CombatGuard – Straight from Mad Max

IMI CombatGuard - smallThere were some interesting developments at the Defence & Security 2015 exhibition in Bangkok from 2-5 November. Chaiseri showed an updated First Win and announced an export to the Philippines, while the DTI Black Widow Spider 8×8 armoured vehicle is showing signs of maturing.

There was only one outdoors exhibit, but what an exhibit it was when it strutted (putted) its way around an obstacle course with ease! Indeed, Israel Military Industries (IMI) had brought its CombatGuard extreme off-road armoured vehicle to Asia for the first time.

The 4×4 CombatGuard would look very much at home in a Mad Max movie thanks to its impressive appearance and size. With a maximum combat weight of 8t (including a 2t payload), it has a remarkable 700mm ground clearance and it runs on massive 54-inch tyres.

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A driver took the CombatGuard over an obstacle course near the Impact Exhibition centre venue, including 45º slopes, a fascine bundle, a torture track and, ultimately, a car-crushing spectacle. The Israeli vehicle took every single one of these obstacles in its stride. Its ability to drive over and crush cars illustrated its suitability for operations in an urban environment.

IMI previously introduced CombatGuard at Eurosatory 2014 (video here), but a spokesman revealed to Shephard that it has already found a customer. With the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) providing feedback to IMI during the vehicle’s development, it may be surmised that the IDF is the initial client.

The vehicle takes lessons learned from Israel’s recent conflicts and persistent security threats, offering high manoeuvrability with good protection levels. Perceived roles include border patrol, scout, command, combat intelligence collection and communications support.

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The first prototype was a two-door fast attack vehicle, while the second variant appearing in Bangkok was a longer 4-door assault vehicle. Options include the fitting of IMI’s Bright Arrow active protection system and a remote-controlled weapon station if you really want to beef up its firepower.

The monocoque armoured capsule fitted onto a custom space frame chassis can contain up to eight personnel, while a V-shaped plate underneath provides protection against mines and improvised explosive devices.

The vehicle can achieve speeds of 150km/h on roads thanks to a General Motors 6.5-litre turbodiesel engine producing 300hp. The CombatGuard uses a racing-type four-speed semi-automatic transmission, and it has two transfer cases.

No front or rear overhang means that the vehicle offers an approach/departure angle of 90°, and it can climb vertical steps up to 800mm high. It can easily handle a 70% gradient, and ford water up to 1.5m deep just in case you need to cross some rivers.

All in all, the CombatGuard is an ideal vehicle to overcome Bangkok’s traffic jams, or pretty much any military scenario you might find yourself in.

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