To further bolster its large and ever-growing land force, the Turkish Army adopted an all-new, indigenously-designed and developed, multi-wheeled Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) in the "PARS" (Turkish for "Anatolian Leopard") by FNSS Defence Systems. The vehicle was imagined as a semi-modular solution capable of mounting variable weaponry and mission hardware while undertaking a variety of battlefield roles. The arrival of the PARS is timed with the arrival of Turkey's new Main Battle Tank (MBT) - the "Altay" - as well as a burgeoning local military-industrial complex that is set to produce its first notable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Malaysia is the only other nation having joined Turkey in support of operating the PARS, this as of January 2014. The vehicle is in the same class that includes such excellent offerings as the Finnish Patria.
Categorized as an APC, the main role of the PARS is to provide sheltered, protected transport for combat-ready infantry. Such vehicles remain utterly important to modern battlefield maneuvers in bringing soldiers from Point A to Point B in both contested and uncontested zones. The vehicle then dismounts its forces under protection and can provide limited support fire or return to ferry more troops into action. The wheeled nature of the PARS means that it lacks the complexity of a similar-themed tracked system as well as high related operating costs generally associated with such types. Protection for the passengers is somewhat minimal when compared to that as offered by a dedicated Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFVs), though IFVs are generally called upon to fight alongside companion MBTs and support infantry actions in a more direct manner. As such, they are typically well-armed as well. However, the PARS, and its kind, can be modified to fit additional battlefield roles such as ambulance, engineering, scout and similar.
The PARS is available in both a 6x6 or 8x8 axle arrangement and this directly impacts overall dimensions and operating weights as well as internal volume available. The system's typical operating crew is three personnel made up of a driver, vehicle commander and dedicated gunner while the 6x6 model can house a total of ten personnel to the 8x8 model's 14 personnel. Armor protection is limited to small arms fire while, in turn, the PARS is outfitted with the FNSS "Sharpshooter" Turret mounting a 25mm autocannon as well as a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun for proper defense. The turret is fully-powered and remote-controlled, offering a 360-degree traversal about the whole of the hull for maximized protection. Dimensions of the vehicle (6x6 version) includes a running length of 6.6 meters, a width of 2.7 meters and a height of 2.2 meters. The 8x8 model adds another 1.4 meters to the overall length while all other dimensions remain the same as the 6x6 model. Drive power is supplied through a single Deutz diesel-fueled engine of 525 horsepower or a Caterpillar Diesel series diesel-fueled engine of 600 horsepower (the latter to help contend with the added weight). Drive power is delivered to all of the axles and all wheels are steerable, the latter helping to improved agility. The engine is mated to an automatic transmission featuring seven forward and one reverse speeds. The hull sits atop a pneumatic suspension system that is partially managed (adjustable) by onboard sensors depending on terrain being traversed. Operational range is out to 620 miles with a maximum road speed of 62 miles per hour. The PARS further holds an inherent amphibious quality, able to ford water sources of 1.7 meters. It can also cross trenches of up to two meters across.
The external profile of the PARS vehicle is consistent with other multi-wheeled armored vehicles currently in service the world over. The forward section has a sloping glacis plate and shallow vision ports for the operating crew. The hull roof line is flat to limit obstructions for the traversing turret emplacement held at the center of the design. The turret also holds banks of smoke grenade dischargers for shielding the vehicle against enemy eyes and optics. As the turret is controlled remotely from within the vehicle, it is allowed compact dimensions as no crew are required to take up positions within the turret itself. The passengers embark/disembark from a powered door arrangement at the rear. The door consists of a two-piece, upper and lower, hinged rectangular configuration. The upper portion rises while the lower portion lowers, the latter resulting in a handy loading ramp. The passenger cabin features all-mounted fold-down seats as well as protected vision blocks and access hatches along the hull roof. Much design thought has been given to creating a very low profile for the vehicle, making it a harder vehicle to detect and engage at range while also improving its concealment value some.
Malaysian PARS are differentiated by their use of a Denel turret system as opposed to the standard FNSS installation. The chassis and hulls are also locally-produced under the Deftech brand label and designated as "AV8" in the Malaysian Army inventory.
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