Thai Defense Ministry certifies Panus R600 8x8 IFV armored vehicle
Panus Assembly’s newest R600 8x8 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) prototype was certificated by the Armament Standard Committee of the Ministry of Defense of Thailand on 25 March 2021, Defense Studies reports. The R600 8x8 is sold at a unit price of 60 million baht (USD 1,969,800). If equipped with Turkey's Aselsan Nefer 30mm remote-controlled turret, the price climbs to 120 million baht (USD 3,939,540).
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Panus R600, 8x8 and 8-wheel steering amphibious IFV developed at the Royal Thai Marine Corps' request, here in a command post version. The eight run-flat tires are protected by Hutchinson's Tire Shield system (Picture source: Army Recognition)
As reported by Army Recognition on November 20 during Defense and Security Thailand 2019 exhibition, Somsak Nonpoe, Government Project Director, told the particularly interesting story of the 4x4 HMV-20 vehicle that led to the development of the R600. Initially, Panus delivered two units of an MRAP vehicle to a Marine unit in the south of the country. There, the company representative saw two wrecks of old Cadillac Gage V-150 Commando vehicles blown up on mines. Instead of seeing them scrapped, Panus obtained to completely restore them in a combat condition. Using the experience gathered from this work, the company designed its own vehicle - the AFV-420 - that benefited from many improvements, the most noticeable one being a great four-wheel steering system enabling the vehicle to maneuver through deeply forested areas and narrow village streets. This is amazingly the only armored vehicle of its kind that benefits from this crucial ability.
After the AFV-420 was tested, the Marine Corps asked Panus if they could develop an 8x8 armored vehicle, also benefiting from the all-wheel steering system and made amphibious, the propulsion being carried on by water jets. And Panus made it. So, designed and built in Thailand for the Thai Marine Corps, the R600 prototype was tested for the first time at the vehicle testing ground of the Royal Thai Marine Corps, Royal Thai Navy at Royal Thai Army's Vehicle Test Range in Kanchanaburi province on 28 August 2019. Only after these basic tests were the internal equipment and weapon systems installed in the vehicle. The 30mm turret is manufactured by the Turkish company ASELSAN. The hull is made in China. Panus doesn't want to fight its way among the biggest defense companies but is proud to state that it can fulfill any specific need expressed by a customer.
The R 600 weighs 25 tons, is 8.4 meters long, 3.2 meters wide, 2.75 meters high. The ground clearance is 500 mm. The Cummins engine develops 600 hp and is coupled to an Allison 4500 6-speed automatic transmission. The power to ratio rate is 24hp/t. The 8-wheel steering vehicle can drive either in 8x4 or 8x8.
It can overcome a 60cm vertical obstacle, a 40% slope, and a 60% grade ramp. The top speed on-road is 110 km/h, 14 km/h on water. The operating range is 800 km. The IFV can accommodate 2 crew members and 20 people. The protection level is Stanag 4569 LV.2, or Lv.3 in option.
Panus tested its newest product R600 8x8 wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) prototype at the Royal Thai Marine Corps, Royal Thai Navy at Royal Thai Army's Vehicle Test Range in Kanchanaburi province from 28 August 2019 onwards.
The Panus R600 is amphibious. The propulsion on the water works with water jets (Picture source: Army Recognition)