Chinese company Dong Feng Off- Road Vehicle (Hangar 1, Stand D12) is well known for its range of unarmoured cross-country vehicles. It has now developed the Mengshi (Brave Soldier) family of 4x4 and 6x6 protected vehicles, which are being shown at African Aerospace & Defence 2014 for the first time. This family of vehicles has been developed by the company as a private venture and, following company trials, is now ready for production. As far as it is known, these vehicles have not so far been adopted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Both vehicles feature a protected engine compartment at the front with the protected crew compartment extending to the rear. No details of the ballistic protection level have been revealed, but given the weight of the vehicle, it is considered to be STANAG 4569 Level 1 – but there could be a potential to upgrade.
The 4x4 version has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 6.1 tonnes, while the 6x6 model has a GVW of up to 8 tonnes, with the number of dismounts depending on the version. The 4x4 version, for example, has a crew of two plus eight dismounts, with the latter exiting the vehicle via a large door in the rear and one hatch in either side. The upper part of each hatch opens upwards and the lower part opens downwards to form a step. Various weapon stations could be mounted on the roof if required.
Both of the vehicles on display are in the lefthand drive version and fitted with a central tyre inflation system – which allows the driver to adjust the tyre pressure to suit the terrain being crossed – and a front-mounted winch for self-recovery operations.
Bullet-/splinter-proof windows are provided for enhanced situational awareness through a full 360°. The windows in the rear crew compartment slide to allow the dismounts to use their weapons from within the vehicle with some element of safety. Both vehicles share the same powerpack, consisting of a diesel engine coupled to a manual transmission, driveline and suspension.
The company already manufactures the EQ2050 (4x4) unprotected light vehicle, which is very similar to the US AM General High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).
EQ2050 is deployed by the PLA and is also offered on the export market.