“The basic, reliable features of the Casspir remain the same,” says Ashley Williams, the General Manager of Denel Mechem, the company which designs and manufactures the durable vehicle. “It has always been the world leader in its class – providing unequalled protection against landmines, roadside bombs and automatic rifle fire.
“Now we have upgraded the hull protection by using a higher quality of steel, increased its power, improved the accessibility for passengers, and mounted it on a more versatile and reliable vehicle platform,” says Williams.
The Casspir is the vehicle of choice for demining or military operations, and has been used from Afghanistan to Mozambique, by the United Nations, the SA National Defence Force, private security companies, and police services around the globe.
Denel Mechem is a world leader in the mine-action services and the battle-clearance industry. More than three decades after the first Casspir came off the production line, in 1979, the New Generation 2000 will provide its end-users with new options and increased protection.
There are two versions of the Casspir NG 2000 – one mounted on a Mercedes Benz drive train, and the 2000B, using a Powerstar engine as platform. Both versions will feature an upgraded steel hull, meeting the highest industry standards of protection.
Jack Geldenhuys, Mechem’s manager for vehicle systems, says the new vehicle will also feature side doors for the driver and crew, and an improved back-door design for troops or passengers to enter and exit during operations.
Geldenhuys says a key feature of the Casspir is its modular design, which gives it an unrivalled level of versatility. At the Denel Mechem production facilities, in Lyttelton, the vehicle can be modified and adapted to meet the requirements of the client.
Thus the Casspir can feature in its conventional role as mine-resistant troop carrier, but can also be adapted to become a field ambulance, a command-and-control vehicle, a recovery vehicle or a light transport 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.
It has a cruising speed of 100kph on roads and up to 40kph on most off-road conditions, with a reach of up to 800km on a standard fuel tank. It is designed to withstand the blast of 14kg of explosives under each wheel – which is more than can be delivered by two landmines.
Geldenhuys says the decision to standardise the engine and drive train makes the Casspir a more cost-effective solution for the international agencies and defence forces that depend on its outstanding reputation for reliability. This means substantial savings on maintenance costs, spare parts and logistics.