Rheinmetall pitching HX truck family to SANDF

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Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) is offering its HX family of trucks to meet the South African National Defence Force’s Project Vistula requirement for several thousand new trucks.

RMMV’s lineup includes the armoured and unarmoured wheeled vehicles of Rheinmetall Landsysteme and the military vehicles of MAN Nutzfahrzeuge (the companies combined in 2010 to form RMMV). With its wide lineup, it offers light unarmoured vehicles through to armoured high mobility wheeled vehicles.

The HX vehicles are all military off the shelf (MOTS), with an emphasis on mobility and reliability. The HX family is made up of off the shelf components, such as items from MAN’s civilian TG line of vehicles, but with military features like fording capability and multi-fuel engines. All HX vehicles are designed to operate in environments ranging from -32 to +49 degrees centigrade. Armour and weapons can be added as extras. Installation of a modular armoured cabin takes six to eight hours. All HX vehicles have common components, which reduces life-cycle costs and eases maintenance.

Several HX family vehicles were displayed at the recent Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition at Air Force Base Waterkloof last month, including the HX60 (4×4), HX58 (6×6) and HX77 (8×8).

The HX60 is powered by a 326 hp six-cylinder diesel, with larger engines on option, giving a top speed of more than 90 km/h. Gross weight is 18 tons, with a payload of six tons. A troop carrier version of this vehicle can carry twenty soldiers back-to-back, in addition to three crew.

In the 6×6 class RMMV offers the HX58, powered by a six-cylinder diesel delivering 440 hp for a top speed in excess of 90 km/h. Maximum weight is 27.5 tons, with a payload of nine tons. The 8×8 HX77 is powered by the same engine as the HX58 but can carry 15 tons, including 20 foot ISO containers. Maximum weight is 40 tons.

The 8×8 HX81 features a 16 litre six-cylinder diesel developing 680 hp. With a maximum authorised gross train weight of 130 tons, it can carry modern main battle tanks.

More than 60 000 X-series vehicles are in service with fifty nations around the world. Germany and the UK are some of the largest users of the HX series – the UK reived the first of 7 000 HX family vehicles in 2007. They have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The South African National Defence Force’s Project Vistula is aimed at replacing the Army’s Samil 50/100 4×4/6×6 vehicles and will involve around 5 000 8×8, 6×6 and 4×4 vehicles, but the process has been dragging out for years and a Request for Offers has still not been issued.

Companies pursuing Vistula include Navistar, BMC, Renault Trucks Defence, BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa, Iveco Defence Vehicles, Mercedes Benz South Africa and Ashok Leyland.

The SANDF also has a requirement for new mine-protected vehicles to replace the Mamba and Casspir under Project Sapula – this project could use components from the Vistula vehicles.