Team Ocelot – a unique collaboration between Ricardo and Force Protection Europe – has launched a revolutionary new light protected patrol vehicle (LPPV) concept offering the potential for much higher standards of occupant protection and operational flexibility than today’s defence light vehicle products.
The Ocelot is the result of a unique collaboration drawing together the defence vehicle skills and technology of Ricardo and Force Protection Europe. The combination of a skateboard design and pod chosen for this vehicle aims to give increased survivability against blast and mines.
The core of the design is a V-shaped hull or skateboard that houses the Steyr 3.2 litre straight six diesel powerpack, propshaft, 6-speed ZF gearbox, AxelTech differentials, fuel tank and all the suspension gear except a torsion bar which is mounted alongside the hull. In the event of an attack the vehicle is able to keep moving even if it has lost a wheel as the rest of the automotive parts are protected. The composite pod has been designed to be interchangeable, and in the patrol vehicle there is seating for two crew and four dismounts. Access to the vehicle is through large rear doors, two top hatches or if required an oversize commander’s door.
The V-shape design results in the running gear not intruding into the crew area making movement from front to back easy and also reducing the threat to the occupants from the running gear in the event of an attack. Bulkheads between vehicle crew and dismounts and between them and the vehicle electronic equipment such as radios and electronic counter measures give added protection. The pod fits onto the skateboard and has a novel tilting mechanism not previously seen in an armoured vehicle. The pod is attached to the hull by hinges which are kept in place with pins.
To carryout maintenance the wiring loom from the pod is disconnected from the skateboard together with the steering connection and the crew pod is then tilted using an another vehicle and strops to pull it over, full access is then available to all the automotive parts. To change the pod the pins are removed from the pod and the skateboard driven to a new pod and this is then connected and tilted back onto the vehicle. As part of the design of the vehicle maintenance was a high priority and integral to the overall concept enabling major assemblies to be rapidly changed in the field rather than having to recover the vehicle to a base workshop to carry out repairs. For example a new powerpack can be flown into a forward operating base and changed over in less than one hour.
Ocelot is a 71/2 tonne vehicle which can be transported in a C-130 or underslung on a Chinook. It has four wheel steering giving it a market leading turning circle of 12 metres and has a low centre of gravity as all the heavy items are contained within the skateboard. It is 5.3m long, 2.3 high and 2.1 wide.