Special operations forces require equally-special tools to complete their missions and so this tends to spearhead procurement of specialized vehicles by some military forces of the world. In 2004, the German Army began operating the "Light Infantry Vehicle for Special Operations" - or "LIV(SO)" - for its special operations members and some twenty-one vehicles were eventually taken on. The vehicle, designed and built by the storied concern of Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH, is a 7,700lb product designed for the rigors of the New Battlefield - influenced largely by combat actions in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters of war. The LIV is also known under the names of "Wolf", "Serval" and the "Reconnaissance & Combat Vehicle" (AGF).
Rheinmetall received the official working contract for the LIV in March of 2002. This then spurred quick development of the vehicle which spanned a short ten months - the vehicle being based on the Daimler-Chrysler "Wolf G 270 CDI") - resulting in first-batch-deliveries commencing in January of 2003.
The truck has a length of 5.6 meters and a width of 2.5 meters with a height of 2.3 meters. The typical operating crew is four. Power is from a DC270 CDI EURO III 5-cylinder diesel unit of 154 horsepower output. The engine is coupled to a 5-speed automatic transmission system and, all told, the vehicle can reach road speeds of 75 miles per hour out to ranges of 520 miles.
The LIV is designed to excel at reconnaissance and combat support roles. As such it retains all of the acceptable qualities of other off-road military vehicles such as cross-country performance all the while being able to support ground force operations through machine gun and grenade fire. The RLS 609K weapon station is fitted over the passenger compartment for this very purpose. It accepts a 40mm Heckler & Koch GMG automatic grenade launcher or a 12.7mm heavy machine gun. Secondary armament, fitted either forward (passenger side) or aft on the truck (on pivoting arms), can be 1 or 2 x MG3 series 7.62mm general purpose machine gun(s) - this is in addition to any personal weapons already being carried by the occupants.
Survivability features include armor protection along the floor, run-flat tires, a whole-compartment roll bar and a built-in smoke screening capability within the bumper component. Armor panels can be added to further protect against small arms fire and artillery "spray" and bullet-resistant glass is optional.
This combat truck has a conventional arrangement which seats the driver at front-left with the engine compartment directly ahead. The compartment is reinforced by a large ram bar fitted to the nose of the vehicle. There is seating for at least three others in the crew compartment. The road wheels are spaced well apart in the design for good balance and offer a decent amount of ground clearance. Drive power is to all four wheels. The LIV is fully-capable of being airlifted by a medium-lift helicopter or in the belly of a C-130 Hercules or similar fixed-wing platform - making it a true tactical tool.
The Swiss Army is another notable operator of the LIV, the service having received several examples during 2007.
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