The Guardian Xtreme MRAP vehicle is manufactured by SAMARM, a joint venture between International Armoured Group (IAG) and Samel90, in Bulgaria. Credit: Samel-90 PLC.
The Guardian Xtreme MRAP is an armoured vehicle with STANAG 4569 level 2 ballistic protection. Credit: Samel-90 PLC.
Samel90 trained the personnel from the Bulgarian Joint Special Operations Command to operate the Guardian Xtreme MRAP. Credit: Samel-90 PLC.

Guardian Xtreme is a mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle designed by International Armoured Group (IAG) to meet the requirements of combat, tactical, and surveillance missions. The high manoeuvrability of the vehicle allows it to quickly respond to threats.

SAMARM, a joint venture (JV) between IAG and Bulgaria-based electronic systems provider Samel90, manufactures the Guardian Xtreme MRAP vehicles at its production facility in Samokov, Bulgaria. The JV was formed by the two companies in May 2018 for the development and manufacturing of armoured vehicles for the Bulgarian armed forces and police.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Samel-90 for armoured vehicles and defence equipment in December 2020. The three-year contract requires the company to deliver 98 armoured and special vehicles of ten different configurations.

The ministry took the delivery of 45 vehicles for the country’s special forces by end of November 2021.

Guardian Xtreme MRAP vehicle design and features

The vehicle has a lightweight design that enhances the off-road capability and handling. The design allows for customisation to meet the requirements of the user. The vehicle can also be used by land forces, navy, and military police service.

The Guardian Xtreme has a length of 5.95m, a height of 2.56m, and a width of 2.43m. It has a ground clearance of about 0.29m. The vehicle can accommodate a crew of two, and eight troops. It features two side doors, as well as a turret and an escape hatch for ingress/egress from the vehicle. It has two forward-facing windscreens and 13 vision blocks.

The MRAP vehicle has a combat weight of 9.8t and a gross weight of 8.8t. It comes with a four-channel digital video recorder (DVR) with a night vision camera.

Armament and self-protection features on Guardian Xtreme MRAP

The mine-resistant platform has a 360° rotating turret that can be operated in either manual or automatic mode. The turret can be fitted with a remote-controlled weapon system (RCWS) and grenade launcher mounts.

The vehicle offers ballistic protection up to STANAG 4569 level 2 and blast protection of STANAG 4569 levels 2a and 2b. The engine bay is also protected with blast and ballistic protection.

The MRAP vehicle can be fitted with additional lightweight armour to increase the protection to STANAG 4569 level 3.

Guardian Xtreme MRAP variants

The Guardian Xtreme vehicle is available in 4×4 and 6×6 configurations. The variants include tactical vehicle, border patrol vehicle, ambulance, and ammunition storage vehicle.

The vehicle can also be offered in other variants upon request by the users.

Engine and mobility

The MRAP vehicle is equipped with a 6.7l Power Stroke V8 turbo diesel engine with a rated power of 330hp at 2,600rpm. It can deliver a torque capacity of 1,016Nm at 2,000rpm.

The 4×4 part-time transfer case is equipped with a two-speed electric shift. The engine is coupled to a TorqShift automatic transmission with a six-speed gear box and tow/haul mode.

The vehicle has dual 78AH (ampere hours), 12V, 750CCA (cold cranking amps) maintenance-free batteries. It can be equipped with single 200AH or dual 357AH alternators with a 110V onboard socket.

The front steering axle has a monobeam suspension with coil springs, while the rear axle has a floating suspension with leaf or coils springs, designed by SAMARM. The vehicle features a double-wishbone suspension with front or both axle steering and central tire inflation system (CTIS).

The Guardian Xtreme MRAP comes with an engine braking system. Its braking system has hydro-boosted disc brakes on all four wheels. The system includes a roll stability control (RSC) system and an anti-lock braking system (ABS). The wheels are made of heavy-duty steel, or three-piece forged aluminium rim and run-flat inserts.

The armoured platform can achieve a range of 700km at an average speed of 90km/h. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 120km/h. The vehicle has a side slope climbing capability of about 30% and a maximum gradient capability of 80%. It can ford a maximum depth of 1m without preparation.