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Alvis Tactica

United Kingdom/Republic of Singapore/State of Kuwait/Republic of Indonesia/Argentina/Republic of Ghana/Republic of Mauritius/Kingdom of Norway/Kingdom of Saudi Arabia/Ukraine (1988-Present)
Armored Personnel Carrier/Internal Security Vehicle – Approximately 340-354 Built + Prototypes

The Tactica, consecutively produced by Glover Webb, GKN Defence, Alvis plc, and BAE Systems, is an armored personnel carrier designed for internal security duties that was introduced in the late 1980s. It saw a considerable production run and has been adopted by nine countries. Two main versions were produced, an armored patrol vehicle with a bonneted design, and an armored personnel carrier with a cab-over-engine design. The latter has seen the most production in various configurations. Notoriously, the Tactica has been in the center of several heated weapon export policy debates. Two of the customers, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, have been widely accused of having used the vehicles in human rights abuse. Simultaneously, the Tactica has also been used in three separate UN missions to good effect.

A promotional picture from Glover Webb, showing the bonneted Patrol version in the front and the forward-control Water Cannon in the back. Source: Glover Webb

Glover Webb & Development

The Tactica started off as a private development by the company Glover Webb from Hamble, Hampshire (United Kingdom). The company used its privately developed semi-monocoque frame as a basis on which the new armored body was developed. Two main versions were built, one vehicle with a cab-over-engine [abbr. COE] design, and one version with a conventional bonnet. Furthermore, specialist variants were developed using the COE design as a base. In 1988, the vehicle was officially introduced to the commercial market and had its first customer at the end of 1989, when several were sold to Singapore. In early 1993, a series was sold to the British Army, which used them mainly in Northern Ireland in specialized roles. Additionally, Patrol Tacticas were sold to Kuwait.

GKN Defence & Alvis plc & BAE Systems

At the end of 1994, Glover Webb was taken over by GKN Defence, but remained in service as a subsidiary until it was closed down in late 1997. The business and production of the Tactica series was relocated to GKN’s main facility in Telford, Shropshire (United Kingdom). It was marketed under GKN’s name for just a very short time, as GKN Defence merged with Alvis-Vickers in 1998. Just before all this happened, in mid-1997, a new order was secured from Argentina, for use with the UN mission on Cyprus. Furthermore, GKN showed off their two models at the British Equipment Exhibition of 1997, held at Farnborough Airfield, Hampshire. The APV version was shown in mock-up MOD police markings, while the APC stood next to the GKN Simba.

In addition to Singapore, the UK, Kuwait, and Argentina, further deals were consecutively concluded with Ghana, Indonesia, Mauritius, and Norway. In 2004, Alvis was taken over by BAE Systems. Under their management, the largest Tactica deal was signed, concerning an additional 200 vehicles for Saudi Arabia. As of October 2021, the Tactica is still listed as a product on the BAE Systems website, but the official sale brochure was taken offline before 2017 and the Tactica is no longer on offer.

One of the early prototypes with a new chassis, developed by Glover Webb. Source: Lumpy on the hmvf forum


The forward-control vehicle with the COE configuration was introduced as the basic vehicle in 1988. It had its engine mounted centrally between the driver and commander, who were seated at the front. Depending on the customer, the driving position was either on the left- or right-hand side. Their compartment was separated with half a bulkhead from the troop compartment that extended to the rear of the vehicle. There was enough space for at least ten men, but there were other configurations available for fourteen, sixteen, or eighteen men.

Although the first prototype was based on a commercially available Gomba Stonefield P5000 4×4 truck chassis, later, a new chassis was developed in-house. This new semi-monocoque hull was made with certified high-hardness armor, providing protection against 7.62 mm AP rounds. Reportedly, the actual thickness used to achieve this was around 25 mm. The vision blocks were purported to offer equal protection, while the belly also protected against fire bombs and IEDs. The armored glass of the windscreen and windows was 50 mm thick, with a 6 mm thick anti-spall liner. The vision blocks were 73 mm thick. The armor was supplied by Sleeman Engineering and the glass by Romag. The wheels were standard equipped with AL1-DCSR high-speed shoot-through tire systems.

For propulsion, a range of diesel engines were provided, depending on the customer’s needs. Gearboxes were also choosable, with either automatic or manual options. When equipped with the Mercedes-Benz OM 906LA diesel, the Tactica could reach a speed of 120 km/h with a range of 650 km. Another known engine option was the Perkins 180Ti.

Other standard features of the Tactica were powered steering and a permanent 4×4 drive with selectable ratios and three lockable differentials. The driver’s compartment could be reached through a door on either side, and the troop compartment through four doors, one in each side and a double door at the rear.


The regular APC version featured ten firing ports, while additional armament could be deployed on the roof. A small machine gun-armed turret was also optional, but only sold to Ghana. The turret could be armed with either a 7.62 mm machine gun or a heavier 12.7 mm [.50 cal] M2 HB machine gun.

A one-off prototype, produced by Glover Webb before 1994. It featured an independent suspension developed by Rockwell, rather than the standard leaf spring suspension. Source: Lucy Black on the hmvf forum

The Armored Patrol Vehicle

In essence, the Patrol vehicle was identical to the forward-control vehicle, although having a completely different hull, with less room inside and a less aggressive appearance. The Patrol also has eight firing ports, instead of ten.


  • APC
    • APC with ten-, fourteen-, sixteen-, or eighteen-man configuration
    • Armored Command Vehicle with a higher roof
    • Armored Ambulance with a three-man crew and four stretchers
    • Armored EOD vehicle
    • Armored Water Cannon
  • Patrol
    • Armored Patrol, high-speed, ten-man crew
    • Armored Patrol, APC, ten-man crew
    • Armored Assault, five- or ten-man crew

Tactica 2000

Some twelve years after its first introduction, an improved version of the Tactica was presented, which featured a more powerful Mercedes-Benz 906 series diesel engine, coupled to a new ZF Ecomat automatic transmission. In addition, the axles and suspension were upgraded, increasing the maximum vehicle weight significantly. The Tactica 2000 was bought by Saudi Arabia and Norway. The Saudi vehicles were based upon chassis developed by the Belgian/Flemish company Mol.

A Saudi Tactica 2000, photographed in 2020. The differences are clearly seen, with a redesigned front, straight instead of angled sides, and a higher roof. Source: Saudi Ministry of the National Guard

The Tactica as an ISV

As far as classifications go, internal security vehicles can broadly be separated into four categories, based upon the level of protection [Fulvio Bianchi, 2003]. The first class has very limited protection, not more than the addition of bulletproof glass, bars, and add-on armor plates no thicker than 2.5 mm. Often, these are converted vans or light trucks. The second class provides enough protection against small arms fire with ball rounds. To achieve this, a new body has to be built, but use is still made of vans and the like. The third class are considered to be protected against 7.62 mm fire and even small explosions. This level of protection is pursued by most police forces, as it offers a good balance in weight, protection, and agility. Examples for this class are the Shorland S600 and the RG-12.

The fourth class features protection to a military level and are less common to encounter, as it is easier and cheaper to adapt an already existing military vehicle to the police role, than to have to develop a dedicated ISV, although this can cause some drawbacks, like the potential lack of internal space. The Tactica was one of the few vehicles built in this class, offering protection similar to the German Thyssen TM-170, for example.


Confirmed Sales Overview

Country Quantity Order Delivery Notes
Singapore 2-10 1988 1989
Kuwait 20 1993 1993
United Kingdom 35[+3*] 1993 1993-1996
Indonesia 33 1994, 1995, 1996 1994, 1995, 1997
Argentina 9 1997 1998 For UNFICYP
Ghana 20 2000 2000-2002 For UNAMSIL
Mauritius 9-12 ~2002 2003
Norway 12 2002 2003
Saudi Arabia 200 2006/2007 2009-2012
Total 340-354 1988-2006/2007 1989-2012

* It is unclear if the three vehicles of the British Atomic Weapons Establishment were included in the official government figure of 35 owned vehicles.

Singapore [>2-10]

After the Tactica was introduced in 1988, Singapore was the first customer and placed an order for an unspecified number for the police. They were delivered in 1989, which made Singapore the first operator of the Tactica. A basic police version was acquired, painted in a typical British police style; dark blue with a blue-white checkerboard pattern stripe running along the sides.

