A new counter terrorist armoured vehicle was unveiled at Telford in Shropshire on Tuesday (9 September) by G.
A new counter terrorist armoured vehicle was unveiled at Telford in Shropshire on Tuesday (9 September) by G.K.N. Sankey who say that it has superior qualities to the Humber armoured personnel carrier used by the British Army in Northern Ireland.
Known to its designers as the A-T-105 and to the officers as the "armoured Panda", the vehicle can carry a driver, observer, and ten fully equipped riot police or troops.
The experts say that it will be pitting its wits against terrorists as a significant weapon in counter-insurgency.
G.K.N. Sankey have spent 100,000 pounds sterling on research and development of the new vehicle since 1971. It's claimed to be bullet proof -- stopping high velocity fire -- including the Armalite rifles used by the I.R.A. -- at point blank range.
The armour is close to tank standard and the crew, riot squad and engine are all protected. There are bullet proof visors for the driver and a special screen wash solution that will wipe paint off.
The vehicle has four wheel drive, power steering, automatic gear change and is regarded as considerably quieter than current armoured vehicles, even at its top speed of 60 miles per hour.
Even when flattened by explosives or gun shots the specially toughened tyres can run for 30 miles. And the vehicle is specially shaped underneath to deflect mine blasts. The company believes that even if a mine or bomb goes off under the vehicle, there is a very good chance that the occupants will survive.
The "Panda" has just returned from a demonstration trip to four South American countries. And now GKN are offering the police and armies of other countries a range of optional extras. They include: barricade pushers; gas grenade dischargers; searchlights; machine gun mounting; air conditioning; flashing beacons; and a two tone siren.
Most of all, G.K.N. are hoping the British Army will order the 105 which the company says has been designed with Northern Ireland very much in mind.
According to reports from Ulster, the Army's present Humbers - dubbed "Pigs" by the security forces - are being cannibalised for spare parts to keep them operational.