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Armored Cars: BMC Amazon

September 1, 2019

Via BMC.

Another potential success story in Turkey’s burgeoning protected vehicles sector is the BMC Amazon, a scaled down MRAP (gross weight is just 14 tons) tailored for high risk missions. The Amazon may not inspire enthusiasm for its generic appearance–indeed it can be mistaken for a competitor–but it does its myriad jobs well enough to deserve some acclaim. All the usual characteristics of similar armored trucks are present in the Amazon such as a monocoque hull and independent 4×4 suspension. But the manufacturer demurs to reveal its protection level, being content with assuring end users it complies with NATO STANAG rankings.

When it comes to ballistic resistance, however, most armored trucks can defeat AK-47 and M16/4 rounds at close range; the same undoubtedly applies to the Amazon. Other familiar details about it are the fully automatic Allison 3000 transmission and 360 horsepower Cummins diesel engine giving a top speed of 120 kilometers on paved roads. With proper maintenance extreme cold and scorching desert heat won’t inhibit the Amazon.

To better recognize it, a few external cues are worth noting. Of course, the manufacturer’s logo is unmissable above the grille. There’s also the steep slope of its bonnet that almost conceals the cramped ports for the headlamps. Behind the windshield is a double cab layout with each of the doors having angular windows. Two more windows are found on each side of the passenger compartment. There are broad steps on either side of the hull allowing passengers to climb aboard and disembark with ease. A tiny but remarkable detail about the Amazon are its external cameras. In fact, there’s one perched on top of the twin panel windshield.

On paper, the Amazons seats seven passengers but this excludes the driver. What does set it apart from other scaled down MRAPs is the unmanned driving feature where the Amazon and all its subsystems are operated via remote control inside a 5 kilometer radius. To enhance this option, the Amazon RCS variant is equipped with multiple cameras for 360-degree situational awareness when traveling remotely. As for combat optimization, a standard modular roof mount is all there is with the choice of turret left to the end user, whether it’s a lone machine gun or a deadlier armament combo.

Each Amazon 4×4 is delivered with safety countermeasures like an “Arctic kit,” fire extinguishers, and runflat tires. Enhancements such as CBRNe filtration, electronic warfare devices, internal fire suppression, an external recovery winch (seen above), signal jammers, smoke grenades, and an anti-RPG armor suite are offered if needed. As the smaller sibling of the gigantic Kirpi MRAP that has seen extensive combat in Syria, the Amazon is best suited for armies tasked with missions where danger is always close by.

The BMC Amazon found its first overseas customer in 2018 when Qatar ordered a small batch for its fledgling army. Secretive Turkmenistan is suspected to possess a few Amazons as well. A related model called the Vuran is currently in service with the Turkish Army.

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