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Armored Cars: STC Delta Didgori Meomari

August 1, 2021
Via STC Delta.

The geography found between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea is a hotbed for military innovation the world continues to ignore. The three small countries of the southern Caucasus have made steady progress building military-industrial sectors that are now geared towards exports. The Republic of Georgia’s state-owned STC Delta is at the forefront when it comes to homegrown military products; the Didgori Meomari is a true multirole tactical 4×4 armies everywhere can rely on.

Thanks to Tbilisi’s reliance on NATO and the US meant STC Delta had access to the Ford F550 whose chassis it used as the basis for the original Didgori.

The Didgori was developed in the 2010s as a combat vehicle and protected transport for the Georgian armed forces still struggling to rebuild the disastrous 2008 war against Russia. Although the Turkish-made Otokar Cobra and US-made pickup trucks were already in use these couldn’t serve as building blocks for Georgia’s new army. STC Delta’s original Didgori, while not amphibious, was impressive despite its size. It was armored up to STANAG III, which is as strong as an MRAP despite weighing just 9 tons fully loaded, and offered space for six dismounts and a large weapon station on the roof. All this was possible thanks to a 356 horsepower V8 turbo diesel engine.

The Didgori was quickly spun off into variants such as a command and communications vehicle and an ambulance. Modest sales abroad soon followed. The Didgori’s combat record was finally established in Yemen where they served as casualty evacuation vehicles and soaked up a lot of damage. The newer Didgori Meomari enhances ballistic protection and blast resistance; it’s able to withstand land mines and roadside bombs containing six kilograms of high explosive. Its mobility is commendable too thanks to a 300 hp engine giving it a 500 km range on a full tank.

These features were preserved for the Didgori Meomari whose monocoque hull is enhanced for an extra layer of armor plate. The Didgori Meomari does cut down on interior space, however, as it subscribes to a pickup truck layout. Both the Didgori APC and Didgori Meomari are entering service with Georgia’s army. Their combat optimization is impressive, with standard armaments over the roof hatch being 12.7mm heavy machine guns or a 5.56mm minigun supplied by the US, other weapon stations include a locally made 23mm cannon and automatic grenade launchers. Of course, it’s possible to mount an anti-tank missile launcher on the Didgori.

Later on STC Delta used the Didgori as the transporter for a mobile mortar. The 120mm tube is mounted on the bed and emplaced by lowering the steel base plate to the ground, which serves as a shock absorber for the rest of the vehicle when the mortar is fired. This is an optimal layout for the weapon system that has become popular among NATO armies–having the mortar on the bed of the truck may damage the vehicle’s suspension after repeated fires.

Accessories such as entrenching tools, fire extinguishers, a towing winch, and defensive countermeasures are available for the Didgori Meomari if the end user requests these. Tblisi’s aspirations in the Western alliance system, coupled with financial support from Brussels and Washington, DC, bodes very well for its military-industrial sector as a whole. STC Delta have a winner in this vehicle and its continued adoption paves the way for more ambitious projects in the future.

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