The use of APCs on urban streets leads invariably to ‘tanks quell riot’ headlines in the media, and thus a spate of public unease. Moreover, both tracked and wheeled APCs are very expensive to maintain and not optimised for internal security (IS) operations. It was this and other reasons that persuaded the British army to retain obsolete wheeled APCs for use in Northern Ireland, and wheeled APC manufactures also offer specialised IS variants of battlefield vehicles. For a variety of reasons tracked APCs are not suited for the IS role, so many companies have designed wheeled vehicles for use in IS operations. The hull of such vehicles must provide protection against attack with762-mm (0.3-in) rifle projectiles. In som countries the terrorist’s most commonly employed weapon is the mine, often laid in culverts under roads in remoter areas and intended for detonation when a military or para-military vehicle runs over it. If the mine is a standard antipersonnel mine or small anti tank mine, the vehicle designer can help to minimise the amount of damage inflicted on the vehicle by careful design of the hull armour. The design ensures that the blast is deflected sideways and upward, and thus not contained under the hull of the vehicle, which would lead to the vehicle being lifted and turned over or alternatively to having its lower surface penetrated by the blast. For example, the British Saxon vehicle has an integral hull with the areas above the wheels manufactured of sheet steel so that they blow off should a mine detonate under the vehicle. The South African Rhino and Bulldog have a V-shaped lower hull raised well above the wheels so that if the vehicle runs over a mine it is the wheels and suspension that take the blast.
Preference for diesel
The designers and users of IS vehicles prefer diesel engines to petrol engines because diesel fuel is of lower volatility than petrol and therefore does not catch fire as easily. The commander, driver and troops must have all-round fields of vision through windows providing the same degree of protection as the rest of the hull. The commander’s and driver’s windows must have wipers and a reservoir of special cleaning liquids to ensure that paint thrown by demonstrators is removed speedily.
The means of entry and exit must be as numerous and large as possible. If the main door is at the rear and the vehicle is ambushed from the rear, for example, the occupants cannot leave the vehicle in safety unless they also have access to side doors. Moreover, the doors and handles must be designed so that unauthorised entry is not possible, and there should be no external fittings that rioters could use to help them climb onto the vehicle.
The tyres must be of the run-flat type to enable the vehicle to be driven some distance after the tyres have been damaged by bullets. The vehicles should also have a fire detection and suppression system, especially around the wheel arches as rioters often throw petrol bombs at any IS vehicle’s rubber tyres. The roof must be sloped so that grenades roll off before exploding. The openings around the doors and the engine compartment must be carefully designed so that any flaming liquid from petrol bombs runs down to the ground and not into the vehicle.
As the troops or police may have to stay inside the vehicle for considerable periods, the interior must be insulated and provided with a heating/cooling system. The seats must have belts because if the vehicle does run over a mine, many of the casualties could result from occupants being thrown around the vehicle’s interior. Adequate stowage space must be provided for riot shields, weapons and other essential equipment.
Some IS vehicles are fitted with turred-mounted 12.7- or 762-mm (0.5- or 0.3-in) machine-guns, while other have a simple armoured observation cupola for the commander. Specialised equipment such as a barricade remover at the front of the vehicle is standard on some vehicles, while others have provision to be outfitted as command post vehicles or ambulances. The type can also be used to carry EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) teams and their equipment, and it is common for IS vehicle to carry water cannon or gas grenade launchers.
Some countries use standard military wheeled APCs for the IS role while others prefer to operate cheaper vehicle based on standard light truck chassis such as those from Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover.
APCs for the IS role
Some wheeled APCs are used in an internal security role. These include the MOWAG Roland, MR 8 and Piranha ranges of 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 vehicles, AV Technology Dragoon, Cadillac Gage Commando family and Commando Ranger, Humber ‘Pig’ Alvis Saracen, GKN Sankey AT 105 Saxon, ENGESA EE-11 Urutu, SIBMAS, Vickers Defence Systems/BDX Valkyr, Fiat Tipo 6614, Renault VAB, Berliet VXB-170, Panhard VCR and MS, ACMAT, BMR-600 and BLR-600, Ratel, Transportpanzer, Condor and Soviet BTR series.
IS vehicles based on a Mercedes-Benz chassis from Germany include the UR-416 delivered from 1969, and also the more recent TM 170 and TM 125. Since 1965 Shorts of Northern Ireland has built very substantial numbers of its Shorland armoured patrol car, and 1974 introduced the Shorland SB 401 Hotspur of Wales has also developed APCs in 4×4 and 6×6 configurations on the Land Rover chassis.
The Fiat 11A7 A Campagnola 4×4 light vehicle is used by many countries, so the Advanced Security Agency SpA of Milan developed the Guardian range of 4×4 IS and now offers such vehicles on the original Fiat chassis and also on those of the Land Rover One Ten and Mercedes-Benz 280 GE.
In addition to making the Piranha range of 4×4 and 6×6 vehicles under licence, Chile also builds the VTP 2 which is similar in some respects to the German Thyssen IS vehicle, and the Multi 163 APC that is also used to patrol airports and otjer high-risk areas. The Bravia company of Portugal has built the Chaimite range of 4×4 APCs in variants almost identical to the V-100 family by Cadillac Gage, which has built for the US Army National Guard the Commando Mk III APC that is similar in basic concept to the Shorland vehicles, although somewhat larger.
While Western countries have, over the years, developed many types of vehicle suitable for use in IS operations, up to the time of its collapse the Warsaw Pact countries in general and the USSR in particular did not develop vehicles specifically for this role.
Events in Afghanistan then revealed that the BTR-60 and BTR-70 series of 8×8 APCs suffered from a number of drawbacks in the IS role. Some of the vehicles were fitted additional armour protection and more firepower, including an AGS 17 grenade launcher.
Some time ago East Germany built two types of vehicles for IS operations in the form of the SK-1 armoured car and the SK-2 armoured water cannon. The SK-1 was armed with a turret-mounted machine-gun. The SK-2 armoured water cannon was built on the chassis of the G5 6×6 truck, and on its roof to the rear of cab had a high-pressure water cannon.
|Alvis OMC Casspir Mk III
|Dimensions||Length 6.87 m (22 ft 6,5 in); width 2.45 m (8 ft 0,5 in); height 3.125 m (10 ft 3 in)|
|Powerplant||One ADE-352T liquid-cooled 6-cylinder diesel developing 127 kW (170 hp)|
|Performance||Maximum roa speed 90 km/h (56 mph); maximum road range 850 km (528 miles); folding 1 m (3 ft 3,5 in), gradient 65 per cent; vertical obstacle o.5 m (1 ft 7,5 in); trench 1.06m ( 3 ft 5,5 in)|
|Armament||Between one and three 7.62-mm (0.3-in) machine-guns|