The Pandur II is an armored vehicle designed by Austrian engineers at Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge. It has an 8×8 wheelbase configuration and is a popular choice in Europe due to its versatility. Many countries have added it to their arsenals. The Pandur II is a strong and durable combat machine well-suited for modern mechanized warfare.
Indonesia has joined the ranks to expand localized production as “Pindad Cobra 8×8.” Today, we examine the Austrian defense ingenuity behind Pandur II’s evolution and prowess.
The Evolution from Pandur I to Pandur II
The Pandur II is an improved version of the Pandur I. The Pandur I was an armored personnel carrier with six wheels, developed between 1979 and 1984. It served its purpose well for the Austrian army, but it became clear that military needs had changed, and a more advanced and versatile vehicle was needed.
In the early 2000s, there was a growing need for armored vehicles that could provide better protection, maneuverability, and resistance to mines while still using a wheelbase.
The solution to these requests came from the Pandur II, originally designed as a 6×6 variant but eventually evolved into the iconic 8×8 wheel formula that numerous countries worldwide now use for their armored vehicles. The first model of this impressive four-wheeled machine was introduced in 2003, and it quickly garnered interest from foreign nations.
In February 2005, Portugal became the first country to acquire the Pandur II, closely followed by the Czech Republic. This versatile vehicle has found its home in various countries, from Austria and the United States to Portugal and the Czech Republic, even crossing oceans to reach its destinations.
Design Features of the Pandur II
The Pandur II is an armored vehicle with a high-strength steel body, primarily sourced from the Swedish metallurgical company SSAB, ensuring durability and superior protection.
With dimensions of just over 7.5 meters in length, 2.68 meters in width, and 2.08 meters in height, the Pandur II boasts an interior volume of 13 cubic meters, providing ample space for personnel and equipment. A 450 mm ground clearance and 2200 mm track width ensure it can navigate various terrains effectively.
The driver mechanic sits on the left side of the front chassis, and the engine is on the right side. The engine and transmission have their own safety compartment, including fire extinguishing equipment. The Pandur II also has a spacious landing office for combat commanders.
The vehicle accommodates two crew in its transport configuration and can transport up to 10-12 motorized troops. Should a 30-mm turret with an automatic cannon be installed, the troop capacity reduces to six marines.
Protection is paramount in the Pandur II, with the standard casing providing frontal protection against armor-piercing bullets of 14.5 mm caliber and protection against 7.62 mm caliber bullets.
Additional protection can be easily added by installing a truss head, compensating for the increased weight with its powerful engine. The vehicle boasts excellent mine protection, featuring a V-shaped floor piece, suspended crew seats, and troop development by Steyr.
For exiting the vehicle, marines can utilize two-door leaves or stern apparel. In its transport configuration, the Pandur II weighs approximately 22.5 tons. Under the hood lies a six-cylinder line Isle HPCR Cummins diesel engine, delivering a maximum power output of 450 hp and a ZF 6HP602C automatic transmission. This combination empowers the Pandur II to achieve up to 105 km/h off-road speeds, with a combat vehicle range of up to 700 km, backed by a 350-liter fuel capacity.
The Pandur II features an 8×8 wheel formula with two front pairs of wheels equipped with brakes. Special tires with inserts are employed to ensure mobility even in the event of punctures or damage from bullets and fragments.
A centralized system for adjusting tire pressure allows the driver to optimize performance on varying terrains, enhancing sand transport permeability and adaptability to rugged landscapes.
In its classic form, the Pandur II has a machine gun. The vehicle can accommodate large caliber 12.7 mm machine guns on its turrets, and remote-controlled combat modules with machine guns are also available as an option. The modularity of the Pandur II platform is a standout feature, offering a staggering array of 36 combat configurations. These include a wheeled tank variant armed with a 105-mm gun and a self-propelled 120-mm mortar.
Anti-tank versions are equipped with cutting-edge anti-tank rocket complexes. The Czech Republic has adopted the remotely controlled combat module Samson (RCWS-30), featuring a 30 mm automatic cannon MK44 Bushmaster II and a 7.62 mm machine gun.
Conversely, the Portuguese army has two Pandur II variants armed with 30 mm automatic cannons. The first boasts a standard double turret SP30, a lighter version borrowed from the BMP “Ulano,” equipped with a 30-mm barrel gun Mauser Mk30-2 and a companion 7.62-mm machine gun. The second option employs Elbit’s dictated scream module, housing the same weaponry, with the added option of two Spike-LR missiles from the Israeli company Rafael.