The Kobra armoured personnel carrier has been developed as a private venture for the export market by the now Alvis OMC and builds on experience in the design, development and production of the Mamba Mk 2 (4 × 4) armoured personnel carrier which is covered in detail in a separate entry.
The company stresses that the Kobra is being marketed alongside the earlier Mamba, which was based on the German Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG U416 (4 × 4) chassis, and is being aimed at those customers who require a more capable 4 × 4 armoured personnel carrier.
A further development of the Kobra called the Taipan was developed to meet the requirements of the Australian Army. Following extensive trials between the Taipan and the Australian ADI Bushmaster, the latter was selected early in 1999.
The Cobra was originally designed and built by Reumech OMC, the sole manufacturer of armoured fighting vehicles in South Africa. Late in 1999 this company was taken over by Vickers Defence Systems of the UK and renamed Vickers OMC. Late in 2002, Alvis PLC purchased Vickers Defence Systems and Vickers OMC was renamed Alvis OMC.
As of March 2004 no production orders had been placed for the Alvis OMC Kobra APC. Description
The Kobra is based on the Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG U2150 4 × 4 cross-country chassis fitted with an all-welded monocoque steel body that provides the occupants with protection from 5.56 and 7.62 mm ball small arms fire and shell splinters.
As an option, an add-on armour package is available which increases the protection level up to 7.62 mm armour piercing attack.
The standard Kobra provides protection against a 14 kg TNT detonation anywhere under the vehicle, for example under the belly or under a wheel.
The engine compartment is at the front with the forward part opening left and right to gain access to the power pack and cooling system. Over the engine is an upward opening cover.
The diesel engine drives through a manual gearbox with eight forward and eight reverse gears. The final drives incorporate portal hub reduction with pneumatically operated differential locks.
For the Australian programme a new fully automatic transmission was developed. This consisted of a Reco 606 transmission from Germany and transfer and drop down gearbox designed by Ermetek of South Africa.
The crew compartment is to the immediate rear of the engine compartment and extends to the very rear of the vehicle. The driver is seated on the right (although a left-hand version is also available) with the commander to the left with large bulletproof windows to their immediate front and sides.
A total of six roof hatches is provided in the Kobra, three either side that open outwards and can be locked in the vertical position. If required, a circular roof hatch can be installed on which can be mounted a 5.56 or 7.62 mm machine gun.
A single wire cutter is fitted at the centre front end of the roof of the vehicle and a single hose with air pressure gauge is provided as standard.
The troops sit facing inwards and enter the vehicle via a large door in the rear. The troop compartment is fitted with large bulletproof windows, which can be fitted with special circular firing ports if required by the user.
In its basic APC configuration, the Kobra has a crew of two, commander and driver and carries nine passengers. Mounted either side at the rear of the Kobra is a replacement wheel and tyre.
The suspension uses single coil springs at the front and double coil springs at the rear with double-acting hydraulic telescopic shock-absorbers, Panhard rod, torque tube and strut bar to absorb cross-country energy and loadings.
The braking system comprises a primary dual-circuit air over hydraulic system, activating disc brakes. The secondary brake is the parking brake, which is an air pressure-actuated cylinder on the rear disc brakes with a spring on, air off activation. The tertiary supplementary brake system is an engine exhaust brake, pneumatically activated by a floor-mounted valve.
Standard equipment includes an SME 11 environmental control system with a total of six vents being provided. On either side of the vehicle are three stowage bins and, if required, a 5.56 or 7.62 mm machine gun can be mounted on the roof of the vehicle. A water tank with a capacity of 270 litres is fitted.
A wide range of optional equipment has been proposed for the Kobra including add-on passive armour for a higher level of armour protection, 55 mm glass all round which provides protection from armour-piercing small arms fire, fire and explosion suppression system for the diesel engine and crew compartments and a central tyre inflation system that allows the driver to adjust the tyre pressure to suit the terrain being crossed.
The diesel fuel tanks of the Kobra can also be filled with a fire retardant insert if required by the user.
The Kobra is air-transportable in a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. As the vehicle is based on a UNIMOG (4 × 4) design, spare parts are available on a worldwide basis. Variants
The Kobra can be used to carry out a wide range of roles on the battlefield including mortar carrier, command post vehicle, ambulance, assault pioneer vehicle, maintenance and repair vehicle, supporting arms vehicle, flatbed/container carrier vehicle and a direct fire weapons platform.
Concept design work by the company has also shown that a 6 × 6 version is possible and can be developed in response to user requirements.