It’s an established fact that South African manufacturers pioneered the mine-resistant vehicle to survive ambush tactics in the country’s border regions. Almost a quarter century since the end of Apartheid and the same truck makers are still thriving. The Mountain Lion is one of the newer MRAP models being groomed for a hungry global market. First unveiled in 2011, when its appearance resembled the Oshkosh M-ATV, the truck went through a couple of iterations to achieve its current form.
The 13 ton Mountain Lion is the heaviest entry in DCD’s limited selection of troop carriers, which includes its older sibling the Springbuck. The Mountain Lion is recognizable for its towering ground clearance and enormous engine compartment affixed with a square grille.
The Mountain Lion’s stereotypical layout manages to combine three important features–combat, mobility, and protection. DCD may have opted not to install firing ports on either side of the hull but two roof hatches and a circular mount for a turret offers enough space for fighting with both physical and remote controlled weapons. The cab is able to seat two crew members and behind them are eight blast attenuating seats for the passengers, who enter through a rear swing door. The seating configuration can be altered according to the customer’s wishes.
Underneath its hood is a Cummins QSB 6.7 turbo diesel engine producing 360 horsepower. The top speed is an impressive 11o kilometers per hour with maximum range set at 750 km. The Mountain Lion is a four-wheel drive armored truck using Allison six speed automatic transmission sourced. An understated feature is its performance in desert conditions–it manages to operate is subzero temperatures and scorching heat. As the toughest member of any motor pool, the Mountain Lion excels at convoy protection, counterinsurgency, and long-range patrol. It’s perfect for expeditionary forces too since it’s designed to fit inside a medium transport like an Antonov or a Hercules.
Just like other MRAPs the Mountain Lion is essentially a welded monocoque steel v-hull utilizing commercial parts for optimum performance. The body is mounted on a two axle chassis with an independent suspension and wheels fitted with runflat tires. Bolt on armor panels are riveted to either side of the vehicle providing an armor level reaching STANAG III. Bullet resistant polycarbonate glass is used on the windshield and each of the windows. Storage bins for gear and supplies are located on either side of the vehicle. Optional equipment includes external cameras, an IED interrogation arm, mine clearing spark rollers, and a remote turret for different weapons.
As a company with a heritage stretching back more than 70 years, DCD’s reputation as a defense contractor stems from its Husky mine and route clearance vehicle. The Mountain Lion, on the other hand, doesn’t have any takers yet and is being positioned for military truck demand in Africa and the Middle East. It faces stiff competition from rivals both homegrown and foreign like the Aravis, the Dingo, the JAIS, the Kirpi, the Marauder, the Nyoka, the Puma, the Typhoon, and the Reva. But its qualities when navigating both sand dunes and savannah give it a strong appeal.