The VIU-55 Munja is a combat engineering vehicle (CEV) in service with the Serbian Armed Forces. Based on the T-55 tank, the Munja has been designed by the Serbian Military Technical Institute (VTI).
Production of the VIU-55 Munja began at Overhaul Depot Cacak in 2004 and about 210 T-55 hulls were converted into the Munja configuration. The vehicle can transport engineering teams and equipment in combat conditions while negotiating natural and man-made obstacles, blockades and fortifications.
Munja engineering vehicle design and features
The VIU-55 Munja was designed based on the chassis of the T-55 tank. The subsystems were retained and new components, engineering equipment and weapon systems were added to develop a new vehicle for serving different purposes.
The turret and hull roof of the tank was replaced with a new superstructure armoured with metal sheets and plates.
The 32t vehicle has a length of 6.2m, width of 3.27m and a height of 2.05m. It can accommodate eight occupants, including two permanent crew members – a driver and deputy commander / gunner, for the automatic grenade launcher and machine gun.
The embarked crew includes a commander and a batch of five infantrymen. The internal layout provides space for housing engineering equipment sets and associated equipment. Other standard equipment includes laser distance meter, computer and GPS system.
The Munja uses all terrain capabilities and ballistic protection of the T-55 tank. It is the first armoured vehicle of the engineering corps fitted with specialised engineering equipment and significant weaponry.
The tank-grade blade fitted forward is equipped with electric motor, pump and hydraulics. The blade assembly is an independent unit which can be easily attached to the hull.
Observation capabilities of the VIU-55 combat engineering vehicle
The driver, commander and gunner are provided with cupolas. The vehicle has two entry and exit hatches for engineering section. There are rotating periscopes and two lookout ports for observation and firing of personal weapons. The roof of the vehicle features several sections to provide hatches for observation.
Armament and self-protection / armour on the VIU-55 Munja CEV
The Munja is armed with a 30mm automatic grenade launcher and a 7.62mm M84 machine gun. The modular vehicle design allows the outfitting of a weapons station mounting a 30mm gun, 7.62mm machine gun, anti-tank wire guided rockets and a 30mm automatic grenade launcher equipped with optoelectronic fire control system.
The hull offers ballistic protection for occupants and equipment. The vehicle is hinged with up to 25mm thick armour plates to provide ballistic protection against 12.7mm rounds and shaped charges.
There is a radiological-chemical protection unit for the crew. The unit, comprising an anti-radiation fan, is automatically activated in the event of a nuclear explosion.
The vehicle provides protection in all ranges of electromagnetic spectrum. The Munja is mounted with smoke canister launchers and control panel similar to those fitted on M-84 tanks.
The smoke grenade launchers are mounted on either side of the vehicle in front of the covering plates. The vehicle has a fuel explosion and fire suppression system to forbid fuel explosions and resulting fires in case of projectile penetration. The Munja offers high level of all-round ballistic protection in comparison with conventional armoured personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.
VIU-55 Munja engines and mobility
The VIU-55 Munja is driven by a modular power pack MPG-780 including a diesel engine developing 780hp. The performance of the vehicle is similar to the T-55 tank. The engine provides a maximum speed of 50km/h and operational range of 545km.
The torsion bar suspension fitted to the five-road-wheeled chassis provides cross-country mobility.
The high mobility can be achieved by equipping a powerful engine and modern transmission on the vehicle. The vehicle integrates special purpose equipment required for engineering combat missions.
The equipment allows the vehicle to create artificial barriers, fortifications and cross artificial obstacles created by the enemy forces. The Munja implements advanced computer technologies for accomplishing engineering works.
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