The Ukrainian Armed Forces and other national security sector services have a critical requirement for armored vehicles of various types. This has set off a great number of R&D programs on new armored vehicles in Ukraine. Bogdan Corporation is keen to win a share of the domestic arms market and, in a longer term, break into the export marketplace for armored military vehicles.
Bogdan Motors has placed a special focus on the development of a lineup of multi-functional tactical armored 4x4 vehicles, where the vehicle named Bars-8 (Panther) holds a special place.
Tactical armored vehicle Bars-8 made debut in April 2015, during a demonstration of new indigenous military vehicles to the country's leadership at the National Guard’s test and training facility in Novi Petrivtsi outside Kiev, and, in a more mature variant, it was unveiled to experts and visitors at the Kiev Arms and Security 2015 Expo in September.
Available with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, the all-wheel drive vehicle features a body-on-frame construction, reinforced suspension and axles, a 6.7 liter Cummins turbocharged diesel engine developing 385hp, and thickened-wall exterior body panels.
The Bars-8, as stated by its developers, is designed to support tactical and special operations of military forces and other national security sector services, by providing transportation of personnel and supplies over rough terrain. Being in the 8t gross vehicle weight (GVW) category, the armored car can carry a full squad of 10 personnel, under the protection of its STANAG 4569 Level 2 compliant armor. The body-on-frame vehicle is built on the chassis of the Dodge Ram truck – a full-size civilian pickup truck that has been produced from 1981 by Chrysler factories in Mexico and the United States.
The vehicle incorporates a conventional layout with engine in the front, driver’s station in the middle and troop compartment in the rear. The welded hull is made of steel armor plates inclined at an angle, offering NATO STANAG 4569 Level 2 ballistic protection. The hull has a five door design, with two front side doors for the driver and commander, and one rearward and two middle side doors for troop mount/dismount. The doors have bullet-proof windows in the upper panels. The windshield is of two-part construction consisting of two bullet-proof windows. Over the troop compartment, there is a roof hatch for observation, firing and emergency exit.
The vehicle can be optionally equipped with a winch for self-recovery or assisting other vehicles of the same or lighter mass. Other optional extras include HVAC equipment, a situational awareness system with rear-view and 360-degrees cameras, a GPS navigation device, thermal imaging cameras and night vision devices, NRBC filters and air filtering system. As regards the vehicle armaments, these will be selected based on specific customer requirements and the missions to be dealt with by any individual vehicle. The Bars-8 can accommodate different types of weapons stations and turrets armed with a 7.62 mm/12.7 mm machinegun or an automatic 40 mm grenade launcher, or an indigenous ATGM launcher system.
As a matter of fact, the Bars-8 vehicle will compete in its niche market segment with KrAZ Spartan - a Ford F550-based 4x4, 8t GVW armored vehicle co-manufactured by AutoKrAZ and Streit Group. However, as demonstrated by the experience of using such armored vehicles in the ATO theater, heavy weight of the armored hull built on a civilian production car chassis usually results in excessive load and damage to suspension system that isn’t designed for such duties, especially where vehicles are operated on unpaved roads or off-the-road. To eliminate this problem, Bogdan Motors intends to upgrade the vehicle by introducing a significantly stronger suspension and improving strength of all of the other key components of the vehicle.
The Company is keen to supply its Bars-8 vehicles both to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other security institutions. But before this happens, the vehicle has to undergo the State Trials process that is potentially leading to Approval for Service Use.