Historically, the idea of armored medical transport vehicles first appeared during WW2. In 1942, German armored divisions employed armored medical transport vehicles converted from SdKfz 251 half-tracks which were already the primary armored infantry carrier for their mechanized divisions
Since the Korean War up to today’s modern battlefield, tactical aeromedical evacuation has remained the most effective way to evacuate casualties from a conflict zone. However, it is not always possible to pick up a wounded soldier with a MEDEVAC (medical evacuation) helicopter in the middle of a firefight. In such a situation, there has to be an alternative way to enter and exit the zone with safer possible transport. Recent experiences have proved that armored medical evacuation vehicles (AMEV) fit perfectly for this role. They became the vehicle of choice for rapidly collecting and evacuating the casualties from the middle of the hot zone to an MTF (medical treatment facility) or a landing zone for safe helicopter MEDEVAC.
After the lessons learned during all NATO operations including the war in Iraq, Afghanistan by Western armies, and other lessons learned in Chechen War by Russian Federation, it was necessary to include armored medical evacuation vehicles within the mechanized infantry and armored units. Evolution of hybrid threats in the current end estimated future battlefield raised the demand to invest in AMEV’s with higher protection levels. Eventually, it was also necessary that these vehicles needed to be derivatives of modern armored combat and combat-support vehicles with equivalent protection, mobility and command capabilities.
According to Headquarters, Department of the US Army Medical Evacuation Field Manual 4-02.2: “When a casualty occurs in a tank, Bradley infantry fighting vehicle (BIFV), a Stryker wheeled armored vehicles, the ambulance team moves as close to the armored vehicle as possible. Assisted by the armored crew, if possible, the casualty is extracted from the vehicle and then administered EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). The ambulance team moves the patient to the Role 1 MTF/BAS (Battalion Aid Station) or to a CCP (Casualty Collection Point) to await further evacuation.” This also indicates the use of a combination of tracked and wheeled armored medical evacuation vehicles within armored and mechanized units. Traditionally, US Army MBT and Bradley IFV crews were supported by M113A2 & M577 ambulance vehicles, which had poor mobility and survivability. With US Army’ recent Bradley, Stryker and AMPV (Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle) programs which consist of variants like AMEV’, there is a proof of giving the lead for armies worldwide to consider making such investments for the future.
PARS III 8X8 AME
FNSS PARS 8×8 Armored Medical Evacuation (AME) vehicle is the medical evacuation variant of PARS FoV’s which is currently in service with two countries. The PARS AME is designed to collect, evacuate and transport wounded troops, with basic first aid and medical care in low and high-intensity battlefields.
FNSS PARS 8×8 AME is completely self-contained, with increased interior workspace provides to carry all the equipment and supplies required to perform medical treatment while also providing the best in class survivability and mobility.
The PARS III 8X8 AME combat weight is 27,273 kg and is powered by a diesel engine. The power pack consists of a water-cooled diesel engine, coupled with a fully automatic transmission which generates a maximum road speed of up to 100 km/h with a range of over 800 km. The vehicle is capable of maneuvering on a 60% vertical and 30% horizontal gradient, climbing 70 cm-high obstacles and crossing 200 cm-wide trenches. Thanks to the power pack layout and favored balanced design, the vehicle has almost equal axle loads. This design approach gives the vehicle the ability to move comfortably even on loose and soft terrains, providing increased road-holding at high speeds and short braking distances. The vehicle has 8X8 driving characteristics together with all axles that can be locked when necessary. The central tire inflation system allows the driver to adjust the tire pressures to suit different terrain conditions. These features enable PARS III AME to operate in all terrain types, which can be explored by PARS III APC and as well as other PARS III FoV’s.
The fully-independent hydro-pneumatic suspension system, which gives the vehicle the highest wheel travel of its class, and ensures the best road grip under different road conditions. The PARS III 8X8 all-axle steering system gives the vehicle the lowest turning radius in its class at 8 m. This feature enables the vehicle to maneuver in low infrastructure urban areas.
