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Land Platforms

Alcon develops F550 upgrade

31 August 2017
Alcon’s combination of motorsport and defence knowledge was key to delivering stopping power for NIMR’s RIV, a true high-performance all-terrain vehicle that can reach speeds of more than 100 mph. Source: IHS Markit/James Bingham

High-performance brake and clutch system specialist, Alcon Components, has developed an upgrade package for the Ford F550, as the company continues its push into the defence sector.

“We have for many years offered upgrade solutions for the Toyota Land Cruiser range, this is without doubt still the ‘go-to’ light platform for most armourers,” the company’s managing director, Alistair Fergusson, told Jane’s , continuing: “The equivalent ‘go-to’ chassis in the next weight class up is clearly the Ford F550, and after initially developing our upgrade package for a specific Middle Eastern client, we are now seeing a tremendous amount of interest in what is clearly a much-needed product.”

In technical terms Alcon’s new F550 kit features a custom designed 6x47.6 mm piston zinc-finished iron caliper and larger discs on front (393x36 mm) and rear (400x36 mm) axles. According to the company, performance benefits include: up to 10% reduction in disc temperature rise; up to 20% reduction in front and rear brake pad work rates; up to 4% increase in available brake torque, and up to 4% reduction in pedal effort.

The F550 kit is compatible with the stock OEM actuation so is designed to be simple to fit, but they have also been fully militarised with the inclusion of high-temperature seal material, wiper seals on every piston for dirt exclusion, pad push-back springs for optimum off-road wear resistance, acid zinc finish for maximum corrosion protection, and inboard bleed screws to increase tamper-proofing. The F550 kit is designed to enable the vehicle to be operated at up to 11,000 kg GVW.

Notable defence-focused work for Alcon includes a brake package for the Land Rover Defender WMIK (Weapons Mount Installation Kit), which underwent an upgrade that would see GVW increase from around 3.5-4.7 tonnes. The WMIK upgrade, which leveraged Alcon’s extensive off-road rallycross expertise, was followed by a BAE Systems contract to upgrade the brakes on British Army Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CRV-Ts) for Afghanistan, and a contract from Supacat to upgrade the brakes on its Jackal vehicles, which were increasing in weight due to the addition of armour.

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