The local automotive engineering company, MILDEF International Technologies has made its way into the headlines earlier this year by unveiling Malaysia’s first-ever High Mobility Armoured Vehicle (HMAV). It apparently took the company four years and around RM 16 million in terms of R&D cost, to turn the vehicle into a reality.
Fresh from its official unveiling back in February, the actual name for the vehicle has finally been revealed today. As announced by the Senior Minister for the Security Cluster, Ismail Sabri Yaakob at Sungai Besi Army Camp earlier today, the armoured vehicle is now known as the Tarantula HMAV4x4 and has also received a keris-themed logo alongside the new name.
The name was largely inspired by the tarantulas’ ability to change their colour and behaviour in order to adapt to their surroundings. Armed with massive fangs, they are also known to be able to kill animals that are much larger than them.
If you missed our initial report, MILDEF’s Tarantula HMAV4x4 is powered by a 330hp 7.2-litre turbocharged diesel engine that the company has sourced from Caterpillar. With a power-to-weight ratio of 21 hp/ton and a maximum speed of 110 km/h, the massive armoured vehicle has been designed to meet the NATO STANAG 4569 Level 2B underbelly protection standard as well as NATO STANAG 4569 Level 2 standard for hull protection.
Additionally, MILDEF has also equipped the Tarantula with a remote control weapon station (RCWS), central tire inflation system (CTIS), and hydraulic rear door in addition to an array of communication tools. The company’s advisor, General (R) Raja Mohamed Affandi who was also the former Chief of Army and Chief of Defence Forces, earlier today stated that Tarantula is on par with other foreign-made armoured vehicles that he has driven all over the world.
Right after the unveiling in February, MILDEF together with the Malaysian Army and Science & Technology Research Institute for Defence (STRIDE) have put the Tarantula through its paces via a grueling evaluation session that lasts for nine days. The session which the Malaysian Army has set up according to international standards apparently covered a distance of 700km for road testing as well as 300km for off-roading and has also been subjected through an obstacle course.
Among the factors that were evaluated during the session include highway endurance, fuel efficiency, load, winching, slope, mounting and dismounting, climbing and braking, and water fording. Interesting enough, MILDEF pointed out that this is just the first round of testing which means there are still more to come for the Tarantula to endure.
Despite the fact that the Tarantula is still going under trial, it has been previously reported that MILDEF has already received quite a number of orders from customers outside of Malaysia. The company has also planned to promote the armoured vehicle which can be customised to the needs of each customer, to neighbouring Southeast Asian countries next year.