A terrible quality picture of two Tacticas in Singapore in 1995. Source: Jane’s

The vehicles are rarely seen and appear to be last photographed around 2013 or early 2014 during riot control training with the Special Operations Command [SOC] and the Gurkha Contingent. The police mainly relies on locally-built tactical vehicles, which are painted red and therefore known as “Ang Chia” [Eng: Red Vehicle]. The current [2022] status of the Tacticas is unknown. They are either in storage, only to be used during a major emergency, or have already been disposed of.

Two Tactica’s can be seen behind the riot police. This photo was taken sometime in the early 2010s. Source:

Kuwait [20]

Kuwait received Tacticas for use by the Special Forces, under the Ministry of Interior [MOI]. According to Jane’s, 20 Patrol Tacticas were delivered after an order from 1993, but any details on their use, including photographs, are unknown. It is known that they were serviced by the company Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive Co.w.l.l. which also services the other armored vehicles of the MOI, such as the Condor, TM-170, and Soframe.

United Kingdom [35]

In early 1993, the United Kingdom took its first deliveries of Tactica vehicles. They were acquired in specialized roles to be deployed in Northern Ireland, especially in the EOD configuration. Others were delivered to security services of the Ministry of Defence [Ministry of Defence Police, abbr. MDP or MOD Police]. In 1997, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, John Spellar, confirmed that a total 35 Tacticas had been acquired.

Little is known about the MDP vehicles. They did not serve very long either, as they were replaced in 2010 by MacNeillie Protected Escort Vehicles. The EOD vehicles were used in Northern Ireland, in light of the unrest and threats posed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. However, after a ceasefire in 1997 and an official dissolution in 2005, stability mostly returned and the EOD Tactica’s became redundant. They have since then been disposed of. Most if not all of the decommissioned Tacticas have been sold on the civilian market, with vehicles finding their way into private collections or museums. Several have been sold abroad too, with at least two going to the USA, and another two to the Netherlands.

A ‘Van IEDD’ vehicle of the UK EOD in Northern Ireland. It has its appliqué armor mounted on the whole body. When the vehicles were taken out of service, this armor was removed before they were sold on the civilian market. Source:
A EOD vehicle with all the aplliqué armor removed. In this bare state, they were sold on the civilian market. Source: eBay
A Patrol car of the MOD Police [MDP], seen in 2010. This specific vehicle, with registration ‘N856 GBK’, was built in 1995 and has been transferred to the collection of the MDP Museum. Source: Wikimedia

Atomic Weapons Establishment

In 1996, the British Atomic Weapons Establishment [AWE] based in Aldermaston and Burghfield, Berkshire (United Kingdom), placed an order for three Patrol vehicles. These were intended to provide terrorist attack intervention and high speed convoy support, in which case they would have carried eight armed personnel to protect nuclear warheads and nuclear fission material during transport in the United Kingdom.

These three vehicles were built in a unique configuration, with a dual 12 and 24 volt electrical system, two-wheel drive instead of the regular four-wheel drive to allow for higher speeds and road tractability. The chosen engine was a high pressure turbocharged 6-l Perkins engine, coupled to an Allison automatic 5-speed transmission.

One vehicle, with registration ‘HI 90 AA’ passed to the collection of the RAF Hack Green Nuclear complex in 2010. The status of the other two is unknown.

One former Tactica of the British Atomic Weapons Establishment [AWE] which has been part of the RAF Hack Green Nuclear complex collection since 2010. Externally, these were very similar to the vehicles of the MDP, but had a different emergency light system. Source: Call the Cops 999 on Flickr

Indonesia [33]

In 1994, Indonesia placed an order for three water cannon vehicles, which was approved by the British government. A second order for six water cannons was also approved next year. On 9th December 1996, it was announced that new export licenses were granted for a large number of vehicles, including two Tactica Patrols, two APCs, five EOD vehicles, seven water cannons, and eight command and communication vehicles, totalling 24 Tacticas. The license was granted in advance of the contract, which was signed later. All were delivered before the end of 1997. The company Procurement Services International Ltd acted as a mediator between the Indonesian government and Glover Webb.

Tactica Deliveries to Indonesia

Order Types
1994 3x Water Cannon
1995 6x Water Cannon
1997 2x 4-seater Patrol, 2x 10-seater APC, 5x EOD, 7x Water Cannon, 8x Command & Communication

The deal was not without controversy. At the time, older British armored vehicles were already used against protesters and, in one notorious incident, three students were killed in South Sulawesi in April 1996. This fueled larger protests in June, in which the new Tacticas were used in Bandung. Eye witnesses stated that the water was mixed with teargas. These matters led to outrage among the British public and human rights activists when the new export license was granted in December 1996. It also led to questions in the House of Commons and, on 21st January 1997, a motion was signed by 75 members calling for the licenses to be revoked. However, the British government stated that they found the evidence inconclusive so the licenses remained effective.

In May 1997, the factory’s security was breached by a group of eleven protesters who heavily opposed the sale to Indonesia. At the site, twenty unfinished armored vehicles were decorated with the slogan: “not for export to Indonesia”. The protestors were later detained by the police.

An Indonesian Patrol during an exhibition in early 2021. It stands next to a Barracuda APC that was built in South Korea. Source: Tukang dak jelas on Youtube
A Tactica in the APC configuration, seen during a demonstration. Source:
A water cannon, as used by Brimob. Both the date and source are unknown.
In 2021, at least one Indonesian Tactica received a new paint job. It is unclear if the other vehicles will be repainted too, or if this was done for a specific purpose. Source:

Tactica Deployment

Once delivered, the Tacticas were taken into use by the Korps Brigade Mobil [English: Mobile Brigade Corps, abbr. BRIMOB], which is the combined tactical, paramilitary, and special forces unit of the Indonesian National Police [abbr. POLRI]. The BRIMOB consists of two branches, Gegana, which is responsible for more specific operations, such as EOD, counter terrorism, and intelligence, and Pelopor, with tasks like riot control, SAR, and guerrilla operations.

The new Tacticas were extensively used to quell any anti-government protests, of which the June 1996 deployment in Bandung is a prime example. In early August 2005, two Tacticas, normally stationed in Aceh, were transferred to Jayapura, the capital of West Papua. This was done in light of heightened tensions between the government and Papuans. The police were instructed to prevent people from participating in public protests and actions. The Tacticas were deployed on a number of occasions, for example, against a large demonstration on 12th August and another one on 31st October, which was a protest against the establishment of the Papuan People’s Assembly. Instead of pure water, the Indonesian police added a mixture of salt or liquid soap to achieve the same effect as teargas. In other instances, a color was added to the water, enabling protesters to be identified later, and consecutively arrested or even tortured.

A Tactica during deployment in Jakarta on 20th June 1996, a day that became known as Bloody Gambir [Gambir Berdarah], as more than 120 protestors were [seriously] injured when they tried to flee to Gambir Station. Source: Tapol bulletin no.136, 08-1996
A Tactica Water Cannon and a Barracuda in Jayapura, West Papua, in August 2005. They were deployed on 12th August during a large Papuan protest against the establishment of the Papuan People’s Assembly. Source: Tapol bulletin no.181, 12-2005

On 14th April 2010, a riot broke out in Koja, Tanjung Priok, Northern Jakarta, over a land ownership issue. In the heavy clashes between the mob and the police, three members of the municipal police were killed. Some 130 to 231 people, including police, sustained light to heavy injuries. Many police vehicles were destroyed, but it was the first time an armored vehicle was set on fire too, namely a Tactica water cannon.

The Tactica that burned out completely during a protest on 14th April 2010 in Koja. Its own water tank, with some 4,000 liters, was now of little use. Source: Basuki

Argentina [9]

In the summer of 1997, it was disclosed that nine vehicles were under production for the Argentine United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus [UNFICYP]. In late 1997, these were finished and directly delivered to Cyprus and attached to the United Nations island Mobile Force Reserve [MFR]. The MFR was a multinational infantry company of five officers and a hundred soldiers. The vehicles were stationed at Airfield Camp to the west of Nicosia, but small sections were sometimes sent to other patrol bases in the west [Sector 1] or east [Sector 4].

