally created as a reconnaissance vehicle, although it has all the hallmarks of a “classic” armored car. The combat weight of the Fennec ranges within 10-10,5 tons, and the crew consists of three people. The armored vehicle has a diesel engine manufactured by Deutz AG with 240 horsepower, which allows you to accelerate on the highway to 110-115 km / h. The armor plates installed on the machine provide protection from 7,62-mm armor-piercing bullets from all angles and from 12,7-mm in frontal projection. The armament of the armored car, traditionally for this class of equipment, is not very powerful: it is either an 40-mm automatic grenade launcher Heckler-Koch GMG, or a machine gun. The German version of Fennek is installed 7,62-mm machine gun MG3, and the Dutch version - 12,7-mm Browning M2HB. All weapons are placed on a remote-controlled installation. To date, more than six hundred Fennek copies have been built, about two thirds of which went to the Netherlands. The Bundeswehr armored cars managed to participate in the military operation in Afghanistan.
Fennek in Afghanistan
Simultaneously with Fennek, Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann was working on another machine called the ATF Dingo. This armored vehicle was developed on the basis of the Unimog wheeled platform. "Dingo" is one of the first mass-produced cars in which the combined armor of the MEXAS system is used. This means that additional reservation modules can be installed on the machine, which improve protection, although affecting the driving characteristics. With ATF Dingo's native armor, the Deutz 240-powerful diesel accelerates to 100 kilometers per hour (on the highway). Without additional armored modules, the ATF Dingo case withstands 7,62-mm bullets from any direction. In turn, the additional panels protect the rear and side projections from 14,5-mm bullets and frontal from 20-mm projectiles (when fired from a distance of more than 500 meters). Also, the car received a V-shaped bottom to protect against mines.
Armament "Dingo" and a remote-controlled turret is completely similar to that used on Fennek. In addition to the main modification, called Dingo 1, KMW created and an extended version - Dingo 2. The armored car was extended by 125 centimeters (to 6,8 meters), the maximum combat weight also increased from 10 to 12 tons, and the payload increased by more than 500 kg and amounted to 4 tons. Thanks to all the improvements implemented in the Dingo 2, it can accommodate six soldiers against three in Dingo 1. Actually the crew of the armored car - two people, the driver and the commander-operator of weapons. On the basis of ATF Dingo, several modifications were created: the actual armored vehicle, armored reconnaissance, ambulance, police, command post and even self-propelled radar. In addition to Germany, Dingo is currently used in Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway and the Czech Republic. To date, customers delivered about nine hundred ATF Dingo and another 150-200 units will go to the new owners in the near future.
In 2008, the Bundeswehr received the first LAPV Enok armored vehicles. Its creators, Mercedes-Benz and Armored Car Systems, were aimed at creating a light and mobile armored vehicle. It should be noted, they succeeded. The maximum combat weight of the Enok does not exceed 5,5 tons, and the 185-strong diesel OM642 270 accelerates it to 95-100 km / h. Some lag in speed from other cars is compensated by better acceleration characteristics. At the same time, high speed was not the main priority of the developers - Enok is primarily intended for operations on rough terrain, where not speed, but permeability is more important. Booking a car protects the crew and units from 7,62 mm armor-piercing bullets, as well as from detonating mines under the bottom. Installation of additional modules is not provided. Armament LAPV Enok is not very powerful, due to the specifics of the application - it is an automatic grenade launcher HK GMG or MG3 machine gun. The crew of the car includes the driver and the commander-gunner, in addition to which it is possible to transport four more soldiers. In 2008, the German army ordered two and a half hundred Enokov, which will be delivered to the troops before 2013.
Finishing the story of the German armored cars, it is impossible not to mention Grizzly. For the first time this car was presented to the public in 2007 year, and now it is expected to be adopted for service. The German concern KMW created the Grizzly on the basis of the six-wheeled platform Trakker of the Italian company Iveco, changing its design accordingly. In appearance, the car can be said that this is not just an armored car, but a cargo armored car. Thus, the Grizzly combat mass is 24-25,5 tons, and the payload is more than four. The load compartment exceeds 15 cubic meters. Iveco diesel 440 horsepower able to accelerate the car on the highway to 105-110 km / h. True, there are often doubts about the feasibility of such speed for the 25-ton machine and possible problems with controllability. The body of the “Grizzly” is made carrying, which, however, does not prevent it from providing protection against 7,62-mm armor-piercing bullets from all directions. Mine protection is also provided, corresponding to the second level of the STANAG 4569 standard.
