8x8 wheeled armored vehicle - General Dynamics European Land Systems

PIRANHA 5 wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle IFV APC General Dynamics GDELS 925 001


The PIRANHA is a family of 8x8 armored vehicles. Its initial design dates back to the early 1970s, signed by the Swiss company Mowag, now part of GDELS (General Dynamics European Land Systems). So far, five weight categories of vehicles (PIRANHA 1 to 5) have been brought successfully to the market, manufactured either in Switzerland by Mowag or under license by other companies. 21 countries from all over the world are using the PIRANHA in many variants. During the last few years, the PIRANHA has been continuously further developed to address the evolving needs of military forces generated by the new threats appearing in modern theaters of operations. The vehicles include all the features and offer the performances required from a modern multirole vehicle that is well suited to practically any battlefield or peace-keeping/peace enforcing role anywhere in the world. Due to the design concept of this truly multipurpose vehicle, a wide range of special variants has been built according to the specific requirements of the various customers. The PIRANHA 5 is based on the experience gathered from the previous variants and, hence, benefits from more payload, internal room and mobility, for better protection, firepower, comfort, and modularity. Recent major orders for the most modern categories 4 and 5 include 309 PIRANHA 5s in the six variants - infantry, command, ambulance, engineer, mortar, and repair - for the Danish Army, up to 227 PIRANHA 5s for the Romanian army, and 32 PIRANHA 4s in the 120mm mortar variant for the Swiss Army.

Variants PIRANHA wheeled armored vehicles:

- PIRANHA 1: original design standard for the Piranha family. Used by the Canadian Army and by the U.S. Marine Corps under the name of LAV (Light Amphibious Vehicle).
- PIRANHA 2: was developed from the Piranha 1 family. The design includes several improvements in terms of mobility and protection. The PIRANHA 2 is in service with Australia, Canada, Chile, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and the United States.
- PIRANHA 3: third generation in the PIRANHA family. Also used by the Canadian army under the name of LAV 3 . PIRANHA 3 has been ordered by Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, and Switzerland. It has a new design.
- PIRANHA 3C: fitted with standard PIRANHA suspension. In service with Belgium, Romania, Spain, and Denmark.
- PIRANHA 3H: the PIRANHA 3H has been developed from the Piranha IIIC, but it is slightly smaller and heavier in its base configuration. It is fitted with an improved suspension system over the standard PIRANHA 3C. The PIRANHA 3H is in service with the Irish Army.
- PIRANHA 4: a new development in the PIRANHA family with a higher level of protection, increased internal volume and heavier payload.
- PIRANHA 5: is the fifth generation in the PIRANHA family and is essentially a Generation 3 with more protection against medium-caliber ballistic threats and mine protection, a modern electrical architecture, and the ability to carry multiple weapon systems from a medium-caliber automatic gun (IFV) to a large-caliber gun for a fire support role. In service with Denmark, Romania, and Switzerland.

