Friday, January 28, 2011

Piranha/LAV III STRYKER and Mowag Piranha IV APC

The biggest single success for the Piranha/LAV was the US Army’s selection of the 8 x 8 LAV III to meet its medium armoured vehicle requirement. More than 2,690 Stryker vehicles in 10 variants have been ordered to equip seven Stryker brigade combat teams (SBCTs) and additional vehicles, such as command and ambulance variants, are expected to be ordered for use outside the SBCTs. The Stryker’s steel hull, as with other Piranha/LAV III models, will defeat 7.62mm armour piercing rounds and its ceramic appliqu” armour protects against 14.5mm rounds and 152mm airburst. Strykers in Iraq are fitted with ‘slat armour’, a wire cage around the vehicle, to disrupt RPGs before they reach the vehicle’s armour. The slat armour adds about to 2.5 tons to the Stryker’s weight and the additional bulk restricts the vehicle’s mobility in some urban situation. The army in now equipping a portion of the Stryker fleet with explosive reactive armour which weighs 3.5 tons but improves the vehicle’s survivability.
In 2001 Mowag completed the first prototype of the larger Piranha IV which has a combat weight of up to 25t, including a 10t payload, although it is still air transportable in C-130 aircraft. The new vehicle offers greater internal volume, higher payload, better armour protection and improved mobility compared to the Piranha III. Komatsu, which has a licence to manufacture the vehicle in Japan, is developing a prototype modified to meet the specifications of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. The JGSDF is seeking a family of 8 x 8 vehicles including an IFV, APC, mortar, anti-tank, air defence, command and control, reconnaissance and self-propelled howitzer variants. The Piranha being developed for the UK is expected to weigh 27-28t.

The baseline Piranha IV fitted with a roof-mounted 12.7mm machine gun is fully air-portable in a C-130 Hercules aircraft with shoring. When fitted with the enhanced armour package and a two-person General Dynamics Land Systems turret, armed with a 30mm cannon, it can weigh up to 25 tonnes. Standard equipment for the Piranha IV includes digitised vehicle information system, height-adjustable semi-active hydropneumatic suspension, a central tyre-inflation system with run-flat cores, anti-lock braking system and powered steering on the front four wheels. Unlike earlier Piranha vehicles, the latest Piranha IV is not amphibious.


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