The world of military vehicles is as shrouded in secrecy and mystery as it is intriguing to anyone with an interest in all things on wheels. While tanks and massive, strange-looking trucks have as much to do with everyday cars as your local garage does with the NASA space programme, British firm Ricardo has thrown up a fascinating point that could make the crossover from military to company fleets.
What Ricardo has cleverly, and almost too obviously, offered up is to refurbish the British Army’s Pinzgauer off-road lightweight trucks. A bit larger than a Land Rover , or Snatch 2 in Army parlance, the Pinzgauer also has another name when in khaki service and the Army refers to it as a Vector.
The Vector is a lightly armoured vehicle that is used for carrying troops or as a command vehicle. It has been in service with the British Army since 2007 as the Vector, which means some of these vehicles have seen considerable active service.
In the current atmosphere of austerity, Ricardo’s plan to refurbish these multi-purpose, go-anywhere trucks is a great idea. It means the Pinzgauers will remain in service for longer, anywhere up to 15 years more according to Ricardo, and it also allows the trucks to be upgraded.
Among the upgrades on offer from Ricardo for the Pinzgauer, it can have its turbodiesel engine’s performance enhanced by up to 10% and the payload capacity doubled to 1500kg.
On top of these changes, Ricardo can also offer upgrades to give the vehicle more cabin space and comfort, better suspension and uprated electrical systems. Better protection against ballistics and bomb blasts can also be fitted to the Pinzgauer, which says a lot about the conditions and countries where these vehicles are expected to operate.
By any measure, those are improvements worth having and turn the existing Pinzgauer into a far more effective machine that will fulfil its role in the military far better and for much longer.
Ricardo’s global market director for defence, Peter Moore, says: “The Pinzgauer has been an extremely effective vehicle with UK forces and many other military users around the world.
“However, existing operational fleets are approaching the end of their expected life and are considered uncompetitive with new platforms in terms of performance and crew protection.
“Using Ricardo’s in-depth engineering knowledge and resource, we believe the Pinzgauer can be effectively life-extended to provide a valuable and cost-effective military capability.”