First seen at IDET 2021 in Brno, the Titus 6×6 in one of the configurations adopted by the Czech Army was exhibited at the Future Forces Forum 2022 in Prague. Czech Land Forces will acquire 62 such vehicles, designed by Nexter of France, to replace most of their command vehicles in service with the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade.
The 62 vehicles on order are split into three versions. Six Titus will produced in the KOVVŠ variant, the acronym standing for Kolové Obrněné Vozidlo Velitelsko-Štábní or wheeled armoured command-staff vehicle configuration; 36 will be in the KOVS, Kolové Obrněné Vozidlo Spojovací or wheeled armoured liaison vehicle configuration; and finally 20 6×6 vehicles will be available in the MKPP variant, the acronym for Místo Koordinace Palebné Podpory, that is Fire Support and Coordination Centre.
Six prototypes have been produced so far, one each of the KOVVŠ and KOVS versions, and four MKPPs, and if all tests will be successful the first six production vehicles should be delivered in March 2023. All vehicles will be produced in the Czech Republic, the prime contractor being ELDIS Pardubice, responsible for systems integration, while the platform is provided by Tatra Defence Vehicle with Retia producing the specialised systems installed on all three versions.
The Titus KOVVŠ
Starting from the Titus KOVVŠ, this ensures the command function at brigade and battalion echelon. The vehicle is equipped with four hydraulic stabilising legs controlled by an automatic levelling system that ensures stabilisation when the 10 meters mast, located rear right, is raised. The Titus in the KOVVŠ configuration can be extended at the rear, a command post being established under a field tent. This is capable to host up to 10 operators and all related equipment, from chairs and tables to computers and networking devices is carried in a trailer.
The Titus KOVVŠ version was exhibited in Prague and on top of the mast we could see the parabolic antenna of the L3Harris RF-7800W High-Capacity Line-of-Sight (HCLOS) Radio capable to provide quick-to-deploy, long-range wireless broadband connectivity. A second antenna was that of the L3Harris AN/PRC-117G VHF/UHF voice-data radio. Two TCE621M modules ensure NATO Secret communications. When on the move the VHF/UHF radio exploits the antenna installed at the rear left of the Titus. An Inmarsat BGAN terminal with SATCOM antenna provides satellite communications. Black and Red routers for data communications and Internet Protocol telephony are also part of the KOVVŠ suite.
As said, a full command post is rigged at the back of the vehicle in a dedicated tent; a series of servers and disc storage are linked to the operators workstations, where the OTS VŘ PozS, the Ground Forces Tactical Command and Control System in use in the Czech Army is loaded.
Two more workstations are fitted into the vehicle, also loaded with the OTS VŘ PozS and the battle management vehicular information system software, allowing operators on board to follow the manoeuvre even on the move, and in the immediate aftermath of the redeployment waiting for the full command post to be rigged.
The Titus KOVVŠ has a crew of four, the driver and commander, and two communication specialists at the rear. Staff elements travel on different platforms. Fitted with an auxiliary power unit (APU) that provides energy to on-board equipment as well as to those installed in the tent, the vehicle is armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun for self-defence purposes.
The Titus KOVS
The communications vehicle features numerous resemblances with the command one, among which the self-defence machine gun, the APU, the stabilising legs, the levelling system and the mast, the latter differing however from that of the Titus KOVVŠ, on which we find the antennas linked to the VHF/UHF voice-data radios. On the right side of the roof we find the loop antenna linked to L3Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-160(V) wideband HF radio for long-range voice and data transmission. The remaining communication systems are identical to those of the command vehicle, however the KOVS has three L3Harris AN/PRC-117G VHF/UHF voice-data radios instead of one, which means that three antennas can be seen on top of the vehicle, two at the front left and right and one at the rear left. The vehicle’s accessories include two external 10-meter telescopic masts to which voice-data radios can be connected remotely when the vehicles is static. Here too the crew is made of four elements, driver, commander, and two communications specialists manning the two rear workstations. The Titus KOVS is designed to ensure the link of all radio networks and the good functioning of the command and control system.
The Titus MKPP
TheFire Support and Coordination Centre version of the Czech Army Titus is quite different from the previous ones, as it is not fitted with a mast, hence it does not need stabilising legs and the automatic levelling system. Its main communication means are the three L3Harris AN/PRC-117G VHF/UHF voice-data radios, one of them for the commander, which are linked to antennas installed on the roof with the same layout adopted on the KOVS. Here too we find among vehicle’s accessories two external 10-meter telescopic masts to which voice-data radios can be connected remotely when operating static. The AN/PRC-117G are complemented by Personal Role Radios allowing short range UHF communications. On-board computers ensure the coordination work and are loaded with the command and control system as well as the dedicated artillery C3 software. The Titus MKPP crew is also made of four military, two of them being fire coordination specialists manning the two workstations. When operating in a stationary position a further workstation can be installed in the corridor, manned by an officer who travels on a different vehicle.
All Czech Army Titus are protected against the NBC threat, and are fitted with a filtration and ventilation unit, a RAID-XP sensor capable to detect, identify and monitor chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, and an undisclosed radiation monitoring system. They are also fitted with jammers to counter the IED threat, which are being provided by the Czech company URC Systems. It is well known that the baseline Titus is protected at Level 2 all-round, with the potential to be upgraded; according to available information the add-on armour package was developed by the Division of Materials Engineering of the VVÚ (Vojenský Výzkumný Ústav), the Czech Republic Military Research Institute based in Brno, and should increase protection to Level 3 ballistic and Level 3a antimine.
As said initially, deliveries of production vehicles are planned to start in spring 2023. At the Future Forces Forum 2022 the Czech Army was also exhibiting an in-service Pandur 8×8 in the KOVVŠ configuration, this system being used in the brigades that deploy that GDELS wheeled armoured vehicle of Austrian origin.
Photos courtesy Czech MoD and P. Valpolini, drawings courtesy Retia