SVI launches new protected truck cab

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Vehicle armouring specialist SVI Engineering has launched a new armoured truck cab that aims to be one of the most cost effective on the market.

The protected cab is based on a UD Kuzer RKE 150 truck, with B6 level protection (against assault rifles up to 7.62×51 calibre, including AK-47 rounds). Armoured steel and 40 mm armoured glass provide protection to three occupants, who have access to gun ports and an escape hatch on the roof.

The cab design features flat ballistic glass bolted into each window frame (including gunports in the windscreen and side windows) to allow for fuss-free replacement should damage be sustained during an attack. The cab construction protects engine components and includes a tilting nose plate to facilitate routine maintenance, ensuring serviceability remains as close as possible to that of the standard truck.

The vehicle weighs just under 9 000 kg, meaning that it can drive at 100 km/h and not 80 km/h for trucks above 9 000 kg.

SVI sees the vehicle as being optimal for the security, mining and valuables in transit markets. It could also be used to transport prisoners or personnel – different units can be placed behind the cab.

“We developed this cab-replacement solution not only for clients transporting high-value cargo – such as electronics, cigarettes and even food products – but also for several other applications. For example, since the UD Kuzer’s load body design is adaptable to various customer requirements, it can be configured as a cash-in-transit (CIT) vehicle or even an armoured personnel carrier (APC). In addition, we offer the option to shorten the chassis, if required,” said Jaco de Kock, CEO of SVI.

UD Trucks’ Chris Swanepoel said development started towards the end of 2022 and the vehicle is now ready for production. The build time is set at approximately three months, though this drops to as little as a single month should SVI have a cab in stock.

The conversion is fully approved by UD Trucks Southern Africa. As such, the new armouring solution can be ordered through any dealer in the Japanese firm’s local network, with the standard manufacturer warranty remaining firmly in place.

Nicol Louw, Business Development Director at SVI, told defenceWeb that the new protected cab is a lot more cost effective than current competitor trucks that many cash in transit and security vehicles in South Africa are based on.

“The total cost – including the base truck, the B6-armoured replacement cab, the selected box body and installation – is similar to the price-tag of a standard top-spec double-cab bakkie. As such, this versatile armoured solution offers not only comprehensive ballistic protection but also unbeatable value. The fact the conversion is fully approved by UD Trucks Southern Africa is simply the cherry on top,” said Louw.

SVI is no stranger to armouring truck cabs – in 2022 the company unveiled a new B6 Stopgun V2.0 kit for the Hino 500 truck series, developed in response to a sharp increase in truck hijacking incidents across South Africa. The new armouring package, which provides B6 protection, shares its concept with the Stopgun V2.0 kit available from SVI for vehicles such as Toyota Hilux, Toyota Land Cruiser 79, Ford Ranger and Nissan Navara.

SVI’s product catalogue includes everything from civilian and security vehicle armour to armoured guardhouses, bullet-resistant vests and military-spec armoured personnel carriers. The company has even armoured locomotives powering long trains of high-value cargo through parts of Africa.

With the escalation of crime across South Africa, many private and commercial entities and people are looking to acquire armoured vehicles, especially following the civil unrest of July 2023. SVI, as a result, has doubled the size of its production facilities outside Pretoria.

In addition to armoured civilian vehicles, SVI manufactures two armoured personnel carriers (APCs): the lightweight Max 3 and larger Max 9. The cost competitive Toyota Land Cruiser-based Max 3 has proven popular, with customers including multiple security firms. SVI is engaging with local and international police forces on the Max 3, and recently delivered 20 Hilux cash in transit vehicles to one of South Africa’s largest private security companies.