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MacNeillie rolls out PPV challenger

MacNeillie : 15 June, 2007  (New Product)
MacNeillie rolls out PPV challenger
MACS (Military Armoured Carrier System) draws on best practice high security and armoured protection experience

S. MacNeillie & Son, the West Midlands based armoured and security vehicle bodybuilder, has rolled out its own design to meet current and future military Protected Patrol Vehicle requirements, such as that for the UK MoD. The MACS (Military Armoured Carrier System) concept has been developed to be adaptable for a number of specifications, configurations, protection levels, payloads - and gross weights from 9.5 – 14 tonnes. The company also plans to manufacture and assemble the new unit at its Walsall plant. The new vehicle will be shown for the first time at next month's Defence Vehicle dynamics Show at Millbrook, Bedfordshire, UK.

Starting from a clean sheet – and in only a few months – MacNeillie engineers have designed, built and fully integrated a versatile monocoque armoured body shell, with a standard COTS (Commercial Off The Self) high mobility 4x4 powertrain, running gear and componentry. The base level vehicle can be deployed as a protected personnel carrier – or progressively up-armoured and up-rated to provide higher levels of protection and payload capacity if required. The design is also capable of accommodating a wide range of equipment, both internally and externally – and other variants of the basic platform may follow.

MacNeillie Engineering Director, Chris Taylor says, 'We have a wealth of experience in the design and build of armoured and protected bodies for a range of vehicle applications. The MACS concept draws on all that specialist knowledge – and then integrates standard COTS components. We believe that this approach offers military users a better solution than starting with a complete proprietary production vehicle – and then trying to upgrade its protection to meet operational requirements'.

The basic monocoque body shell is built of high grade steel, armoured with up to 6.5 nominal steel and spall liner, giving ballistics and blast protection to acknowledged international standards. The specification can be significantly upgraded, with the addition of appliquι Armour – and special V-shaped belly plates and wheel-arch protection, to mitigate IED threats. In addition, body width of the basic vehicle has been contained within the track, to allow stand-off protection to be carried without excessive overhang. Wheel and tyre equipment incorporates standard, in-service run-flat systems.

'We have quite deliberately taken a staged and modular approach to the programme. At one level, military users and procurement organisations want a COTS solution, which is fully supportable from the integrated logistics standpoint. But they also need to achieve the right balance for the role between protection levels, payload capability, performance and mobility', says Chris Taylor. 'The operational demands and conditions in theatre may be very different from those encountered during a normal peacekeeping mission. We believe that the new MACS vehicle system offers a practical and cost-effective way to cover both operational requirements – with one vehicle concept, upgradeable as required'.

Despite its internal volume and capacity, the overall dimensions of the MACS PPV are compact for class - 5770mm long, 2360mm wide and 2445mm high - not least to meet air portability and C130 compatibility requirements. The 3270mm wheelbase provides optimum weight distribution and balance, whilst giving steep approach and departure angles front and rear of over 40Ί - and a break-over angle of almost 30Ί. Subject to operational configuration and equipment inventory, gross weight can be constrained to enable heli-lift by CH47 rotorcraft.

Internal accommodation is generous, allowing seated accommodation for driver and commander – plus up to seven troops. Dimensions are based on minimum 100 percentile plus personnel, with full battle kit and weaponry. A range of seat options, configurations and mounting arrangements will be available. Importantly, the centre of gravity – and thus the double-skinned floor and step height – has been kept low enough to allow troops to deploy forwards facing on departure from the wide, twin rear doors. Fully armoured glass window apertures also allow the crew to maintain full situational awareness – a potential problem with totally enclosed carriers.

Payloads vary according to specification – between 2500 kg and 3000 kg for the base vehicle at 10 tonnes gvw - and between 5000 kg and 6000 kg for the 14 tonnes gvw variant. In addition, the chassis is able to accommodate towing equipment and a power take-off capability is also available. The centre aisle of the rear compartment is wide enough to accommodate a range of EOD equipment in transit, a further role for which the unit can be configured.

Given anticipated operational environments, MACS is specified with a high capacity, high efficiency air conditioning system. Moreover, the vehicle cooling system is hydraulically driven, allowing the fan to run at full power, whether stationary or on the move. Additional stowage and racking can be installed rearward of the driver for radio communications, additional ancillary equipment and ECM, as required. The vehicle supports a 24-volt high capacity, NATO compliant electrical system. The MACS roof panel is designed to accommodate a range of hatch configurations, including the increasingly favoured protected ringmount or remote weapon station.

The new MACS PPV vehicle uses Mercedes-Benz Unimog running gear and powertrain, built around a rugged, purpose-built MacNeillie channel section chassis. Importantly, the design allows for the major vehicle service and control lines to be routed within the protected envelope. The base level specification, 10 tonne gross weight vehicle uses the Mercedes-Benz OM 904 LA 4.2 litre 4-cylinder diesel engine. The 14 tonne MPPV configuration uses the more powerful Euro 4, 4.8 litre 4-cylinder in-line turbocharged and intercooled unit from the U5000, developing 218 bhp (160 Kw) and 810 Nm of torque.

Standard transmission on both is an 8-forward, 6-reverse electro-pneumatic (EPS) gearbox and integrated transfer box, driving through portal axles, with differential locks front and rear. A 16-forward and 12-reverse option is also available. This, coupled with coil sprung fully independent suspension, delivers exceptional driveability and mobility in rough terrain, whilst preserving adequate road speed for convoy and highway movement.

The MACS design concept also provides a level of flexibility in the chassis layout, which could enable alternative powertrains to be accommodated if required. Currently, around 25% of the company's output is for export around the world. Similarly specified MacNeillie monocoque armoured personnel carriers are in service with military users, including the New Zealand MoD. The company also builds a wide range of armoured, protected and soft-skin vehicles for defence, homeland security and emergency services applications. About a quarter of its production is for military applications.
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