The T2 ‘UN 525’ seen in 2009 on Cyprus. They were used between late 1997 and mid 2018 to patrol the buffer zone on Cyprus as part of the UNFICYP mission. Source: Gravemaker
An unfortunately low resolution image that uniquely shows all nine Tacticas as they were in service with the UN on Cyprus. The barbed wire on the front could be rolled out as an effective barricade. Source:

UN Registrations

T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9
UN 524 UN 525 UN 5?? UN 528 UN 529 UN 530 UN 531 UN 532 UN 5??

After twenty years of service, Argentina decided to pull the vehicles out of Cyprus in 2018. On 21st June 2018, the vehicles arrived in the harbor of Buenos Aires. They were then overhauled and repainted by the Batallón de Arsenales 601 [Eng. Arsenal Battalion 601] and attached to the Compañía de Comandos 603 [Eng. Commando Company 603]. The new registrations range between ‘EA 437330’ to ‘EA 337338’.

The Tacticas were repainted in October 2018 from classic UN white to military green. Source: Dario Centu / Visión Estratégica
An Argentinian Tactica [registration ‘EA 437337’] in 2021 during a parade. Source: Bunker Argentino

Ghana [20]

In 2000, a Ghanese contingent was active in Sierra Leone with UNAMSIL [United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone]. To reinforce this contingent, the UK government agreed to sell 17 Tacticas, divided over 12 APC 14-seaters, armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun; 3 APC 10-seaters armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun; 1 Command APC; and 1 Ambulance. The vehicles were planned to be shipped in four batches to the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown. On 9th July 2000, the first shipment left for Freetown, while the others were planned to leave in September 2000, April 2001, and October 2001. In addition to these 17 vehicles, another 3 Tacticas were shipped to Ghana itself, where they arrived around 13th March 2002 in the city of Tema. These three were all 10-seaters with turrets, but where two had a day/day sight, the third had a day/night sight.

The Ghanese vehicles in UN livery. Seen are the Patrol variant with a 12.7 mm M2 HB machine gun in a turret, the regular APC variant, and the single ambulance in the background. Source: Jane’s Armour and Artillery 2011-2012

Reportedly, the whole deal was worth GBP£9 million. It is unknown if any of the vehicles were damaged during the deployment in Sierra Leone. Presumably, all returned with the Ghanese contingent to Ghana after the mission was concluded. The Tacticas remain in service with the Ghanese Army, but any details about their distribution among the troops are lacking.

The Ghanese Patrol Tactica, next to a Spanish-built URO-VAMTAC, seen at the Armed Forces Open Day held in 2011. Source:
Several Tacticas can be seen here in the foreground during a military parade, sometime around or before 2010. Source: far-maroc forum

Mauritius [9-12]

Sometime in the early 2000s, the government of Mauritius placed an order for a small number of Tacticas of both variants, which were delivered in 2003. The specific number is unclear, as various sources give numbers ranging from seven up to twelve or even fourteen vehicles. Based upon the vehicle registrations, which are known thanks to the various photographs, at least nine Tactica’s have been identified, including four APCs and five Patrol vehicles.

One of the forward-control vehicles of Mauritius [registration GM 7149], which is attached to the Explosive Handling Unit of the Special Mobile Force. Source:
Several Patrol variants during a parade. All Tacticas are in operation with the various units of the Special Mobile Force. Source:
At least three Tacticas which belong to the Special Support Unit. The front two vehicles have the registrations ‘GM 7635’ and ‘GM 7636’. Source:

Norway [12]

In November 2002, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense placed an order for 12 Tactica 2000s in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal [EOD] configuration. They were to be used by the Air Force’s air base security units, with each air base receiving one vehicle. Final assembly, modifications, and training were undertaken by Alvis’s subsidiary in Norway, Alvis Moelv [which existed between 1989-2004].

The local final assembly and various specific requirements gave the Norwegian Tacticas some unique features. The lights were differently designed and placed, additional rear-view mirrors were installed, the number and the size of the windows was changed, and a winch was mounted on the front, below the grille. The ‘Tactica’ nameplate was not mounted on the bonnet, but above the front window.

A Norwegian Tactica, seen at Panserfest in 2015. The Norwegian vehicles featured several unique design choices, such as the different placement of the Tactica nameplate above the front window, the mounting of a winch to the front, and different arrangement of the windows. Source:
Another Norwegian Tactica, seen at the repair plant in Björkvik, summer 2011. Of note is the Kongsberg RWS-N remote-controlled weapon station on the roof that is protected from the elements by a canvas. Source:

All vehicles were delivered throughout 2003. In December 2002, the Norwegian Defense Logistics Organization/Land had signed a contract with Kongsberg for the delivery of weapon control systems for armored vehicles. Eight of these new weapon stations, known as RWS-N, were to be installed on Tacticas. The systems would be used for the destruction of mines and other explosives from a distance, by firing on them.

The fact that eight weapon stations were bought for twelve vehicles is explained by the reforms undertaken by the Norwegian Air Force at the time. The total number of air bases was reduced, so only eight vehicles were required. Of the remaining four vehicles, at least three were reconfigured into armored ambulance versions. The other eight were stationed at the air bases. However, soon after, the demining groups of the air base security units were reassigned to wartime groups, meaning they would be inactive during neutral periods. Since then, the Tacticas have been reassigned from active duty to mobile assets and subsequently stored in military depots, in Romerike in the south, and in Bjerkvik in the north. Therefore, the vehicles are rarely spotted and remain some of the obscurest vehicles in use by the Norwegian Air Force. The vehicles received registration numbers ranging from ‘89001’ to ‘89012’.

One of the four that was reconfigured into the ambulance role, seen in Chad with the MINURCAT mission in 2009-2010. It has the temporary registration ‘UN 01023’. Source:

Norse Tacticas In Chad With MINURCAT

Three of the vehicles that were converted into ambulances saw more use, as they were deployed to Chad with the Norwegian contingent participating in the UN MINURCAT [United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad] mission between 2009 and 2010. The mission was established in September 2007 as an EU-led operation consisting of military and police forces that were meant to protect civilians, refugees, and provide a safer environment in Chad and the Central African Republic, countries which had been destabilized following the civil war in neighboring Sudan. The mission lasted until 31st December 2010.

From the spring of 2009 until May 2010, Norway contributed a field hospital and a well-drilling team to the mission, totalling some 400 people. The field hospital was set up in Abéché in Chad and was staffed by roughly 150 people, as well as additional Serbian personnel. Among the used materiel were the three armored ambulances which allowed safe travel for wounded and sick people. In Chad, the vehicles received special UN registration numbers. The only two observed numbers are ‘UN 01023’ and ‘UN 01024’. Presumably, the third registration number ended with either ‘22’ or ‘25’. It is unknown which original Norwegian registration corresponded to which UN registration.

After the Norwegian contingent returned home, an ambulance with the Norwegian registration ‘89011’ was put on display at the Armed Forces Museum in Oslo. The others have remained in service after deployment, but their status, as of May 2022, is unclear.

A Norse Tactica [‘UN 01024’], next to one of Chad’s numerous Toyotas. Source:
One of the ambulances in Norway around 2020 and still in service. It stands next to a Finnish-built XA-185 which Norway also rebuilt into the ambulance configuration, some time around 2007. Source:
One Norwegian Tactica Ambulance was retired from service after its deployment in Chad and put on display at the Norwegian National Military Museum [Forsvarsmuseet] in Oslo. Source: mbell1975 on Flickr

Saudi Arabia [200]

During the late 1990s, Saudi Arabia wanted to acquire many new armored vehicles, mainly for use to protect facilities near Islamic holy sites, such as Mecca and Medina. They were to be operated by the National Guard, also known as the White Army, which consists of active-duty soldiers, but is not attached to the regular army. Its main task is the protection of the Royal Family from internal rebellion or military coups. The initial demand was broadly set for 60 up to 700 vehicles, but potentially up to a 1,000. Comparative tests between the Tactica and the Tenix Shorland S600 in September 1998 had resulted in the decision to acquire Tactica vehicles. According to both companies, their vehicles had been chosen as they offered a versatile chassis that was and could be adapted to many roles. Due to a lack of information, it is unknown if any vehicles were actually delivered. It is likely that, due to financial problems caused by long-term low oil prices, the order was canceled completely.