The developer does not exclude the possibility of equipping the machine with attachment booking modules, but so far this has not been the case. Armament "Grizzly" may consist of an automatic grenade launcher or machine gun. The crew consists of a driver and an arrow, and ten people can be accommodated in the cargo compartment. Grizzly mass production has not yet begun, but it is already known that Germany is interested in the procurement of such equipment. In addition, Iveco expressed their willingness to make on the basis of the German armored car a four-wheeled vehicle for Italian troops.
For some reason, known only to the French commanders, there is a clear shortage of armored cars in this country. Monsieur from Paris decided that this technique could be replaced by armored personnel carriers or simple cars and built their fleet of vehicles on the basis of this thesis. However, between the French armored personnel carriers and the BMP, there was also an armored car - Véhicule Blindé Léger (lightly armored vehicle) or simply VBL.
Work on this machine at the company Panhard began in the 80-x, and put it into service at the beginning of the next decade. Over twenty services VBL managed to visit the Balkans and Somalia. As is clear from the decryption of the name, you should not expect serious protection from VBL - booking a four-ton car can withstand only 7,62-millimeter non-armored bullets and fragments, and the bottom will protect only from the detonation of a hand grenade. At the same time, due to the relatively weak armor, the car has good driving characteristics: a total of 95-strong diesel Peugeot XD3T allows the armored car to accelerate to more than a hundred kilometers per hour. Armament VBL depends on the modification of a specific instance: VBL MILAN and VBL ERIX have launchers for anti-tank missiles MILAN and ERIX, respectively, as well as 7.62-mm AA-52 machine gun. On the team modification of VBL there is only a machine gun, and the rest is occupied by communication equipment. On the reconnaissance version of the machine is installed machine gun Browning M2HB (12,7 mm). The crew of VBL, depending on the modification and tactical need, consists of two or three people.
In 2008, the French army received the first PVP (Petit Véhicule Protégé - small armored vehicle) armored cars out of a thousand and a half ordered. The armored car, created by Panhard, was not only light (combat weight up to 4,5 tons), but also high-spirited - the maximum speed obtained during the tests exceeded 120 km / h. Such characteristics are provided by the turbocharged diesel Iveco 8140 with the HP 160 power. PVP protection is provided by steel, aluminum and ceramic armor. The frontal projection, the sides and the feed of the vehicle withstand an armor-piercing bullet of caliber 7,62 mm (2 level STANAG 4569), and the bottom provides protection against hand grenades and anti-personnel mines. The PVP armament consists of a remotely controlled installation on which you can place a machine gun of caliber up to 12,7 mm. The crew of the car - two people, two more are placed in the cargo compartment. Several modifications have been created based on PVP:
- PVP HD - a five-door armored car with a larger cargo cabin and increased payload (2 tons). Also, PVP HD has the protection provided by the 3 level of the relevant standard. The HD version of the armored car “has grown fat” to 7,9 tons. The cargo compartment can now accommodate 6-7 people.
- PVP XL. Another large version of PVP HD. Three tons of payload or ten soldiers with equipment. The maximum combat weight of this version is 12 tons.
- PVP APC. A variant created specifically for Chile (built 15 instances). It differs from the original PVP only in the ceiling raised on the 15.
- Gavial. For some time, negotiations were held on the licensed production of PVP in Germany, but the Bundeswehr ultimately preferred the German armored vehicle LAPV Enok.
The situation with Israeli armored cars to some extent resembles the American one. The bulk of IDF vehicles with armor protection is HMMWV, modified accordingly. However, in the middle of the 2000-x, a new car was introduced that was originally developed as an armored car - the RAM-2000.
