Special forces receive new light combat vehicle

EXPENSIVE TOY?:Some local media reports have questioned the vehicle’s US$60,000 price tag, and have raised concerns about a lack of maneuverability

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff reporter

Tue, May 01, 2012 - Page 3

The Ministry of National Defense has begun delivering a new indigenous light combat vehicle to be used by special forces for off-road combat operations.

The unarmored, 1,225kg four-wheel-drive Special Combat and Assault Vehicle (SC-09A) was locally manufactured, with an initial contract for 56 vehicles, Defense News reported yesterday, adding that a ministry source would not reveal the identity of the manufacturer.

The 871 Airborne Group under Special Forces Command is the first unit to receive the three-seat vehicle, which comes with puncture-proof wheels, an anti-blast fuel tank, night-vision equipment and a searchlight, the article said. The vehicle has right passenger and rear gun mounts that can be fitted with MK-19 40mm grenade launchers and T-74 machine guns, Defense News said, adding that a third gun rack, which can accommodate three T-91 assault rifles, was located in the rear compartment.

The 4.1m-long and 2.2m-wide SC-09A can be carried on C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and CH-47SD Chinook transport helicopters.

Some media reports have criticized the vehicle, which comes at a price tag of US$60,000 per unit, as too expensive. Concerns about its maneuverability have also been raised, the report said.

The ministry first unveiled the vehicle to some local reporters on March 9.