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prototypes at play

Length: Width: Height: Seating: Vertical Step: Ground Clearance: Fording: Dry Weight: Engine: Transmission: Cargo Area: Payload: Front Suspension: Rear Suspension: Fuel Capacity: Range: 3860mm 2000mm 1850mm (1350mm with foldable protection bar) 3 600mm 390mm 700mm 1600kg Diesel 4+1, 4x4 1100mm x 1900mm 2-tonnes Double A Arm + 2 Gas Shock Absorbers and Coil Springs 4-Wheel Tandem type + Gas Shock Absorbers and Coil Springs 2 x 50-litres 800kms
Top right: this view of the Dingo prototype provides a good view of the patented 4-wheel tandem suspension system that gives it amazing articulation. Left: the new bodywork that clads the tubular frame of the Dingo gives the vehicle a very different appearance to the Desert Raider on which Dingo is based. Left: seating for three people is provided, with the driver in the centre.

Prototypes at Play
MMI Attended a Press Day held at Long Valley testing area courtesy of EPS UK Ltd.
Main photo above: with EPS UK Ltd test driver Phillip Carpenter at the wheel, Dingo makes light work of the Long Valley test track.

Bottom left: the terrain tackled by the Dingo would stop many similar sized off-road vehicles. Bottom right: the 6x6 layout ensured that Dingo coped with most obstacles.

egular readers will recall the feature on the British Armys Springer Logistic Platform in our September issue and this month were looking at three more products from the same company that builds Springer, Enhanced Protection Systems UK Ltd. At this years Defence Vehicle Dynamics show, EPS UK Ltd displayed the same three new prototype vehicles for the first time, but the Press Day at Long Valley enabled their test drivers to demonstrate the off-road capabilities of the vehicles to the assembled members of the press, with the added benefit of being able to photograph the vehicles in a scenic setting!


Described in the promotional literature as a Force Multiplier, Dingo is a 6x6 Airborne ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle), High Mobility Light Strike Vehicle designed to meet the growing demand from Rapid Deployment Forces (RDF) that is capable of operating behind enemy lines. Dingo is based around the Israeli-designed Desert Raider reconnaissance, surveillance and fast attack vehicle created by Automotive Industries Limited for use by Israel Defence Force Special Forces some years ago. Like the rest of the vehicles currently being marketed by EPS, the Dingo was displayed at the Defence Vehicle

Dynamics show this year, although it wasnt demonstrated around the off-road course. Like the Desert Raider on which it is based, Dingo is of 6x6 configuration, with selectable locking differentials and an amazing rear suspension design that is not a million miles away from the walking-beam type axles used on the wartime Scammell Pioneer. The patented 4-wheel tandem suspension system gives the Dingo incredible articulation across particularly rough terrain, and was something EPS test driver Phillip Carpenter was only too willing to demonstrate. The front suspension utilises double A-Arms with long travel double coil-over shock absorbers, while the rear suspension incorporates three coil-over shock absorbers each side in conjunction with the 4-wheel tandem suspension system. The tubular space frame chassis on the Dingo is of a completely different design to the Israeli Desert Raider, with a larger, longer roll over hoop arrangement (which can also be used to mount a variety of weapons systems) and this, combined with new bodywork

cladding, gives the EPS Dingo a very different look to the Desert Raider, however, the threeseat arrangement with the driver in the centre and the two passengers positioned either side and slightly further back is carried over from the original design. The spare wheel has also been repositioned to the side of the vehicle to maximise the available space for the flat loadcarrying area (up to 2-tonnes) above the rear engine compartment. Although not shown on the prototype demonstrated at Long Valley, it has been proposed by EPS that any production vehicles would probably incorporate a foldable protection bar design, which would enable the overall height of the vehicle to be reduced from 1850mm to 1350mm to aid with the transportation of the vehicle by air inside the hold of a suitable transport helicopter or aircraft. Production vehicles would use a diesel engine, in keeping with the current single-fuel policy, but the engine capacity and manufacturer has yet to be decided, so the

