Canadian American Strategic Review


Special Ops




In Detail

Background  —  Special Ops Vehicle Candidate  —  Rheinmetall Wolf

See: CF Special Operations Vehicle Update — probable SOV candidates are now seen as the Supacat Jackal and the AM General GMV-S.

Wolf / ServalG-wagen  but  Canid or Cat?
Commonality with vehicles already in service with the CF is emphasized in the  SOV  SOIQ. If  engine and  chassis commonality  is given top score, a strong contender is the LIV (SO) from Rheinmetall. [2] Based on the Mercedes 270CDI chassis  (like the CF's G-wagon), the Light Infantry Vehicle (Special Operations) is marketed as both  Wolf  LIV (SO)  and  Serval AGF (Aufklärungs und Gefechtsfahrzeug).[3]

The LIV (SO)  features a cut-down bodywork  to reduce weight and allow quick egress. An open, light armour box  makes up the rear body. As with the Jackal, a tubular roll cage also forms a platform for a gun ring (in this case, Rheinmetall's electrically-powered Ringlafette RLS 609K). The main armament is either a Browning M2  heavy machinegun or  40mm HK GMG automatic grenade launcher. A swing-arm mount for a GPMG is placed on the starboard window post  –  a second swing-arm mount can be installed on the port side of  the rear deck ).  The LIV (SO) design has been skewed towards desert operations (hence the Serval appellation) and a prominent feature are the side-mounted  sand channels for unsticking in soft terrain.

Rheinmetall (MB) Wolf  Light Infantry Vehicle (Special Operations)
 Crew:   3  –  driver, crew commander, gunner (+ four troops)
 Armament   1 x 12.7mm M2 or 40mm AGL, 1 (or 2) 7.62mm GPMG
 Powerplant:   156hp 2.7L OM 612 5-cyl  turbo-diesel as per LUVW
 Dimensions:   Length 5.64 m, Width 2.50 m, Height 2.30 m  [4]
 Performance:   max speed: 120 km/h (paved), radius: 830 km (150L)
  3300kg-to-5200kg (depending upon the mission kits,
  incl. long-range fuel tanks), normal payload: 1200 kg
 Protection:   Bottom blast protected,  rear body sides armoured
 Transportable:   1 x in CH-147 Chinook, multiple in CC-130 Hercules

Besides LIV (SO), two other G-wagen variants should be mentioned. Rheinmetall also created another specialist Wolf type,[5] the ESK – now rebranded as the LIV (PC) or personnel carrier. The PC forward body is largely unaltered from the 270CDI,  the rear  is a simple armoured box. Both PC and SO types are creations of  Binz, a firm specializing in ambulance conversions. So it is no surprise that  Binz also made a 270CDI- based medical vehicle, the L-BAT (Licht-Bewegliches Ärzteteam or Mobile Medical Team-Light).

Neither  ESK/PC nor  L-BAT would directly match the DND requirement for cargo/litter carriers or ambulance.  But perhaps a hybrid of LIV (SO) and these other types could. By combining the open cab of the LIV (SO) and the armour cargo box of the ESK/PC, a cargo or  litter carrier is easy to imagine. Of course, L-BAT is based on a LUVW-style van body and is not a full ambulance. The question is: how  is  SOV 'ambulance' defined  and  how firm is  DND on 'militarized off-the-shelf'. [6]

Rheinmetall / Binz  Wolf  LIV (PC) [7] / L-BAT  (Light Mobile Medical Team)
  LIV (PC): driver (or driver and gunner) + troops (6 to 10 carried)
  L-BAT:  driver, medical attendant + 3 seated casualties / 1 litter
 Armament   None  ( 1  x  7.62mm  GPMG  feasible on the conceptual hybrid )
 Powerplant:   156hp 2.7L Mercedes OM 612 5-cyl  turbo-diesel as per LUVW
 Dimensions:   L 5.28m  x  H 2.17m  x  W 1.84m  /  L 4.56m  x  1.95m H  x  W 1.7m
 Performance:   max speed: 120 km/h (paved),  radius: 500 km  (96 litres of  fuel)
 Weights:   2550kg empty, 2250kg payload / 2410kg empty, payload 1100kg

[1] In Canadian Forces nomenclature, the Mercedes-Benz 270CDI is a Light Utility Vehicle, Wheeled (or LUVW).  Its CF common name is G-wagon (with an 'o') but, elsewhere, the vehicle is a G-wagen (with an 'e').  We use G-wagon to refer to LUVWs,  G-wagen for the rest.
[2] The type is attributed to Rheinmetall Landsysteme  –  RLS was the prime contractor. The Mercedes-Benz  270CDI chassis and running gear is supplied by the Magna-Steyr (Puch) plant in Graz, Austria. The specialized bodywork is by Binz GmbH & Co. in Ilmenau, Germany.
[3] Aufklärungs und Gefechtsfahrzeug means "Reconnaissance and Combat Vehicle" but 'AGF' is used for marketing without translation.
[4] Coachworks Binz GmbH & Co. gives the LIV (SO) measurements as length 5.5m, height 2.29m, width 1.81m, and  empty weight 3500 kg.
[5] ESK was for Einsatzfahrzeug für spezialisierte Kräfte (a vehicle for use by special forces). In 2003, the ESK was trialled by Fallschirm- jäger (German paratroopers) deployed to Kabul. The Germans preferred the larger Mungo ESK instead (which proved unsuited to Afghan conditions). Presumably this rejection by the Bundeswehr prompted the rebranding from ESK in German to the English language LIV (PC).
[6] The SOIQ specifies a MOTS (militarized off-the-shelf) purchase. (MOTS equipment is more heavily modified  than COTS or commercial off-the-shelf.) The SOIQ also demands modular doors, windows, etc., as well as being "enclosure free" which eliminates an as-is  LIV (PC).
[7] Note that, although branded as a 'Personnel Carrier', the LIV (PC) is available for other specialty roles.  These include a higher-density troop carrier (a 10-seater), a dedicated pallet transporter, litter carrier  (3 crew + 1 litter or 1 crew + 3 seated casualties and  1 stretcher case), as well as a light  mobile recovery vehicle complete with hydraulic crane. But note that no dedicated LIV (PC) ambulance variant yet exists.