The four-wheel all-wheel drive car (there is also a modification with the 2x4 drive) was created by the IAI concern together with Plasan Sasa Ltd. The latter made an armored hull, which provides protection from 7,62 mm caliber bullets and shrapnel. The maximum combat weight of the machine is 6 tons, the payload in the basic version is up to a ton. 165 turbocharged diesel horsepower (the specific model was not named) gives the armored car two characteristics: on the one hand, the maximum speed of the car is “only” 95 km / h, and on the other, it is able to overcome the wall height 80 cm and lift in 60 °. On those samples of the armored vehicle, which were shown at the exhibitions, the weapon was not installed, but there is a bracket for mounting above the windshield. IAI claims that a machine gun of a caliber of up to 12,7 mm can be put on it. The crew of the armored car consists of the driver and the gunner, and in the "passenger" compartment in the basic version fits four soldiers. On the basis of the RAM-2000, more than a dozen different-purpose vehicles were created, including an armored personnel carrier for eight soldiers and a reconnaissance vehicle equipped with means of observation, laser equipment and radar. The Israeli army ordered several dozen of these armored cars, in addition, they were purchased in quantities of several pieces by Vietnam, Cameroon and Chad.
In 2005, Plasan introduced its version of the modern armored vehicle. They, also known as Caracal, looks more like a collector armored car than a military vehicle. The basis of "Kota" was taken undercarriage F-series Ford with an increased wheelbase. Due to this, as the developers say, it was possible to maintain the dynamics and controllability of the civilian machine. And it looks like it succeeded - the Ford Pover Stroke V8 diesel accelerates the car to 105-110 km / h and allows it to overcome obstacles no worse than RAM-2000. The basis of protection of "Caracal" is made up of composite panels made of aluminum and ceramics, steel is also used in some details of the reservation. Of particular interest are the glass doors of the car. They have a specific appearance that, according to Plasan, does not impair the review, but reduces the likelihood of hitting them. However, even if the enemy gets into the glass, it will sustain a 7,62-mm bullet (not armor-piercing). Similar protection gives and armored housing in the basic configuration. The developers claim that protection can be improved in two ways: by changing the type of the car’s own armor (other materials or other combination), or by installing mounted modules. In this case, it is possible to bring the protection up to the 3 level according to the NATO classification (14,5-mm bullets and anti-personnel mines under the bottom). The basic version of Sand Cat has no weapons, but there is a hatch in the roof on which you can mount the turret, including with remote control. You can install an automatic grenade launcher or a machine gun on the turret without reinforcing the design of an armored vehicle. The regular crew of the Sand Cat consists of two people, plus three more can be accommodated in the back seat (the base “Cat”). In 2008, the Sand Cat Plus armored car was developed. From the first version of the Caracal, it mainly differs in the shape of the body with an extended cabin on the 5-6 seats. At about the same time, Plasan signed a contract with Oshkosh Corporation for the revision and licensed production of Kotov. The armored car in the American version received a new chassis, enhanced protection against mines, as well as a number of smaller innovations. Most of the manufactured Sand Cat went to Israeli customers, the rest of the orders were divided between Bulgaria, Mexico, Nigeria and Sweden.
In Poland, the development of armored cars from the end of the 90-x company engaged AMZ. The most famous and popular product at the moment is AMZ Dzik (“Boar”).
This car became not only the main modern armored car in Poland, but also exported - several “Boars” went to serve in Iraq. The armored vehicle with a combat mass of 4,5 tons is driven by a motor Iveco Aifo SOFIM 8140.43N (146 hp). All Dzik modifications have the same engine, but their driving characteristics are almost the same - the maximum speed is about 100 km / h, the cruising range for fuel is 750-800 km. Steel armor protects the car from armor-piercing 7,62-mm bullets, glass armor-piercing ammunition of this caliber is no longer maintained. Mine protection is provided - V-shaped bottom. Own armament "Cabana" is located in the turret on the roof. It can be equipped with a PC or NSV machine gun. For foreign customers, compatibility with American or European machine guns is offered. In addition, there are smoke grenade launchers and 13 loopholes for firing from personal weapons (in the Dzik-3 version). The crew of the "Cabana" consists of two or three people. The troop compartment can accommodate from 5 (Dzik-1) to 11 people (Dzik-3). Boar-3 was also shipped to Iraq, where it received the designation Ain Jaria 1.
