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Armored Cars: Carmor Mantis

July 1, 2018

Via Carmor.

There’s now a deliberate trend being pushed by vehicle manufacturers for light armored scout cars. While niches such as MRAPs are overflowing with competition, the emerging demand for less cumbersome off-road fighting machines is quickly being met by Israeli companies. One of them is Carmor’s Mantis that was unveiled at Eurosatory 2018, the largest arms show in France.

The Mantis boasts all around protection from gunfire and a small profile that can navigate dirt paths and trails much better than a Hilux full of commandos. In its current form the Mantis functions like a pickup but there are options for making it an APC.

Of course, recognizing the Mantis doesn’t require any nuance. Its cab has a unique layout, with a large windshield that has two wipers below it and four side panels giving the driver a 180 degree field of view. A separate pair of headlights are installed where the rear-view mirrors are. A single towing winch is located below the bumper for pulling stricken vehicles. The current iteration of the Mantis has a gross weight reaching seven tons and it can haul another three tons.

Details are hard to come by when it comes to mobility. Carmor insist the current Mantis prototype it unveiled runs on a Cummins diesel engine and uses Allison transmission but how it drives is a mystery. It does have independent suspension, however, so hot deserts and savannah are no problem. Carmor prefer emphasizing the Mantis’ cab, which seats the driver in the middle of the vehicle like a pilot, and how it offers superb visibility. The dashboard is almost nonexistent, replaced by three touchscreens.

This concept image shows the Mantis rebuild as a 6×6 MRAP that can transport 10 soldiers with three crew seated in the cab. Via Carmor.

When it comes to protection, Carmor haven’t revealed any pertinent details other than “scalable kinetic and blast” resistance. This means its hull can probably stop bullets and fragments. The Mantis’ cab seats three, including the driver, who enter via swing doors. The windows on these doors are installed on separate panels that open upward. There are two not-so-secret “escape” hatches behind the cab that leads to the bed, where five more passengers seat themselves.

When it was unveiled in France the Mantis had a remote controlled M2 Browning for its primary armament. There’s no information yet if it’s able to accommodate other weapons but this isn’t impossible either.

Carmor’s efforts to promote the Mantis focus on how adaptable it is. The available product literature claims four variants are ready for production. Aside from the one pictured above, a larger pickup truck with seats for five in the cab is available. An “enclosed capsule” is the largest Mantis being offered with seats for eight and an “open buggy” is the still unseen variant for the special operations crowd.

According to Carmor the Mantis won’t enter production until the first quarter of 2019. What the company’s leadership haven’t acknowledged is the competition it will face among other Israeli vehicle makers. The Mantis’ bespoke off-road truck qualities makes it a threat to the CombatGuard while its multi-mission focus makes it a rival of the RAM Mk3 whose track record stretches back decades. To make matters worse, the Mantis’ potential as a scout and surveillance vehicle puts it at odds with the Yagu that Plasan recently unveiled.

If becoming an export success is the Mantis’ ultimate goal, it must confront the preponderance of Ford and Toyota pickups used as “technicals” in many countries. Other manufacturers might even jump into the Mantis’ own niche so who knows what the future has in store for it? Below is a short video clip released by Carmor. It shows the Mantis wading across a pool in a steaming jungle and driving across the ruins of an urban war zone. It’s an ambitious vision for a post-Humvee world.

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