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Mechem/CSIRO Lion Mine Resistant Vehicle (MPV)

The objective in the design of this vehicle was to conceal the landmine resistant hull so that a high protection level MRV was available for VIP vehicles. The best example is that of the leisure vehicle built with protection against the more serious improvised center mine blast. This vehicle led to the design of the series of MRV's called Lion.

At the same time another development was initiated where the hull shape would effectively allow the fitment of the TMRP-6 protection kit on the inside of the hull. This allowed for a much lower profile than the Mamba generation of MRV's with the same protection levels. To carry the mass reliably 3 ton Toyota truck axles were coupled to GMC V8 eight litre power and transmission. This Lion is capable of 160 km/h and weighs five tons.

The encounter with TMRP-6 mines in the Balkans during peacekeeping operations, initiated Mechem to develop an add-on protection composite armour plate to protect the wedge shaped MRV's. The wedge shape hull does not offer protection from these penetrator mines as it does for blast mines. The protection principles and mass constraints dictated the add-on plate concept under the vehicle's axles. A Unimog has portal axles affording enough ground clearance whilst normal axles has limited ground clearance.

The broad hull bottom allows space inside the hull for the add-on composite plate. The hull is flatter than the Mamba but the same as the Buffel. The wedge bottom has been sufficiently stiffened so that it would not bend when hit by a center 7kg blast AT mine.

Lion is a ballistic and blast protected vehicle with the protection necessary to deter carjacking and able to resist most threats that might be experienced in the United States - including small arms fire and homemade explosives or bombs. At more than $200,000 per vehicle, the Lion is a military class vehicle designed with the latest in blast and ballistic protection technology. In addition the vehicle can be configured to protect against Nuclear, Biological, or Chemical threats. The vehicle can withstand a significant explosion on any wheel, anyplace under the vehicle and from the side. The all-welded armored capsule and glass is ballistically protected and capable of resisting small arms fire. As an additional safeguard, Virtual Electronic Windows are an available option.

Aimed at the VIP transport market, the Lion is designed to seat six passengers comfortably and may be equipped with a plush interior based upon specific customer requirements. The USA company TSG commissioned Mechem to redesign this vehicle using US manufactured driveline parts. The Lion is fitted with U.S. components (or the customer's specified components) to ensure efficient logistic support.

Market data is difficult to determine, since most armored vehicles of this type are sent to specialists for post manufacturing conversion by automotive manufacturers. However, the potential is notable. Some estimates place the armored car luxury niche as high as $4.4 billion per year worldwide. CEOs are trying to protect themselves against terrorism; movie stars are taking death threats seriously; and many music stars fear violence. Right or wrong, individuals' concern for safety has increased the interest in armored vehicles, and the Lion offers a unique capability in this high-end market. While the primary market for these kinds of vehicles has been in developing countries, the opportunities and interest in the United States may grow substantially. This vehicle is designed to keep its occupants alive, and the vehicle is manufactured to quality levels befitting military action.

Technical Solutions Group (TSG) manufactures and markets military vehicles that are protected against landmines and hostile fire. These vehicles are typically used to transport personnel safely in areas infested with landmines and for the actual removal of landmines. The vehicles are manufactured in Charleston, SC, where TSG is based.

On March 31, 2004 Force Protection, Inc. announced that its Technical Solutions Group (TSG) subsidiary had signed a non-exclusive agreement with U.S. Marketing Group LLC to develop a commercial U.S. distribution channel for Lion. U.S. Marketing Group LLC ordered one Lion as a demonstration vehicle which is scheduled to be delivered this year. This arrangement with U.S. Marketing allows Force Protection, Inc. to focus on the expertise of building for and selling to military and government markets while U.S. Marketing can focus on the opportunities for protected vehicles in the private sector. Force Protection, Inc. believed this type of arrangement with U.S. Marketing can create additional demand and interest in products without diluting efforts on expanding our core military and government markets.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:10:04 ZULU