by Anzet du Plessis @Anzet_LesWheels
The Marauder shot to fame when popular motoring TV programme, Top Gear drove through the streets of South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria.
Local is … lekker?
What many people don’t realise, however, is that the Marauder is a South African produced vehicle. Weighing in at nine tons, the Marauder was originally built for peacekeeping missions – which is ironic, considering the meaning of the word.
The Marauder falls into the 15 ton weight class, is 5511 mm long, 2300 mm wide and 2500 mm high. It’s capable of traversing a gradient of 70% (35 degrees) and a side slope of 40%- which is more than can be contemplated without being seen. Taking two crew members and another 8 passengers, the diesel engine produces an impressive 925Nm of torque, yet only 240kW (this is in its tuned guise – as standard, it produces only 165kW of power and 801Nm torque; but who buys ‘standard’ these days?). It’s a six-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine coupled to a five-gear semi-automatic transmission system. It has a travel range (on the road, not whilst climbing mountains in Lesotho) of 700km! Imagine that fuel tank! (We’re told that, again, if you’re not happy, you can fit extra long-range fuel tanks)
Is it safe?
Are you kidding? It has a double-skin monocoque chassis, which means as an off-roader, it’s not terribly agile. It’s got a turning circle of 16 metres! But, the shell can withstand the blast of a single anti-tank mine. You could launch a rocket-propelled grenade attack directly at the windows, with little effect. If that’s not enough for you, however, you can opt for “extra protection” which will be slotted in between the two layers, where there’s a gap.
This monstrosity is available in either 4×4 or … wait for it … 6×6 configuration. Its loadbay is capable of dealing with missile launchers, or even fire mortars, as its designed for a payload of nearly 5oookg. Ground clearance is a whopping 360 mm (which can be raised to 420mm) and, as proved by the boys of Top Gear UK, the underbody can handle just about anything you drive over or throw at it. It’s kitted with both ballistic and mine protection, and can withstand 8 kg of TNT without even flinching. Medium sized hatchbacks are completely decimated when in the Marauder’s path, and despite its gargantuan size and equally imposing tyres, it has a top speed of 120km/h. For a vehicle that is imposing when stationary, we’d not want to see this thing flying at us – or anywhere near us – at those kinds of speeds. Or any speed, for that matter.
What’s it for?
The Marauder is used mostly by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, as well as various African peacekeeping organisations. You know, the ones that aren’t driving Land Cruisers. The very first one built went to Jordan, whose primary governmental military agency was also Paramount Group’s partner in the conceptualisation and production of the vehicle.
At last count, a basic Marauder (which you won’t buy, because if you need a Marauder, you need it for a custom application) cost around R3.2 million. Then, you have to decide whether you want it as a recovery vehicle, a logistics vehicle, a mortar or ammunitions carrier or whether you want space for extra troops. Note, however, that Paramount won’t sell a Marauder to the average Joe. With good reason, we think.
Below are three videos of the Marauder in action, all shot in South Africa.
1. Promotional video – This is Marauder
2. The Marauder on Top Gear – BBC UK
3. The Naked Motoring review – Marauder (illustration of off-road abilities)
Research credit to Sean Parker, the SAGMJ bursar student.