Earlier in 2006 Defense Update had the opportunity to ride the new
Sand Cat armored
concept vehicle developed by Plasan Sasa.
Traveling through dirt roads and fields of the mountains of the upper Galilee,
just outside the Plasan's R&D and production center at Kibbutz Sasa we
appreciated the excellent handling and acceleration of the vehicle. Unlike noisy
armored vehicles, this ride was surprisingly quiet. The six liter engine was
humming along just normally, as we maneuvered the vehicle through steep and
narrow roads of the Kibbutz, demonstrating extremely tight turns. We continued
dashing at high speed on the perimeter road, and off-road, through fields, to
demonstrate patrol missions profiles.
the ride, the vehicle demonstrated a quiet, soft ride, good road handling, and
maneuverability using power steering and the torque-shift automatic 5 speed
transmission, effectively managing the power to sustain a smooth ride, even over
rough terrain and steep slopes. Adding to the comfort and confidence are
significant power reserves of the V8, 325 hp turbo diesel (a gasoline powered
version is also available for even quieter performance), leaving ample capacity
for effective air conditioning. Despite the narrow side windows, sideways
visibility was unobstructed, through the thick, transparent armored windows,
while the bullet-proof one-piece windshield provided clear forward view.
Compared to the claustrophobic experienced and hard rides experienced with some
up-armored vehicles, and most armored personnel carriers, this compact armored
vehicle is quite comfortable. It is fitted with Autoflug safety seats to further
improve blast protection. These seats absorb the majority of impact forces in an
event of a mine blast, improving the survivability of the crew. (The vehicle is
also equipped with an integral fire suppression system in case a fire erupts
after such explosion).
Equipped for long missions, the spacious internal volume leaves much space for
mission and personal equipment. The original configuration uses an external
baggage compartment and open cargo compartment, accessible from the protected
hull via two access doors. The newly redesigned configuration uses internal
stowage compartments and a full size access door, which can be lowered into a
ramp. The hull can be configured to accommodate an open stretcher, loaded from
the side or rear access doors. The wide, flat guards installed on each side of
the vehicle enable placement for antennae mounts, eliminating the need for
drilling into the armor.