Recent wars, particularly the war in Iraq and the continued
hostilities in South Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank raised
the army's concerns about the vulnerability of utility and
wheeled combat vehicles. While sufficient bulletproof protection
is available with most up-armored vehicles, counter-mine and
particularly counter-IED remain an issue, as both solutions
require significant weight increase, which cannot be met with
common light platforms.
protection is even more problematic, as, lacking the availability
of proven active protection systems, current countermeasures
require the use of explosive reactive armor (ERA), which is
not suitable for "thin skin" armored vehicles. The
latest models of ERA, comprising low-burning or insensitive
explosives are more suitable for lightweight platforms such
as armored trucks and, in fact, preliminary designs are already
in development for armored trucks, to be used as heavy troop
carriers or armored infantry carriers, optimized for urban
Several types of mine-protected armored trucks are in service.
Some of these designs are based on commercial chassis, including
those manufactured by Ford International and Unimog, trading
most of their payload with an armored hull, leaving enough
capacity to accommodate the crew, troops and mission payload
(usually, around two tons). Most vehicles are utilizing a
monocoque V shaped armored hull to with blast mitigating single
or double floor, protecting against mine blast and bottom
or roadside IEDs.
Typical examples include Force Protection Cougar,
BAE Systems RG-31,
Australian Bushmaster – all three are currently are
in service with coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Similar designs are used in the South African Casspir, Indian
OFB Trojan and the
Israeli Zeev (Wolf), which recently entered operational service
with the 900th Infantry Brigade (urban warfare specialist).
New vehicles currently undergoing various phases of development
include the Sand-Cat,
from Plasan Sasa, Golan
from RAFAEL and PVI, the RG-33L
from BAE Systems, and the WildCat,
currently under development at IMI. Another design is the
Oryx, from International Trucks and Engines.