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Denel Casspir

Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) Vehicle [ 1980 ]

The South African Casspir MRAP has proven a popular player around the globe with key operators now residing in Egypt, India, and the United States.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/16/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Denel of South Africa has its hand in many products related to the modern battlefield and is a well-entrenched defense industry player in the world today (2017). One of its key products is the "Casspir", evolved from a long line of Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles debuting in the fighting of the 1970s. The vehicle type emerged as specialized, high-survivability system with the Rhodesian Army and was further evolved by several companies within South Africa thereafter. Today, MRAPs are a relatively new component in the ground campaign, offering inherent crew survivability and a multi-mission mindset in design.

It says something that all leading world militaries have adopted some form of MRAP vehicle including the United States, Russia, Great Britain and France.

The Casspir sports a 4x4 wheeled arrangement with high ground clearance and protected crew spaces. The vehicle weighs in at 10.8 tons and has a length of 22.6 feet, a width of 8 feet and a height of 9.3 feet. The standard operating crew is two with passenger seating for up to twelve armed combatants. Window panes are bullet-resistant and firing ports are provided. A large opening at the rear of the hull facilitates entry/exit for the rear-set passenger cabin. There are also hatches fitted to the hull roof and from this position occupants can engage with suppression weapons like machine guns or water cannons. The engine sits in a forward compartment and consists of an Atlantis Diesel Engines OM352A turbocharged diesel-fueled unit of 166 horsepower power output. The chassis features full 4x4 suspension (leaf sprung) for excellent cross-country travel and operating ranges reach out o 770 kilometers. The high stature of the vehicle allows it to low-level cross water sources without any specialized equipment.

Design of the Casspir fell the Defense Research Unit (DRU) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). As crew survivability was key to its successful design, the truck ultimately incorporated a high stance and V-shaped hull to better deflect blasts from under the vehicle while also keeping its occupants as far away from the explosion as practically possible. Thus emerged a vehicle with much thought given to various aspects of battlefield survival.

One of the key selling points of the Casspir is its multi-mission approach which allows it to be relatively painlessly configured for a myriad of battlefield roles. This includes Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), battlefield ambulance, general transport, mine clearance vehicle, riot control vehicle, fire support vehicle and artillery observation post. For those forces not requiring heavy armor protection from heavy-caliber arms and mostly likely to fight mobile, guerilla-type battles, the Casspir suits the requirement.

A first-batch order for 140 vehicles was had in March of 1980 by the South African Police and initial manufacture was undertaken by Henred Fruehauf until 1981 when TFM was charged instead. About this time, the series was advanced beyond the original Mk.1 production model to the updated Mk.2. Then followed the Mk.2C(I) while the Mk. 3 introduced the ADE-352T 60cylinder turbo-diesel engine to the line. The Casspir 2000 emerged as a Casspir vehicle built atop a Mercedes Benz framework and, similarly, the Casspir 2000B appeared set atop a Powerstar - North Benz framework.

The Casspir NG 2000 is the modern incarnation of the line, appearing in 2013. Today the trucks are produced under the Denel banner following its 2015 acquired 3/4 stake in BAe Systems Land Systems OMC (once Alvis Vickers / Alvis OMC).

The Casspir series claims operators from Angola and Benin to Uganda and the United States. South Africa is the clear primary operator of the line with some 370 currently (2017) in service. The type is used in police and military roles as well as in support of special forces and border patrol.

It is the Casspir design that influence the current-generation MRAP vehicles of the United States military when it found itself fully-embroiled in war across Iraq and Afghanistan.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Henred Fruehauf / Reumech OMC / Denel - South Africa; Alvis / Vickers / BAe Systems - UK
Angola; Benin; Burundi; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Egypt; Ghana; India; Indonesia; Iraq; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Nepal; Peru; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Tanzania; Uganda; United States
Operators National flag of Angola National flag of Egypt National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Mozambique National flag of Namibia National flag of Peru National flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National flag of Senegal National flag of South Africa National flag of Tanzania National flag of Uganda National flag of the United States
Service Year
South Africa
National Origin
Project Status

Design, of typically lightweight nature, providing onroad/offroad capabilities for the scouting or general security roles.
Designed to withstand attacks from mines and ambushes through specialized design and survivability features.
Can conduct reconnaissance / scout missions to assess threat levels, enemy strength, et al - typically through lightweight design.
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.

22.6 ft
(6.9 meters)
8.0 ft
(2.45 meters)
9.4 ft
(2.85 meters)
23,986 lb
(10,880 kg)
12.0 tons

1 x Atlantis Diesel Engines OM352A turbo-charged diesel engine developing 166 horsepower.
Drive System
40 mph
(65 kph)
Road Speed
478 miles
(770 km)
Road Range

Variable: Typical installation is up to 3 x 7.62mm general purpose machine guns; also 1 x 20mm automatic cannon possible and any personal weapons carried by the passengers. For anti-riot missions, a water cannon or rubber-bullet launcher is fitted.
Dependent upon armament fit.

Casspir - Base Series Designation
Casspir Mk.1 - Original production vehicles
Casspir Mk.2 - Secondary production vehicles
Casspir Mk.2C(I) - Variant
Casspir Mk.3 - Fitted with ADE-352T 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.
Casspir 2000 - Mercedes-Benz framework
Casspir 2000B - Powerstar - North Benz framework.
Casspir NG 2000 - Next Generation model of 2013 by Denel Mechem.

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Image of the Denel Casspir
Image from official Denel marketing material.
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Image of the Denel Casspir
Image from official Denel marketing material.
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Image of the Denel Casspir
Image from official Denel marketing material.
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Image of the Denel Casspir
Image from official Denel marketing material.
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Image of the Denel Casspir
Image from official Denel marketing material.

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