Oshkosh Sand Cat
The Sand Cat (Hebrew: פלסן קרקל, also Plasan Caracal) is a composite armored vehicle designed by Plasan of Israel. It is based on a commercial Ford F-Series chassis shortened to a 2.84 m (112 in) wheelbase by Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier, Manning Equipment of Louisville, Kentucky, United States. Originally designed as a potential replacement for the AIL Storm jeeps of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), they have since developed numerous versions of the vehicle from 4 to 6 tons to transport up to 8 soldiers. Examples have undergone trials by the IDF in Israel and the U.S. Army at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.
A heavily armored version of the Sand Cat featuring ceramic body parts was presented to the U.S. military at the Platform System Demonstrator event in August 2006. At the 2008 Eurosatory, the Sand Cat was shown branded as an Oshkosh Corporation product.
The Sand Cat was first shown publicly as the Caracal at the AUSA show in October 2005. It has since been presented at various shows including the 2005 Milipol law enforcement show in Paris, the 2006 Mid-America Trucking Show, and 2006 Eurosatory under the name "Sand Cat".
The design was described by Israeli car magazine Hegeh as being "as sexy as a female air-force commander". The trapezoid shaped side windows are designed to reduce the weight of transparent armor without adversely affecting the field of vision.
The fully armored body utilises a combination of armored steel, ceramics, and composites to provide a field replaceable modular armor package at various threat levels. The Sand Cat is reported to have excellent handling and acceleration for an armored vehicle. The interior can accommodate an open stretcher.
In July 2007 Plasan released information about a new version of the Sand Cat, the "Sand Cat Plus". Featuring a station wagon style body and 8 seats it was designed as a low-profile vehicle for use by elite units. In contrast to the military Sand Cat, the Plus is fitted with full side body mouldings and is painted in civilian colors. Despite the SUV appearance it still has a high level of armor as well as NBC and fire suppression systems. It has a very small turning circle and has been described as surprisingly quick for a 7 ton vehicle.
In June 2008, the Sand Cat was relaunched as a product of Oshkosh Defense. Now based on the 9-ton F550 chassis, it is being pitched to fill the gap between the armored HMMWV and the anticipated JLTV. The Oshkosh Sand Cat includes lessons learned from the MRAP series and features impact-absorbing suspended seats and a V-hull to add underbelly armor protection. In 2010 the SandCat was upgraded with twice the underbody blast protection of previous versions.
Source: Wikipedia, 2013