The Spartan is one of the most successful all-purpose armored cars used today and has been in continuous production since 2007. While most tactical 4×4’s never leave their marketing bubble, the Streit Group’s bestselling personnel carrier already distinguished itself in several ongoing war zones.
At first glance the Spartan doesn’t appear out of the ordinary. But its attractiveness as an armored SUV with a lot of bespoke features endeared it to customers. That, and it’s one of the lighter offerings in Streit Group’s portfolio, which includes a pickup truck, at least nine armored cars, a half dozen MRAPs, a couple of mean-looking 6×6 APCs, and the 8×8 Matador.
The secret of the Spartan’s success is its practical engineering. Its welded steel body is mounted on the chassis of a Ford F550, a distinction it shares with another armored vehicle assembler. The cab and the passenger compartment are separate sections with their own climate control–or air conditioning–and there’s room enough for at least six occupants plus the driver and co-driver. While the Spartan isn’t an MRAP, a designation reserved for its heftier sibling the Typhoon, its armor level is strong enough to resist most small arms fire. Customers shouldn’t expect it to survive rockets and shells, however.
The Spartan runs on automatic transmission with a 300 horsepower V8 turbo diesel engine. Its top speed is 110 kilometers per hour and maximum range on a full tank is a solid 1,000 km. The Spartan isn’t amphibious but streams and canals are easily navigable.
One of the Spartan’s best features is its adaptability for combat. Its single roof hatch is designed to support a pivoting turret with or without a machine gun. In Ukraine, a remote controlled weapon station that combines a machine gun and a quartet of Korsar missiles gives the Spartan a firepower boost equal, if not superior, to a tracked APC. Other than the armed forces, customers in law enforcement and close protection will find the Spartan well-suited for their needs.
Streit Group maintains a dozen production facilities across the globe. The largest among them is a huge estate in the UAE’s Ras Al Kaimah that can assemble more than a hundred vehicles a month. According to the company’s own figures 2,500 Spartan’s have rolled out its factories–whose locations include Canada, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Thailand, Pakistan, and the US–from 2007 until 2014.
The Ukrainian truck maker AutoKraz manufactures the Spartan under license and the vehicle was first delivered to the military in 2014 and then deployed to the front lines in Donbass. Other customers include Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, South Sudan, and Yemen. In 2017 Streit Group delivered a batch of Spartans and Typhoon MRAPs to Nigeria, a country that might share Spartan production in the future.
True to its name, the Spartan is always at home on the battlefield. Its cost, together with Streit Group’s reputation as a vehicle armorer, makes it a nice choice for militaries who want a budget infantry transport that’s tough enough for driving around a combat zone.