Thursday, March 26, 2015
Rheinmetall Landsysteme Light Infantry Vehicle for Special Operations (LIV (SO)), Serval (Germany), Special attack vehicles
Rheinmetall LandSysteme (RLS) has developed two specialised variants of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class light vehicle; the Light Infantry Vehicle (LIV) and the Light Infantry Vehicle for Special Operations (LIV (SO)), Serval. An overview of the LIV can be found elsewhere in this entry; full details of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class range can be found in the Light vehicles section.The German Ministry of Defence awarded RLS a contract in March 2002 to develop the LIV (SO) on an 'immediate need basis', being given just 10 months to deliver the first example. All 21 vehicles ordered were delivered between January to June 2004 and the LIV (SO) is in service with the German Bundeswehr's special forces, and is known to have been used on deployed operations.A small number of vehicles with some detail differences, including weapons fit, are understood to have been supplied to the Swiss Army during 2007. A variant of the LIV fitted with Mercedes-Benz Unimog portal axles has been developed and evaluated in the Middle East.Rheinmetall AG and MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG announced their respective intentions to form a joint wheeled military vehicles company in 2009. This alliance became a reality in January 2010 with the announcement of the founding of Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) GmbH. RMMV sees the merger of Rheinmetall's wheeled military vehicle activities with those of the military truck activities of MAN. Essentially this merger unites the complementary technological core competencies of MAN's automotive expertise in commercial-vehicle manufacture with Rheinmetall's technological know-how in the military.
The LIV (SO) is based on the chassis and running gear of the Mercedes-Benz 270 CDI G-Class. The wheelbase and GVW rating of which are both increased from those of the standard vehicle for the LIV (SO) role. The current production G-Class is the 280 CDI.The 270 CDI G-Class is powered by a EURO 3 emissions compliant 2.685-litre five-cylinder AVTUR, a low-grade fuel-tolerant diesel engine that develops 156 hp. This is coupled to a Mercedes-Benz five-speed Touchshift automatic transmission and two-speed transfer box. Mercedes-Benz beam axles are sprung by coil springs and damped by hydraulic shock-absorbers. Four-wheel drive is full-time, the transfer box and axles are fitted with driver actuated differential locks which may be engaged when the vehicle in motion.For the LIV (SO) role, the base G-Class is delivered from Mercedes-Benz as a chassis with bodywork complete to the engine compartment rear bulkhead. The Rheinmetall-designed, Binz GmbH & Co produced rear body and frame are then fitted. The frame provides roll-over protection.The underside of the LIV (SO) is protected against hand grenade blast and partial ballistic and hand grenade splinter protection body panels are an option. The engine compartment may also be armoured if required and the non-armoured front slide-out windscreen panels can be replaced with armoured glass. Underfloor armouring can be increased to counter anti-personnel mine blast if required.For special forces and/or long range patrol-type roles the LIV (SO) is fitted for weapons, mounting an RLS WS609K weapon station that will ring-mount either a 12.7 mm Heavy