Since tensions with Iran and the threat of terrorist attacks kept rising, the National Guard of Saudi Arabia announced a new competition in 2005 regarding a large amount of military equipment worth US$900 million. Four companies were invited: General Dynamics Land Systems, Australian Defence Industries [Bushmaster], Steyr-Puch [armored Pinzgauer], and BAE Systems. The original requirement called for 144 armored personnel carriers, 52 armored command & control vehicles, 36 platoon command vehicles, 17 ambulance and evacuation vehicles, and 12 water cannon vehicles, totalling 261 vehicles.

A year later, in 2006, BAE Systems won the tender, although the number of vehicles was reduced to 200, including 108 APCs, 39 command & control vehicles, 27 platoon command vehicles, 17 ambulances, and 9 water cannon vehicles when the final contract was signed in 2007.

Two Saudi Tactica 2000s in the Dutch harbor of IJmuiden, on their way from Mol in Belgium to BAE in the UK, from where they were further shipped to Saudi Arabia. Source: Alex Miedema

To fulfill this order, BAE largely relied on the Flemish company Mol Cy for production and assembly. The Flemish export license, worth €56 million, was granted in December 2007, and production could commence on 116 armored vehicles and 84 assembly kits. A few vehicles were almost completely assembled, but most were only partially assembled, with the chassis receiving components such as axles, engines, brakes, and similar equipment. After this, they were shipped to the United Kingdom for assembly of the armor.

Delivery to Saudi Arabia began in 2009, and in 2010, 157 vehicles had already been delivered and accepted into service. The other 43 were expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2011, but it appears the last vehicles were only accepted into service in 2012. In Saudi Arabia, the vehicles first went to the Aircraft Accessories and Components Company Ltd. [AACC], where final testing and quality control took place.

In 2010 training was provided by a Short Term Training Team of the Training Wing of the King’s Royal Hussars. For three weeks, personnel of the 1st Crowd Control Battalion received training in Riyadh, and the 2nd CCB received two weeks training after that in Jeddah. The 2nd CCB is involved in the security of the yearly Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina and proved more experienced than the 1st CCB.

Two rather poor quality images of the training that was provided to the 2nd CCB by the Short Term Training Team of the Training Wing of the King’s Royal Hussars. Source: The Regimental Journal of The King’s Royal Hussars

Deployment to Bahrain

The export of armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia quickly turned into a sensitive and highly criticized sale, both in the United Kingdom and Belgium, mainly because they were not solely used for domestic law enforcement and protection. In March 2011, in light of the Arab Spring, protests broke out in the small state of Bahrain, in the Arabian Gulf. The Bahraini police forces were quickly overwhelmed, and help was called in from the Gulf Cooperation Council. In response, the United Arab Emirates sent some 500 police, while Saudi Arabia sent some 150 armored vehicles, including a large quantity of Tacticas, on 14th March. The next day, a state of emergency was declared and the armored vehicles saw use in the brutal quashing of the protests. Over two months later, on 1st June, the state of emergency was lifted, but the Saudi National Guard maintained a presence in Bahrain.

A Tactica seen during their controversial deployment in Bahrain. Source:
Another shot of all the Tacticas that entered Bahrain. Source: APA/Landov

Ukraine [1-4]

Following the 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Ukraine received large amounts of military equipment through its allies and special organizations. Since several former-British Alvis Tacticas were available on the market, it was just a question of time when the first of this type would be sent to Ukraine. Indeed, one former MDP vehicle, registered ‘170 HYP’, was outfitted with a stretcher to serve as a medevac vehicle. It arrived in Ukraine around September 2022.

Furthermore, in January 2023, the “Together to the Future UA” charity organized a fundraiser to acquire multiple Alvis Tacticas from a Dutch company called Ex US Army Auction. They were intended as protected ammunition carriers for an artillery unit of ВЧ А4100. It is unclear if the fundraiser reached it goals, but the Tactica(s) was sold. Given its appearance, it was likely one of three Tacticas, earlier offered by a Dutch company called D. van Dam. Therefore, it is possible that these three Tacticas have since gone to Ukraine.

In 2020, the UK reported that two Tacticas had been exported to the United States for museum displays. It is unknown which vehicles these were, or where they have ended up. Three Tacticas, with the additional armor removed were sold and exported to D. van Dam, a company in the Netherlands specialized in the refurbishment and reselling of old army trucks. They arrived no later than 2019 and were still in stock by mid-2022. They were likely sold to Ukraine in January 2023. Source:

Other Evaluators


Since the late 1970s, the Belgian Gendarmerie [NL: Rijkswacht, a paramilitary police force] had been operating 80 BDX armored vehicles. After the Gendarmerie became a civilian police organization in 1992, the number was drastically scaled-down and, near the end of the 1990s, it became clear a replacement was needed. After evaluating a variety of options, the Alvis Tactica, Vickers OMC RG-12, and the Shorland S600 were selected as potential successors, with the S600 eventually winning.


In May 1995, a temporary export license was granted to deliver Tacticas to Türkiye. However, the vehicle, or possibly vehicles, were returned within approximately three months, suggesting an unsatisfactory trial. A second license was granted in October 1996, but appears to not have been used, suggesting Türkiye eventually did not buy any Tacticas.

Notable Former UK Vehicles in Private Hands

One Tactica APC is owned by the UK company Military Vehicle Rental. It is painted sand-yellow and outfitted with smoke grenade launchers. It is registered ‘LS 1018’ and has been featured in the movie ‘Fifty Dead Men’. Source:
One former EOD vehicle, painted black and registered ‘M556 PAG’ is owned by Steven Northam, who owns a Youtube channel and who plans to convert it into a camper van. Source: eBay
One former 1996-built MDP vehicle came into private hands and was tuned by the owner. It was also re-registered as ‘170 HYP’. It was later sold to Ukraine. Seen here is the interior of the former troop compartment. Source: eBay


The Tactica was a successful armored vehicle, both regarding its potential in the internal security role, and as a commercial venture, with approximately 350 vehicles sold to nine countries. During its production run, the Tactica changed producers four times, a feat not achieved by many, but this did not hinder its production. As one of the first recipients, the United Kingdom was also the first to retire all their Tacticas from service, but all the other users retain nearly all in service and will likely remain to do so in the foreseeable future.

Alvis Tactica of the Mauritian Special Support Unit. Illustration by Vinh.
Indonesian Alvis Tactica in APC configuration. Illustration by Vinh.
Alvis Tactica EOD vehicle. Illustration by Vinh.
Norwegian Alvis Tactica. Illustration by Vinh.
Saudi Tactica 2000. Illustration by Vinh.

Specifications (BAE Systems Tactica 2000 APC variant)

Dimensions (LxWxH) 5.9 x 2.4 [2.6 including wing mirrors] x 3.0 m
Crew 2+12 (driver, commander + personnel)
Empty Weight 12.6 tonnes
Gross Weight 14.1 tonnes
Fording depth 50 cm
Turning circle 15.4 m
Wheelbase 3.3 m
Angle of approach 30º
Angle of departure 35º
Ground clearance 34 cm
Max grade 60%
Fording depth 50 cm [max. angle of entry 19º]
Obstacle 30 cm
Engine Mercedes OM 906 LA turbo-charged intercooled diesel, 6,370 cc, 180 kW @ 2,200 rpm, 900 Nm torque @ 1,200 rpm.
Max. speed 120 km/h on-road
Fuel 205 l
Transmission ZF HP 502 automatic 6 forward and 1 reverse speeds
Brake system Fully air powered with 4-way protection valve and split system
Differential locks Independent inter axle and cross axle differential lock capability
Blast protection STANAG level 1
Ballistic protection B7
Crew 2 + 6 (driver, commander + personnel)
Range 650 km
Fuel 167 l
Protection glass 5 cm armored glass + 6 mm Polycarbonate
Accessories 2 x 4 CN-gas/some launcher
Weight 6,500 kg
Indonesian water cannon
Dimensions (LxWxH) 5.020 x 2.045 x 2.320 m
Water tank capacity 4000 l
Crew 4
Engine Perkins Phaser 180Ti diesel, 6-cylinder, 134 kW @ 2,600 rpm, max torque 618 Nm @ 1,400-1,600 rpm


Tactica Brochure, BAE Systems.