Another AMZ development from the 2008 of the year is AMZ Zubr. Initially, it is an armored truck capable of carrying up to five tons of cargo. In this case, the combat weight of the armored vehicle grows to 15 tons. Instead of cargo, the “Bison” can transport soldiers 10-12, depending on the equipment. The basis of the power plant machines - Italian diesel Iveco Tector (HP 275). Under normal loading (two tons), the Zubr can accelerate to 90-95 km / h on the highway, cross the ford a little more than a meter and climb the mountain with a slope to 35-40 °. Composite aluminum-steel armor protects the crew and cargo from caliber bullets to 14,5 mm, the bottom, in turn, can withstand a blast capacity of up to 7-8 kg in trotyl equivalent. The basic cargo version of the Bison is armed with a turret with a remotely controlled machine gun NSV or M2HB. On the basis of AMZ Zubr were created a command vehicle, self-propelled radar and anti-aircraft complex, armed with Grom missiles.
In 2001, the Italian company Iveco presented to the public a new Iveco LMV armored car. It is unlikely that then someone would have thought that over the next few years he would become one of the most common types of this class of technology. When designing an armored car, engineers from the very beginning took into account the experience of the Balkan conflicts of the 90-s, where a huge number of cars were destroyed by mines. Based on this, in particular, the bottom of the LMV under the cabin (multi-layer “package” of several materials) was made V-shaped, and under the engine a flat, but slightly thicker.
In addition, the fuel tank was placed in the back of the armored car - most of the pressure action mines work under the front or middle part of the equipment hitting them. Thanks to all the design finds, the bottom of the machine withstands the explosion of a six-kilogram mine, which corresponds to the second level of the standard STANAG 4569. The corps reservation, in turn, corresponds to the first level (7,62-mm bullets and fragments). However, these are indicators of only “native” armor - the LMV can be equipped with additional booking modules, bringing protection up to the fourth level inclusive (14,5-mm bullets and some mines). With the maximum protection set, the combat weight of the machine reaches seven tons, and the driving performance, respectively, is reduced to some extent. For example, in the factory configuration, the maximum possible speed LMV exceeds 130 km / h, and the maximum possible rise - 60 °. When installing protection modules that provide the fourth level, the maximum speed drops to 105-110 km / h, and the rise to 40-45 °. Such agility is ensured by the Iveco F1D diesel engine with HP 185 power. The armament of an armored vehicle in some frames completely depends on the wishes of the customer, however, most often vehicles are purchased that are equipped with machine guns and automatic grenade launchers. It is worth noting the possibility of using a remote-controlled gun mount. Own crew of an armored car - only the driver. In addition to him in the car can be transported from three to six soldiers. At the moment, almost 3000 Iveco LMV armored cars have been produced and this is not the limit - for example, the Italian security forces in the near future should receive more than five thousand vehicles in addition to the existing one and a half. In December, 2010, it became known that the LMV will be produced under license in Russia.
In the middle of the 90, the Turkish army began to receive Kobra armored vehicles manufactured by Otokar. Four-wheel-drive armored car was supposed to replace the American HMMWV. The six-ton machine has a one-piece welded steel body, which is why the Cobra's combat weight is more than six tons. This required the use of a relatively powerful (190 hp) diesel engine to maintain acceptable parameters: maximum speed at 110-115 km / h on the highway and 5-7 on the water (the machine can float), overcoming the rise to 60 ° and range move 750 km.
But at the same time, Kobra has a relatively weak protection - only from “normal” 7,62-mm bullets and fragments. Armament is also not something unusual: a machine gun (7,62 or 12,7 mm) or an automatic grenade launcher. Also on the "Cobra" you can put a gun mount Rafael OWS (Israel), armed with 20-mm automatic cannon and / or anti-tank missiles. Own crew of an armored car - only one person, the driver. For landing there are eight seats. At the disposal of the Turkish army and security forces there are about 800 machines. Cobra was also supplied to 9 countries, the largest number - more than 300 pieces - were purchased by Georgia. Several copies during the "War of Three Eights" went to the Russian army as trophies.
Different and similar
The overall appearance of modern armored cars is quite similar - bullet-proof armor, machine-gun armament, a crew of 1-2 people and a place for transporting soldiers. With all this, of course, it is hardly worth going out to battle with tanks, but in conditions where it is necessary to quickly transport personnel and protect it from small arms, the armored car turns out to be very, very useful. For example, a special interest in this class of equipment is shown by police special forces operating in urban environments. So you can say with a clear conscience that the armored cars will not go anywhere, at least in the coming years. Perhaps their appearance will change, but the concept of a protected car has already shown and proved its necessity.