With its relatively recent war with Russia in 2008, it behooves the nation of Georgia to develop a self-sustaining indigenous military industry for simple self-preservation. This has given rise to locally-grown products such as the "Didgori" Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) - essentially a modern armored scout car designed for service with the Georgian Land Forces. Manufacture of the type is handled by the Tblisi Aircraft Manufacturing concern with service entry having occurred during 2011.
The 8-ton vehicle features a running length of 5.75 meters, a width of 2.38 meters and a height of 2.2 meters. Its standard operating crew is one with seating for an additional eight personnel (one of these is typically the vehicle commander). Standard armament is a 12.7mm gas-operated, belt-fed heavy machine gun or a 7.62mm minigun Gatling-style weapon (depending on service model) fitted to a shielded turret over the vehicle roof. The car can also support the launching of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) to deal with armored threats at range (again, this being model-dependent). Power is from a double turbo diesel unit outputting at 450 horsepower. Suspension is to both axles in a 4x4 arrangement offering good ground clearance and cross-country capability. Armor protection is suitable against small arms fire and artillery spray. Operational road range is listed at 500 kilometers with a maximum road speed reaching 120 kilometers per hour.
The Didgori is built upon the chassis of the Ford F-series truck - a storied medium-to-heavyweight civilian hauler available in several makes. The Didgori is appropriately a militarized version of this line modified for the rigors of military service which can take it across all terrain types, operating temperatures and environments. Its hull is designed to withstand blast effects from hidden explosives (IEDs) or land mines (protection is rated up to STANAG Level-2). The hull is "V-shaped" in its general design to help deflect some of the blast forces away from the critical centerline of the vehicle - this quality is proven through many existing mine-resistant vehicle designs, particularly those emerging from South African lines. The wheels of the Didgori themselves are given a "break away" feature to limit "blast trap" during an explosion. Vision blocks use thick bullet-resistant glass for additional protective measures. Spare road wheels are carried along the hull sides.
Typical of vehicle types such as the Didgori, the system fulfills a variety of roles within the Georgian Army - Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), armored reconnaissance, or general support. Three primary versions have been seen that include the original Didgori model for standard APC duty. This is outfitted with a 450-horsepower engine and mounts a 12.7mm HMG. The Didgori-2 fulfills the scouting role and carries a minigun armament. The Didgori-3 is also of an APC makeup but features improved survivability as well as a third axle for two extra road wheels for better ground displacement.
Over 50 Didgori vehicles are known to be in service with Georgian land forces.