The General Purpose Vehicles (GPV), based in New Haven, Michigan, developed a system of wheeled medium tactical vehicles, which include a family of trucks and a family of armoured personnel carriers. The armoured personnel carriers are the 4x4x4 Sentry, 6x6x6 Commander, short 8x8x8 Captain, long 8x8x8 Colonel and 10x10x10 General.
The GPV Colonel 8x8x8 variant has a combat weight of 24.5t, length of 8.11m and carries up to 16 equipped troops. The 8x8x8 Captain is 0.15m shorter, with a length of 7.96m. It has a maximum speed of 101km/h on a metalled road.
In 2004, the United States Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) acquired the Major (designated as the MTV A1+ by the US Army) 8x8x8 truck variant for trials. The tactical truck can also be built in 4x4x4, 6x6x6, and 10x10x10 configurations. It shares 95% commonality of parts with the armoured personnel carriers.
Turkish defence company FNSS Savunma Sistemleri developed the Pars family of armoured fighting vehicles in a co-operative programme with GPV.
Colonel APC’s armoured hull design
The armoured hull provides 360° protection. The production tooling process allows manufacture of the vehicle’s hull from various materials (such as aluminium and titanium) and thickness depending on the mission requirements. The GPV system of vehicles can be modified to accommodate various weapon packages from one-man, two-man and remote weapon turret stations.
The deep V-shaped hull base deflects the blast from large anti-tank mines. The wheel wells have deflecting contoured surfaces and blast openings to vent blast away. The individual suspension components are mounted to break free in a blast to reduce acceleration into the hull.
The vehicle has ingress and egress doors on both sides, large rear doors and hatches at the driver and co-driver stations.
Forward crew area of Colonel 8×8×8 APC
The forward crew area or “cockpit” can accommodate up to six personnel in the Colonel 8x8x8 and two in the Captain 8x8x8. A passageway around the engine compartment allows access between the cockpit and the rear compartment.
The driver and commander seats and the binnacle unit (comprising the tilt adjustable and telescopic steering wheel, driving controls, brake and accelerator pedals and parking brake) are height adjustable for open or closed hatch operation. The binnacle has a slide adjustment for changing between right- and left-hand steering at any speed. The drivers can alternate while on the move without interruption.
The cockpit has seven (Captain) to 13 (Colonel) panoramic periscopes for forward vision. The periscopes are fitted with wipers and air blast cleaners.
The displays of four external thermal cameras and four external optical cameras are located in the cockpit area. The two 15in flat panel screens can display four camera views simultaneously, using a split screen display or full screen view from the selected cameras.
The cockpit is equipped with a global positioning system, fleet tracking system and an on-board computer. Vehicle service records and manuals files can be displayed on the screens. The Overhead Display Panel (ODP) offers a complete diagnostics system for operating and maintaining the vehicle.
The vehicle is fitted with wire cutters to protect roof-mounted equipment and driver and co-driver during open hatch driving. The exterior wire cutters and mirrors are electronically controlled and hydraulically driven and can be folded in to prevent damage or for stealth operations.
Rear cabin of Colonel APC
The rear cabin accommodates up to ten personnel with space for gear and equipment stowage. Both the front and rear crew areas are heated and air-conditioned with separate area controls. A nuclear biological and chemical (NBC) warfare over-pressure filtration system, together with a carbon filter bank, is installed on the vehicle.
Gun ports on Colonel APC
The gun ports can be opened to narrow or large size to accommodate different gun sizes, so that fragmentation cannot enter the cabin via the gun ports. The rotating gun port doors are lockable to prevent opening or enlarging the aperture from outside.
Engine and mobility of Colonel APC
The engine and transmission power pack integrates a 350hp Caterpillar C7 six-cylinder diesel engine with a five-speed automatic electronically shifting transmission. The powerpack has its own cooling system and is fully operational outside the vehicle for diagnostic testing.
The three on-board fuel tanks have a capacity of 150gal which gives a range of over 1,449km (900 miles).
The heating and air conditioning system is powered by a 21hp three-cylinder diesel motor auxiliary power unit. The auxiliary power unit can also recharge the main engine batteries if they are discharged.
Each wheel is fitted with independent suspension giving over 20in of wheel travel and is variable side to side and fore to aft. The independent suspension allows high road speed to be maintained over uneven road surfaces, providing manoeuvring with a level chassis on side slopes up to 30% and maximum side slope operation at 54%. The active pneumatic suspension can raise and lower the vehicle electronically.
The central tyre inflation system includes two large diameter air passages instead of one for a fast deflation and inflation rate. Full Ackermann steering eliminates tyre scrub. Each wheel is equipped with an inboard air and hydraulic braking system. The inboard mounting gives a reduced thermal signature.
The GPV vehicles feature a distributed electrical computing system made up of electronic control modules interconnected by CAN bus technology for high-speed and high-resolution data transfer. The entire electrical system is an over-current protected solid-state system without fuses.
The vehicles are fully amphibious without modification or preparations. Integral swim vanes protect the driver from waves washing over the front of the vehicle. Automatic bilge pumps remove any accumulated water. The vehicle has a speed of 5.6km/h in amphibious mode. Propellers can be fitted to increase the swim speed.