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The URO Vamtac Is Now In Pakistan

December 3, 2016
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Promo photo of the Vamtac ST5. An earlier variant resembling the Vamtac S3 had a demonstration at IDEAS 2016 in Karachi.

URO Vehiculos Especiales S.A.’s premier tactical vehicle the Vamtac was spotted at IDEAS 2016 last week. This is the latest appearance by the 4×4 in a busy year where demand for its capabilities–fast, small, and modular–seems to have peaked.

The Vamtac began as an all terrain light truck project and joined the Spanish army in 1998. More than a thousand have been manufactured by UROVESA and at least a dozen variants developed, including a self-propelled mortar. The Vamtac has three iterations: the original Vamtac I3, the Vamtac S3, and the up-armored Vamtac ST5.

The Vamtac’s arrival in Pakistan is a partnership between UROVESA and a local firm called Metal Engineering Works who will assemble the vehicle under license. This could pay off in the medium term since Pakistan’s military doesn’t have a standardized 4×4 transport. Though fully mechanized a variety of pickup trucks, Land Rovers, surplus MRAPs, and armored cars like the Otokar Cobra are used by soldiers and police alike when deployed against local threats.

The Vamtac’s success isn’t guaranteed, however. Its strongest selling point are obvious similarities with the AM General Humvee. But rival car and truck manufacturers along with military transports built in China, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, and the UAE could dash its hopes.

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Another surprise at IDEAS 2016 was the debut of the Hamza APC manufactured by Blitzkrieg Defense Solutions. In a market overflowing with eight-wheeled “platforms” the Hamza appears to buck the trend while riding on its coattails.

Rather than use a truck chassis to build an APC the Hamza’s designers utilized a conventional truck design emphasizing armor and ballistic protection. A model of the Hamza was debuted inside the Karachi Expo Center where it was described as “basically a mixture of an MRAP and an APC.” Without going into too much detail the manufacturer claimed the entire Hamza was 100% locally made. This isn’t surprising since the production of wheeled armored vehicles requires a small supply chain based on available automotive parts.

The Hamza is recognizable for its high road clearance and bulging engine compartment. The manufacturer claims that its gross weight can reach 50 tons depending on its mission. This is a surprising level of heaviness exceeding medium tanks like the Type 59 and Type 69 used by Pakistan’s army.

The vehicle’s cab and passenger space form a single compartment. Seating is provided for 10 soldiers with an additional two-man module to operate an unspecified turret. Windows with built-in firing ports along with two roof hatches enhance its combat capability. Together with the driver and co-driver the Hamza fits 14 people who enter from a ramp behind the vehicle and a single swing door on its hull. There hasn’t been any news of the Hamza’s sales yet but its manufacturer insists it’s being readied for local and international customers.

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