Denel Mechem is offering its latest generation Casspir 2000 mine-protected vehicle in a variety of firepower versions, such as mortar, anti-tank and anti-aircraft.
The company said it is now able to produce a tailor-made Casspir according to the requirements of the client. Different modules are fitted onto the standard platform system and then modified according to client specifications. The new variants can serve as platforms for 81 mm mortar systems, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. The Plofadder mine-clearing system, developed by Rheinmetall Denel Munitions, can also be fitted onto the Casspir hull.
“This significantly extends the range and versatility of the Casspir which can now be used as a reconnaissance vehicle, a troop carrier or as a fire-support vehicle equipped with mortars, anti-aircraft or anti-tank weaponry,” Mechem said.
The General Manager of Mechem, Ashley Williams, said his company is responding to opportunities in defence markets where clients need a single platform with a number of variants to meet operational requirements. “Our clients can now use the same family of vehicles that offer superior levels of protection and mobility, but in different roles,” Williams said, creating spares and logistics savings.
The conventional Casspir can be adapted to serve as a command-and-control vehicle, a field ambulance or a recovery vehicle. All variants are fitted with run-flat tyres and are available in 6X6 or 4X4 format and with a choice of manual or automatic transmission.
Williams says the latest generation Casspir is designed to withstand the blast of 14 kg of explosives under each wheel. It has a cruising speed of up to 40 kph per hours in most off-road conditions and a range of up to 800 km on a standard fuel tank.
Since it first came off the production line in 1979, the Casspir has been produced in different generations. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is a major user of the Casspir, in many variants. For instance, the South African Army uses the Casspir Mk II as a recoilless rifle platform, designed to equip the Motorised Infantry Battalions with an anti-tank capability as part of the Support Company anti-tank structure. Another variant is the Casspir 81 mm mortar carrier, used for indirect fire support. A few Casspir Mk III series were also manufactured in such variants for the South African Army. The SANDF does not use the Casspir NG2000 series and only has Mk IIs and Mk IIIs.
Denel Mechem recently unveiled the Casspir Eland heavy duty recovery vehicle based on the Casspir NG2000 series. The Eland is in 6X6 configuration and with its monocoque design it is larger and heavier than the 4X4 wheel variant, the Casspir Gemsbok. Two of these recovery variants have recently been ordered by the Angolan Defence Force.
Mechem is also busy with the production of the Casspir 6X6 Stallion – a recovery vehicle based on a truck chassis with a protected cab and the ability to perform heavy duty recovery duties. The Casspir Stallion is also available in 4X4 and 8X8 variants providing clients a range of recovery vehicles – from light to heavy duty – based on the same vehicle model.
In May last year Mechem unveiled the new ‘Blesbok’ cargo truck version of the Casspir, which was in production for Angola. In 2013 Angola ordered 45 Casspir New Generation 2000B vehicles comprising 30 armoured personnel carriers, four fire support vehicles (able to carry two 23 mm cannons or a recoilless rifle), two command vehicles, two recovery vehicles, two ambulances, three logistics vehicles, a water tanker and a diesel tanker.
Earlier this month Mechem revealed that ten Casspirs were shipped to Sudan as the first part of a new long-term agreement with the United Nations that will see Mechem supply mine-protected vehicles for its peacekeeping operations in Africa. The ten Casspirs were shipped to Sudan in December 2015. These vehicles were equipped with special mine roller attachments to be used in the clearance of land mines and unexploded ordnance.
The long-term agreement also includes the future supply of five Casspir Stallion recovery vehicles while a further order for five more vehicles is in the planning stage as well as orders for other special Casspir variants.
The Casspir is widely used for demining or peace-keeping operations and has been used from Afghanistan to Mozambique by the United Nations, the South African National Defence Force, police services and private security companies around the globe.