The ability of gradual decreasing of steer by wire of rear axles and locking over certain speeds, together with the ABS system and the brake retarder contributes to enhanced driving safety.
High Level of Ballistic/Mine Protection & Life Support Equipment
Thanks to the modular design armor system, the protection level of the Welded Ballistic Steel vehicle hull can be increased if required by the user. The hull form, underbelly structure, base plates and specially developed mine-resistant seats are designed to protect personnel against high-level of mine threats. PARS III 8×8 has the protection level of mine-resistant personnel transport vehicle while differentiating itself through the provision of superior capabilities expected from a modern armored vehicle. Thanks to its spall liners, the crew and personnel are also protected against penetrating projectile fragments.
Automatic fire detection and suppression system are situated at the crew, medical cabin and power pack location are also one of the standard safety measures on this variant. AME has fuel tanks incorporating special measures to protect against explosion and puncture. A reserve fuel tank under armor is also available in emergencies.
The PARS III 8×8 AME has an air-conditioning system, keeps the vehicle’s internal temperature at +25 °C even in hot desert conditions. An integrated Positive Pressure NBC protection and Auxiliary Power Unit is also one of the standard equipment of the PARS III 8X8 AME. The installation of the APU allows all of the main sub-systems mission equipment to operate with the main diesel engine switched off.
The medical cabin is fitted with a hydraulic operated ramp and an integrated rear door. The rear door is attached to the ramp. The ramp enables easy and rapid access for the medics and wounded personnel. A crew top hatch is also available for emergencies.
The vehicle has one of the highest payload capacity in its class. The vehicle can accommodate up to 2 wounded personnel on stretchers (optionally 4) and 2 medical personnel, together with the driver and commander. If needed, one stretcher can be replaced with two full secure seats for lightly wounded personnel.
One stretcher is with sliding and the other one with foldable mechanisms. The sliding stretcher mechanism enables the medical crew to laden the casualties to the vehicle in an easy and high-pace manner. The system is sliding above the rear hydraulic ramp, outside of the medical compartment and one medical personnel is enough to load the stretcher to the interior section. Thanks to its pneumatic assistance of the stretcher mechanism. An additional lighting mechanism is located on top of the ramp area for night operations.
Two medical purpose refrigerators with 30lt and 20lt capacity respectively, two each oxygen cylinders, a suction pump, defibrillator set, emergency intervention kits and trash for medical disposal are situated inside the vehicle. For emergency operation and monitoring, a mobile ECG device is also located inside the vehicle. Special racks for emergency first aid kit and a resuscitation bag set is also available. Every stretcher has its own 220V AC power outlet nearby, in case additional equipment is required. There are five each 220V Ac power outlets in the vehicle.
The door covers, personnel seats, stretchers, and interior lighting elements are all designed in such a way that the comfort of the crew and wounded personnel is guaranteed.
The modular connection of the vehicle subsystems to the hull ensures ease of maintenance and replacement. This ease of maintenance and the easy replacement of moving parts and the power transmission systems in particular make the PARS III 8×8 superior to its counterparts. The power pack architecture, which can be disassembled and reassembled in less than 60 minutes, gives the user the freedom to replace the engine while on the field, which provides a remarkably higher operational readiness level.
The two-man driver’s cab in front of the vehicle offers a 180° horizontal field of vision and a high level of driving safety under armor and comfort. Large glass periscopes and front driving and maneuver cameras with thermal cameras located at the front and rear of the vehicle provide the driver and commander with a wider field of vision. A driver and commander top hatch are available for easy access and degrees.
The PARS III 8X8 can be transported through the air (A400M, C-17 & C-5), sea, railways, or land.
Author: Cem Altınışık / Corporate Communications Manager at FNSS Savunma Sistemleri A.Ş.