When agility and performance are critical, light military vehicles are the go-to vehicles. These light vehicles perform in all combat environments, whether for command and control, troop transport, cargo transport, shelter carrier, towed weapons movement, or as weapons platforms. These military vehicles can be relied on to "be there" whenever it's needed, at any time of day, in any weather condition, or in any disaster or emergency, no matter what.
And while it's unfortunate that we live in a world where weapons of war are necessary, military vehicles are fascinating beasts that pique the interest of more gearheads than you may think. Here are eight of the best light armored military vehicles that provide advanced and modular crew protection for missions today and tomorrow.
8 Iveco Light Multirole Vehicle (LMV)
The Light Multirole Vehicle from Iveco Defense Vehicles has a modular design that enables the development of many variations with different dimensions, roofs, body configurations, and protection levels. Furthermore, depending on the mission, the vehicles are equipped with light, medium, or heavy protection kits and extra STANAG 4569 Level 3 (ballistic) and Level 2a (mine) protection.
The LMV was developed to handle the demanding criteria of military operations while also providing a high level of ride and crew comfort. Late in 2003, the Italian Army awarded a contract for an initial batch of 60 LMVs, two of which were used for development and trials, while the remaining 58 were delivered to units for user trials. The Iveco LMV is a popular light armored vehicle in Europe and is used by nine armed forces worldwide.
7 TATA LAMV
The TATA LAMV has been developed by Tata Motors of India for the security and defense market – albeit its primary customer is thought to be the Indian Army. Among other recent conflicts, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars demonstrated a critical need for such shielded vehicles to resist the threat posed by small arms fire, shell splinters, and hidden explosive devices in urban fighting areas.
The TATA LAMV is built to withstand these threats with an all-around defense system that includes ceramic/composite armoring, a separate crew compartment, a blast-deflecting "V-shaped" hull, and bulletproof windscreens. Its crew pod houses mine-blast-protected seats and provides all-around protection for a six-person crew. The LAMV's primary mission is armed reconnaissance, patrolling, and convoy protection.
6 Hawkei Light Protected Vehicle
The vehicle is named after a stealthy species of death adder native to Australia, Acanthophis Hawkei. The Hawkei is capable of carrying up to six troops and offers protection against IEDs, mines, and or small arms fire. The Hawkei is a lightweight-protected vehicle built to meet the Australian Defense Force's specifications. Thales Australia manufactures it for the Department of Defense's Land 121 Phase 4 program, which intends to replace the Australian Army's Land Rovers.
The Hawkei is powered by a Steyr V6 diesel engine rated at 268hp, manufactured by Austrian company Steyr Motors. The inline starter or generator supplies an adequate amount of electrical power to power the C4I and mission equipment. The hull of the vehicle is designed to provide blast protection while maintaining high tactical and operational mobility and allowing for easy conversion between variants. The vehicle's interchangeable ballistic defense system is optimized for air transport and can be reconfigured in less than a half-hour by a two-person crew without the use of specialized devices or equipment.
5 Terrier LT-79
The Terrier LT-79 is a multipurpose vehicle equipped with high-power rifle round protection and user-friendly features for both offensive and defensive situations, making it perfect for SWAT teams, law enforcement, and military personnel. This armored vehicle performs admirably in the field, shielding even when directly attacked and demonstrating proven performance and survivability.
As hinted by its name, this platform is intended to be compact, agile, and transportable on difficult terrain. The Terrier is built on a reinforced and military Toyota VDJ79 chassis based on the well-known civilian Land Cruiser 70 Series. It has a 4.5L V8 turbo diesel engine and a 5-speed manual transmission with an improved clutch, as well as reinforced axles, heavy-duty suspension components, and powerful 4-piston disc brakes.
4 TAG Doberman RAAV
The TAG Doberman RAAV is an armored assault vehicle that moves quickly. It is a high-speed and high-performance vehicle, with a 250-hp Cummins Military Engine, high gross weight, and payload capacity for added survivability, numerous weapon stations, crew gear, and/or mission equipment. It has an inherently high degree of survivability in a normal cab body, with adjustable higher levels of protection and survivability for Underbody Blasts, Sidewalls, Roof, Front, Rear, Wheel-wells, and Rollover Safety.
The Doberman features a semi-monocoque, welded construction, a "Survivability Capsule" with a built-in "Roll Cage" to protect its crew and passengers, and mine-blast seats with quick-release 4-point seat belts. All of these characteristics enable the Doberman to be a vehicle that can be relied upon to "be there" whenever needed, regardless of the hour or weather, as well as for use in any type of crisis or emergency.
3 EAGLE Light Tactical Armored Vehicle
Manufactured by General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag, the Eagle 6×6 is a more affordable light tactical vehicle delivering higher levels of mobility than its predecessors. The vehicle is protected by an electrically welded interior made of high-grade armor steel. To increase survivability against ballistic threats, mines, and improvised explosive devices, the hull is outfitted with steel/composite modular add-on armor and mine protection kits (IEDs).
The firepower is given via a remotely controlled weapon station equipped with a .50mm gun and grenade launcher. The vehicle has a gross weight of 10 tons, a top speed of 70 mph, and a range of 450 miles. The EAGLE is also available in a 6x6 configuration and can be used as an armored personnel carrier, ambulance, recovery, command, reconnaissance, logistics, or as a military police vehicle.
2 Cadillac Gage Commando
The Cadillac Gage Commando is a US-made armored vehicle from the early Cold War era. It was founded as a private venture in the early 1960s. It's a versatile vehicle that may be employed as an armored personnel carrier, reconnaissance vehicle, or weapons carrier. Early variants saw active service in the Vietnam War, and many were sold to nations allied with the United States up until the early 1990s. The Commando is the forerunner of the modern ASV-150 / M1117 Guardian.
On roadways, the Commando proved to be extremely mobile. The big road wheels provide adequate cross-country performance. Road speeds of up to 62 mph are possible thanks to a 200-hp petrol or diesel engine. The V-100 versions lacked reliability due to their weight exceeding the design parameters of the automotive components employed. Later models had significantly increased durability, and updated engines allowed for increased road speeds and range.
1 Cobra Light Armored Vehicle
Turkish company Otokar Otobus Karoseri Sanayi manufactures the Cobra line of light armored vehicles. The Cobra designs utilize mechanical components from the HMMWV vehicle manufactured by AM General in the U.S. In 1997, the Turkish Army received five Cobra vehicles. Three Cobra vehicles have been delivered to the Maldives and are in duty with the Turkish Army.
The Cobra family of vehicles features a low profile and may be transported via airplane, helicopter, truck, or rail for rapid deployment. The Cobra's hull is all welded steel and features wide, fully opening side and rear doors that enable speedy crew egress when necessary. Additionally, the vehicle is equipped with roof hatches and a quick-release three-point locking system.