Tactica Brochure, Alvis Vickers.

Sipri Trade Registers. 2002. “Appendix 13C. Register of the transfers and licensed production of major conventional weapons, 2002.”

Sipri Trade Registers for UK.

UNROCA registers.

Kraft, Andrej. 2018. “Самый секретный норвежский броневик.”, 22nd August 2018.

Phythian, Mark. 2000. The Politics of British Arms Sales. Manchester: Manchester University Press, p.168.

Brown, Peter. New Armored Vehicles Debut At British Equipment Exhibition ARMOR January-February 1998

Jane’s Armour and Artillery, 2002.

Korea Science. August 1999. Saudi Arabia may delay purchase of armored vehicles. p.52.

The King’s Royal Hussars Yearly Journal 2010

Made in Flanders: The end-use of Flemish military equipment, 2012, Nils Duquet,×4-rantis-lapis-baja-korps-brimob-dari-era-90-an/

Internal Security and Riot Control Vehicles, part I and II, Fulvio Bianchi, Military Technology, 2003.

Videos Saudi Tacticas, arriving in Bahrain in 2011. Alvis Tactica medevac in Ukraine, September 2022.

Modern Australian Armor Modern Belgian Armor Modern British Armor Modern Kuwaiti Armor Modern Singaporean Armor

Shorland S600 (BAe Foxhound)

United Kingdom/Australia/Kingdom of Belgium/State of Kuwait/Republic of Singapore (1993)
Internal Security Vehicle/Infantry Mobility Vehicle – 37 Built (32 Production Vehicles, 4 Prototypes, 1 Hull)

The Shorland S600, based on a Unimog chassis, was the last armored vehicle designed by the Northern-Irish company Short Brothers. Only two prototypes would be produced under their name, as the complete Shorland range of vehicles was sold to British Aerospace Australia (BAe) in 1996. They built a new prototype, known as the Foxhound, which was constructed as a contender in the Australian Bushranger program. After dropping out of this program, international interest led to the sale of 22 vehicles to the Kuwaiti National Guard in 1997. While the Belgian Gendarmerie was testing the vehicle, the S600 design was sold to yet another company, this time Australian-based Tenix Defence. Under their name, a modest number of vehicles were sold to Belgium (6), South-Korea (2), and Singapore (2). In January 2008, Tenix Defence was bought by BAE Systems, essentially returning the S600 to its previous producer. Without any further sales, the S600 product range was eventually suspended during the 2010s.

One of the two Short Brothers’ prototypes in 1996, equipped as a Police support vehicle with typical blue rotating lights (produces a flashing effect). The headlamps in the bumper are not installed. Although they were usually fitted, it has to be noted that without headlamps, this vehicle would not be road-legal. Source:


Starting from the 1960s, the Northern-Irish company Short Brothers, also known as ‘Shorts’, started building armored cars on commercially available Land Rover chassis’. Commercially, it was a successful venture, with vehicles sold to dozens of countries. In 1992, Shorts started the search for a new, readily available chassis, on which a new vehicle could be developed. Shortly thereafter, the German Unimog 437 series was selected, both the U 1550 L and heavier U 2150 L chassis variants, which had been introduced in 1988. These chassis had already demonstrated good cross-country performance and spare parts were easily available all over the world.

In 1993, detailed design work started on the armored body, and to secure a good fit, some parts of the Unimog chassis had to be repositioned. The work was finished in 1994 and construction commenced of the first two prototypes, which were completed in early 1995. Compared to a regular Unimog, the S600 shared some 80% components. In September, the new prototype was officially introduced at the Royal Navy & British Army Equipment Exhibition.

Shorts had two main versions in mind. The first was the ISV, an Internal Security Vehicle, which would utilize the U 1550 L chassis with a Mercedes-Benz 366 in-line water-cooled turbocharged diesel engine, producing 156 hp. This vehicle, weighing between 8 to 9,5 tonnes action-ready and spacious enough to carry twelve men, was designed for police, paramilitary, and military use.

The other version was the IMV, the Infantry Mobility Vehicle. This version utilized the heavier U 2150 L chassis with a 366LA in-line turbocharged and inter-cooled engine, producing 214 hp. The combat weight of this version was around 12.5 tonnes and could carry a section of eight men and three days’ supplies. This version could also be adapted to a command, ambulance, heavily armed support, or air defense weapons carrier.

The S600 in 1995, equipped as an IMV with a .50 cal weapon station (left) and as an ambulance (right). Sources: left: Peter Brown in Armored Car right: unknown

Two prototypes were built by Shorts. These were equipped as several variants for testing and promotion purposes in 1995 and 1996. For example, in 1995, it was outfitted as an ambulance version while in September, it was a regular IMV variant with a 12.7 mm M2 machine gun on top. In 1996, it was also seen as a police variant and painted blue, while the ISV prototype was seen featuring a white UN livery. These first prototypes are easily distinguishable from the vehicles that were later built, as they had a differently designed front. The louvers were square, stuck out a bit, and consisted of eight narrow slats. The corners of the front were rounded off. Later vehicles featured much larger slats and square corners.

The design of the Unimog chassis translated itself quite clearly in the S600, just as can be seen on other Unimog-based armored vehicles, like the German TM-170. With a short bonnet and a high superstructure, the S600 had a roomy interior. This room made the design very versatile, further enhanced by the relatively basic construction, which allowed the vehicle to be tailored to meet specific and individual operational requirements from various customers.

Therefore, most features of the S600 were up for change, with Shorts suggesting various weapon stations, different vision ports, air conditioning units, additional radiographic equipment, applique armor kits, and the like.

The second prototype. For promotional purposes, it has been painted in a white UN livery. Source:

Multilayered Australian interest

In 1993, the Australian Army initiated the Bushranger project, which aimed to select a new Infantry Mobility Vehicle. Phase 1 resulted in the supply of Interim Infantry Mobility Vehicles, for which the Land Rover Perentie was chosen. In 1994, the initiation of Phase 2A started the process to select a definitive IMV. The requirements called for a vehicle that could carry nine soldiers and equipment, fuel, and supplies for three days, which should include at least 270 l of water. With a cruising speed of 90 km/h on-road, it should have a range of 600-1,000 km and have off-road capabilities equal to a Unimog truck. In terms of armament and protection, it should have provision for a machine gun mount, and armor protection against regular 7.62 mm rounds was required. Protection against AP bullets and mines was desired but not one of the core requirements.

The Foxhound, developed by BAe and Shorts as a contender for the Australian Bushranger project. Compared to the first S600 prototype, it had a redesigned bonnet with a new placement of the louvers and a centrally mounted winch. In the rear part of the superstructure, on both sides, large notches were designed where spare wheels could be carried. Source: Jane’s

A total of thirteen companies showed interest in the project and five of these were shortlisted.
1. Australian Specialised Vehicle Systems (ASVS), a joint venture between ANI and Reumech Austral. They offered the Taipan, a modified version of the South African Mamba.
2. Transfield Defence System, which teamed up with German Thyssen Henschel, and offered the TM-170.
3. Perry Engineering teamed up with Timoney and offered a version of their MP44.
4. Westrac teamed up with TFM and offered the RG-12 Nyala.
5. Lastly, British Aerospace Australia (BAe) offered an improved Shorts S600, which BAe called Foxhound.

Late in 1995, Phase 2B was initiated, which was the request for tender. Shortly after, Transfield and Westrac withdrew, leaving ASVS, Perry Engineering, and BAe.

In 1996, BAe started construction of a new improved prototype of the S600, known as the Foxhound. Near the end of that year, Shorts decided to sell the entire Shorland range of vehicles to BAe, due to internal restructuring of the company. This not only included the S600 design, but also the older designs that were based on the Land Rovers, namely the S52 and S55. BAe would never take these into production, however, and solely focussed on their Foxhound. Of the two Shorts prototypes, one was relocated to Australia, while future production could either take place in Northern Ireland or Australia, depending on the customer.

