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Armored reconnaissance vehicle


Despite its age the MAC-1 armored car is still in service with the Mexican Army

MEX-1 / MAC-2
Entered service 1962
Crew 4 men
Personnel 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 8.12 t
Length 5.25 m
Width 2.43 m
Height 2.1 m
Main gun 1 x 20-mm
Machine guns 2 x 7.62-mm
Ammunition load
Main gun ~ 200 rounds
Machine guns ?
Engine Detroit Diesel 6V53 diesel
Engine power 210 hp
Maximum road speed 104 km/h
Range ~ 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 0.6 m
Trench ~ 1.2 m
Fording ~ 1.2 m


   The MAC-1 (Medium Armored Car, No.1) was an armored car developed by Chrysler Corporation in the early 1960s. It was a private venture funded by Chrysler, created primarily for export to developing countries in need of a light reconnaissance vehicle.

   It was a modest commercial success. Approximately 15 examples sold to Mexico between 1962 and 1964, and an unknown number of a further development (the MAC-2) sold to Spain, of which 25 were later re-sold to Mexico. As of 2009, all 40 of these were still in service with the Mexican Army. Both the MAC-1 and MAC-2 in Mexican service have been re-fitted to an identical configuration, known as "MEX-1". All data in this article, unless otherwise noted, pertains to the present configuration of the "MEX-1".

   The MAC-1 is 5.25 m long, 2.43 m wide, and 2.1 m tall. With a combat weight of 8 120 kg atop 4 wheels, it has approximately 2.17 kg/cm² of ground pressure. It has a 2.84 m wheelbase, 0.45 m of ground clearance, and can tackle a 60% gradient, a 30% side slope, or trench of approximately 1.2 m. Data on its exact fording depth is unavailable, but the MAC-1 is not amphibious. Data on its vertical obstacle climbing height is also unavailable.

   The glacis plate is chisel-shaped, with shallow slope on top ending over the middle of the front wheel well, and the lower sides are sloped steeply inward, while the upper sides are sloped shallowly inward. The rear end is also a chisel-shape, but not as steep as the glacis plate. The central roof spans from the front hatches to above the front of the rear wheel well, ending in a long, shallow, slope to the rear end; it is topped with a steep, conical, flat-topped gun turret, with a long and narrow main gun. The wheel arches are straight and rhomboidal, ending at the top of the hull's lower inward slope. With the exception of the sides of the conical turret, all sides of the MAC-1 are straight and flat. A box-like equipment covering is mounted is mounted on the rear-left roof, with the protruding engine bay cover inward of it, and a louver-like ventilation port at the rear behind the engine bay cover. Headlights are recessed into the lower glacis plate, and a small fairing at the rear-right holds the radio aerial. There is a lifting eye at each corner, and handles for use as a ladder are fitted to front-left side; 2 on the lower slope, 1 on the upper slope.

   It should also be noted that the MAC-1 has a similar silhouette to the BRDM-2 armored scout car, and similar design motifs; the two easily be mistaken for one another at a glance.

   Propulsion is provided by a Detroit Diesel 6V53 Diesel V6 with 210 hp, giving the MAC-1 a power/weight ratio of 17.18 hp/tonne. No data is available on the type and model of the transmission used in the MAC-1. Similarly, no data is available on the type of suspension and running gear used in the MAC-1.

   Armament consists of a GIAT M693 20mm autocannon, firing 20-mm rounds with a selective dual feed and a 720 rpm fire rate, and a MAG 7.62-mm coaxial machinegun, with a 700 rpm fire rate. Two additional 7.62mm MAG machine guns may be fitted on skate mounts as well; one on the turret roof, and the other on the rear hatch. No data is available for the MAC-1's ready or stowed ammunition, though the configuration of other AFVs with the M693 autocannon suggests a capacity of 200 ready 20-mm rounds. It is unknown if the turret armament is stabilized.

   Protection is afforded by high-hardness steel armor, of sufficient thickness to defeat small arms fire, blast overpressure, and shell splinters. It is unknown if the MAC-1s have spall liners or fire suppression systems, but it is known that no integral NBC system is fitted.

   The driver and co-driver sit forward, underneath two outside-hinged rhomboidal hatches that closely conform to the turret ring. The gunner sits inside the turret, under a half-circle-shaped hatch on the right side, and the vehicle commander sits in a position near the gunner near the center of the vehicle. Up to 3 scouts may be carried, who sit in a small rear compartment on the right side (the engine compartment is to the left of them), with a rear hatch above them on the right-side behind the turret, and a door on the right-rear of the vehicle.

   As with most low-cost export AFVs, the MAC-1's electronics are very spare, apparently consisting only of a radio. It does not have a fire control computer, and does not appear to have night vision, or any other any visionics.

   The unit cost of the MAC-1 in any of its forms is unknown, but it is no longer in production.




   MAC-1; original offering by Chrysler, with a crew of 4, and powered by a Chrysler 163 hp HAT petrol V8 engine, and armed with a Hispano 20mm autocannon;

   MEX-1; Mexican Army variant of the MAC-1. They were all reportedly converted to MAC-2 standard;

   MAC-2; a variant of the MAC-1 operated by the Spanish Civil Guard, 25 of which were re-sold to Mexico and integrated into its MEX-1 fleet. These have been drastically modified, with a new diesel engine, different weapons, an added passenger capacity, a new rear hatch, and an added rear door. Apparently, these are all known as "MEX-1s" in Mexican service.



   Article by BLACKTAIL

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