|Manufacturer:||SP Aerospace and Vehicle Systems bv|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
The Multipurpose Carrier (MPC) (4 x 4) light armoured vehicle has been under development by SP aerospace and vehicle systems bv as a private venture following a market survey which indicated a gap in the market for a vehicle of this type.
The first preseries prototype was completed in late 1992 and was used for extensive company trials.
SP aerospace and vehicle systems has designed the MPC to bridge the gap between Jeep-type vehicles and armoured personnel carriers but the modular design is such that it can easily be adapted to undertake a wide range of missions on the battlefield as well as a number of paramilitary and civil roles.
Typical projected military missions include command and communications, reconnaissance, antitank (for example fitted with the Euromissile MILAN ATGW system), support roles, security, surveillance, intelligence-gathering when fitted with various sensors and engineer.
Wherever possible, proven and standardised production components have been used in the design of the MPC, for example the diesel engine is derived from a standard diesel and will be produced in large numbers. Proven components have helped to reduce the life cycle costs of the MPC and the design is such that local production is also possible.
The vehicle has plenty of room for specialised equipment as well as its normal three-man crew of commander, radio operator and driver. If required, the MPC can carry a maximum of five people.
The overall MPC concept allows various adaptations according to customer requirements.
The hull of the MPC allows flexible armour protection concepts and is typically of all-welded aluminium armour with additional armour modules providing protection from 7.62 mm AP small arms fire and shell splinters. The actual armour composition thickness depends on the customer's operational requirement, as does the layout of such subsystems as hatches/ doors, the vision system, armament and the communications fit.
The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle with excellent vision to his front via three large bulletproof windows, each of which is provided with an electric wiper.
The driver's layout has been designed for ease of use with power steering being fitted as standard. Driver fatigue is further reduced by the installation of a fully automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
The internal layout of the MPC depends on the mission. The Fennek, for example, is a member of the MPC vehicle family for the reconnaissance and support role task. In this configuration, to the rear of the driver there is room for the operators of the mission equipment and access is provided by a large door in the side of the hull, above which is a long bulletproof window. In addition, there is a rearward-opening roof hatch.
The flat roof of the MPC has been designed so that a one-man turret can be fitted if required by the user.
The engine compartment is at the rear of the MPC and the power pack can be removed from the vehicle as a single unit to facilitate field replacement.
Standard equipment includes a fire detection and suppression system in the engine compartment, a heating and cooling system and a wash/wipe system. A wide range of optional equipment can be fitted including an NBC system, various communications systems and two water-jets to give a full amphibious capability.
The prototype has a wheelbase of 3 m, but eventually this could be stretched if required by the user, with no changes to the power pack or automotive components apart from using longer drive shafts.
The Royal Netherlands Army currently operates a fleet of 250 former FMC Corporation Command and Reconnaissance Vehicles which were delivered in 1965-66. These, together with light vehicles used in the reconnaissance role, are to be replaced and the Royal Netherlands Army did formulate its requirements for a new light reconnaissance vehicle that will be wheeled.
SP aerospace and vehicle systems, involved in the local production and assembly of the Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) as well as truck bodies, bid for the future reconnaissance vehicle requirement.
For the Royal Netherlands and German army requirement, SP aerospace and vehicle systems has developed a specific derivative of the MPC called the Fennek vehicle which has already been completed.
Following a competition, the Royal Netherlands Army and the German Army selected the Fennek for their planned reconnaissance fleet replacement programme.
The company was awarded a contract to build a total of four vehicles, two for Germany and two for the Netherlands. The first of these was rolled out late in March 1996 and then delivered to Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in Germany to install the sensors and other mission-related equipment.
The German and Netherlands armies are conducting a joint test programme lasting 2V2 years with the four prototype vehicles, which will cover both technical and tactical trials.
By late 1998, a total of five prototypes had been built, two for the German Army, two for the Royal Netherlands Army and one to be retained by SP aerospace and vehicle systems for development work and as a company demonstrator.
While SP aerospace and vehicle systems will be responsible for the vehicle and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann for systems integration, the German company, STN Atlas Elektronik, will be responsible for the sensor pod.
The total German Army requirement is for 216 vehicles of which 166 will be used as armoured reconnaissance vehicles and further options are considered as terrain reconnaissance vehicles for use by the engineers.
The Royal Netherlands Army is expected to order a total of 220 vehicles to replace the current Command and Reconnaissance vehicles. The Royal Netherlands Air Force has a requirement for about 25 EOD vehicles for use on airfields.
Late in 1998, it was disclosed that the Dutch company RDM Technology Holding was to take a 100 per cent share in SP aerospace and vehicle systems.
Following trials with the prototype vehicles, a number of problems became apparent and this has led to a delay of several years in the programme forthe German and Dutch armies.
Main problem areas discovered during the 1996 trials included armour, performance on and off the road and the braking system.
In mid-1998 the two companies submitted a package of technical options which were selected and one of the prototypes with all the improvements and options will be tested. If these trials are successful, then production will start around 2000 with the vehicle entering service the following year.
The main role of the Fennek is that of reconnaissance and mounted towards the rear of the hull on the leftside is a retractable mast which is fitted with a sensor pod containing thermal camera, day camera and laser range-finder.
The mast can be raised 1.5 m above the roof of the vehicle and can be controlled in azimuth and elevation with the operator being seated under full armour protection in the hull of the vehicle.
If required, the sensor head can be removed from the vehicle, placed on a tripod and operated at up to 40 m from the vehicle.The sensor suite is operated from a swivel-mounted operator's console which is also provided with a monitor, enabling the commander or observer to operate the equipment.
Distance and angle measurements are used to survey the location of the target and the vehicle's location can be quickly determined using the onboard hybrid navigation system (GPS and inertial).
The vehicle has three crew and will be armed with a 7.62 mm or a 12.7 mm machine gun but other armament options are possible, as are various combinations of engine/transmission. An amphibious version is also being marketed as are different armour packages. It is expected that the German vehicles will be armed with a new 40 mm grenade launcher developed by Heckler & Koch.
Standard equipment will include an NBC protection system as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Prototype vehicles undergoing trials with German and Netherlands armies.
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