In October 1996, the Australian Army issued a new contract negotiating directive, which initiated the official negotiations for contracts with the three companies to provide a trial vehicle. However, before the formal contract negotiations could commence with BAe, they announced their intention to drop out and withdrew their offer for the Foxhound in January 1997.

First customer: Kuwait

Although BAe let the possibility of an Australian success go, another commercial success was near. During the second half of the 1990s, the National Guard of Kuwait (الحرس الوطني الكويتي, KNG for short) was searching for a new armored internal security vehicle to be used by the Internal Security Battalion (الحرس الوطني الكويتي, ISB for short). Apart from supporting the Kuwait Army in case of a foreign invasion and protecting vital targets or installations against any threat, an important duty of the KNG is to support the police in maintaining security and stability.

Three of the KNG S600s during a parade. The vehicle in the front is outfitted with the heavy barricade remover, while the other two, with registration 10015 and 10013, are the regular APC version. Source: Kuwait National Guard

BAe’s offer of the Foxhound was challenged by unspecified vehicles from South Africa, the USA, and the UK. After evaluation, the S600 was chosen in January 1997, coinciding with the Australian offer being canceled, KNG signed a contract with BAe for delivery of 22 vehicles in 4 (6) versions. The first pre-series vehicle was ready by early September 1997 and presented in October at the BAe factory in Wingfield, Adelaide, South Australia. It was successful and the production of 22 vehicles commenced, which were built and delivered in 1998 and 1999. With production finished by 1999, the Shorland program was sold again, this time to Tenix Defence Systems, also from Australia, Barton. They continued the program and secured a three-year-long life support contract and follow-on weapon system integration updates until 2003 with Kuwait. Some Tenix personnel was also relocated to Kuwait for that purpose. Besides this, operator and maintainer training was offered to the National Guard.

The acquired versions included the ambulance, the armored personnel carrier with two types of weapon stations, the high-pressure water cannon carrier, and both the light and heavy barricade remover. All vehicles are painted in an identical regular KNG paint scheme with a sand yellow base, broken up by green patches and smaller white dots. Apart from the ambulance, which has blue, all vehicles are fitted with orange flashing lights. All vehicles are registered with a number, starting with 100, followed by the vehicle number ranging from 01 to 22.

These three vehicles, 10018, 10019, and 10020, are outfitted with high-pressure water cannons for riot control.
One such vehicle is seen in action during an exercise in February 2013. Source: Kuwait National Guard
This picture from May 2014, taken during Nasr Exercise 12, shows five S600s in the back, including an ambulance (10021), three APCs, and possibly a water cannon vehicle in the rear. Source: Kuwait National Guard
Still from a short film, showing S600 ‘10002’ in a parade with other types of KNG vehicles. Behind it drives a US-built Pandur II 6×6 with a 25 mm Bushmaster, and in front of it a US HMMWV and a French Panhard VBL. This image shows a good size comparison with other, more common vehicles. Source: Kuwait National Guard on Youtube

Design of the base vehicle

The vehicle developed for Kuwait would form the basis for other vehicles that were sold later. According to the manufacturer, the S600 was relatively cheap in its class, while retaining as good performance as its commercial counterparts. Being based on the tried and tested Unimog chassis, operational costs were relatively low, due to 80% parts commonality with regular vehicles and thus easily available spares. Furthermore, the range was supported by world-wide Mercedes-Benz repair points within their dealer-network.


Unlike the original options envisioned by Shorts, under Australian management, all versions were to be based on the more powerful U 2150 L chassis. The diesel engine, which is coupled to a manual transmission with eight forward and four reverse gears, is located in the front of the vehicle and can be accessed through hatches. In case full access is needed, the whole armored body can be lifted from the chassis.

The wheels are fitted to portal axles which have hub drive and torque tubes. They also have pneumatically operated differential locks that can be operated while the vehicle is moving. Each wheel station has an independent suspension that consists of coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers. Furthermore, steering is power-assisted.

For the many roles that were envisioned for the S600, it was often considered essential that troops could quickly embark or disembark the vehicle. Therefore, the original Shorts prototype had three doors, one on each side and one in the back, but most vehicles featured only two doors, with one in the back and one on the side. The side door essentially is a two-part hatch, with the lower part folding down to form a step, while the upper part, which also has an integral vision block, is opened upwards. The rear door is very similar in design but wider, and the upper hatch could also contain a firing port. A novel feature is that the upper part can be locked in an open position while driving, which could prove beneficial in certain circumstances.

First introduced on the Foxhound prototype were two large notches in the rear sides of the superstructure, where spare wheels could be carried. This option was carried over on several variants.


The armor plating was newly developed by BAe and Bisalloy Steels from Unanderra NSW. The armored hull was of completely welded construction and provided enough protection against 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm small arms fire. Although an option was offered for appliqué armor, improving the protection against 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm AP bullets, this option seems to never have been bought by any S600 customer. The windows are bulletproof and provide the same protection as the armor. The belly protection is sufficient against grenades and small mine blasts.

Production of the Kuwait vehicles in 1998. For extensive maintenance, the complete hull can be lifted from the chassis. Source: Tenix Defence


The S600 could accommodate various weapon stations. For example, the prototype had a single-piece circular hatch in the roof where a variety of armament systems could be fitted, with the largest being a 12.7 mm M2 machine gun or a 40 mm Mk 19 Mod 3 grenade launcher. These weapon stations can also be fitted with a protective armored shield. Apart from this layout, other roof arrangements were offered by the manufacturer, for example, circular roof hatches above the commander’s and driver’s positions at the front. Apart from weapons on the roof, another option was the fitting of firing ports below the vision blocks in the rear compartment. This option was used both by Singapore and South-Korea.


Depending on the customer’s needs, the driver sits either on the right or the left, with the commander beside him. However, only the two Singapore vehicles feature a right-hand drive, while all other vehicles have a left-hand drive. Windows in the front and sides provide a 180º field of view. For crew comfort, the S600 was equipped as standard with an air conditioning unit.

In the hull section behind the driver and commander positions, bench seats run down either side of the hull, on which troops can be seated facing each other. For safety and comfort purposes, each seat has a seatbelt. Under the seats is space to store equipment and supplies.

Optional equipment

Since the S600 left room for many customizations, many more things could be fitted, but the manufacturer proposed the following: appliqué armor, automatic transmission, various communication systems, a different Euro 2 diesel engine, a fire detection and suppression system, a heater, Hutchinson run-flat inserts for the tires, land navigation systems, night vision equipment, self-recovery winch, wire cutters, smoke grenade launchers, or a Mercedes-Benz central tire-inflation system. This system allows the driver to adjust the tire pressure to suit the type of ground that is being crossed.



1. PA System Controls (optional) | 2. First Aid Kit | 3. HVAC Ducting (optional) | 4. Medical Kit | 5. Litter Rails | 6. Litter | 7. Oxygen Bottle | 8. Pioneer Tools (optional) | 9. FESS Extinguisher (optional) | 10. FESS Control Panel (optional) | 11. PA Siren/Speaker (optional) Source: Tenix Defence

The ambulance version has a crew of three that includes a driver and two medical staff. The rear compartment is configured to carry either three stretcher patients or two stretcher patients and four seated patients.

Kuwaiti Ambulance vehicle with the Red Crescent symbol on the front and side. Kuwait probably operates two of these vehicles. Source: Tenix Defence

Armored personnel carrier

1. PA Siren/Speaker (optional) | 2. Grenade Launcher Controls (optional) | 3. PA System Controls (optional) | 4. First Aid Kit | 5. Gun Port (optional) | 6. Gunner’s Platform | 7. Grenade Launcher (optional) | 8. Hull Vision Block | 9. HVAC Ducting | 10. Fire Extinguisher | 11. Grenade Ammunition Stowage (optional) | 12. Ammunition Stowage | 13. Pioneer Tools (optional) | 14. FESS Extinguisher (optional) | 15. FESS Control Panel (optional) Source: Tenix Defence

The APC version can be considered as a base version of the S600. It offers seating for twelve personnel and has a total payload of 3,300 kg. This stands identical to a full rifle section, complete with a combat load. With a range up to 1,000 km, the vehicle was designed for a three-day deployment.

