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Armored Cars: Poly Technologies CS/VP3

April 23, 2018

Chinese vehicle companies didn’t start competing in the mine-resistant trucks sector until recently. One of the earliest models to be exported abroad was the CS/VP3 from Poly Technologies. It’s the same state-owned conglomerate responsible for AK-47 knockoffs and renowned wheeled APCs. Today, Poly Technologies’ mine-resistant truck is in direct competition with newer offerings from Norinco.

The CS/VP3 was developed at the beginning of the decade and was quickly rolled out for clients abroad in 2013. It’s believed to have been a licensed copy of another truck, albeit with superficial changes.

The PLA had no use for an MRAP at the time nor did its commitment to peacekeeping operations result in the deployment of ambush protected vehicles. In fact, contingents of Chinese troops serving under the United Nations in Africa often relied on their 6×6 APCs and unprotected Dongfeng Humvees for transport.

The CS/VP3 subscribes to a layout similar to the MRAPs produced in Southern Africa. It’s recognizable for its high ground clearance and the enormous engine compartment that has a diamond shaped grille. The CS/VP3 employs a monocoque hull with hollow panels installed on either side of it. These are supposed to help mitigate the blast of a mine or roadside bomb and come apart when struck by the shock wave. The panels also serve as external compartments or bins for gear and tools. A single electric swing door at the back of the vehicle allows people to embark and exit while a short ladder beside it connects to the roof.

A CS/VP3’s internal volume is sufficient for a dozen passengers. There’s space enough for 10 soldiers behind the cab while the driver and co-driver must climb into their seats, entering via two reinforced hatches. There are circular firing ports on each window and on the lower half of the co-driver’s windshield. Two roof hatches serve as oscillating turrets for machine guns and other heavy weapons the CS/VP3 can support.

The engine type for the CS/VP3 hasn’t been revealed yet but it manages a top speed of 100 km/hr and can wade across waters that are four feet deep. Its protection level is rated at  STANAG III for the front of the vehicle–add-on armor can be installed over the troop compartment. The CS/VP3 earned its fair share of scrapes and bruises when the Nigerian army deployed it in the war against terror group Boko Haram (2013 until the present). Kenya and Uganda did order small batches of the CS/VP3 for their own security forces.

Although Poly Technologies’ first MRAP has found an eager market in Africa, its branding and reputation isn’t strong enough to surpass its older peers like the Mamba and the Casspir. The truck can also use new accessories–like 360 degree thermal cameras or a sniper detection system–to raise its appeal among end users.

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