In 2004, a former Special Forces operator formed a company called Integrated Convoy Protection (ICP) and started making what would become known as the Reva range of armoured personnel carriers.
Reva, which is an acronym for reliable, effective, versatile and affordable, would eventually grow to a 6×6 modular armoured recovery vehicle complete with heavy weapon platform, the Reva 4×2 Protection purpose built for security personnel and cash-in-transit, the no frills Reva III 4×4 standard and a security version complete with pushing and breaching devices to protect national key points and defuse riot situations, as well as the Scout and the flagship Reva V 4×4 long wheel base armoured personnel carrier.
ICP is promoting its Reva Fast Attack Vehicle (FAV), which was on display at the recent Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition outside Pretoria.
It’s stripped down and menacing, with a front window mounted 7.62 light machine gun and a .50 cal on a mini turret above (options include a 40 mm grenade launcher or 60 mm mortar). It’s made for raids, search and rescue and reconnaissance.
ICP general manager Frans Toerien, himself a former paratrooper and retired commanding officer of 101 Air Supply Battalion, explains: “Most of our top management structure is ex-special forces, but we had a lot of input from other special forces soldiers into the design and the specs.”
Powered by 3.8 l Cummins turbo charged diesel engine managed through a five-speed automatic gearbox, the FAV has a top road speed of 150 km/h and a maximum range of 840 km on the road – travelling at 80 km/h. Standard configuration is two plus four seating with ballistic protection on the front and sides. It can also be built as a command and control vehicle or medical response vehicle.
“It’s totally unique,” said Toerien. “With most special forces’ ops, the first fire is from the front so that’s where the ballistic protection is, as well as underneath and the fuel tank. If the client needs more protection, that can be added.”
Doing so, though, defeats the purpose. The fast attack vehicle, or special operations vehicle as the Americans would term it, harkens back to the stripped down Land Rovers and Sabres of David Stirling’s World War II SAS and the Long Range Desert Patrol group which caused havoc in North Africa.
“The FAV can cargo sling, it’s also airmobile and would be ideal for air landing operations,” said Toerien, “like the (1976) raid on Entebbe.”
“We’re very excited about the enquiries and the interest. Because we’re mostly all ex-soldiers, we know what the client needs, especially the immediate availability of spares, but most of all we go where the client needs us to train the operators on the vehicles.
“We’re still getting emails today about the first vehicles we sent in during the second Gulf War.”
That’s where it all began for ICP CEO Flip Marx, in Iraq, where ICP set up a factory to produce mine resistant ambush protected vehicles against the upsurge in sniper and IED activity. The success of those first vehicles led to an upsurge in interest that continues to the present. Today there are more than 1 000 Reva vehicles in service in the Middle and Far East, in use by the US Special Forces, the Multi-National Transitional command in Iraq and the Yemen armed forces, as well as in Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria in Africa as well as South East Asia.
The vehicles have proved adept in a variety of climatic conditions from desert sand to tropical rain forests in Thailand.
“We have supplied countries so far where the conditions were very difficult,” said Toerien, “but we kept those vehicles in those conflict ridden nations like Yemen, serving them throughout their warranty period.
“We don’t pull out when the end user is facing extreme difficulty, we stick with it – that’s our after sales service.”