Blitzkrieg Defense Solutions, a privately owned Pakistani defence vendor (formerly known as Cavalier), will be showcasing its internally designed 8×8 wheeled armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) – the Hamza Multi-Role Combat Vehicle (MCV – at the 2016 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS).
According to an apparent marketing video, the Hamza MCV is powered by a 600hp engine. A separate flyer, which appears to be marketing collateral for use at IDEAS, states that the Hamza MCV has a power-to-weight ratio of more than 20hp per ton. If accurate, this would place the Hamza MCV’s weight at 30-tons, which is comparable to other 8×8 AFVs, such as the Paramount Group Mbombe 8 (28-tons).
The same marketing flyer states that the Hamza MCV has a useful payload capacity of 15+ tons. In terms of armour, the Hamza benefits from ballistic protection (up to STANAG 4569 Level-4) and blast as well as mine protection (STANAG 4569 Level-4B). Up to 14 persons can be carried inside the Hamza. The MCV can also be equipped with electro-optical sensors, including night-vision. The Hamza can be armed with either a 12.7mm heavy machine gun or a 30mm cannon.
Notes & Comments:
If the details are accurate, it appears that Blitzkrieg is taking aim at two Pakistan Army requirements.
First, the Army had sought an 8×8 AFV (since at least 2014) to bolster its ability to rapidly move infantry, not only in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) but also along an increasingly pervasive road network in the country. Second, the Army has been pursuing mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles for its counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in FATA.
The Hamza MCV can fulfill both requirements. In addition to the 8×8 configuration, the Hamza’s apparent protection levels, e.g. STANAG 4569 Level-4B for blast and mine protection, affords it with the ability to withstand up to 10 kg in explosive mass under its belly. Furthermore, the STANAG 4569 Level-4 coverage in ballistic protection shields the Hamza from smalls fire from 30 metres and 14.5mm heavy machine gun from 200 metres. In effect, the Hamza MCV can be used in the role of an MRAP.
It is not known if Pakistan will adopt the Hamza MCV, but if the 8×8 AFV requirement is still in place, the Hamza could emerge as the leading candidate. It would preclude the need for a large number of separate MRAPs for use in COIN. First, the Army would not be in a position to choose between two distinct needs, it can amalgamate both into one solution, and channel its resources in that solution. The benefit is that when MRAPs are not needed (e.g. a winding down of COIN operations), the Army would not be left with platforms it has limited utility for in conventional conflict scenarios.
Second, procuring from Blitzkrieg would be in line with the Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) and armed forces’ mandate of sourcing internally. In fact, a substantive Hamza MCV order could end up being the largest ever defence order made to the Pakistani private sector. In addition to incentivizing Blitzkrieg to continue with in-house initiatives, but it would also trigger activity from the wider private sector. In turn, this could draw the interest of overseas vendors which may be interested in accessing the Pakistani market, which could potentially result in investment in Pakistan (e.g. in the form of joint-ventures looking to secure current and future armed forces requirements).