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Armored Cars: Iveco Light Multirole Vehicle

March 23, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Once upon a time, a renowned Italian automaker set out to build an armored car–and succeeded. The resulting 4×4 remains the belle of Iveco’s military catalog and a mainstay among NATO armies. Like its peers, the Light Multirole Vehicle or LMV was supposed to be a culmination of lessons learned the hard way by multinational forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Branded the Lince or Lynx for the Italian ground forces, the LMV lived up to its preordained role and found eager customers across Europe and far beyond. This was accomplished in the face of so much competition from neighboring countries. The reasons why all boil down to undeniable quality.

The original Lynx was meant to function as either a mobile command post encumbered with antennae or a recce truck. Its development began at some point after the year 2000 and many publicized tests later the first batches were delivered to its original customers, the British and Italian armies, from 2005 onward. The former immediately christened theirs the Panther and some 400 models were put to work between 2007 and 2010.

Via Wikimedia Commons.

The Italian Army received 1,400 Lynx’ over the same period and many were sent to Afghanistan. Recognizable for its broad windshield–the wipers are arrayed along the top edge–and the quartet of distinct rectangles that form its grille, the LMV then was already tailor made for the rigors of asymmetrical war. Other giveaways include an enclosed cargo pod behind the vehicle, a circular roof hatch, and an elongated exhaust pipe to the right of the driver.

The vehicle’s cab was assembled from a monocoque steel frame and the underbelly had a v-hull. Despite its modest proportions the LMV offered decent armor, capable of resisting .303 rounds (STANAG III) from any direction. Its turbo diesel engine gave it a top speed of 130 kilometers per hour and a maximum range up to 500 km on a full tank.

Via Wikimedia Commons.

The original LMV was often hailed as an Italian imitation of the prolific Humvee, but unlike some pretenders it bore no resemblance to its American analog and was safer for its passengers, who could total five inside its cab. Such was the LMV’s reputation for toughness that countries big and small acquired them, including Russia during its rare binge on foreign-made military vehicles in 2011. At least 358 of these LMV’s were delivered as kits and then assembled in a Kamaz plant. As of this writing a total of 4,000 LMVs have been built and sold by Iveco.

Via Wikimedia Commons.

In 2016 Iveco debuted its LMV 2 at the Eurosatory arms show in France. This variant was meant to offer more spaciousness for the passengers and superb combat optimization. It featured a digitized dashboard and robust electronic architecture for the crew to monitor their surroundings and fight using a remote weapon station. Iveco made sure a variety of improvements are available for their bestselling 4×4 to meet the customer’s needs. A few examples are adding an extra hinge to each door so these don’t fly off from a bomb’s shock wave or having smoke grenade dischargers on the roof. Individual firing ports can be installed on each of the doors as well.

Via Wikimedia Commons.

The LMV 2 is so far limited to five configurations. These span a “Standard” with a short wheelbase, its heftier sibling with a long wheelbase, a pickup with an empty bed, an ambulance, and an open top special forces transport. So far 16 countries have embraced the LMV: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Tunisia, and the UK.

The LMV’s combat record is impeccable and it has survived its share of dangers in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. There are many vehicles just like the Iveco LMV, but it looks as if patronage at home and global sales will be responsible for prolonging its career by a few decades more.

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