The Panther is a multi role wheeled military vehicle, which the British Army built as a variant of Iveco LMV. Called Panther CLV (Command and Liaison Vehicle) it is the result of the Future Command and Liaison Vehicle project. Designed by BAE Systems and assembled in Newcastle by the Land Systems' factory, the Panther CLV has four seats (unlike the VTLM which has 5 seats), a high level of protection against anti-tank mines. Its design is primarily for strategic and tactic mobility; it has tuneable armour protection and stealth design.
The Panther CLV is being used in peacekeeping operations, with the capacity of keeping a lower profile and a good level of protection to the crew, but it is also used in direct conflicts with high intensity where it can take the role of a scout, weapons platform and command and liaison vehicle.
The design of the Panther was modified by BAE Systems and applied at the Newcastle BAE Systems Land Systems Factory, where over 400 Panthers are assembled. The intention of the Army is to replace other vehicles, such as Fighting Vehicle 432, Saxon and Land Rover Truck Utility Medium (TUM) and Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance. The new Panthers will have a new tactical communication system from General Dynamics UK and the Driver's Vision Enhancer (DVE) based on an uncooled thermal imager from the Thales Defence Optronics.
Here are the general specifications of the Panther CLV: Dimensions: wheel base -3200 mm, track -1710 mm, length -4687 mm, width -2050 mm, height 1950 mm, kerb weight -3600 kg, gross vehicle weight -6500 kg. the first procurement contract was signed in 2003, after it successfully passed the UK MOD reliability and qualification trials, for 401 vehicles with the possibility of 400 more and the delivery period is 2006 - 2009.
The design of the Panther CLV emphasizes the cabin and crew security. Thus it was designed with maximum distance between the mine and the cabin. When the wheel detonates an anti-tank mine the explosion is vented upwards, leaving the cabin intact, because of the location of the wheel station, away from the crew cabin and off the bonnet which is hinged to the chassis in order to reduce the shock transmitted to the cabin when the mine is detonated.
Panther CLV Security Upgrades
Other security upgrades and developments for the Panther CLV are: the light alloy rear body which has a canvas roof on a supporting frame -this also provides protection for the crew cabin in case of a mine detonation; then the designer did not place the heavy components under the cabin floor so they won't be projected through the cabin floor when a mine detonates; the energy that is not being vended laterally is absorbed by the three layer sandwich structure of the lower part of the vehicle -when the mine detonates under the vehicle this sandwich structure collapses and provides protection by absorbing that energy. The Panther's chassis is made of high resistance steel C-shaped spars and longitudinal reinforcements and tubular cross elements. The suspension is a double A- arm type, fitted with the helical springs and coaxial shock absorbers.
BAE Systems provided the self defense weapon station for the Panther CLV amd Surveillance Target Acquisition Weapon Sight, based on the uncooled thermal imager -controlled by the Remoote Controlled Weapon Station. The Panther CLV is capable of using 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine guns and a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.
The Panther's engine is a 3000cc Iveco F1C that provides 182 HP at 3700 rpm and generates 456 Nm torque at 1800 rpm. The engine is a Euro 3 with variable geometry turbo charger, the option of a 5+1 manual gearbox, electro-pneumatically locked longitudinal differential and exhaust manifolds and silencers installed within the C-spars of the chassis. The Iveco F1C provides the Panther a maximum speed of 130 km/h and a range over 500 km.
The crew cabin of the Panther CLV is fully protected against all possible attacks, including the ground mines that the wheels of the Panther might detonate while engaging in a battle on the conflict zone or during the recognition missions. It's cabin holds two anti mine adjustable front seats and three foldable anti mine back seats. All seats are suspended and not fixed to the floor. Thus the explosion shockwave will not be transmitted to the Panther's crew. The designer also provided a two-seater and two-door cabin version of the Panther. The Panther CLV is capable of crossing over obstacles up to 0.5 m steps, gradients of 60% and slopes of 30%. With preparation it can cross rivers of 1.5 m depth. Due to its hydraulic breaking system, the Panther CLV can carry loads of up to 4.2 tones.
The Panther CLV's cabin comes with air-conditioning and heating system, together with a two-piece widescreen, a high resistance roll bar and canvas roof with a dismountable frame. The windows of the four doors are built with explosion shockwave resistance and are dismountable. The armor protection of the Panther CLV is improved by the vehicle's external skin which consists of an armor pack that provides ballistic protection and a heavy kit. Thus the Panther CLV is protected against both small arms fire and ambush.
The Panther CLV can be air transported by several aircrafts such as C-27J, C160 Transall, EH101 and heavy lift helicopters as SH-53 and CH-47.
British Army / Royal Air Force Orders
The Panther CLV will be used by the British Army and by the Royal Air Force Regiment. Until 2009 the 401 vehicle order with the possible extension of 400 more will be delivered to the two military forces in the UK. Thus the British military forces will be equipped for the ground field with a more secure and reliable vehicle.