If there’s anything that might need addressing for UK use, it’s the side and rear-three-quarter visibility, which are compromised by the narrow side windows, although it’s easy to understand why that design trade-off is necessary.
And that’s what the Sandcat is about: providing a secure, intuitive-to-drive mobile base for security forces facing lethal threats. Think of it as an agile, impregnable truck, rather than a hazy 4×4, and it feels brilliantly suited to its objective.
Who designs armoured vehicles?
Three years after graduating from Coventry’s vehicle design course in 1998, Nir Kahn moved to Israel. He then approached Plasan, one of the country’s few car-related businesses, and eventually landed a design job.
He joined nine days before the 9/11 attacks in New York and went to work immediately on the project that would change his and Plasan’s fortunes: the ‘fastback’ Humvee. The shape stemmed from the need to maintain clearance from a blast from a rooftop missile launcher, and the curvy body was possible thanks to Plasan’s composite armour technology.
“It was a bit of a shock in design terms at the time, and I remember the boss saying: ‘It can’t look like this. A military truck has to be a big, square practical shape,’” recalls Kahn. “But he also recognised that if we could pull it off, it would be a breakthrough.”
When the US military launched its MRAP programme for mine-resistant vehicles in response to the deepening war in Iraq in 2006, Plasan’s retrofit-armour Humvee became one of its key vehicles, as it was effective and quick to put into production at scale.