18 April 2016
New upgraded Condor 4x4 (photo : Shephard)
DRB-HICOM DefTech is offering an upgraded version of the Condor APC at the Defence Services Asia 2016 exhibition in Malaysia.
The company has presented a prototype that has new components to improve the mobility of the ageing 70s vintage 4x4 vehicle and keep it from obsolescence.
According to a spokesperson from Deftech, the entire insides of the vehicle have been stripped out leaving just the shell with the focus on improving the engine, gears and axle to get more horsepower and torque.
The spokesperson said that a new Deutz engine is included that can offer 215hp over the 169 of the original Mercedes-Benz engine. New gears would be provided by US power and transmissions company Twin Disc and the new axle and suspension from AxleTech International.
He added that the aim was to make the vehicle ‘more easy to drive’ and to facilitate this, the prototype’s transmission is automatic rather than manual drive. The independent axle makes it more stable than the existing rigid one and more comfortable for both the driver and the occupants.
Details displayed at DSA show that the new drop box will increase from the existing 491Nm at 1600rpm to 800Nm at 1200-1700rpm.
The new suspension of the upgraded Condor (photo : Malaysian Defence)
While the Malaysian Army was the first customer for Condor in 1981 buying the vehicle from Thyssen-Henschel, it still has to find the funding for the upgrade.
Deftech has been working on the upgrade offering for the past 14 months with its own funding and this development effort will continue for another 2-3 months before trials begin with the Army.
Other upgraded systems on the vehicle include the hydraulics, engine cooling, air conditioning, steering, and vision system. Information at the show stated that the prototype has a digital driver panel and a complete re-wiring of the electrical harness.
However, the spokesperson said that an upgrade to the internal electronics and digital systems depends on the progress of the mobility testing by the army later this year, if they like what they see.
He added that because the Malaysian Army has so many Condor APCs – 457 were brought into service – with over 400 still in-service, that it was worth offering an upgraded variant.
The Condor APCs are supposed to be replaced by the AV8 Gempita 8x8 family of vehicles built by Deftech as part of the army’s strategic plan, but deliveries are slower than expected.