prototype is currently running a 4-cylinder petrol engine as per the Israeli Desert Raider the vehicle it is based on. A four-speed automatic gearbox is coupled to the engine, giving the Dingo an impressive turn of speed both on and off-road. Demonstrations of the vehicles climbing ability proved that the Dingo is almost unstoppable by the sort of terrain that would stop many similar sized vehicles in the blink of an eye. The Dingos speed across the rough terrain of the Long Valley testing area was similarly impressive, and was easily as good as the Springer and Springer 2, and in terms of comfort levels for the passengers, was just as good, especially when compared to many current, in-service military vehicles, although it has to be said that driver Philip Carpenter did take pity on us poor journalists and avoided some of the larger puddles so as not to give us a soaking! As to whether the Dingo is taken up by the military remains to be seen, but as a prototype its a most capable vehicle, even if it does have a limited outlet.



prototypes at play

prototypes at play
Length: Width: Height: Seating: Vertical Step: Ground Clearance: Dry Weight: Engine: Transmission: Cargo Area: Payload: Front Suspension: Rear Suspension: Brakes: Fuel Capacity: the added protection of a bucket seat, full harness and roll cage. It has to be said that the advantage of the in-service quad bikes is the fact that they can be used almost off-theshelf, with only minor modifications to the lighting systems and the addition of a small winch, although the matching two-wheel trailers were purpose-designed for the job. Whippet on the other hand would be a purpose-built vehicle, which brings with it potential cost penalties, but the main advantage of the Whippet over any quad bike and trailer combination would be in terms of operational capabilities. Having said that it remains to be seen as to whether the current economic climate would permit such a vehicle to be procured as an alternative to a quad bike and trailer combination remains to be seen. As is so often the case the best option is not always the preferred option, especially where the initial procurement cost may be higher, and while exact costs for Whippet remain a closely guarded secret, any costing would no doubt reflect the purchase prices of both the quad bike and a suitable accompanying trailer and any additional on-cost implications this may have in terms of transportation and storage costs. Despite having the appearance of quite a large vehicle, readers may be interested to know that Whippet is just 300mm wider and around 500mm higher (without rider) than a typical quad bike, but is over 1,200mm shorter than a quad/trailer combination. Whippet has been built as a private venture by EPS UK Ltd and at present it remains at the prototype stage, but as the current Yamaha quad bike fleet nears the end of its useful life (which replaced the older Hondas) it may well be that Whippet is developed further, and if subsequent field trials prove it to be a viable alternative to the quad and trailer, it could one day enter service with the military in the same way as the Springer. 3060mm 1510mm 1600mm 1 600mm 340mm 780kg Lombardini 1,000cc Diesel Automatic V-belt CVT, Heavy Duty 1230mm x 1310mm 900kgs Double Wishbone, Heavy Duty + Gas Shock Absorbers and Coil Springs Trailing Arm, Heavy Duty + Gas Shock Absorbers and Coil Springs Disc all-round 2 4-litres
Top left: with Springer to the right and Springer 2 to the left, this shot offers a good indication as to how small the EPS Whippet is. Left: Whippet coped well with the Long Valley test circuit terrain, although sadly I was unable to sample its abilities first hand. Left: like the Dingo the driver of the Whippet is positioned in the centre of the vehicle and features an automatic gearbox with diff locks.

Above: Whippet is smaller than you might thin, and like the quads it might replace has seating for one. Right: like the Springer, a front mounted recovery winch is located within the vehicles structure. Bottom left: looking below the rear load area we can see the 1,000cc Lombardini diesel engine used to power the EPS Whippet. Bottom right: like the Honda and Yamaha quads currently in use with the British Army, the Whippet has a rear tow hitch that would allow it to tow up to 1.7-tonnes.


