The Sand Cat is a composite armored vehicle designed by Plasan of Israel. It is based on a commercial Ford F-Series chassis shortened to a 112" wheelbase by Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier, Manning Equipment of Louisville, Kentucky. Originally designed as a potential replacement for the IDF's M-240 Storm Jeeps they have since developed numerous versions of the vehicle from 4 to 6 tons to transport up to 8 soldiers. Examples have undergone trials by the IDF in Israel and the US Army at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. It was first shown publicly as the Caracal at the AUSA show in October 2005. It has since been presented at the various shows including the 2005 Milipol law enforcement show in Paris, the 2006 Mid-America Trucking Show, and 2006 Eurosatory under the name "Sand Cat". A heavily armored version of the Sand Cat featuring ceramic body parts was presented to the US Military at the Platform System Demonstrator event in August 2006.
The distinctive design was described by Israeli car magazine Hegeh as being "as sexy as a female air-force commander". The trapezoid shaped side windows are designed however to reduce the weight of transparent armor without adversely affecting the field of vision. The fully armored body utilises a combination of armored steel, ceramics, and composites to provide a field replaceable modular armor package at various threat levels. The Sand Cat has excellent handling and acceleration for an armored vehicle. The interior is comfortable and spacious and can accommodate an open stretcher.
Sand Cat Plus
In July 2007 Plasan released information about a new version of the Sand Cat, the "Sand Cat Plus". Featuring a station wagon style body and 8 seats it was designed as a low-profile vehicle for use by elite units. In contrast to the military Sand Cat, the Plus is fitted with full side body mouldings and is painted in civilian colors. Despite the SUV appearance it still has a high level of armor as well as NBC and fire suppression systems. It has a remarkably small turning circle and has been described as surprisingly quick for a 7 ton vehicle.