Technical Data

The PIRANHA wheeled armored vehicle can be fitted with different types of one-man or two-man turrets armed with a medium-caliber gun up to 40mm to be used as an IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle), or a large-caliber gun up to 120mm for fire support. In terms of light weapons, the vehicle can be fitted with a ring mount or a manual turret armed with a machine gun of up to 12.7mm caliber. Like all modern wheeled armored vehicles, the PIRANHA can also be fitted with a remotely operated weapon station armed with a machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The open architecture of the vehicle provides also the possibility to integrate a medium caliber weapon station in a manned or unmanned turret, with a cannon of up to 40mm. The PIRANHA can be configured to be used as a fire support vehicle armed with a 90, 105, or 120mm cannon using low-recoil technology, or even as a 155mm artillery system.
PIRANHA 5 wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle IFV APC General Dynamics GDELS details 925 001
Design and protection
The design concept of the PIRANHA wheeled armored vehicle is divided into three main sections: the driver at the front-left with the engine at his right, a weapon station mounted on the roof in the middle of the vehicle, and the troop compartment at the rear. The vehicle has an overall length of 8m. It is 2.45m high over the hull. The PIRANHA 4 is 2.80m wide, while the PIRANHA 5 is 3m wide. In APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) version, the rear part of the hull can accommodate up to 10 people. The PIRANHA has an empty weight of 18,500 kg and can carry a maximum payload of up to 14,500 kg offering the possibility to mount different types of weapon systems and to carry additional modular armor kits that can be adapted according to the needs of the customers or specific threats of the battlefield. The roof of the vehicle contains hatches and the rear part of the vehicle is fitted with a ramp enabling the infantrymen to quickly leave or enter. The PIRANHA provides a modular, interchangeable protection system, which can be adapted to the most significant threat scenarios to which the vehicle can be exposed. The vehicle hull is made of armored steel and the scalable add-on armor are the main elements of this modular protection system. Protection against mine blasts is obtained through a protection module inside the vehicle that doesn’t affect its mobility, as well as through special seats and a careful definition of the fixations and installations. The maximum armor level provides all-around protection against medium-caliber armor-piercing projectiles. In option, the vehicle can be fitted with an APS (Active Protection System) to protect the vehicle against multiple and tandem firings of various projectiles such as RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades), ATGWs (Anti-Tank Guided Weapons), and HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) gun projectiles.
PIRANHA 5 wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle IFV APC General Dynamics GDELS details 925 002
The PIRANHA wheeled armored vehicle is powered by a Scania DC13 diesel engine coupled to a ZF automatic transmission with 5 forward and 2 reverse gears. An economic Fuel-Efficient Drivetrain System (FEDS) and the high-performance Euro 3 compliant diesel engine provide the expected power and operating ranges. The use of a unique independent suspension system with a Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) and Anti-locking Brake System (ABS), as well as the high power-to-weight ratio results in a class of wheeled vehicles offering excellent mobility on the road and in difficult terrain. The PIRANHA has a selectable all-wheel-drive traction system that enables the driver to choose 8×8 for off-road driving or a fuel-efficient 8×4 for travel on hard surfaces. The PIRANHA can reach a maximum road speed of 100 km/h, with a maximum cruising range of 1,000 km. It can negotiate side slopes of 40% maximum and a gradient of 60%. The vehicle has 45° angles of approach and departure. It can cross natural or man-made obstacles up to 750 mm high and trenches 2.2 m wide. It can ford to a depth of 2.0 m without preparation.
PIRANHA 5 wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle IFV APC General Dynamics GDELS details 925 003
Standard equipment of the PIRANHA includes high-capacity Li-Ion batteries for extended silent watch operations, CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) protection system, a fire-suppression system for the engine and crew compartment, and an Arctic kit. The open vehicle architecture according to NGVA enables easy and flexible integration of various subsystems and provides the user and maintenance personnel with on-board diagnostic capability. In option, the PIRANHA can be fitted with additional equipment like an auxiliary power unit (APU), an electrical A/C system, a dozer blade, a mine roller, a laser, and radar warning system, a camera system for the driver, a self-recovery winch, and a power management system for supervision and control of all power sources. In standard configuration, the vehicle is not amphibious but it can be fitted with an amphibious kit including a seawater cooling system and closeable louvers for the engine. In the water, the vehicle is propelled by two propellers mounted on both sides, low down at the rear of the hull. The vehicle can then reach 10 km/h.
PIRANHA 5 wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle IFV APC General Dynamics GDELS details 925 004


Armament Armor
Remotely controlled light weapons stations up to heavy turret/gun systems. Modular integrated protection layout, provisions for an Active Protection System.
Country users Weight
Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Denmark, Ghana, Ireland, Chile, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland Up to33,000 kg gross weight(18,500 kg empty weight + 14,500 kg payload)
Designer Company Speed
General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) 100 km/h maximum
Optional Systems Range
CBRN overpressure system, fire-suppression system, A/C power system, Arctic kit, integrated started generator for 100 kW external power, modular electronics. 1,000 km maximum
Crew Dimensions
3 + 12 maximum Length: 8.0 m; Width: 2.80 / 3.00 m; Height: 2.45m

Details View

PIRANHA 5 wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle IFV APC General Dynamics GDELS front view 925 001 PIRANHA 5 wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle IFV APC General Dynamics GDELS rear view 925 001
 PIRANHA 5 wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle IFV APC General Dynamics GDELS left side view 925 001
 PIRANHA 5 wheeled 8x8 armored vehicle IFV APC General Dynamics GDELS right side view 925 001

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