Casspir

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Casspir Mk3
Casspir vehicle Ai101503g1.jpg
A Casspir de-mining at the Bagram Air Base
Type Infantry mobility vehicle
Place of origin  South Africa
Specifications
Weight 10.88 t
Length 6.9 m (22.64 ft)
Width 2.45 m (8.04 ft)
Height 2.85 m (9.35 ft)
Crew 2+12

Main
armament
various: 3 x 7.62 mm MG or 20 mm cannon
Secondary
armament
12 firing ports
Engine Atlantis Diesel Engines OM352A turbo-charged diesel
124 kW
Suspension 4×4-wheeled
Operational
range
770 km

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.

Design history[edit]

A Casspir at the South African Police Museum, Pretoria

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).[1] 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.[1]

Production history[edit]

A Casspir at the South African Police Museum, Pretoria. A view from the back.

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.[2][3]

The South African Police Service auctioned off their surplus Casspirs to the public at a 2008 auction.[4]

Variants[edit]

The Casspir was built in different configurations:

  • APC - armoured personnel carrier[5]
  • Artillery Fire Control vehicle
  • Ambulance
  • 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

Operators[edit]

Burundi National Defence soldiers demonstrate squad movements with a Casspir during a mechanized infantry course

Combat history[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

  • 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Casspir". GlobalSecurity.org. 
  2. ^ "Mechem sells CASSPIR 2000s to Benin and the UN". DefenceWeb. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  3. ^ "Denel Introduces the Next Generation Casspir 2000 Mine Resistant Vehicle". Deagel.com. 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  4. ^ A chance to own a Casspir
  5. ^ "2011 February". Sadfgroup.org. 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h South African Arms Exports
  7. ^ "Benin puchases ten Casspir 2000 4x4 mine protected vehicle from South African Company Mechem 1002133 - Army Recognition". Armyrecognition.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  8. ^ "Scramble for the Congo - Anatomy of an Ugly War". ICG Africa. 2000-12-20. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "An MRAP for India". Defenseindustrydaily.com. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  10. ^ http://www.egyptmineaction.com/web/en/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Casper.pdf
  11. ^ John Pike. "Casspir". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  12. ^ UN Register
  13. ^ "home". Army.mil.za. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  14. ^ 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" 

External links[edit]