Glover Webb Panther 4x4 MRCV
Vehicle design history:
The Panther (4 x 4) Multirole Combat Vehicle was an armoured car developed by Glover Webb (then part of GKN Defence Systems) under a contract for Greys Defence Systems. As part of the contract, Glover Webb manufactured a prototype for the Panther at its Hamble facility in Hampshire. This facility would then be closed, and the design was transferred to the GKN Defence facility at Telford in Shropshire. A further merger would then occur in late 1998, when GKN Defence was absorbed by Alvis Vehicles, creating a rather complex company of origin for this private venture vehicle.
The design intent for the Panther was for it to fill a gap in the market for a more combat-capable wheeled reconnaissance vehicle, that was capable of carrying out recce missions for a period of at least 48 hours without resupply. With this in mind, the design work on the Panther began in 1996, with a 4x4 automotive demonstrator. The idea was that the machine could be marketed overseas, along with local marketing in the UK as a candidate for the future command and liaison vehicle requirement, which was seeking to replace obsolescent tracked and soft-skinned vehicles then in service.
The initial prototype for the Panther was completed in late 1997 and was configured as a reconnaissance vehicle, fitted with a Helio FVT 925 turret, armed with a Boeing company 25 mm M242 cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial MAG machine gun. This vehicle would see its first public showing in September of 1997, where it then undertook extensive mobility and user trials in the UK. The design proved promising, as it full filled the airborne requirement, and one could be carried within a Lockheed Martin C-130H, or two within a C-130J.
Due to this airborne requirement, design liberties had to be taken, though unlike most of its peers, the Panther was of all-welded steel construction. the design possesses steel armour giving all-round protection against 7.62 and 5.56 mm armour piercing ammunition, with 12.7mm protection on the frontal ark with standard ball ammunition. The vehicle also had large bulletproof windows, which offered the same level of protection as the hull. This steel armour was also rated to protect against 155mm airburst artillery projectiles from a range of 50m. The armour layout for the lower part of the hull was angled like a boat, in order to protect against blasts from hand grenades, whilst also providing maximum protection for the drive train of the vehicle using the existing weight restrictions. This hull was lined with fire-resistant foam on the roof and body interior to a thickness of 40mm, and the floor was also fitted with non-slip material.
In regards to crew layout, the driver is seated at the front of the vehicle, in an adjustable seat, that could be reclined allowing the driver to rest. The drivers position possessed power steering, as well as the controls for the waterjets, and the glass windscreen was as previously mentioned rated to the same armour protection as the front and sides of the hull. The commander of the vehicle is seated to the rear of the driver on the left side and has a single-piece hatch that opens to the rear. Either side of the hull has a single large door that opens to the front, to the rear of which is a vision block. This vision block is complimented by a firing port, which could be modified to accommodate numerous infantry weapons based on customer requirements.
When configured for the Recon role, the vehicle would have a crew of five or six, with a commander, driver, gunner and up to three additional people on board. Three seats are provided for the latter, with two at the rear-facing frontwards, and one to the right of the right side door, though this seating configuration could be changed based on mission parameters. Mounted in the centre of the hull roof was an Helio FVT 925 turret, armed with a Boeing Company 25 mm M242 Chain Gun with a 7.62 mm machine gun being mounted coaxially. This firepower was complimented by a bank of four electrically operated grenade launchers mounted either side of the turret, which could launch a myriad of grenade types from smoke to fragmentation. This turret could also be fitted with various day/night observation devices along with a white searchlight.
To increase radio range, the Panther was fitted with a Clark KT14 telescopic mast at the rear of the hull on the left side. Atop this mast was fitted a sensor pod, that contained a Pilkington Optronics HDTI (High-Definition Thermal Imager) along with a day-night camera. The vehicle was also fitted with an eye-safe laser range-finder to increase the likelihood of a first shot hitting the target. This sensor pod was operated via remote control, from within the vehicle, on two monitors, one for each camera. Provisions could be made to transmit information and pictures in near real-time to the next chain of command, and the sensor pod was also capable of auto-tracking, along with GPS if required.
The engine compartment is situated in the rear of the Panther, and was separated from the crew by a fireproof bulkhead. The vehicle possesses a rear-mounted powerpack, in order to help reduce its thermal signature, with air inlets mounted on the roof and the outlets mounted on the rear. The power pack itself was a Caterpillar water-cooled turbocharged diesel engine, outputting 350hp to an Allison MD 3066 fully automatic transmission with five forward, one reverse gear in a two-speed Steyr VG 750 transfer box. The steering for the vehicle was only power-assisted on the front wheels. The engine compartment was fitted with a manually operated fire suppression system, with an alarm/sensing system fitted as standard.
The vehicle had both front and rear axels and possessed a double wishbone coil suspension system from Rockwell, which offered fully independent hydraulic dampeners. This along with a central tyre pressure regulating system allowed the driver to adjust the tyre pressure on the fly, allowing the vehicle to suit the terrain being crossed. Run flat inserts were also fitted as standard. The vehicle carried 240-litres of fuel tanks filled with an explosafe explosion suppression system, giving the vehicle a maximum road range of about 750km.
Along with its impressive offroad potential the Panther is also fully amphibious, being propelled in the water by a pair of Ultra water-jets, mounted one either side at the rear. The vehicle was also fitted with a front-mounted 6,500kg hydraulic winch, allowing it to both self-recover and recover other vehicles if necessary. Other standard equipment included night vision equipment for both commander and driver, aircon system, NBC system, NATO standard tow hook, the legendary BOILING VESSEL, water tank, heater/demister, and tactical reversing camera.
The idea for this rugged design was to create multiple variants to fulfil many roles, including potential gun and missile air defence versions, anti-tank guided missile platforms, liaison, Military police, NBC recovery and signals variants, using a wide range of turrets and weapon systems. Unfortunately by early 1999 no production orders were announced and the design was quietly discontinued.
Weight (kg) 14000
Length (mm) 6680
Width (mm) 2600
Height (mm) 2900
Height to hull top (mm) 2190
Ground clearance (mm) 550
Track (mm) 2130
Max speed 75mph/120kph
Fuel capacity (l) 240
Max. road range (km) 750
Max. water speed (km/h) 8
Gradient (%) 60
Side slope (%) 40
Vertical obstacle (mm) 650
Turning circle radius (mm) 8500
Engine power output (h.p.) 350 (25 h.p./t)
Main armament: 1 x 25 mm M242 Chain Gun (270 rounds)
secondary armament: 1 x 7.62 mm MAG machine gun (2000 rounds)
8 x smoke grenade dischargers
turret Traverse arc (degree) 360
main gun Elevation (degree) 45
main gunDepression (degree) -5
- Army Guide (Main source of info)
- https://twitter.com/RyszardJonski/status/1713158519606690059/photo/1 (Source of first photograph)
- https://twitter.com/RyszardJonski/status/1713126644628521217/photo/1 (Source of additional photographs)