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A Casspir de-mining at the Bagram Air Base
|Type||Infantry mobility vehicle|
|Place of origin||South Africa|
|Length||6.9 m (22.64 ft)|
|Width||2.45 m (8.04 ft)|
|Height||2.85 m (9.35 ft)|
|various: 3 x 7.62 mm MG or 20 mm cannon|
|12 firing ports|
|Engine||Atlantis Diesel Engines OM352A turbo-charged diesel
The Casspir is a landmine-protected infantry mobility vehicle that has been in use in South Africa for over 30 years. It is a four-wheeled vehicle, used for transport of troops. It can hold a crew of two, plus 12 additional soldiers and associated gear. The Casspir was unique in design when launched, providing for passive mine defence. The main body of the vehicle is raised high above the ground, so when a mine is detonated, the explosion is less likely to damage the crew compartment and kill the occupants. The cross-section of the hull is V-shaped, directing the force of the explosion outwards, further protecting the occupants. The vehicle is also armoured for added mine safety, as well as protection from small arms fire. The Casspir was the inspiration and prototype for the U.S. Marines' MRAP project.
The name 'Casspir' is an anagram of the abbreviations of the customer, the South African Police (SAP), and the design authority, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR - Applied Chemistry Unit that later became MECHEM). Although the Casspir was deployed in townships during the apartheid era, it was initially designed specifically for conditions encountered in the South African Border War. In particular, this conflict called for protection from land mines combined with high manoeuvrability to cover long distances - these requirements led to the distinctive V-shaped hull (for mine protection) and a wheeled chassis.
The Casspir was designed by the CSIR specifically to protect vehicle occupants against landmines. It is certified to protect its occupants against a triple TM-57 mine blast (equivalent to 21 kg of TNT) under a wheel, or a double blast (14 kg of TNT) under the hull. The Casspir has V-bottomed armoured monocoque hull, designed to deflect the force of an explosion outwards, to which a leaf-spring suspension is attached.
About 200 Casspir Mk1s were originally built by the CSIR in 1979/80. The production was taken over by TFM in 1981, which improved the design to the Mk 2. Some 2500 Casspir series APCs were built by TFM of South Africa, which was subsequently taken over by Reumech OMC. Reumech in turn was taken over by Vickers Defence Systems of the UK and renamed Vickers OMC. When Alvis purchased Vickers Defence Systems to become Alvis Vickers, Vickers OMC became Alvis OMC. In 2004 BAE Systems acquired Alvis Vickers and Alvis OMC was renamed Land Systems OMC. A new Casspir known as Casspir 2000 is being manufactured by Mechem.
- Casspir Mk 1 First use in combat: Koevoet, South West African Police
- Casspir Mk 2 First user: 101 Battalion, South West African Territorial Force
- Casspir Mk 2C (I)
- Casspir Mk 3 - 170 hp (127 kW) ADE-352T 6-cylinder turbo-diesel
- Ordnance Factories Board of India's MPV
- Casspir 2000 (Mercedes Benz Based)
- Casspir 2000B (Powerstar - North Benz Based)
The Casspir was built in different configurations:
- APC - armoured personnel carrier
- Artillery Fire Control vehicle
- Blesbok Freighter - with drop side cargo area for up to 5 tons (160 built). Can be used as a weapon platform.
- Duiker Tanker - 5000 litres tank (30 built)
- FISTV - Fire Support Team vehicle
- Gemsbok Recovery vehicle - 15-ton capacity (30 built)
- Mechem Mine clearing vehicle - uses steel wheels to detonate mines
- MEDDS (Mechem Explosives and Drug Detection System) Mine Sensor vehicle
- Mechem VAMMIDS (Vehicular Array Mine Detection System) Vehicle
- Plofadder Mine clearing System - carrier of the containerised Plofadder 160AT rocket-propelled mine clearing system
- Riot Control vehicle - Police version with larger windows to increase visibility
- Mechem LP (Low-Profile) and short-wheelbase vehicle
- Angola: 16
- Benin: 10 Casspir 2000 on order
- Burundi: 10
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Djibouti: 10
- India: 90 in use by the Indian Army
- Indonesia: Used by Kopassus
- Malawi: 12
- Mozambique: 15
- Namibia: 20 inherited from the South West African Territorial Force.
- Nepal: 37
- Peru: Policía Nacional del Peru (DIROES)
- Senegal: 9
- Sierra Leone: 3
- South Africa: 370 in South African Army service.
- United States: 68
- Angolan Civil War
- Caprivi conflict
- Iraq War
- Namibian War of Independence
- Second Congo War
- South African Border War
- African Union Mission to Somalia
- Casspirs premiered in film during Richard Stanley's Dust Devil and Allan Eastman's Danger Zone, which showcased several working examples of the South African Police Service. Casspirs of the apartheid-era security forces were subsequently depicted by films such as Goodbye Bafana, Endgame, Invictus, Catch a Fire, The Bang Bang Club, and In My Country, often set during South Africa's political violence in the early 1990s.
- In an allegorical reflection of their township deployments during P.W. Botha's administration, several Casspirs owned by Johannesburg conglomerate "Multi-National United" are deployed against invading aliens during the popular 2009 film District 9 and its prequel, Alive in Joburg.
- Insurgents loyal to the Revolutionary United Front destroy a Sierra Leonean Casspir with an RPG-7 during the Siege of Freetown, as dramatized in the 2006 political war-thriller Blood Diamond.
- Some Namibia Defence Force Casspirs were mocked up as South West African Police vehicles for the 2007 independence epic Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation. Casspirs later reappeared in the Namibian setting for Death Race 3: Inferno.
- Decommissioned Casspirs have made brief cameos in the Gorillaz music video "Dirty Harry", and the Lucky Dube single "Taxman".
- Fictitious mercenaries employ a white Casspir in Angola during the 1999 video game Shadow Company: Left For Dead.
- Buffalo (mine protected vehicle), a Casspir-based 6 wheeled vehicle built by Force Protection Inc
- Cougar (vehicle)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Casspir.|
- "Casspir". GlobalSecurity.org.
- "Mechem sells CASSPIR 2000s to Benin and the UN". DefenceWeb. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- "Denel Introduces the Next Generation Casspir 2000 Mine Resistant Vehicle". Deagel.com. 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- Independent Newspapers Online. "A chance to own a Casspir". Independent Online. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- "2011 February". Sadfgroup.org. 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- Leon Engelbrecht. "South African Arms Exports". Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- "Benin puchases ten Casspir 2000 4x4 mine protected vehicle from South African Company Mechem 1002133 - Army Recognition". Armyrecognition.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- "Scramble for the Congo - Anatomy of an Ugly War". ICG Africa. 2000-12-20. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "An MRAP for India". Defenseindustrydaily.com. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- John Pike. "Casspir". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- "UN Register". Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- "home". Army.mil.za. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
- UPDF peace Keepers return from Somalia. 19 June 2010. ""We went [to Somalia] with Mambas, now we have graduated to Casspirs", Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala - Ugandan Commander, Land Forces"