Coming up against a well-entrenched or well-defended enemy position, and not always having air support available, the motorised infantry platoon can find itself in a difficult and vulnerable position. This position is made even more difficult if the enemy is operating out of a fortified village or old buildings and the infantry platoon has to attack without much cover.
Although the platoon does have its inherent machine guns down to section level, these weapons are often not able to engage the enemy at range or provide sustained fire support during an assault. Given the weight of both gun and ammunition, the machine gunner is also restricted in when and how he can use his machinegun.
In open terrain, the motorised infantryman is given some protection against enemy fire in the MRAP but the situation is compounded when he has to debus to assault an objective. However, with sparse cover, it is difficult at best to manoeuvre in the open whilst under fire.
This operational disadvantage can be overcome using a Mobile Gun Platform (MGP) or Mobile Fire Team (MFT) such as the OTT-designed and built “Hunter”, classified as a Light Strike Vehicle (LSV) by the manufacturer. (www.ott.co.za)
The Hunter is a true MGP/MFT, designed and built to operate over very rough and rugged terrain in dry, sparse areas.
Capable of delivering massive sustained firepower against enemy positions, the Hunter is perfectly suited to the conduct of numerous counter insurgency missions such as fire support, follow-up operations, suppressing fire during assaults, casualty extraction, reconnaissance, raids, ambushes, base protection, border patrols and so forth.
Its role during conventional operations as a raiding vehicle is equally formidable.
As a MGP/MFT the Hunter can, depending on the mission, be armed with:
1. A 20mm rapid-fire cannon or a 14,5mm HMG
2. 2 x 12,7mm HMGs
3. 2 x PKM machineguns
Any weapon system can be removed and replaced with alternate weapon systems such as the AGS-17 MGL. The vehicle can also be fitted with grenade launchers, giving it the ability to produce a smoke screen.
Although some doctrinal issues are still being worked on, there will be between 6 and 8 MGPs/MFTs attached to each motorised infantry company. This will, depending on the mission, allow the company commander to detach 2 MGPs/MFTs to each platoon and still maintain a reserve for deployment elsewhere.
The Hunter gives the company the following advantages:
1. Mobility across rugged terrain
2. Increased firepower
4. Rapid deployment
6. Night fighting ability
With a maximum gradient of 60 degrees and a sustained road speed of between 70 and 80 km/h, the Hunter will be able to maintain its position in an MRAP deployment. It also has an off-road operating range of approx 500kms (with an additional 120 km with Jerry cans).
A command post vehicle is currently under development.
This MGP/MFT will be a very welcome addition to any offensive/defensive motorised infantry task.