Modern combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq revealed to the United States Army (and the observing world for that matter) the need for up-armored wheeled vehicles. While this was partially resolved with "Up-Armored" HUMVEE trucks, there stood room for improvement which then gave rise to a new category of combat vehicle - the "MRAP" (Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected). Such vehicles had their birth in the Bush Wars of South Africa during the 1960s and 1970s and South African engineers eventually responded with new vehicles of excellent survivability.
Taking a page out of the West's armored warfare playbook now is the "Kirpi" (translated to "Hedgehog") MRAP designed, developed and produced locally in Turkey by BMC. The series has been adopted by the Turkish Army and has seen combat exposure in the ongoing Syrian Civil War (2011-Present). Other operators include Tunisia and Turkmenistan. The Turkish Land Forces currently (2017) have on hand 420 Kirpi vehicles with some 530 on order. Special police units have also been given the type, this adding a further 200 to the total.
As an MRAP, the Kirpi is specially designed to withstand normal and "beyond normal" battlefield dangers - from small arms fire and artillery spray to hidden mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Furthermore, the hull is designed in the typical V-shape to help deflect blasts from the core of the truck while, internally, there are absorption systems built in to further protection the occupants from the blast impact - which can be deadlier than the explosion itself.
The Kirpi is powered by a 375 horsepower diesel engine fitted to the bow of the truck in the usual way and this is mated to an automatic transmission system. Both a 4x4 and 6x6 wheeled configuration are available offering high-ground clearance as well as good balance. Over the top of the hull roof is a hatch typically mounting a manually-controlled machine gun though a Remote Weapon Station (RWS) can also be fitted and operated by a crewman from the fighting cabin. up to fifteen combat-equipped troopers can be ferried in the passenger section of the hull. The tires are of the run-flat variety and the vehicle is given such features as air conditioning, Automatic Fire Suppression System (AFSS) and leaf spring suspension. Along the sides of the vehicle are firing ports to be used by the passengers. Window blocks are reinforced against small caliber bullets.
Overall weight is 16 tons and dimensions include a length of 6 meters (short-hulled version) with a width of 2.5 meters and a height of 2.8 meters.
The Kirpi is driven by either a Cummins ISBE 275 or 350 series diesel engine (horsepower output is in the names) and the transmission system is the Allison 3000 Type 3000SP series. All told, the vehicle can reach speeds of 60 kmh out to 1,000 kilometers.
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