The Sandcat light protected vehicle was originally developed by Plasan of Israel. Originally it was intended to replace the AIL Storm jeeps in service with Israel Defense Forces. This vehicle was developed to fill the gap between armored HMMWVs and mine resistant protected vehicles. It was first publicly revealed in 2005 as the Caracal. In 2006 the name was changed to Sandcat. Production commenced in 2005. Since 2008 it is branded as an Oshkosh product. A wide variety of versions for different missions are available. This vehicle is being proposed for military operators as well as law enforcement forces. It is in service with Israel, Bulgaria, Canada, Columbia, Mexico, Nigeria and Sweden. This vehicle has seen service during the War in Afghanistan.
The Sandcat is based on a shortened Ford F-series commercial chassis. Newer vehicles are based on the F550 Super Duty chassis.
Lightweight armor of the Sandcat is a combination of steel, ceramics and composite materials. This light protected vehicle has variable levels of protection. Various modular armor kits can be fitted. Vehicle can be uparmored in the field. Interior is lined with a spall liner. Later production vehicles have a V-shaped hulls and mine blast-absorbing seats. Sandcats produced since 2010 have twice the mine protection of an original vehicle. An NBC protection and fire supression systems are proposed as an option.
Vehicle can be armed with remotely controlled weapon station. It can be armed with 7.62-mm or 12.7-mm machine gun, or 40-mm automatic grenade launcher.
The Sandcat accommodates driver plus 4 passengers. It can be configured to an ambulance with 3 litters. There are some firing ports provided for the troops. Vehicle can carry between 1.8 t and 2.3 t of cargo, depending on the version. Payload capacity also varies depending on protection level.
Recent versions are powered by a Ford 6.4-liter turbocharged diesel engine, developing 325 hp. There is also a 6.7-liter diesel, developing 400 hp. Engine is mated with a 5-speed automatic transmission. Vehicle has a 4x4 configuration, which can be switched to 4x2 on hard surface roads. It is reported that the Sandcat has excellent acceleration and handling for an armored vehicle. Self-recovery winch is optional. This light protected vehicle can be airlifted by CH-47and CH-53 helicopters, as well as C-130 tactical cargo aircraft.
A Sandcat Plus is a stretched version. It has 8 seats and is intended for special operation forces. Another stretched version has up to 11 seats. Other variants include a mine protected patrol vehicle (M-LPV), special operations vehicle (SOV) with soft-top configuration, utility and transport vehicles.
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