The Casspir is a landmine-protected personnel carrier (APC) that has been in use in South Africa
for over 20 years. It is a four wheeled armoured vehicle, used for transport of troops. It can hold a
crew of two, plus 12 additional soldiers and associated gear. The Casspir was unique in design when
launched, providing for passive mine defence. The main body of the vehicle is V-shaped and raised
above the ground, so that if a mine is detonated, the explosion is less likely to damage the crew compartment
and kill the occupants. The cross-section of the hull is V-shaped, directing the force of the explosion
outwards, further protecting the occupants. The vehicle is also armoured for added mine safety, as well as
protection from small arms fire.
The name ‘Casspir’ is an anagram of the abbreviations of the customer, the South African Police (SAP),
and the design company, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Although the Casspir was
deployed in townships during the apartheid era, it was initially designed specifically for conditions encountered
in the South African Border War. In particular, this conflict called for protection from land mines combined
with high manoeuvrability to cover long distances – these requirements led to the distinctive V-shaped
hull (for mine protection) and a wheeled chassis.
The Casspir was designed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) specifically to
protect vehicle occupants against landmines. It is certified to protect its occupants against a triple TM-57
mine blast (equivalent to 21kg of TNT) under a wheel, or a double blast (14kg of TNT) under the hull.
The Casspir has V-bottomed armoured monocoque hull, designed to deflect the force of an
explosion outwards, to which a leaf-spring suspension is attached.
The Casspir was built in different configurations:
APC – armoured personnel carrier
Artillery Fire Control vehicle
Blesbok Freighter – with drop side cargo area for up to 5 tons (160 built).
Duiker Tanker – 5000 litres tank (30 built)
FISTV – Fire Support Team vehicle
Gemsbok Recovery vehicle – 15 ton capacity (30 built)
Mechem Mine clearing vehicle – uses steel wheels to detonate mines
MEDDS Mine Sensor vehicle
Plofadder Mine clearing System – carrier of the containerised Plofadder 160AT rocket propelled mine clearing system
Riot Control vehicle – Police version with larger windows to increase visibility
Configuration 4 x 4
Engine Turbo-charged 6 cylinder diesel (170 bhp)
Dimensions 6.8 x 2.4 x 2.8m
Fuel capacity 220l
Turning radius 10.5m
Max speed 90km/h (on road)
Range 850km (on road)
Vertical obstacle 0.6m
Armament 20mm GA1 rapid fire automatic cannon