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Serval

Light special forces vehicle

Serval

The Serval was developed by Rheinmetall for operation in Afghanistan

 
 
Entered service 2003
Configuration 4x4
Cab seating 1 + 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (curb) 3.3 t
Payload capacity 1.2 t
Length 4.89 m
Width 1.82 m
Height 1.87 m
Mobility
Engine Mercedes-Benz 2.8-liter diesel
Engine power 183 hp
Maximum road speed 120 km/h
Range over 500 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 0.35 m
Trench ~ 0.5 m
Fording ~ 0.6 m

 

   The Serval is a German 4x4 special forces vehicle. It is named after an African wild cat. It was designed by Rheinmetall. In 2002 the German KSK special operation forces began looking for a vehicle suitable for ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The Mercedes-Benz G-class, known in the German army as the Wolf, could not fully meet the requirements. So a new vehicle was developed for specialized missions such as reconnaissance, long-range surveillance and fast attacks. It was adopted by German armed forces in 2003 as the Serval. Only 28 of these vehicles were obtained. These are used exclusively by the German KSK special operation forces. In 2006 a total of 4 of these special forces vehicle were delivered to Swiss Army.

   The Serval is based on Mercedes-Benz G-class 4x4 light utility vehicle. The first prototype was based on a cut-down G270 CDI. Its body was developed by a German Binz company. However production vehicles are based on a newer G280 CDI. The Serval has longer wheelbase than a standard G-class.

   The Serval is a multi-purpose transport vehicle that is well suited for long-range reconnaissance patrols. It has great cross-country mobility, long range and is well armed. There is plenty of storage space. The Serval has an open top. It gives great all-round visibility. Also crew can rapidly leave the vehicle. If required, it can be covered by a canvas cover. A windshield can be removed. Also there are only straps instead of doors. Vehicle has a roll cage. It carries two spare tyres. The Serval has a trailer hitch.

   This special forces vehicle accommodates driver plus 3 soldiers. Vehicle commander is seated at the front, next to the driver. The seas have an armored bottom and provide some level of protection against mine blasts. If required additional seats can be fitted to carry more passengers.

   There are two 7.62-mm pintle-mounted machine guns. One of them is used by the vehicle commander, another by a rear gunner. Also there is a central ring mount for 12.7-mm machine gun, or alternatively a 40-mm automatic grenade launcher. It is electrically-assisted, so the main weapon can be laid on target and maintained there without much effort. Even when the ride is bumpy, or vehicle climbs a steep slope.

   The Serval has no armor protection. It exploits speed and mobility in order to avoid contact with enemy. Also vehicle has some smoke grenade dischargers fitted at the front and rear.

   Vehicle is powered by a Mercedes-Benz 2.8-liter turbocharged diesel engine, developing 183 hp. Road range on fuel is over 500 km. With additional fuel tanks the range can be extended to around 800 km. There is a demountable self-recovery winch.

   The Serval can be airlifted by a CH-53 helicopter or C-160 tactical transport aircraft.

 

 
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