Denel Mechem developing smaller Casspir
Denel Mechem is busy developing a smaller version of its Casspir armoured personnel carrier in response to market demand, with the new variant aimed at urban operations. Jack Geldenhuys, Senior Manager MPV and Ancillary at Denel Mechem, told defenceWeb that his company had been exploring the possibility of producing a lighter, more compact version of the Casspir for the last five years, but only began development around three years ago. A short Casspir, based on the old models and known as Casspir Short, was produced for demining, and this was identified as having potential for use in urban areas, as the standard Casspir can be cumbersome in tight built up spaces – the United States, for example, found that its mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles were sometimes too large and heavy for narrow roads and bridges in Afghanistan. Geldenhuys said that feedback from peacekeeping force commanders was that the Casspir is very good except it struggles in narrow spaces like alleyways. Whereas the standard Casspir seats ten to twelve soldiers in addition to the driver and co-driver, the new Casspir, which is shorter and wider than the existing model, will seat six to eight plus the drivers, with passengers facing outwards instead of inwards. The compact Casspir will share the same drivetrain as the Casspir NG series, as well as standard B6+ ballistic protection, although this can be upgraded to B7 by applying a specially designed add-on armour kit. It will be able to use a variety of drivetrains, such as Mercedes or Powerstar. Mechem hopes to have the new Casspir available for testing at Gerotek in July or August, and unveil the vehicle at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition in September, possibly fitting it with a mineroller system on the front.