Heavy Barricade Remover (Riot Control)

1. Grenade Launcher control | 2. PA System | 3. First Aid Kit | 4. Gunners Platform | 5. HVACS Ducting | 6. Fire Extinguisher | 7. Grenade Ammunition | 8. Ammunition | 9. Pioneer Tools | 10. FESS Extinguisher | 11. FESS Control Panel Source: Tenix Defence

Light Barricade Remover (riot control)

1. Grenade Launcher Control (optional) | 2. PA system Control (optional) | 3. First Aid Kit | 4. Gunner’s Platform (optional) | 5. Grenade Launcher (optional) | 6. Hull Vision Block | 7. HVAC Ducting (optional) | 8. Gun Port (optional) | 9. Fire Extinguisher | 10. Grenade Ammunition Stowage (optional) | 11. Ammunition Stowage (optional) | 12. Pioneer Tools (optional) | 13. FESS Extinguisher (optional) | 14. FESS Control Panel (optional) | 15. Barricade Remover | 16. PA Siren / Speaker Control (optional) Source: Tenix Defence

High-Pressure water Cannon

1. PA Siren/Speaker (optional) | 2. Wire Cutter | 3. PA System Controls (optional) | 4. Search Light | 5. Water Monitor | 6. Operator’s Seat | 7. First Aid Kit | 8. Gun Port (optional) | 9. Vision Block | 10. HVAC Ducting | 11. Tool Kit | 12. Gravity Fill | 13. Tank Cover | 14. Hydrant Tap | 15. Hydrant Tap | 16. Suction Hose | 17. Tank Baffles | 18. Hydrant Hose Filling | 19. Additive Tank | 20. Priming Pump | 21. FESS Extinguisher (optional) | 22. FESS Control Panel (optional) Source: Tenix Defence

The high-pressure water cannon version carried a 3,000-liter tank which offered the capacity to have five minutes of continuous water jetting.


The command version would be fitted with up to five radios and a folding workbench that was fitted with a map board and enclosed annex. When stationary, this vehicle could be used as a command post. It would have a crew of six, including a driver, commander, and four radio operators.


This version’s main feature would be a stabilized mast-mounted sensor package, comprising a laser range finder, radar, thermal camera, and a TV camera, with an operator’s console in the hull. It would have a crew of four.

Police Internal Security Vehicle

Like the APC, the ISV configuration was another base design, which provided seating for up to 12 personnel with full equipment.

The ISV variant, outfitted to Belgian specifications with a light barricade remover and larger rear windows. Source: Luc De Jaeger

Airport security

The airport security vehicle allowed the crew to remain closed up in the vehicle for longer periods in comfort, to allow monitoring from one place. It would have special provisions for airfield communication systems and provision for a concealed weapon. This proposed variant would have a crew of four.

Mortar Carrier

This proposed variant could carry a standard BAE systems Ro Defence 81 mm mortar that would fire through an opening roof hatch. The vehicle would be crewed by three men, including a driver, mortar detachment commander, and a mortar crew member.

Anti-hijack vehicle

The anti-hijack vehicle was created around 2001/2002 for the South-Korean market and featured a MARS system fitted on the roof. MARS stands for Mobile Adjustable Ramp System, which provides a more tactical approach to enter and rescue in elevated locations, like buildings or planes. It also provides an elevated platform for snipers during other kinds of missions.

The Tenix S600 pre-series vehicle, displayed at IDEX’2001. Source: Танкомастер 2001 no.2

Under a new company

After BAe completed production of the 22 Kuwaiti vehicles, they decided to sell the Foxhound/S600 design to Tenix Defence Systems in January 1999, who continued the program and also took over the involved managers and engineers. Although the name Shorland S600 was retained, during the Tenix years, the vehicle was regularly referred to as Tenix S600. Tenix was only formed in 1997 when it split from its parent company Transfield Services. It became the largest defense contractor in Australia.

Belgium: the second customer

Since the late 1970s, the Belgian Gendarmerie (NL: Rijkswacht, a paramilitary police force) had been operating 80 BDX armored vehicles. After the Gendarmerie became a civilian police organization in 1992, the number was drastically scaled-down and, near the end of the 1990s, it became clear a replacement was needed. After evaluating a variety of options, the Alvis Tactica, Vickers OMC RG-12, and the Shorland S600 were selected as potential successors. After extensive testing in Belgium, the S600 was eventually selected and, in 1999, a contract was signed with Tenix for delivery of six vehicles, with an option for more in the next two fiscal years, although this option was never used. The deal was worth 5 million Australian dollars (120 million Belgian Francs or 3.8 million USD).

The keys are handed over by South Australian Premier John Olson (right) to Belgian Police Colonel Alain Mouthuy (left). In the center stands Paul Salteri, managing director of Tenix. Only the first vehicle was painted in this scheme for a short time, it was repainted before delivery. Source: Tenix Defence
The brand new vehicle. The Belgian version is the Police Internal Security Vehicle, with requested modifications like a roof higher by ten centimeters and larger windows in the rear. The light barricade remover is still in immaculate condition. Source: Jane’s

On 31 January 2001, South Australian Premier John Olsen symbolically handed over the keys of the first vehicle to Colonel Alain Mouthuy of the Belgian Police. The ceremony took place at the Technology Park in Adelaide, where Tenix Defence was based. This vehicle was painted in Gendarmerie colors, with a red-orange line protruding from the center of the bonnet up between the front windows. As the Gendarmerie had become the Federal Police after 1 April 2001, during reforms that combined all police units into one force, divided at a local and federal level, this paint scheme was never adopted. Instead, when the first vehicles were delivered to Belgium in August 2001, they were painted in a newly adopted scheme. The vehicles are registered with regular license plates. Confirmed registrations are DQM-036, -037, -038, -039, and -042. The vehicles also have vehicle numbers, identical to the last two numbers of the license plate.

Vehicle 42 (DQM-042) seen in May 2016. The vehicles are operated by the Public Safety Directorate, written on the left side in French, and on the right side in Dutch. The light barricade remover is regularly repainted, but in a well-loved state at the time this photograph was taken. Source: Gendarmekes Hulpdienstenfotografie

According to the Belgian Police, the main purpose of the vehicles is to safely transport policemen whenever there is an armed threat or excessive use of violence, for example in the form of a rioting group throwing projectiles like stones and fireworks. Aside from protecting the police within, it can also offer protection for police behind it, and it can easily break through erected barricades and the like. Within the vehicle is space for a driver, commander, and up to seven policemen.

The Belgian vehicles are made airtight to allow operation in an environment where teargas is used. On special request, the side windows in the rear were enlarged as well to provide better vision. They are made of polycarbonate and thus fire and impact resistant. As policemen would be able to easily enter and move in the vehicle with all gear, including helmets, the vehicle was made 10 cm higher, meaning the Belgian vehicles are 2.8 m instead of 2.7 m high. Unlike the rear door, which is still manually opened, the side door is pneumatically opened. Further features include run-flat tires, folding wired mesh protection for the front windows and fixed on the sides, and a rapidly removable power-operated light barricade remover mounted on the front. There is also at least one S600 outfitted with a MARS system.

The S600 is seen here fitted with a MARS system. Source: Belgian Federal Police

Within the federal police, the vehicles were formed in APC-teams and attached to the Directorate General Reserve (FR: Direction de la Réserve Générale, NL: Dienst Algemene Reserve). In 2004, this unit was incorporated into the Intervention Corps (FR: Corps d’Intervention, NL: Interventiekorps, combined shortened to CIK). In 2015, a new centralized police support unit was formed, the Directorate of Public Safety (FR: Direction de Sécurité Publique, NL: Directie Openbare Veiligheid). Also known as DAS, this unit currently operates the S600.

Since 2006, the three Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) have signed a police treaty that allows the operation of personnel and materiel across their borders. Before signing, that was not allowed, but cooperation was common and an incident from April 2003 has to be noted. In that month, a demonstration took place in Luxembourg by workers from the metallurgical industry. At the time, Luxembourg, a stranger to violent protests, had no armored vehicles nor water cannons to counter the protest. Therefore, an arrangement was signed with Belgium which allowed the deployment of Belgian water cannons and armored vehicles, but due to juridical restrictions, they were only allowed to be operated by Luxembourg policemen and should have Luxembourg registration plates. Multiple S600s were sent, including number 38, which temporarily received the registration A7784, while Luxembourgish crews were hastily trained to be somewhat familiar with the vehicles.

