LRPV Gepard for a new Airborne Regiment?
In autumn of 2020, a new regiment of the Czech Army should be founded in Chrudim, where the 43th Airborne Battalion is settled now. The Battalion should be expanded by several hundred new soldiers. At the latest in 2026, new parachutists should be ready to the deployment in mission. The new Regiment, of cause, requires new equipment, and not equipment of previous years. Could the Gepard - by its conception - be a suitable adept for light, heavy-armed offensive vehicle?
“Foundation of the new regiment will cost 1.5 to 4 milliard CZK. For example, new light offensive vehicles will be purchased for it. The present battalion will be approximately doubled. The Army should be consequently expanded by 5,000 soldiers and by a so-called third manoeuvre element; at present it disposes of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade and 7th Mechanized Brigade. In its analyses, the Army management considered five versions of foundation of a new military units; among them was, for example, foundation of a heavy mechanized brigade. But an airborne regiment can be founded in relatively short period of time with the money that the Czech Army can afford. Its foundation corresponds with the needs of the army,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Ivo Zelinka, who is appointed to found the regiment, and added: “Tasks of rapid deployment forces will be assumed to the regiment. So, we will be able to deploy the unit in dependence on concrete requirements in about hours up to days. It can be deployed in the destination by air or by vehicles.”
The above-mentioned vehicles and possibility of transportation are potential alpha and omega. With regard to the actual state, it is utopia to consider the continuation of the use of UAZ’s, and It is not any different when referring to LR Defender and, probably, to Kajman, too. Although the potential of the Kajman appears to be an absolutely suitable option for rapid, fighter vehicle with strong armament. Nevertheless, the time moves forward, so there's no point in considering this platform in the actual form. Let’s think about the possible use of the current product of Czech companies - Dajbych, Tatra Defence Vehicle, Excalibur Army and Optokon. We’re talking about the LRPV (Long Range Patrol Vehicle) Gepard, which is built on the basis of the proven platform of Toyota Land Cruiser.
The LRPV Gepard was developed and manufactured as a possible substitution for the Kajman vehicle. While developing this off-road vehicle, an emphasis was placed to a high level of mobility, achievement of the maximum usable dead-weight, of sufficient internal space for the transportation of 6 persons, including necessary equipment and armament and last but not least on the highest level of ballistic countermine protection for respective vehicle category. The vehicle won the Zlatý IDET prize. The Gepard disposes with an innovative chassis which enables achievement of the total weight of the vehicle of 6 tons. This parameter in this category of the motor off-road vehicles is unique and it is possible to transport it under helicopters, or - with regard to the Alliance aviation engineering - in a number of cargo aircraft. This is not the case for all vehicles; for example, the weight of the Perun vehicle for 601.SKSS is about 12 tons.
The Gepard design ensures the highest level of the ballistic protection and enables conveyance of the crew, including complete equipment and armament, such as, for example, a radio station, IT equipment, a weapon station with a 12,7 mm heavy machine-gun, two gun-carriage with a light machine-gun, RPG, prescribed quantity of ammunition, food, water, camouflage net, mounting and engineer materials, and it's all with a thorough reserve. All wheels, including reserve ones, are equipped with the emergency Runflat system. The manufacturer delivers the vehicle both with manual and automatic transmissions. Besides of that, a technically unique VDS stepless transmission can be chosen. Thanks to two subsequently-connected fuel tanks with the total capacity of 180 l, the maximum cruising range of the vehicle is ensured. It is a suitable solution for the mobile airborne regiment, with a necessary emphasis on the production in the Czech Republic.