By Paolo Valpolini
A new cooperation between France and Egypt might start soon in the land domain. Although no MoU has yet been signed, according to information gathered by EDR On-Line, the prototype of the so-called Egyptian-Sherpa was visible in the Egyptian Ministry of Defence Vehicle Department – Engineering Industrial Complex stand, populated by numerous new vehicles of national origin.
The new vehicle is based on a Sherpa Light chassis, delivered by Arquus, while the design, manufacturing and assembly of the armoured hull has entirely been done by the industrial entity of the Egyptian MoD. It is to note that the Sherpa Light is already in service with the Egyptian Army, therefore logistic commonality might be achieved if the Army decides to move forward. “We are ready to launch production,” an Egyptian technical officer working at the Engineering Industrial Complex told EDR On-Line.
The 4×4 vehicle is fitted with a 4.7 litres diesel engine providing 180 hp and a torque of 700 Nm at 1,450 rpm, allowing a maximum speed of 100 km/h and an endurance of 800 km at cruise speed.
Compared to the original Sherpa Light the look is pretty different, especially in the rear area. While the front does not differ much from the French-made vehicle, the protected cabin has been stretched towards the rear, allowing to carry 6 soldiers, hosted on anti-blast seats.
The rear section hosting two soldiers is elevated compared to the rest of the vehicle, personnel accessing the two rear seats from a back door. Each soldier can use his individual weapon from inside, firing ports being available on the sides, one more being fitted to the rear door. Ballistic protection is BR6, sufficient against a 7.62×51 mm FMJ round, while protection against mines is at Level 1 according to STANAG 4569, the 490 mm ground clearance helping in reducing blast effects.
The Egyptian-Sherpa is 6.055 meters long, 2.422 mm wide, with a 2.09 meters wheel track, and 3.14 mm high. Gross vehicle weight is 9,400 kg, with a curb weight of 8,695 kg, which leaves a mere 705 kg of payload, not much for a 6-man vehicle, which might mean that the vehicle is designed for short patrol duties. The weight is definitely with the remotely controlled weapon station, that is installed on the lower part of the roof, at the centre, on top of the driver and commander section. Maximum height with the turret is 3.27 meters.
Talking to the Egyptian military present at the show EDR On-Line understood that should the programme go forward, the number of required vehicles would be considerable, a total around 1,000 being the estimate.
Photos courtesy P. Valpolini