08 Juli 2017
The re-engineered and upgraded HMV-150 seen during company shakedown trials. (photo : Shaun C. Connors)
The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has completed initial testing of a re-engineered and upgraded Cadillac Gage V-150 Commando 4×4 light armoured vehicle. Designated HMV-150, the donor platform for the project was a damaged vehicle salvaged from southern Thailand in October 2016 by local company Panus Assembly Co Ltd.
The RTN had considered the donor vehicle to be beyond economic repair following an earlier land mine strike, agreeing to donate it to Panus for a potential rebuild at the company’s expense.
HMV-150 of the Royal Thai Navy (photos : Battlefield Defense)
The vehicle was re-engineered and rebuilt over a period of eight months, and was handed back to the RTN for testing and evaluation following a series of trials in early June 2017. Should this effort find favour with the RTN, the aim for Panus would be to similarly upgrade the remainder of the service’s 24 V-150 vehicles – some of which are presently unserviceable.
Given the prevalent mine and IED threat in Thailand’s southern provinces, a key aim of the project was to improve both ballistic and blast protection levels of a vehicle originating from a time when 7.62 mm ball rounds and anti-personnel mine protection was considered adequate for a vehicle of this type. The desire was to deliver a product with protection levels comparable to the RTN’s in-service Panus Phantom 380-X1 MRAPs.
To help achieve this target, Panus engineers redesigned and reinforced the entire hull, with about 80% of the HMV-150’s 6.5 m long and 2.5 m wide hull newly fabricated. Formal ballistic and blast testing has yet to be undertaken, but the vehicle’s updated protection is understood to be based around a double layer hull with 12 mm thick steel used for the sides and roof, and 16 mm thick steel used for the underside.