Last week in Mexico City, the Israeli company Plasan debuted a new lightweight, fully protected vehicle that was designed for border security but could definitely have a role as a Special Operations tactical assault vehicle.
With the increased importance by the current administration with protecting the borders, especially with Border Patrol agents having to deal not only with illegal immigrants but increasing numbers of drug cartel members who are normally heavily armed, this vehicle will be a good addition.
It will allow troops along the border be they Border Patrol or National Guard to cover more square miles of territory than with the current issued vehicles while giving them much better protection.
For Special Operations troops it is a possible fit to replace the Polaris MRZR since those don’t offer the crew any protection at all while not sacrificing much on mobility and speed.
Plasan took an existing Arctic Cat 4 1000 All Terrain Vehicle and transformed it into a three-man fully protected all-terrain vehicle capable of operating in muddy, sandy, rocky and steep-sloped areas with ease. With a dry weight of 1.48 tons, the Yagu, as it is called, has plenty of power-to-weight ratios to carry the crew and its payload to do any mission.
The three-man crew will operate in an enclosed, fully armored, air-conditioned capsule. It has plenty of windows in front and on the side but also has 360-degree cameras that will provide the crew excellent situational awareness and response time.
The vehicle’s crew pod is encased in a composite armor that is rated as B6+ in ballistic protection. This armor with increased bullet resistant front and side windows will protect the crew from the NATO-standard 5.56x45mm and the most common Russian 7.62x39mm. The “+” in regards to the armor would mean that Plasan’s protective armor should be able to withstand even more powerful cartridges, up to .50 caliber.
This level of protection would normally require ballistic steel which would make the vehicle much too heavy for practical use. However, the weight of Plasan’s Yagu falls between the General Dynamics Flyer 72 and the current Special Operations-used Polaris MRZR.
The MRZR offers no ballistic protection at all and several Special Operations troops were complaining that the vehicle has a very limited combat role. The relatively narrow width of the vehicle makes it easier to traverse in narrow or blocked roads as well as loading it into Chinook Special Operations helicopters.
The weapon system mounted on a top cupola is operated remotely from inside the crew compartment. The Yagu also has a drone system that can be launched from inside the vehicle operating independently or as they displayed in a promotional video, can be launched on a cable tethered to the vehicle. The operating time for the drone is 27 minutes and contains target tracking features for additional situation awareness for the crew.
The Yagu uses the original Arctic Cat 1000 H2 V- Twin, S0HC 4 – stroke, 4 – valve w/EFI 951cc engine with electronic fuel injection, coupled to an automatic transmission with HI/LO gear, 2 or 4 wheel drive and the long-travel front and rear suspension used in the original vehicle. To support the added weight and improve mobility, the Yagu uses bigger tires (28 X 10r14 instead of the civilian model’s 26x9R14 and 26x11R14).
One thing that stands out is that the generator used for the air conditioning system is unprotected in the rear of the vehicle.
It is interesting that Plasan opted to release this vehicle at an event in Mexico City. With their contentious relationship with President Trump over the issues on the border and over the construction of a wall, the last thing they probably want to see is a Yagu.
But for the U.S. Border Patrol, the National Guard troops manning the border and for our Special Operations troops, this vehicle has some intriguing possibilities. It looks to be light, mobile and tough. It is based on a proven design and the Arctic Cat name means that the vehicle will be reliable.
The company offers other add-ons such as enhanced protection packages that will make the vehicle more survivable but will add weight to the vehicle. But the versatility and simplicity of the overall design make it worth testing for Special Operation Forces.
Video courtesy of Plasan: