Categories
Modern Dutch Vehicles

DMV Anaconda

The Netherlands (2018)
Light Tactical Vehicle – 60 built

The Anaconda is a light tactical vehicle developed in the Netherlands by the company DMV. It is based on the Italian Iveco Daily 4 x 4, a light commercial van. It was specifically designed for use in the Dutch Caribbean, where it replaced the Mercedes-Benz G280. The contract was signed in August 2018 for 46 vehicles and, by early April 2019, all were delivered in the Caribbean. In late 2019, a new order was placed for another 14 vehicles of a different variant. These were not for service in the Caribbean, however. As of early 2021, no further orders have been placed for the Anaconda. This is largely due to it being an interim vehicle before newly ordered Iveco MTVs are being delivered to the Dutch Army. DMV continued the development and announced several new vehicles in March 2021.

The Anaconda during tests in November 2018 at the Leusderheide. It is seen here with both weapon stations. Source: Dutch Ministry of Defence
Map of the Dutch Caribbean where the Anaconda was destined to serve. Source: Wikimedia

Background

The Dutch Caribbean are the overseas territories that are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It encompasses three constituent countries, namely Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint-Maarten, as well as three special municipalities, which are Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. The Koninklijke Landmacht (English: Royal Dutch Army) is responsible for their protection both in times of war and during humanitarian crises. The main units in the Caribbean are the Marines 32 Raiding Squadron, a Marines detachment on Sint-Maarten, a rotating Army unit, and the Aruban and Curaçaon Militias. These units stand under the command of the Commando der Zeemacht in het Caribisch Gebied (CZMCARIB) (English: Navy Command in the Caribbean), which, in turn, is placed under the Commando Zeestrijdkrachten (CZSK) (English: Command of the Royal Netherlands Navy).

The units provide support in the fight against criminal activities, like the illegal drug trade, and provide emergency relief during natural disasters and the like. Due to the relative stability of the area, actual military defense is less emphasized. After 2009, the CZMCARIB had 40 armored Mercedes-Benz G280 CDI soft tops at their disposal for use in military and civil duties. They were slightly overqualified for their job since they were designed to be used in violent areas of operations. This overqualification would in itself not have led to quick replacement. However, since 2014, the Dutch Army has been participating in a UN peacekeeping mission in the West African nation of Mali, where the same G280 was deployed. It became apparent that the Commando Landstrijdkrachten (CLAS) (English: Command Ground Forces) urgently needed more G280s. In 2017, an option was reviewed to retrieve the G280s from the Caribbean and replace them with new vehicles. This replacement would have two positive effects. Specifically, that the Marines would get vehicles better suited for their intended role, while the CLAS could reduce their shortage of vehicles.

An Anaconda still with the manufacturer in January 2019. At the time, the first vehicles were being prepared to be shipped to the Caribbean. Source: Iveco Schouten

Acquisition

In regular circumstances, during a vehicle replacement program, the Materieellogistiek Commando Land (MatLogCo) (English: Materiel Logistical Commando) would act as an advisory organ. However, at the time, it had no capacity to take part in the project. Therefore, the project was directly led by the CZSK itself, and assistance was provided by the Defensie Materieel Organisatie (DMO) (English: Defense Materiel Organisation). A special team with members of both organizations was formed, which had to establish a list of technical and tactical requirements. Unlike the G280, the requirements for the new vehicle were mainly fixated on the ability to provide humanitarian aid. According to Lieutenant Hans van Vierssen, member of the ‘Anaconda team’:

“Indeed the [new, red] vehicle must be armed and be able to handle all types of terrain, but above all, it must be able to take a lot of drinking water with it. That was the guiding principle for the tender we set out in the market.”

On 15th May 2018, the DMO officially released a tender with a deadline for the initial responses set on 11th June. Near the end of the month, on 29th June, the DMO officially closed the tender. A total of five respondents were evaluated, but on grounds of confidentiality, it was not announced which companies submitted proposals, although it is known that both Mercedes and Renault took part. On 11th July, it was announced that the new company DMV was awarded the contract. DMV offered a lightly armored 4 x 4 vehicle, based on the Italian Iveco Daily, a light commercial van. The final contract was signed on 2nd August, with the delivery date of the first batch of vehicles established to be 31st January 2019.

An Anaconda during initial testing in the Netherlands. Source: Dutch Defence

Dutch Military Vehicles (DMV)

DMV is short for ‘Dutch Military Vehicles’ and was a division of the company Deba Bedrijfswagens (Deba Trucks), based in the city of Etten-Leur. Deba was a dealer of Iveco and Fiat commercial vehicles in the Netherlands, as well as an official subcontractor of Iveco. The DMV branch was principally established by Deba to respond to the tender. This was done because Deba acted regularly as a subcontractor for Iveco Defence, but Iveco had no capacity to respond to the tender. Therefore, Deba decided to take up the challenge themselves. In July 2019, Deba and DMV were bought by Iveco Schouten, the largest Iveco dealer in the Netherlands. DMV remained an active division after this takeover.

The choice for an Iveco-based design is understandable from a logistical point of view. In July 2017, the CZMCARIB had already taken delivery of 33 new military Iveco trucks (12 for Aruba, 21 for Curaçao), also supplied by Deba. Furthermore, the design of DMV utilized many existing vehicle parts, guaranteeing a short development period and thus short delivery time. Incidentally, a member of the ‘Anaconda team’ was Major Jacko Rijzenga. In 2017, he was also part of the team that was responsible for the delivery of the 33 trucks and must have been familiar with the company Deba. The main reason given for the choice of DMV was that the company had already anticipated being awarded the contract and had already started ordering the required resources. The use of a small and flexible team, rather than a conventional team of engineers, allowed DMV to realistically meet the first deadline of 31st January 2019. During production, DMV assigned several tasks to subcontractors. Those were mainly local firms to guarantee a short delivery time and closer cooperation.

After successful trials with a prototype, series production commenced on 1st October. On 2nd November 2018, exactly three months after the final contract was signed, the first vehicle was completed and presented at the assembly line in Etten-Leur. The name Anaconda was chosen the week before. According to project manager Xander Zonligt:

“The vehicle slightly resembles the head of a snake, is strong both on land and in water, fairly quiet, and quite deadly.”

Weirdly, the logo that was made does not show the head of an Anaconda, but rather that of a Cobra. The vehicle was tested at the Tank Range Leusderheide on 8th November.

Testing of the first vehicle on 8 November 2018. Source: Iveco Schouten

Design

The vehicle is based on the Iveco Daily C-series 4 x 4 All-Road. This version has been developed by the Austrian firm Achleitner and features permanent all-wheel drive with variable power distribution, up to three 100% differential locks, and optional off-road reduction, which provides a much better off-road experience compared to regular vans and basic models of the Daily offered by Iveco. Compared to the regular C-series’ 3.45 m wheelbase, the chassis was lengthened to a wheelbase of 3.55 m, and the front axle and suspension were replaced by 2.5 tonne rated independent torsion bar sprung units, specifically designed by Achleitner. Furthermore, both the front and rear axles were fitted with differential locks that are controlled by the driver. With a weight of 3.9 tonnes, the Anaconda can take a payload of 2.2 tonnes. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) goes up to 7.1 tonnes, but the produced vehicle has a GVWR limited to 6.1 tonnes. This is caused primarily by the use of single rear wheels, instead of double, and the use of cross-country tires of the LT315/75 R 16 type.

The powerpack is the most powerful engine offered by Iveco. It is a 3-liter F1C engine that develops 180 hp, or 132 kW, and a 430 Nm torque. As the engine was de-rated from Euro 6 to Euro 3 emission compliance, associated components had become redundant and were consequently removed to save weight and free up space. The standard ZF/Iveco 8-speed fully automatic gearbox was retained. The maximum road speed is limited to 89 km/h, but without a speed governor, the vehicle can reach greater speeds. The vehicle has a range of 600 km, which is more than enough to circle Curaçao, the largest island, at least four times.

The front passenger on the right side has a light machine gun on a swing-arm mount. The two seats in the rear of the cabin are of a folding jump-seat type. With limited modifications, the seating in the vehicle can be increased to nine. In addition to the four standard seats, there is a place for a gunner. The central ring-mount can accommodate a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun or a 40 mm grenade launcher, although the machine gun is by far the most common accommodation. Often, no main armament is fitted at all, not only depending on the version but also based on the local situation. The standard 12 V electrical system of the Daily was revised to a split 12/24 V system. Additionally, the alternator was uprated to a 115 Ah unit, and another set of two 12 V 70 Ah batteries were fitted. These batteries are used to provide power during silent watch operations, for radios, and for other relevant use.

The base Daily was supplied as a chassis cowl. From the firewall back, the bodywork was custom developed by DMV. The central section consists of a tubular roll cage. It was developed and produced by the firm VA Engineering Motorsport & Fabrication. The tube profiles of the roll cage were laser cut by De Vries Constructie & Lasertechniek. The four removable half-doors and side panels were made of light materials and closely contoured to match the original Daily panel design. The split windscreen is removable and can be folded forward onto the bonnet, to allow the fitting of a light machine gun if the situation calls for it. The roof consists of a removable canvas roof. By default, the vehicle has no armor, but an optional ballistic protection package can be fitted. The bodywork is protected by a layer of polyurea, applied by Kunststof Coatings Nederland, mainly to protect the vehicle from corrosion in the salty climate in the Caribbean.

The cargo area is at the rear of the vehicle and can be configured to suit various requirements, to guarantee a degree of flexibility in its deployment. In standard configuration, there is a spare wheel carrier on the right-hand side, an outward opening stowage locker, a jerry can on the left side, and a tray with a drop-down tailgate in the center. This provides precisely enough room for a Euro pallet (1.8 x 0.8 m). A detachable stowage tray for lighter items can be attached to the tailgate.

The initial 2018 series of 46 vehicles was produced in four variants:
– Command version, equipped with a full radio and communications package, no main armament fitted.
– Patrol vehicle, limited communications equipment, main armament fitted.
– General support vehicle, no communications equipment, main armament fitted.
– Training vehicle, same as the general support vehicle, additional retractable brake pedal on the passenger side for the driving instructor.

Some of the first Anacondas that were unloaded in Curaçao on 31st January 2019. Source: Defensie Caribisch Gebied

Delivery to the Caribbean

Between 11th and 16th January 2019, the first batch of 35 vehicles was made ready for shipping and loaded onto sea containers. One already completed vehicle remained in the Netherlands. According to schedule, the first batch arrived in Curaçao on 31st January. They were officially handed over during a ceremony held on 7th February. On 5th March, 23 were shipped to Aruba, where they replaced 17 G280s, which were shipped back to Curaçao. An unspecified number of Anacondas was sent to Sint Maarten on 28th March, where they replaced G280s and six old UNIMOGs. The old vehicles were gathered in Curaçao and repatriated to the Netherlands, where the G280s were planned to undergo a conversion process to be handed over to the CLAS in the third quarter of 2019. The second and final batch of 11 Anacondas was received on 7th April.

Shipping from Curaçao to Aruba took place on 5th March 2019. Source: Defensie Caribisch Gebied
The Anaconda, compared to the MB G280 (left) and UNIMOG (right). Source: 1st Marine Combat Group

During the Atlantic hurricane seasons, a yearly period from June to November, the Dutch troops receive additional training in providing humanitarian aid. This training was not fruitless as, in July 2020, the troops of Sint-Maarten had to prepare for the possible arrival of tropical storm Isaias. On 29th July, three Anaconda’s were prepared to be used as support for the local authorities, with the intention to use them in areas that could no longer be accessed by regular vehicles due to potential road damage or flooding.

In 2021, the Dutch Marines of the 32nd Raiding Squadron took part in Exercise Caribbean Urban Warrior on Camp Lejeune in the United States (North Carolina). Some Anacondas also took part.

Two Anacondas of the Dutch Marines during Exercise Caribbean Urban Warrior on Camp Lejeune, 20th March 2021. Source: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Jacqueline Parsons, 2nd Marine Division

New order

Satisfied with the received product, DMV was approached to build another batch of fourteen vehicles for the 1st Marine Combat Group stationed in the Netherlands. The Anti Armor Troop within the 14th Combat Support Squadron was still using the aging Land Rover Defender 110XD WW, which urgently needed to be replaced. To meet the new requirements, DMV started to design a new vehicle around June 2019, fully enclosed and with modular capabilities. To allow modularity, the roll cage of the cabin was shortened and separated from a new roll cage behind it.

Two versions were developed. The most important version was the requested AAT, the Anti Armor Troup version. However, to show off the modular design, DMV also developed the GWT, an ambulance version (Dutch: Gewondentransport). Production of the new series of fourteen vehicles commenced in the fall of 2019. On 28th November, at the NIDV Exhibition for Defense & Security, the first were symbolically handed over to the Marines, although actual delivery would be later. At the exhibition, one of the Anacondas was fitted with the GWT module, which would not be acquired by the Marines.

The new AAT and GWT versions of the second series Anaconda. Only the AAT version was acquired by the Dutch Marines. Source: VA Motorsport

On 18th December 2019, the first ten vehicles were delivered to the 14th Combat Support Squadron, stationed in the city of Stroe. There, they were further prepared for service with the Anti Armor Troop. In early January 2020, the remaining four vehicles followed.

The AAT version has special storage for anti-armor equipment, including six Spike missiles and two Panzerfaust weapons. Unlike the main version of the Anaconda, the AAT version is fully enclosed with a hardtop. It can be armed with a Browning .50 caliber machine gun on top and a MAG 7.62 mm machine gun on a swingarm in the front. In late February 2020, the first training was held on the training area ‘Leusderheide’.

The green AAT version, seen from the front and rear. These pictures were taken on 17th September 2020 at the DMV production facility. Source: Kees Melaard

New developments

In March 2021, DMV announced several new projects that were in development. Since the last delivery of the Anacondas, a new project was set up known as the Anaconda MUV, with MUV standing for Multi Use Vehicle. Of this new modular vehicle, a prototype was built in a troop and cargo transport set-up, and was ready around August 2020 to be tested abroad, supposedly in Morocco, until March 2021.

Another version of this vehicle was developed as well, known as the Homeland Security Concept, which places the Anaconda in an internal security role.

The prototype of the follow-up AnacondA MUV that was built in 2020. It features a cargo bed for transport of cargo or troops. Thanks to the modular design, a large amount of other options are available. Source: DMV
This is the Homeland Security Concept, a proposed variant of the MUV that transforms it into an internal security vehicle. Source: DMV

Lastly, a new truck was introduced, known as the AgamA, which is based on the Iveco Defence 4 x 4 15-tonne chassis.

A render of the new AgamA truck, that is based on an Iveco Defence 4 x 4 15-tonne chassis. It is basically a larger AnacondA. Source: DMV

Conclusion

The Anaconda is, for its role, a robust and capable vehicle. As of early 2021, no major issues were reported with these vehicles and they are generally well-received. Since the vehicles were required on an emergency basis, development and production went extremely fast, resulting in the shortest acquisition program within the Dutch Army during recent years. Whether the vehicle will be bought by foreign forces is possible, but somewhat unlikely, since it was developed to a specific set of requirements and technically acts as an interim vehicle. Instead, DMV has started the development of two new vehicles, the AnacondA MUV and the AgamA, which have more potential on the international defense market.

The DMV Anaconda in its configuration used in the Dutch Caribbean. Illustration by user Andika from Fiverr, funded by our Patreon campaign.

Specifications

Dimensions (L x W x H) 5.27 x 2.27 x 2.26 m (17ft3in x 7ft5in x 7ft5in)
Weight 3.9 tonnes (4.3 US ton)
Payload 2.2 tonnes (2.4 US ton)
Gross vehicle weight 6.1 tonnes (6.7 US ton) (optional 7.1 tonnes (7.8 US ton))
Propulsion 3.0 l diesel, 180 hp (132 kW), 430 Nm torque
Maximum speed 89 km/h (55 mph), governed
Gearbox 8-speed full automatic
Seats 4 + 1 gunner’s seat
Ground clearance 50 cm (1ft8in)
Wading depth 70 cm (2ft4in) (optional 150 cm (4ft11in))
Armament 12.7 mm machine gun (.50 caliber) & FN Minimi machine gun
Protection Optional ballistic protection

Sources

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