The growing need by national armies for more Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles spurred Paramount Group of South Africa to develop a line of such trucks for military and security service. The "Matador" is one offering intended to serve in the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) role. It features such MRAP standards as a V-shaped hull, a specialized armor scheme, and specialized seating - all designed to protect the occupants within. The Matador was introduced in 2008 and is currently marketed by Paramount Group - having found operators in Azerbaijan and Jordan to date (2017). Azerbaijan reached an agreement with the company to fabricate the vehicles locally.
The general layout of the Matador is conventional with the engine fitted to a front compartment, the driver's position just aft of this, and a passenger section seated over the rear of the hull. Thick, rectangular windows line the front, sides, and rear of the truck while the roof line remains flat. Each window also contains circular gun ports to allow occupants to engage enemies through small arms fire from personal weapons. Various entry points are fitted for proper crew entry/exit. The vehicle maintains a high ground clearance (420mm) which supports both cross-country travel as well as placing the occupants further away from potential ground-based dangers. Four suspended roadwheels are featured across two axles and these are well-spaced from one another, set close to the extreme corners of the vehicle. Internally, there is seating for a standard crew of two with twelve passengers. A spare roadwheel is carried along the starboard side of the hull.
Mine protection is STANAG 4569 Level III which is suitable against small arms rifle fire and some mines. STANAG 4569 4A / 4B is also available for increased protection against anti-tank mines.
Overall weight is 23,760lb (base) with a combat weight tipping the scales at over 33,500lb. Power is served through a Cummins ISBe4 diesel-fueled system delivering nearly 300 horsepower or an alternative MAN-produced engine. Road speeds reach 75 miles per hour with operational ranges out to 435 miles. A payload of up to 11,025lb can be hauled.
As with other MRAPs in service, the Matador can field a variety of 7.62mm light and medium machine guns as well as full turreted weapons installations involving larger-caliber automatic cannons. In addition to this, the hull supports installation and operation of various other battlefield weapon systems including heavy-class field mortars and Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launchers.
Variants of the Matador line include an armored ambulance (with applicable equipment), a dedicated command vehicle (with applicable mission equipment), and infantry fire support vehicle (with hull roof machine gun mounting).
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