SA-designed 8×8 launched at IDEX

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United Arab Emirates-based company Calidus has launched its new Wahash 8×8 armoured vehicle at the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi. The vehicle was designed, built and tested by South Africa’s ADG Mobility in conjunction with Calidus.

The Wahash is an amphibious vehicle designed for high ground mobility and agility. It is described as being ideal for combat, surveillance and counter-insurgency. Powered by a 720 hp engine, it has a top speed of 130 km/h on land and range of 750 km. As it is amphibious, it can travel at 8-10 km/h in Beufort scale sea state 2 thanks to two propellers fixed to the back of the vehicle.

Designed for the Middle Eastern climate, it can operate in temperatures ranging from -30 to 55 degrees Celsius.

An all-round situational awareness camera system gives the crew a picture of what is happening outside the vehicle without having to expose themselves above armour. Externally fitted to the driver’s compartment is an armoured visor that can be opened and closed by the driver to offer even higher levels of protection.

The Wahash has been designed to offer scalable protection to meet the end user’s needs. The vehicle can be certified to STANAG 4569 Level 1, 2 or 4 ballistic protection or Level 4A and 4B landmine protection. Against improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the vehicle is protected against a 50 kg blast charge and 155 mm fragmentation charge. Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) protection is standard as is an automatic fire and explosion suppression system. South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) carried out the landmine and IED certification tests.

A variety of different weapons can be fitted to the vehicle, including manned and unmanned turrets such as the BMP-3 turret. The vehicle has been designed to host large calibre weapons and at IDEX is being displayed with a Ukrainian Shturm 30 mm system.

The Wahash is 8.5 metres long and its hull is 2.7 metres high, allowing two to be transported in a C-17 transport aircraft. It has a combat weight of 32 100 kg and payload of 10 000 kg. A driver, commander, gunner and eight dismounts can be transported. The vehicle has independent double-wishbone two-stage hydropneumatic suspension and a turning circle of 18 metres.

Calidus emphasises that most Wahash components are commercial off-the-shelf and this includes the Scania DC 13 engine; ZF 7 AP 2600 SP transmission, Kaller ride height management system, TEK Seating seats, Ametek air conditioning and CBRN system, TDTS T900 amphibious propulsion system, Explospot fire and explosion suppression system and Ortana camera system.

There are two prototypes of the Wahash vehicle undergoing testing, one of which is being displayed at IDEX 2019. According to Shephard Media, the vehicle does not have any customers yet but Calidus is optimistic about getting orders.

Calidus is developing several defence products, including its B-250 light attack turboprop aircraft. Senior vice president Abdulla Alsayed Alhashmi said the company’s products are both cutting edge and cost effective and have come a long way since the company was founded four years ago. Its B-250 aircraft is undergoing flight testing at present. It can also serve as a trainer in addition to counter-insurgency and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

ADG Mobility has spent the last two years designed and developing the Wahash. The company was incorporated in December 2016 by the founding members, senior management and engineers of Land Mobility Technologies (LMT) to focus solely on development and in-country production for international clients.

Its aim is to focus on the design, development and manufacturing of protected mobility solutions and support equipment, with the emphasis on 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 vehicles with high mobility and extreme levels of landmine, IED and ballistic protection. It also offers industrialisation and production solutions, setting up vehicle production factories in country.