Since we test drove the magnificent Pinzgauer 6x6 a couple of years ago their has been some VERY significant developments both for the vehicle itself and the Manufacturers, Automotive Technik based in Guildford , Surrey. (see original article)
we announced in July 2003 that the UK ministry of defence had placed a £20million order for a fleet of 400 FFR (fitted for radio) 4x4 variants. This pointed to a noticeable shift away from the ageing Land Rover Defender design as a combat vehicle which has been followed by a number of defence and security institutions worldwide. Very soon the news bulletins from war torn countries will be feature either Hummers or Pinzgauers. TV pictures showing fleets of military Land Rover Defenders in action could very soon be available only in the archives.
The first Pinzgauer 6x6 armoured variant was recently unveiled. The project, a joint venture between British Pinzgauer manufacturer, Automotive Technik and specialist armoured vehicle builder, MacNeillie’s of Walsall, fills an important gap in the current Pinzgauer range.
A number of military procurement organisations have already indicated strong interest in the vehicle and a demonstrator is close to completion. ATL and MacNeillie’s also expect the version to be attractive for specialist civilian and emergency services applications.
The basic rolling chassis is common with the latest soft-skin Pinzgauer 6x6 variants, already in service. Current users include all three British Armed Forces. The new armoured variant has been designed to meet NATO and international standards of protection, whilst retaining the Pinzgauer’s legendary agility, speed and performance, particularly off-road.
The MacNeillie monocoque bodyshell has been built to the European CEN standard, Class B6 for ballistic protection. This includes resistance to 7.62 x 51mm NATO ball round at 10 metres. This puts the unit’s armour well within the protection required for the AK47 and AKM Kalashnikov Assault Rifles.
The underside is protected by floor armour, with a material extensively used for protection against bomb blast and fragmentation. This level of protection is designed to withstand two NATO L2A2 hand grenades detonating simultaneously only 150mm below the floor pan. These grenades would normally carry a lethality radius of 5 metres.
In support of Automotive Technik’s development of the armoured variant, the Group’s venture capital partner, Close Venture Management, has completed a further injection of £1.2 million, bringing its total investment in the firm to date to £2.7 million.
Automotive Technik Director, David Findlay says, "We hope that the new variant will be a strong contender to fulfil the increasing demand for light armoured, high performance, rapid intervention vehicles and personnel carriers. The vehicle has performed exceptionally well both in engineering and ballistics tests and trials.
The New Zealand Government has endorsed the recommendation of the Ministry of Defence that Automotive Technik Limited, the British company which builds the Pinzgauer, is to be its preferred supplier for the Light Operational Vehicle (LOV) contract. The initial order, for approaching 200 soft-skin vehicles, would represent another major order for the company, which has already ramped up production at both its Guildford and Fareham plants to meet the UK MoD's 400-vehicle 4x4 TUM (FFR) contract.
All the New Zealand vehicles would be based on the latest 6x6 version of the Pinzgauer, with automatic transmission. The requirement includes general service (canvas-top), command (hard-top), workshop, ambulance and weapons platform variants.
Commenting on the announcement, ATL Director David Findlay said, "Becoming the preferred supplier is an important step towards our winning the contract. It also represents another important milestone for ATL - as it further recognises the growing importance of the Pinzgauer within the international defence market.
"Military thinking about the future shape and capability of forces worldwide has already defined a vital and strategic role for rapid-reaction, light, highly mobile and air-portable forces, which can be deployed into theatre, complete with vehicles, equipment and logistics support, at very short notice. This is exactly the role and environment for which the Pinzgauer is almost uniquely suited. Our ability to adapt and develop the Pinzgauer for an increasingly wide range of operational roles is directly compatible with that military culture", he said.
The new LOV vehicles will replace a fleet of ageing Land Rovers.