UK company Horiba-MIRA, which provides development and consultancy services to vehicle manufacturers, has built a new military SUV called the RIV (Rapid Intervention Vehicle).
The RIV was commissioned by NIMR, a military vehicle manufacturer based in the United Arab Emirates, to a challenging brief: to design and build a high-performance vehicle for use in the desert by UAE special forces, for rapid insertion into dangerous areas via Chinook helicopter. Without being based on any pre-existing vehicle, it took the company just 12 months to design and build it from scratch.
Power is provided by an uprated version of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel found in the Maserati Ghibli. It produces 300hp and 601Nm of torque, and drives the RIV’s four wheels via a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox and Torsen T2R torque-sensing differentials. All can withstand desert temperatures of up to 55deg Celsius.
Despite weighing 4,000kg, the RIV can do a 0-100kph in 10.5sec on way to a maximum speed of 161kph, with or without windscreen. As it accelerates, the RIV’s aerodynamically-styled body guides sand over the top of the vehicle to avoid clogging the interior. Winglets at the front reduce drag around the wheels. At 100kph it can cover around 966km on a tank of fuel.
“It’s the fastest vehicle across the desert,” said Jim Hopton, the project’s chief engineer. “Its secret is getting into and out of combat quickly, reliably and safely, going where few other vehicles can, so avoiding the Improvised Explosive Devices that cripple those using traditional routes.”
“A lesser vehicle lasts about six months in the hands of the military before it’s wrecked,” added Hopton. “Not one frame has broken during testing and we believe an RIV could last at least three years.”
The RIV can carry four heavily armed soldiers, each weighing around 120kg. Much of the body and structure are fabricated steel, but the wings and bonnet are composite. It has a spaceframe chassis, short entry and departure angles for 36-degree dune gradients and a flat floor to minimise the risk of becoming grounded on dunes.
The independent, variable-height, long-travel suspension has a maximum 300mm ground clearance, but can be lowered to 120mm to make it easier to load the vehicle onto a Chinook. The suspension features Horstman hydrostruts. They’re filled with fluid and nitrogen which become firmer as they get hotter, in the process alerting the driver to potential overheating issues. To tune its wheels for different surface conditions, the RIV has an onboard tyre inflation system as well.
Horiba-Mira has built three development vehicles, two of which are currently undergoing evaluation by the UAE military.
Engine Fiat-Chrysler 3.0 V6 diesel
Power, torque 300hp, 601Nm
Transmission ZF 8-spd auto, four-wheel drive, Torsen differentials
Suspension Independent, variable ride height
Dimensions Length: 5250mm; width: 1820mm; height: 1850mm
Performance 0-100kph 10.5sec; top speed 161kph; range 966km