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, 1-2 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 (6-10 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 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 a rebranding from ESK in German to the English language LIV (PC).

[6] The SOIQ specifies a 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 (10-seater), 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.