SVI enhances MAX 3 armoured vehicle

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SVI Engineering has improved its MAX 3 low cost armoured personnel carrier with a slew of upgrades. The response has been so positive that the original prototype was sold even before series production had started.

The MAX 3 is designed to be extremely cost effective (costing less than a high-end SUV, with prices starting from R1.5 million) as it is based on the popular Toyota Land Cruiser 79 platform, making spares and maintenance simple, especially for the African market – spares can be obtained at any Toyota dealer. Engine options include a V6 petrol, inline six diesel and V8 turbodiesel, giving a top speed of 140 km/h with the V8 diesel.

In addition to upgraded brakes and suspension to improve go-anywhere ability and ride comfort, the vehicle is modified with an armoured cab with B6 ballistic level standard protection (against 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm assault rifles), but this can be upgraded to B7 and blast protection. The design is also resistant to riot-type attacks, as it has been designed for military and non-military roles, including armoured personnel carrier, ambulance, command and control, crowd control, special forces and police. The vehicle is available in single cab, double cab and as an armoured personnel carrier with an enclosed rear loadbed. It can be either left or right hand drive.

As the MAX 3 is based on the commercial Land Cruiser platform, no special license is need to operate it, making it suitable for non-military tasks such as mining security, riot control, civil security, anti-poaching and convoy protection (valuables in transit).

The original MAX 3 was launched at the September 2018 edition of the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition, at which time it already had a launch customer. SVI subsequently revamped the design, and the new MAX 3 evolution features improved ergonomics, added interior space and bolder styling.

The armoured steel shell is designed and manufactured in-house by SVI, employing the lasted CAD software and manufacturing techniques. The conversion process entails removing the soft-skin body of the Toyota Land Cruiser 79 and replacing it with a new all steel body manufactured from armour plate. The armoured construction of the vehicle provides a minimum protection of EN1063 BR6 with additional protection against anti-personnel mines.

The MAX 3 can be fitted with a range of additional equipment, including the Thales Scorpion 60/81 mm automated mortar, 12.7 mm pintle mount or 12.7 mm Rogue Lite remotely operated weapon station. One customer has already ordered the Scorpion system for its vehicles. Other options are fire extinguishing systems, long range acoustic devices (such as the Genasys LRAD 450XL) for crowd control, and less lethal solutions.

The MAX 3 weights 3.8 tons with weapons systems – the vehicle is lighter than most armoured vehicles for high mobility and low cost.

SVI also offers a range of systems and solutions for its various vehicles, including ambulance, jammer, communications, protection and smoke launcher systems. It also offers site surveillance systems such as the Pathfinder seismic/acoustic sensor and a thermal radar for surveillance – this has proven popular with mining companies. The thermal radar comprises an infrared camera that turns for 360 degree coverage and if movement is detected, it homes in on that.

SVI says modular design of the MAX 3 allows short delivery times of three months for batches of up to 20 units. Although the enhanced MAX 3 was only recently completed, production is currently underway at SVI’s Pretoria East facility on another three MAX 3s, with two going to a mining company.

SVI sees a 50:50 civilian:military market share for the MAX 3 but for the purely military market it also offers the larger and heavier MAX 9 armoured personnel carrier. This can also carry weapons such as the Rogue LITE turret.