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Armored Cars: SOFRAME MPCV

June 2, 2020


With its entire identity compressed into an acronym the Multi-Purpose Combat Vehicle or MPCV is best understood as the proper French analog to the US-made Oshkosh M-ATV. Both vehicles share commonalities and are meant to function as better replacements for cumbersome mine-resistant trucks that are too heavy for their own good. With a gross weight of just 13 tons (it can probably support another 1,000 kilograms in cargo) the MPCV is capacious enough as a battle transport but still fits inside a medium-lift transport like a C-130 Hercules. This is a sterling trait for vehicles used by armies with expeditionary missions…like France’s own.

Although it can be mistaken for the German-made Dingo MRAP and, to a lesser degree, the Aravis MRAP the MPCV has enough distinctive features to set it apart from the competition. A very large bonnet almost encloses a grille with no discernible air vents. The bumper underneath the grille is quite small and the provision of a towing cable is absent, but this could be optional. Large handlebars are placed between the cab doors for passengers to climb aboard and dismount with ease. Its smoke grenade dischargers are located on either side of the hull rather than on the roof.

Since its manufacturer SOFRAME began promoting it in 2016 the MPCV guarantees the usual assortment of combat and protective optimizations found among its peers. A minor trend that’s still manifesting across Europe’s military industries at the moment are a new generation of modular 4×4’s with considerable armor; the MPCV fits this niche to a tee. The basic variant of the MPCV is a fully enclosed vehicle with a double cab layout and a passenger compartment at the back for six, giving it a total capacity for 10 people. Of course, it’s high ground clearance allows a v-hull to deflect bomb damage although the manufacturer hasn’t revealed at what level. When it comes to ballistic resistance the MPCV is armored up to STANAG II, making it impervious to gunfire from Kalashnikov rifles.

There’s little to go on the rest of the MPCV’s characteristics such as its engine type–but maximum speed is 90 kilometers per hour–or other details on its mobility such as the finer aspects of its suspension system. SOFRAME does concede the MPCV, even without propellers attached below the hull, is able to perform water crossings in depths of almost four feet. The MPCV’s manufacturer also prefers to emphasize its variants such as a short-range air defense vehicle armed with Mistral SAMs and a 30mm cannon. It’s possible to mount other types of weapon station’s on the MPCV’s roof. The MPCV is available as an ambulance, a command vehicle, and an anti-riot vehicle depending on the end user’s requirements.

The SOFRAME MPCV has to be the most attractive product among the company’s “combat vehicle” portfolio that includes the ARIVE MRAP, open top special forces 4×4 (Venpir and Outfielder), and the lightweight armored scout vehicle the PVP. The MPCV faces a host of rivals in its neighborhood but France remains a world leader in armored vehicle technology so it won’t be a surprise to discover the MPCV fighting its own battles somewhere soon.

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