AS we welcomed back Clarkson, Hammond and May on Sunday night for a new series of the hit TV show Top Gear, the Beeb’s entertainment show, I refrain from calling it a motoring programme, discovered the ‘world’s most unstoppable vehicle.
Presenter Richard Hammond put a Paramount Group Marauder through a series of seemingly impossible challenges, watched by more than 10-million UK viewers.
The Marauder is designed and built by the Paramount company of South Africa. It took on and passed all the challenges it was set by Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond in the urban jungles of Johannesburg, South Africa.
South Africa is world renowned for producing some of the best protected and most technologically innovative armoured vehicles in the world.
The Marauder flattened cars, smashed through brick walls and defied attacks by hungry lions in the South African bush.
In the final test – which has never before been attempted on Top Gear – a Marauder and a Hummer were blown up in explosions simulating the roadside bombs faced daily in conflict zones. The Hummer was totally destroyed, but the Marauder was barely damaged and drove away from the explosion and into the South African sunset.
Hammond also took Marauder on an entertaining tour of Johannesburg and almost brought South Africa’s largest city to a complete standstill as stunned onlookers watched as the bright red Marauder roared through the crowded streets dominating the usually busy roads.
Hammond even managed to order a burger while driving through a McDonald’s, although he did demolish a number of security bollards in the process.
Ivor Ichikowitz, the Executive Chairman of the Paramount Group, said: “It is not surprising that Top Gear wanted to know more about Marauder and used it on their programme, because it is one of the toughest vehicles in the world. We challenged Richard Hammond to throw anything he wanted at it and Marauder withstood it all.
“Despite the fun working with Top Gear, it is important to remember soldier protection is a very serious issue for armies worldwide. We are talking about saving lives. With this type of technology available and the ever present threat of IED’s there really is no excuse for governments not to provide the best protected vehicles for their defence forces.”
Marauder is a high-mobility armoured personnel carrier with outstanding levels of protection against mines, IEDs and ballistic attack. It can carry up to 10 fully armed troops and can be configured in a number of variants depending on the role. It is extremely flexible and is a true infantry workhorse.
10 things you didn’t know about Marauder:
1. Marauder is actually three vehicles in one. It can be produced as an infantry patrol vehicle, a command centre and even an ambulance!
2. With long range fuel tanks added it can travel an extra 500km – making it ideal for long range patrols.
3. Marauder can survive explosions of 14kg of TNT under its wheels and 7kg under its hull – making it one of the world’s toughest vehicles.
4. Whether sitting in the boiling heat of +55°C or the freezing temperatures of -32°C, occupants can stay cool or warm with the ultra modern climate control system.
5. Marauder can literally swim! It has a fording depth of half the vehicle – making it ideal for rugged and wet terrain.
6. It has special ‘run flat’ tyre inserts which means that the tyres can be perforated by 12.7mm bullet rounds and still keep rolling for at least another 50km!
7. Marauder weighs around 15 tons but can be loaded up to 18 tons when fully laden!
8. The vehicle can be fitted with an IED jammer – making it the enemy of terrorists worldwide.
9. Anti blast seats protect troops from roadside bombs and rocket attack – keeping them safe from the huge force of explosions, without just protecting the vehicle.
10. With a maximum speed of 120Km/hr the Marauder is no slow coach.