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Armored Cars: KMW Dingo

November 21, 2017

Via Wikimedia Commons.

With the German military committed to deployments abroad rather than territorial defense, it’s not surprising a humble light truck has become an indispensable part of its vehicular fleet. The Krauss-Maffei Wegmman (KMW) ATF Dingo 1 entered service at the turn of the century and was soon deployed to the Balkans and the Middle East. Not to be confused with the smaller AMPV that’s competing against other European 4×4’s, the Dingo lineage is closer to MRAPs in form and function.

Although the original Dingo 1, which was based on a commercial UNIMOG  5000 chassis, did prove adequate for the poor roads in the war-torn countries German troops deployed in, the Bundeswehr’s experience helping to stabilize Afghanistan called for a tougher vehicle.

The Dingo 1’s unremarkable appearance is what distinguishes it from other MRAPs. The cab and interior of the vehicle fits six warm bodies–the driver and five troops–and the small canvass-covered bed at the rear allows additional supplies to be stowed rather than mounted on external bins like on the Thales Bushmaster.

Several years of lessons learned from German peacekeeping efforts influenced the development of an improved variant that became the Dingo 2.

Via Wikimedia Commons.

The Dingo 1 and the heavier Dingo 2 were essential for the thousands of German soldiers who fought in Afghanistan from 2002 until 2014. The Dingo 2 that first rolled out of KMW’s factory in 2005 offered higher ground clearance and spaciousness (fitting eight passengers), making it ideal for long-range patrols and convoys vulnerable to roadside bombs and ambushes. KMW claims the Dingo 1 and 2 are the best protected trucks of their kind since no German soldier was ever killed inside these vehicles.

Other salient features of the Dingo 2 are a v-hull for deflecting mine blasts, stronger ballistic resistance on its cab and sides, and a larger turbo diesel engine that gives it a 90 kilometer per hour top speed and an impressive maximum range of 1,000 km/h. A remote controlled machine gun could also be mounted on its roof. KMW reached a new milestone in 2013 when its thousandth Dingo was delivered.

Weighing in at just 12.5 tons unloaded the Dingo 2 was light enough for air transport and is far more economical than the US Army’s own cumbersome MRAPs, with hundreds scrapped in Afghanistan during the 2014 NATO draw down.

Germany remains the largest operator of the Dingo and KMW offers up to 16 variants, including a riot truck for law enforcement use. Dingo’s have only been sold to countries who have bought German arms in the past. These include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, and Luxembourg.

A small batch of Dingo’s were delivered to the Kurdish Peshmerga in 2016. These joined thousands of jeeps, pickup trucks, Humvees, and MRAPs that were mobilized to roll back ISIS’ stranglehold over northern Iraq. These German gifts appear to have taken a fair amount of damage but made it through the war intact.

A few more Dingo’s have been deployed in the Malian desert since 2013 as part of Germany’s contribution to a huge United Nations peacekeeping effort.

The Dingo 2 is probably the most battle tested mine-resistant truck in NATO’s arsenal. Considering the popularity of modular upgrades and remote controlled features, the Dingo family may enjoy a prolonged career with European armies.

Even though the Dingo’s niche faces serious competition from the Oshkosh JLTV, Eastern European alternatives, and some aggressive private companies with global portfolios, it’s interesting to see how many more variants KMW may unveil in the future.

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