Armor: Piranha The Proficient And Prolific


January 4, 2016: In December 2015 Denmark ordered 309 Piranha V wheeled armored vehicles. These are needed to replace elderly American tracked M113s. Piranha V is a British variant manufactured by a Swiss firm. Piranha first became available in 1972 and over 5,000 (including derivatives and variants) have been built so far.The Piranha design and technology is found in numerous other similar vehicles (like the Canadian LAV and American Stryker). The Swiss manufacturer is now owned by an American firm.

The Piranha Vs will join to 90 older but still capable Danish Piranha IIIC APCs (armed with 12.7mm machine-guns) and 45 heavy tracked CV90s (armed with 35 mm autocannons). The deal which include 309 vehicles (including variants), maintenance, spare parts and weapons is valued to be worth $662 million. The first vehicles are expected to be delivered in 2018.

The Piranha V is the latest and most protected vehicle of the successful and widely licensed Piranha line. It is a further development of the previous Piranha IV design. The Piranha V appeared in 2010 and was no longer considered as an APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) but rather a wheeled infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). The Piranha V itself is an eight-wheeled armored vehicle is operated by a crew of two or three and carries eight or nine passengers. The vehicle weighs 17 to 30 tones depending on the version. Moreover it is air transportable using the new A400M (similar to the C-130). The Piranha V design is modular for maximum flexibility. This is an increasingly common approach. Other armored vehicles like Boxer or VBCI also have a modular design. This makes it easier to create variants for different purposes like infantry carrier, command vehicle, ambulance, supply carrier, IFV and so on.

The Piranha V is better protected than its predecessors because new modular armor is lighter ceramic type which is attached to steel hull. This design allows quick replacement of damaged modules or easy upgrade when new armor technology develops. Moreover the vehicle has a double floor with a V-shaped hull for better protection against anti-tank mines or roadside bombers. The hull can withstand a 10 kg (22 pound) anti-tank mine blast under any wheel.

For survivability the baseline variant has all round protection against 14.5mm machine gun rounds, while the front can withstand 30mm autocannon rounds. The maximum armor protection available is said to provide all-round protection against 25-mm armor-piercing projectiles. In addition to the new armor Piranha V has some impressive new standard equipment like LEDS-150 active protection system which consists of a missile warning sensor, a laser warning sensor, a jammer to disrupt incoming missiles or the laser based fire control systems of enemy weapons and counter munition launchers which can destroy incoming a HE, HESH and HEAT gun fired ammunition at safe distance (more than five meters stand-of detonation). To ensure sufficient mobility the vehicle is fitted with a new high power 580 horsepower diesel engine which gives sufficient a power-to-weight ratio.

Piranha V armament can be configured to suit specific national requirements of every country. Available weapons selection is pretty wide from light remote controlled gun stations, turrets with autocannons up to even low recoil 105mm and 120mm guns. However according to the words of one Danish General these new IFVs will be used by rapid response battle groups so we can safely assume that Danish Piranha V will be armed up to 30mm autocannons.

The Danish contract is the first big purchase of these IFVs because the Spanish armed forces are also interested in this IFV but only had acquired so far only five prototypes for testing. -- Przemysław Juraszek




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