The Voyenno-Promyshlennaya Kompaniya (VPK) of Russia has developed a prototype for a new 4×4 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle.
Janes International Defence Review reports the new design is known as the SPM-3 (Spetsialnaya politseyskaya mashina: special police vehicle). It adds the machine is not an evolution of the existing SPM-2 Tigr.
VPK is a subsidiary of the Gorky Automobile Plant (Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod) known as GAZ.
Further information on the SPM-3 is not immediately available. Pictures found on the Internet suggest a rugged design with a shallow V-hull, similar to traditional South African designs.
The design is, as far as can be determined, the first Russian MRAP and may find a ready market among traditional Russian clients in Africa and further afield.
The US-led counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan have highlighted the global need for MRAP vehicles. The design of such vehicles have long been an SA specialty and presently at least 20 companies offer such designs or are seeking to upgrade, refurbish and export existing models such as the Casspir and Mamba.
SA design know-how has also proliferated, enabling a range of US, Australian and Jordanian companies to enter the market. These companies now have a new competitor. Russia has been a major supplier of arms to Africa for the last 40 years and reinvigorated under Presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev have been seeking to restore exports to Cold War highs.