TPK 420 VBL
|Manufacturer:||ACMAT - Ateliers de Construction Mecanique de l'Atlantique|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Wheeled armoured personnel carrier|
The TPK 420 BL armoured personnel carrier was developed as a private venture by Ateliers de Construction Mécanique de l'Atlantique (ACMAT) and is essentially the well-known VLRA (4 × 4) 2,500 kg long-range reconnaissance vehicle fitted with an armoured body.
The VLRA is used by at least 43 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia and is fully described in Jane's Military Vehicles and Logistics.
The first prototype of the ACMAT TPK 420 BL was completed in 1980 and production began the same year. The company is now offering the TPK 650 BL armoured personnel carrier, which has a 6 × 6 configuration. In mid-2007, the 6 × 6 version was still at the prototype stage.
The current production model is the ACMAT TPK 420 BL which has been designed to carry 10 people, the commander and driver in the front and eight troops, seated four down either side, at the rear.
This version has a combat weight of 7,800 kg with the steel armoured body providing protection against 7.62 × 51 mm ball small arms fire.
In mid-2006 ACMAT was taken over by Renault Trucks Defense but still retains the company name as well as its current facilities.
According to the United Nations, the following quantities of ACMAT series armoured vehicles were exported from France between 1992 through to 2005.
It should be noted that in some cases the exact type of armoured fighting vehicle exported by France was not disclosed so there could well be addition sales of ACMAT armoured vehicles in this time frame. Description
The hull of the TPK 420 BL is made of all-welded nickel chrome molybdenum steel, 5.8 mm thick. The vehicle has a similar layout to the basic unarmoured VLRA, with the engine at the front, behind which are seats for the commander and driver, and the troop compartment at the rear.
Immediately in front of the driver and commander is a bulletproof windscreen, which is covered when in a combat area by a hatch hinged at the top. The commander and driver enter and leave the vehicle by a side door that opens to the rear. In the upper part of this is a bulletproof window which is covered by a flap that opens upwards, below this is a circular firing port if required. Above the commander and driver positions is a single-piece hatch cover opening to the rear.
The troops are positioned on bench seats down either side of the hull. The sides of the rear troop compartment are carried upright to give the maximum possible protection to the occupants. If fire is to be returned or if rapid dismounting is required, these sides can be hinged outward and downwards at their mid-point. The vehicle can also be delivered with a fully enclosed, removable rear compartment to give improved protection from roof-mounted snipers.
If required, an 81 mm TDA mortar can be mounted in the rear. Various 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns can be pintle mounted in the rear troop compartment.
This is fitted with a one-person manually operated turret with hinged shields and armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun. The system comprises one fixed-ring basis, one rotating ring on a 360° bearing, three hinged protection shields with automatic locks forming a cover in the closed position, five day periscopes, azimuth lock every 12° and a weapon cradle with support and balancing device.
If required, the turret can be fitted with eight electrically operated grenade launchers on either side, which are controlled from within the vehicle.
Other equipment on this version includes a loudspeaker system and a full air conditioning system.
This has the same chassis and hull front as the BL armoured personnel carrier but has a fully enclosed rear troop compartment. The troops are seated on bench seats down either side of the hull. In each side of the hull are four bulletproof sliding vision blocks.
In the rear of the BL are two outward-opening doors, in each of which is a bulletproof vision block covered by an armoured flap.
Mounted in the centre of the roof is the one-man turret armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun which is aimed by using a roof-mounted periscope or a Nexter Systems one-man turret Model TLi armed with a .50 (12.7 mm) M2 HB machine gun. A 2,000 m range Euromissile MILAN ATGW system can also be installed.
The BL can be fitted with optional equipment including different radios and an air conditioning system, as well as being modified for more specific roles such as ambulance or command post.
Nexter Systems teamed with Thales Optroniques and ACMAT to develop a new 4 × 4 reconnaissance vehicle based on a much modified ACMAT vehicle, but with a new body. The ACMAT designation for this vehicle is the VLRB family. It has been entered for a number of foreign reconnaissance competitions, but as of mid-2007 no sales had been made.
In 1996, the prototype of the Type TPK 420 BL-SAM (4 × 4) armoured ambulance was completed. This has been developed as a private venture and is similar to the APC but configured for the ambulance role.
In addition to its three-man crew, it can carry four stretcher patients in the rear or a mixture of seated and stretcher patients. The wounded are loaded into the vehicle via the rear which is provided with a two-part door, the lower part opens downwards to form a step while the upper part opens upwards. To provide more room for the occupants, this model has a higher roof line. This is understood to remain at prototype stage.
The prototype of this vehicle, designated the Type TPK 650 BL-CTL was shown in 1996 and is based on the 6 × 6 chassis with a fully armoured front cab and the load area at the rear. Maximum payload is quoted as 4,500 kg. This is understood to remain at the prototype stage.