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Armored Cars: IMI CombatGuard

August 1, 2017

The CombatGuard, also known as Combat Guard or Combatguard, is a novel approach to rugged vehicular design. It’s a truck mashed up with a dune buggy and outfitted for war in civilization’s fringes. It was first revealed to the global arms industry in 2014 and since then has become something between an oddity and a outlier.

The appeal of the CombatGuard is its appearance–it looks like it can roll up and down the roughest terrain imaginable. It does so with panache.

The CombatGuard began as a sort of passion project for Israel Military Industries Systems to broaden their armored vehicle portfolio. A joint venture was launched with a custom off-road truck manufacturer and within a year a prototype was completed. The CombatGuard is basically a monocoque steel hull married to a unique suspension system for its enormous tires, which are its most recognizable feature.

Via IMI Systems.

The CombatGuard’s ground clearance–2.35 feet from dirt to chassis–means passengers must climb before entering via its hydraulic doors. Its internal volume is enough for eight people, including the driver and co-driver. Protection levels are resistant to mine blasts and small arms fire; IMI Systems insists these are high enough to even deflect large caliber rounds. The official brochure only reveals a V-hull and armoring at STANAG III.

Manufacturers today often insist their vehicles are so upgrade-able any weapon can be installed on them. This is somewhat true for the CombatGuard but so far IMI Systems has only provided a remote weapon station, the Bright Arrow active protection system made by General Dynamics, that combines a 7.62mm machine gun and tandem grenade launchers for defeating shaped projectiles.

Speculating on alternate weapons for the CombatGuard, whose empty weight scales at eight tons, conjures thoughts of automatic grenade launchers and even anti-tank missiles.

Via IMI Systems.

The engine compartment is at the back of the vehicle. The CombatGuard runs on a 400 horsepower diesel power plant giving it a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour. While it doesn’t have an amphibious capability the CombatGuard can run across bodies of water at least five feet deep.

IMI intend for the CombatGuard to establish its own niche among customers. The ideal end user for it is a special forces detachment who need to move around fast. It’s been speculated the CombatGuard was snapped up by Israel’s own military and police. Even US special forces were expected to buy their own. Yet neither assumptions have proven correct.

So far only the isolationist Central Asian police state of Turkmenistan is known to possess CombatGuards. The country’s flamboyant head of state, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, was caught on camera driving one in 2016. The particular model was armed with a remote controlled 12.7mm machine gun. The CombatGuard is an attractive choice for countries who need to protect open stretches of border terrain. It’s also an unconventional choice for an airborne recce vehicle.

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