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Armored Cars: EODH Hoplite

October 29, 2021

Via EODH.

Europe’s latest “high mobility tactical vehicle” comes from Greece’s foremost armor manufacturer EODH. It was revealed at the first installment of the DEFEA 2021 arms show in Athens and its characteristics have since been made public. Its greatest selling point is a monolithic hull that’s detachable from the rest of the vehicle, leaving the chassis and engine block where they are. A similar concept is found in the General Dynamics Foxhound of the UK’s armed forces. In its original variant the Hoplite is a fully enclosed mine-resistant troop carrier with optional single or double cab layouts. The appeal of armored mobility as embodied by the Hoplite and other vehicles of its class is having a transporter that withstands rugged terrain and intense combat.

Such qualities have often proven unreachable for the vehicles designed to fulfill them. The past 10 years of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa wrecked thousands of armored trucks. Iraq and Yemen are littered with their battered remains. But demand persists mainly due to cost–the average price hovers around $200,000 per vehicle–and the abundance of suppliers. So the Hoplite arrives just in time for a global client pool for whom US-made Humvees are inaccessible and a bulletproof Land Cruiser is subpar. The Hoplite’s mobility looks very good on paper. Its official product leaflet indicates a powerful 300 horsepower turbo diesel engine on top of six-speed automatic transmission. The suspension connecting its tires is fully independent (coils plus hydraulics) and stabilizer bars join the twin axles under the hull.

Via EODH.

When it comes to mobility the Hoplite’s big engine gives it a top speed over paved roads of 120 kilometers per hour and a 700 km range on a full tank. Obstacle climbing and water crossing are on par with the best of them. The ballistic protection of the Hoplite is kept vague. It’s important to add that SK Group, a global holding company, and Israeli vehicle manufacturer Plasan acquired controlling stakes of the bankrupt ELVO S.A. in 2021 and how this impacts the Hoplite can’t be understated. Assembly of the Plasan SandCat in Greece puts it in direct competition with the Hoplite. Meanwhile, given EODH’s background in armor kits for German combat vehicles, rolling out variants of the Hoplite may end up improving its prospects for export. Combat optimization and protective countermeasures on the Hoplite are impressive on their own. Rows of smoke grenades are mounted on the roof and there’s enough space for a remote weapon station supporting a large caliber armament.

At present there are four variants of the Hoplite. As a fully enclosed vehicle it can serve as a troop carrier, with seating for eight occupants, or an ambulance. It’s possible to build a Hoplite as a single cab or double cap pickup truck. The open space on the bed then fits whatever modules or cargo the end user imagines. There’s still no word if the Hoplite is being tested for eventual service with the Greek armed forces. As a tactical 4×4 its salient features gives it an edge when stacked against many neighboring rivals. Among NATO allies the Hoplite’s main opponent in the east is the Turkish-made BMC Amazon, with whom it shares many characteristics. To the west it’s contending against the Italian-made Iveco LMV‘s latest iterations. Meanwhile, Central Europe offers no respite with a dazzling array of armored 4×4’s such as the Czech-made Excalibur Army Patriot.

But the 2020s are shaping to be a decade crowded with lethal 4×4’s needed by so many different end users and the Hoplite may still prove itself in this unpredictable milieu.

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