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Casspir Mk3
Casspir vehicle Ai101503g1.jpg
A Casspir de-mining at the Bagram Air Base
Type Armored personnel carrier
Place of origin  South Africa
Weight 10.88 t
Length 6.9 m (22.64 ft)
Width 2.45 m (8.04 ft)
Height 2.85 m (9.35 ft)
Crew 2+12

various: 3 x 7.62 mm MG or 20 mm cannon
12 firing ports
Engine OM352A turbo-charged diesel
124 kW
Suspension 4×4 wheeled
770 km

The Casspir is a landmine-protected personnel carrier (APC) that has been in use in South Africa for over 20 years. It is a four wheeled armoured vehicle, used for transport of troops. It can hold a crew of two, plus 12 additional soldiers and associated gear. The Casspir was unique in design when launched, providing for passive mine defence. The main body of the vehicle is V-shaped and raised above the ground, so that if a mine is detonated, the explosion is less likely to damage the crew compartment and kill the occupants. The cross-section of the hull is V-shaped, directing the force of the explosion outwards, further protecting the occupants. The vehicle is also armoured for added mine safety, as well as protection from small arms fire. The Casspir was the inspiration and prototype for the US Marines MRAP project.


Design History

A Casspir at the South African Police Museum, Pretoria

The name 'Casspir' is an anagram of the abbreviations of the customer, the South African Police (SAP), and the design company, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).[1] Although the Casspir was deployed in townships during the apartheid era, it was initially designed specifically for conditions encountered in the South African Border War. In particular, this conflict called for protection from land mines combined with high manoeuvrability to cover long distances - these requirements led to the distinctive V-shaped hull (for mine protection) and a wheeled chassis.

The Casspir was designed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) specifically to protect vehicle occupants against landmines. It is certified to protect its occupants against a triple TM-57 mine blast (equivalent to 21 kg of TNT) under a wheel, or a double blast (14kg of TNT) under the hull. The Casspir has V-bottomed armoured monocoque hull, designed to deflect the force of an explosion outwards, to which a leaf-spring suspension is attached.[1]

Production history

A Casspir at the South African Police Museum, Pretoria. A view from the back.

About 200 Casspir Mk1s were originally built by the CSIR in 1979/80. The production was taken over by TFM in 1981, which improved the design to the Mk 2. Some 2500 Casspir series APCs were built by TFM of South Africa, which was subsequently taken over by Reumech OMC. Reumech in turn was taken over by Vickers Defence Systems of the UK and renamed Vickers OMC. When Alvis purchased Vickers Defence Systems to become Alvis Vickers, Vickers OMC became Alvis OMC. In 2004 BAE Systems acquired Alvis Vickers and Alvis OMC was renamed Land Systems OMC.

In 1998, two Casspir mine-protected vehicles (MPVs) underwent extensive mobility and ballistic evaluation in India over two months, covering over 9000 km. As part of this evaluation, one of the vehicles was put through four blast tests, involving one anti-tank mine and three improvised devices of the type typically encountered during operations in Jammu & Kashmir. The Casspir MPV was then repaired and driven back to the evaluation centre.

In August 1998, India purchased 90 'reconditioned' Casspirs for the Army and Para-Military forces in Jammu & Kashmir. In April 1999, the Army acquired a further 90 Casspir MPVs and an additional 75 were delivered in 2001.


  • Casspir Mk 1
  • Casspir Mk 2 First user: 101 Battalion, SWATF
  • Casspir Mk 2C (I)
  • Casspir Mk 3 - 170 hp (127 kW) ADE-352T 6 cylinder turbo-diesel
  • Ordnance Factory Board of India's MPV

The Casspir was built in different configurations:

  • APC - armoured personnel carrier
  • Artillery Fire Control vehicle
  • Ambulance
  • Blesbok Freighter - with drop side cargo area for up to 5 tons (160 built). Can be used as a weapon platform.
  • Duiker Tanker - 5000 litres tank (30 built)
  • FISTV - Fire Support Team vehicle
  • Gemsbok Recovery vehicle - 15 ton capacity (30 built)
  • Mechem Mine clearing vehicle - uses steel wheels to detonate mines
  • MEDDS Mine Sensor vehicle
  • Plofadder Mine clearing System - carrier of the containerised Plofadder 160AT rocket propelled mine clearing system
  • Riot Control vehicle - Police version with larger windows to increase visibility


Combat history

Popular Culture

  • Casspirs, in an allegorical reflection of township usage during apartheid, are used against aliens by the fictional MNU in the film District 9 (2009).

See also




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