The final vehicle to be demonstrated at the press day was the Whippet. Sadly with it being a single-seater I was unable to drive the vehicle out on the off-road course, or sample the offroad prowess, but who knows, maybe next time theyll be brave enough to let me loose in one? Whippet is seen as a replacement for the various light logistic roles currently performed by the quad bikes combined with trailers. Unlike the quad bikes currently in-service, the Whippet can perform the same tasks without the need to be coupled to a suitable trailer thanks to the flat load platform at the rear, although there could be some limitations regarding specific tasks when compared to the capabilities of the current trailer/quad combination. Whippet does have the advantage of being a more conventional layout for the operator with a seat and steering wheel, plus

Left: its not entirely beyond the realms of possibility that Whippet could replace the Yamaha quads currently in use with the British Army, which themselves replaced the older Honda quads.



prototypes at play

prototypes at play
Length: Width: Height: Seating: Ground Clearance: Fording: Dry Weight: Engine: Transmission: Cargo Area: Payload: Towed Load: Front Suspension: Rear Suspension: Fuel Capacity: use of the load platform, a revised starter motor to reduce battery drain and a few minor cosmetic changes. While the changes are all relatively minor, as a combined package they provide a much-improved version of Springer. In terms of off-road performance the Springer 2 is certainly impressive. Over the years Ive driven and owned a number of fast off-road vehicles and without exception all of them have been fairly uncomfortable at highspeed across rough terrain, and while they may well have been perfectly capable of coping with the harsh terrain conditions, they often left me feeling bruised and battered! Springer 2 on the other hand was pretty rapid, with surprising turn of speed for a military vehicle that during my run achieved speeds in excess of 60kph across some very rough ground at Long Valley, and yet the damping of the suspension soaked up the bumps to give a much smoother ride that left me feeling fresh as a daisy afterwards! My driver, Rod Cowen, one of the EPS test drivers, certainly seemed to be having fun demonstrating the off-road prowess of the new generation Springer, hanging the tail out around corners and not even flinching at some of the holes and drops that would make a Land Rover think twice, in fact I got the distinct impression that we could have gone faster but was perhaps erring on the safe side given that a member of the press was sat alongside him. By the end of the demonstration I was left in no doubt that the Springer 2 was indeed an improvement over the original Springer, which itself is a remarkably capable vehicle. In fact I liked the Springer so much that when I got out of the cockpit after my ride around Long Valley the first thing I asked was: when can I buy one of these? No doubt Springer, like most other vehicles the British Army use, will be disposed of in years to come, and Ill be joining the queue of people waiting to get their hands on one! 3416mm 1780mm 1710mm 2 400mm 700mm 850kg Lombardini 1400c Diesel Automatic V-belt CVT, Heavy Duty, Rear Wheel Drive, final drive oil bathed chains 1343mm x 1684mm 1.4-tonnes 2.7-tonnes Double Wishbone, Heavy Duty + Gas Shock Absorbers and Coil Springs Trailing Arm + Dual Gas Shock Absorbers and Coil Springs 27-litres

Above: Springer 2 draws on feedback from the frontline with Springer, addressing the areas for improvement over the original design. Right: one the more recognisable improvements of Springer 2 over the original Springer is the use of 16 wheels and the increase in ride height that offers better performance over very rough terrain. Below left: looking down onto Springer 2 we can see the ECM package above the drivers compartment. Below right: the original Springer and Springer 2 sit alongside each other offering a direct comparison.


The first of the prototypes displayed was the improved version of the in-service Springer, known as Springer 2. An example of the original Springer was also available to provide a direct comparison between the two. The modifications incorporated in Springer 2 have come about through a combination of continued development on the part of EPS, and feedback from the operators in the field. As a result the changes include: larger, one-size 16 wheel and tyre combination (the original Springer has larger rear tyres); an increase in ground clearance; an improved engine giving greater torque coupled to an improved gearbox with a different shift pattern; and the relocation of some of the operator controls for better access. Other changes include the relocation of the spare wheel to the outer edge of the rear load compartment to maximise the


Ian Young

Top left: Springer 2 waves a wheel whilst being put through its paces on the Long Valley test track. Above right: EPS test driver Rod Cowan shows off the incredible off-road prowess of Springer 2. Above: the flat floor made of ballistic material can be seen in this view, together with the larger wheels. Left: Dingo (closest to the camera), Springer 2 (centre) and Springer (far end) await their turn out on the Long Valley track.