Plasan transfers all available armored vehicles to support IDF forces

According to Israel Defense on October 22, 2023, Plasan, an Israeli defense company, has taken several measures to assist the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the war against Hamas militants that began on October 7, 2023, as part of an emergency mobilization initiative aimed at facilitating the IDF's combat and rescue operations. These measures include the prompt transfer of all armored vehicles that the company had at its disposal, an increased production rate of Sandcat Tigris vehicles, and the re-establishment of a personal protection production line for ballistic plates.
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The Plasan Sandcat family of armored vehicles includes the Sandcat Mk4, MKT, and StormRider variants depicted here (Picture source: Plasan)

In response to the conflict, Plasan has expedited the transfer of its available armored vehicles to the IDF to meet immediate requirements. Notably, a significant number of these armored vehicles were provided free of charge as part of the emergency mobilization effort to expedite delivery and facilitate their use in early combat and rescue missions. Technical teams from Plasan have also been deployed in the field to provide ongoing maintenance and support for combatant vehicles, including service and maintenance mobility for prompt damage repair.

Additionally, the company has increased the production of Sandcat Tigris vehicles. These new vehicles will be delivered to the IDF in the coming months, supplementing those previously procured under an emergency procurement procedure earlier this year. Many of these vehicles have already been deployed for various operational activities within the conflict.

The Sandcat Tigris vehicle belongs to the Sandcat family of vehicles produced by Plasan for over two decades, with a history of supplying over 1,000 vehicles to 18 different countries. It is noteworthy that a significant number of Sandcat Caracal vehicles, supplied to the Israel Police more than a decade ago, have been actively involved in the recent conflict in the southern region.

The Sandcat is a composite armored vehicle designed by Plasan, which was first showcased in 2005 at AUSA, with the latest versions unveiled at Eurosatory in 2018. The vehicle is built on a commercial Ford F Series chassis, designed to fulfill various operational roles. It was initially considered a potential replacement for the IDF's AIL Storm jeeps and other light utility vehicles, with an expanded role in protected light vehicle deployments for combat and patrol missions.

One distinguishing feature of the Sandcat's design is its optimized armored glass, which includes distinctive trapezoidal side windows to reduce weight and maximize visibility. These windows have become widely adopted as a design feature. The vehicle's aesthetics have consistently featured a feline theme, and it was renamed from Caracal to Sandcat to prevent potential confusion with another vehicle offered to the German Bundeswehr by IVECO under the name Caracal.

The Sandcat is known for its adaptability, with most models being fully enclosed and suited for various roles, from law enforcement and internal security tasks to combat and patrol missions, and is also appreciated for its handling and acceleration.

The vehicle is based on a Ford F-Series Super Duty commercial pickup chassis, chosen to minimize life cycle costs. Throughout all generations, Plasan has maintained standard Ford components wherever feasible. In the latest fourth-generation models, power is derived from a Ford PowerStroke 6.7-liter V8 diesel engine, generating 330 hp and paired with a Ford TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission. Some elements of the electrical system can be upgraded to meet specific requirements, with the option for 24 V electrical systems when necessary.

The fourth-generation Sandcats, among other innovations, introduce an option for a monocoque body. This represents a significant shift from previous iterations in the case of the Mine-resistant Light Patrol Vehicle (M-LPV). The monocoque design eliminates the need for a ladder frame chassis, making use of a sub-frame assembly that attaches to the monocoque. This design ensures a higher level of underbody blast protection without increasing the vehicle's height, center of gravity, or weight – critical factors in modern military vehicle design.

Internally, both the fully enclosed models and the M-LPV variant offer ballistic protection enhanced by spall liners and a floating floor. This design includes proprietary foot pads and Plasan's specialized blast-attenuating seats. Standard features include two-zone air-conditioning and the option for an NBC filtration system.

Additional external protection options are available for both versions of the fourth-generation Sandcat. These include protection for the radiator, front wings, and critical engine components. Various internal and/or external manual or automatic fire suppression systems can be fitted, covering areas like the engine compartment, crew compartment, and wheel arches, among others. Mesh screens are also available for all lighting and glazing, providing an extra layer of protection.

The Sandcat's adaptability is reflected in its extensive options list, featuring equipment and fittings that can be tailored to specific mission requirements. The list includes GPS systems, rifle holders, trailer tow hitches, weapon stations (manual or remote), run-flat inserts, electric self-recovery winches, front-axle air-actuated differential locks, external searchlights, public address systems, sirens, roof-mounted flashing lights, external cameras, non-slip coatings on certain surfaces, 24 V electrical circuits, blackout lighting, bull bars, and assault ladders for dismount access to elevated positions.

Israel Plasan Sandcat 925 003

In addition to the supply of all available armored vehicles to the IDF, Plasan has increased the production of its Sandcat Tigris armored vehicle (Picture source: Plasan)