By Paolo Valpolini
On 12 September 2019 Iveco Defence Vehicles announced the award of a contract by the Dutch Ministry of Defence concerning the development and delivery of up to 1,275 “medium multirole protected vehicles” dubbed 12kN, the actual signing of the contract taking place in late November that same year, for an initial batch of 918 vehicles, the remaining 357 to be ordered in further conditional batches.
The initial nickname was showing the required payload, 1,224 kg, however this data has been considerably overcome by reality. The contract was won with a “paper vehicle”, the Dutch MoD having launched the bid opening it to new designs which prototypes were not yet available, something quite rare in the defence world. In fact the Dutch requirement evolved along the years, the first document issued from The Hague being dated 2006, the one that actually led to the contract in 2019 being the fifth iteration.
Iveco DV has started thinking to a vehicle capable to close the gap between its LMV “Lince” and bigger protected vehicles, which were born slightly over 10-12 tonnes GVW but had grown up to over 18 tonnes, due to the increase of passengers and protection levels, which inevitably brought to a considerable cost increase. When the Dutch requirement appeared, looking for a vehicle bigger than the LMV, two were the available choices, boosting up the LMV or designing a wholly new vehicle with a different target in terms of volume, weight and protection. “We decided to follow the second path,” an Iveco DV representative told EDR On-Line, looking at synergies with the Iveco commercial world in order to keep cost under control as much as possible,” The company started working on the project over one and a half year before the contract was signed, in order to be potentially able to meet the very strict delivery times, the first vehicles to be delivered in 2022 for customer’s qualification tests.
As said the 12 kN nickname does not reflect reality, the actual vehicle, commercially known as Medium Tactical Vehicle (MTV) having roughly a kerb weight of 10,000 kg and a payload of 2,000 kg, depending on the type variant. The MTV is 5.76 meters long, with a 3.46 meters wheelbase, 2.43 meters wide and 2.76 meters high, with a 350 mm ground clearance, and is powered by a NEF67 EUIII diesel engine providing 276 Hp, hence a 23 hp/t power-to-weight ratio. The MTV can reach a maximum speed on road of 90 km/h, maximum range being of more than 600 km, and can cope with a 60% gradient and 30% side slope. Used on the Eurocargo trucks family, the engine has been fully militarised to ensure it fording capabilities (up to 0.75 meters without preparation), full compliance to ECM rules, and the capacity to run on standard military fuel. In fact the original Dutch requirements have been tightened along the programme evolution, which also impacted on axles; here too Iveco DV considered initially derivatives of the Eurocargo axles, however in the end heavy off-road requirements led the company to adopt military solutions. The chassis is a typical ladder chassis with leaf spring suspensions with dampers and antiroll bars, an independent suspensions solution having been discarded for cost issues. That said the front rigid axle had to be moved forward compared to truck chassis in order to cope with 45° approach angle, which also required to relocate the engine and its ancillaries, the required departure angle being 35°, The MTV is equipped with disc and calliper brakes, with ABS, and is fitted with 365/85R20 Pirelli PS22 tires equipped with central tire inflation system. An additional desert air filtration kit can be installed to enhance performances when deployed in dust/desert conditions. “The vehicle has a double battery pack system, one for vehicle and one for auxiliary systems, each of 120Ah. Its vetronic architecture having been developed leveraging the work done on Astra military trucks, and is partly compatible with the not yet frozen NVGA standards,” Iveco DV told us.
The demonstrator which was made ready to be exhibited at the then cancelled Eurosatory 2020 exhibition has been put through a series of initial company tests in fall 2020, including ergonomy, chassis and electromagnetic compatibility, before being readied to be shipped to Abu Dhabi.
Coming to the different versions, the Dutch military have required five different configurations, each of them then having further sub-variants. The main ones are Hard Top, which can host up to four military, Soft Top, mostly devoted to Special Forces, Pick Up, with a short two-man cabin, Ambulance, capable to host two stretchers or up to four sitting casualties and Military Police, with a two-man crew and six dismounts. All vehicles will be built in the non-protected version, all being fitted for but not with armour upgrade packages, both for ballistic and antimine protection, the vehicle being designed to deal with underbelly and under-wheel blasts. The vehicle can also integrate CBRN filtration system. Protection solutions will be tested and validated by the company in 2021, factory validation tests in all other areas being also planned for the current year and the first half of 2022, when Iveco DV will deliver the first pre-series vehicles to the Dutch MoD for customer qualification tests. These will however retain part of the tests carried out by the company, especially in the ballistic and blast resistance area.
Deliveries should run until 2026, and the MTV to be deployed by all Dutch military services, Army, Navy and Marines, Air Force and Military Police.
The acquisition of the MTV by the Dutch forces is part of the DVOW (Defensiebrede Vervanging Operationele Wielvoertuigen, Joint Replacement Programme of Wheeled Vehicles) that includes vehicles in different classes of weight and with different missions. With its presence at Abu Dhabi Iveco DV not only takes profit of the first of major land-related defence exhibitions to publicly unveil its new product, but also looks at the typical Middle-East and African audience which usually attends that event.
IImage courtesy Iveco DV