Vehicle 38 in use by the Luxembourg Police in April 2003. It was temporarily equipped with a Luxembourg registration plate, reading A7784. Source: Marcel Dehaeseleer

On 29 September 2020, a tender was placed for a four-year program of modernizing, modifying, and restoring the six vehicles. The deadline was set for 22 October 2020. Somehow, in official publications including this tender, the Shorland is erroneously referred to as ‘Shortland’. The tender indicates that the Belgian S600s are planned to remain in service for some time.

South-Korea: the third customer

Tenix Defence announced in September 2002 that a ‘classified North-East Asian country’ had placed an order for two anti-hijack vehicles. This type of vehicle was not offered before. Apart from the two vehicles, Tenix delivered a comprehensive spare and service equipment package to the customer, which later turned out to be South-Korea.

The two vehicles were bought for use by the 707th Special Mission Battalion (제707특수임무단, since 2019 known as the 707th Special Mission Group), an elite counter-terrorism unit of the Republic of Korea Army Special Forces. The anti-hijack version seems to be developed from the Police ISV, but with smaller side windows, and round openable firing ports under them. Both the rear and right side doors are manually operated. Most notable is the MARS system, installed on the roof and attached to the lifting hooks on the bonnet.

One of the two South-Korean vehicles during a demonstration in 2020. In this case, the MARS is used as a platform for snipers, providing an overview of the situation. Source:
A vehicle during another exercise in June 2019. People are led from the bus into the S600 to be transported away. Source:

Singapore: the fourth customer

In 2005, the Singapore Police unveiled two new S600s that had been acquired for use by the Special Tactics and Rescue unit (STAR) of the Special Operations Command. Both vehicles were painted in a glossy dark blue color, and bear the registration numbers YM4355K and YM4280S. The former is equipped with a light barricade remover, while the latter features a MARS system but are, apart from that, identical. At first glance, the vehicles look similar to the South-Korean anti-hijack version, but the Singapore vehicles feature a right-hand drive system.

In the lower right side of the hull, just behind the driving position and the front wheel, a large air intake is there. This feature is not seen on any other S600s.

Seen here is YM4280S, the one Singapore vehicle that is outfitted with a MARS system. With the driver on the right side, the side door is moved to the left side of the hull. Source: Stormo Rochalie
Vehicle YM4355K is outfitted with a light barricade remover, but it also has the connection parts for the MARS system installed. Notice the grille behind the front wheel, a feature that is not present on any other S600 and probably has to do with the driver’s position being on the right. Also of note is the driver’s door, a feature that is not very common either. The picture was taken in 2013. Source: Police Car Models

The life of the Kuwait series prototype

The pre-series vehicle built to Kuwaiti standards was kept at the factory for driver and maintainer training. This specific vehicle was also heavily used for marketing and demonstrations during various shows and exhibitions in Europe, the Middle East, East Asia, and Australia. This vehicle was also tested by Belgium and Saudi Arabia, among others. With the company’s personnel, this vehicle became affectionately known as ‘Betsy’.

Near the end of the 2000s, the vehicle was long-term leased to the South Australian Police Special Tasks and Rescue Group and repainted white, with a blue-white blocked line along the sides. It received the registration XAH 404. In May 2011, this STAR unit was reinforced with a new Lenco Engineering Bearcat, which reduced the S600 to a second-line vehicle. By 2015, they still used it, but before 2019, it was indefinitely returned to BAE Systems. They donated this vehicle to the National Military Vehicle Museum in Edinburgh Parks on 18 December 2019.

The prototype, also known as Betsy, in Australian police colors. Source left: National Military Vehicle Museum, right: BAE Systems Australia
The vehicle was donated by BAE Systems, represented by David Berrill (former BAE, right), to the National Military Vehicle Museum, represented by Ray Hall (museum workshop manager, left). Note that the additional police equipment has been removed, like the mesh frames protecting the windows, the blue flashing light, and the MARS system connectors. Source: National Military Vehicle Museum

This museum also has a bare S600 hull which was already donated by BAE before 2014. It is not, and probably never was, mounted on a chassis, but probably used for testing or as a production sample in the factory. It is painted in a similar three-tone camouflage scheme as the original BAe Foxhound prototype from 1996. The extruding windows are its most distinctive feature, which is similar to those seen on one of the original Shorts prototype at the time it was shown as a white UN vehicle. The two extensions on top of the bonnet, just below the windows, are only seen with the Kuwaiti vehicles.

The bare hull at the National Military Vehicle Museum was once donated by BAE systems. A full walk-around is posted at the forums. Source: National Military Vehicle Museum

Failed sales

During the late 1990s, Saudi-Arabia intended to buy a large number of armored vehicles, quoted to be up to 1,000, although the initial demand was set for roughly 60-70 vehicles. Their main purpose would be to protect key facilities near Mecca and Medina where yearly, millions of Muslims make a pilgrimage, known as the Hajj. In September 1998, comparative trials were held between the British Alvis Tactica and the Australian Shorland S600. Both Alvis and Tenix declared their designs were chosen because of their versatility. Eventually, Saudi-Arabia opted for the Tactica, of which 261 models were purchased. The S600 was rejected.

Undoubtedly, other countries would have considered or tested the Shorland S600, but to what extent is not publicly known.


The police of Singapore was the last customer for the S600, in 2005. In January 2008, it was announced that Tenix was bought by BAE Systems, the descendant of BAe. This third change of ownership of the production line did not result in the elimination of the project and the S600 was still being offered by 2014. However, by donating the remaining prototype to a museum at the end of 2019, BAE has made it quite clear that they have no interest in offering the vehicle any longer, which is understandable as by then, the design was more than twenty years old.

How long the S600 will remain in service is hard to tell. The Belgian vehicles will likely remain in service for at least ten years, because of their 2020 tender for refurbishment. With over twenty years of service and in their semi-military setting, the Kuwaiti vehicles will probably be replaced first, possibly within the next ten years. The Singapore and South-Korean vehicles fulfill a more specialized role and in that setting will likely remain in use for some time. Jane’s estimated a service time of roughly forty years. Based on BAEs’ current interests in the Defense market, it is very unlikely that they will offer a new design.

Source: Kuwait National Guard
A KNG high-pressure water cannon vehicle, shown at the 2011 GDA Aerospace and Defence Exhibition. It bears registration number 10020. Source: Kuwait National Guard


Compared to its counterparts, the S600 was a strong competitive vehicle, but not a great commercial success, with only 32 vehicles sold. The production was thus very modest compared to, for example, the Alvis Tactica or RG-12. The vehicle itself was good, with a reliable chassis, enough versatility, and good performance. The S600 program suffered from the constant change of ownership, which is one of the main reasons why the vehicle was not sold to more countries. As of 2021, it is believed that all 32 vehicles that were sold remain in service.

This S600 is illustrated as in service with the National Guard of Kuwait and equipped with a high-pressure water cannon. An illustration by Yuvnasvha Sharma, funded by our patreon campaign.


Dimensions (L x W x H) 5.74 x 2.42 x 2.70 m (18ft10in x 7ft11in x 8ft10in)
Combat weight 12.5 tonnes (13.8 US ton)
Crew 1+11
Engine Mercedes-Benz OM-366LA 6-cylinder, 5,958 cc, 660 Nm at 1,400-1,700 rpm, 157 kW (214 bhp) at 2,600 rpm
Gearbox UG3/65, 8 forward, 4 reverse gears
Power to weight ratio 17,1 hp/t
Max. speed 110 km/h (68 mph)
Road range 1,000 km (621 miles) (with extended range fuel tank)
Armament Optional, up to 12.7 mm machine gun or 40 mm mortar
Armor Protection against regular 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm NATO rounds, resistance against shrapnel, and infantry mines
Payload 3,300 kg (7275 lbs)
Wheelbase 3.25 m (10ft8in)
Track width 1.92 m (6ft4in)
Ground clearance 0.44 m (1ft5in)
Fording depth 1.2 m (3ft11in)
Turning circle 15 m (49ft3in)
Gradient 31 degrees
Side slope 31 degrees
Approach angle 40 degrees
Angle of departure 40 degrees


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