CRAB stands for Combat Reconnaissance Armored Buggy and has been developed by French company Panhard (part of Renault Trucks Defense) to meet the future needs of the French Army under Project Scorpion. Panhard unveilled the CRAB at Eurosatory 2012 and since then it has been photographed at other shows always sporting The Cockerill CPWS 20-25-30 unmanned turret with different calibre chain guns.
The CRAB’s main role is reconnaissance, but with its speed, protection and firepower can be used in the infantry fire support role and other roles such as Anti-Tank and Anti-Aircraft missile carriers.
The Panhard CRAB Firepower
The Cockerill CPWS 20-25-30 unmanned turret is capable of carrying various calibre chain guns and their associated munitions as well as a dual feed. The turret can store 150+ ready to fire rounds. The main and its dual channel sight are fully stabilized allowing effective fire whilst on the move. The turret is re-designated deppending on the mounted chain gun.
Cockerill CPWS 25
Cockerill CPWS 30
MPCV Turret ATGM
Originally developed to fire the MISTRAL SAM, MPCV is the latest generation of high firepower weapon system, developed by French Company MBDA. The company has also developed the MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée) Anti-Tank Missile family, which is the replacement for the MILAN. It was ordered by the French Army in 2015 and can be fired from both handheld launchers and the MPCV turret.
During an interview of an Panhard Official about the CRAB, the MPCV launcher was featured as he was discussing the different turret solutions availble. The MMP is a tandem-charged weapon meaning it has x2 warheads for defeating ERA and has a fire and forget capability.
The Panhard CRAB Protection
The CRAB has a number of safety features. Though some online sources say the base protection is STANAG 4569 Level 2, The manufacturer’s website brochure says the vehicle offers protection of STANAG 4569 Level 3: 7.62mm x51mm Armor Piercing (high velocity round).
It can be upgraded to Level 4 offering protection against – 14.5mm × 114 mm (.57 Cal) which is a heavy machine gun round and anti-materiel rifle cartridge used by the former Soviet Union, the former Warsaw Pact countries, modern Russia, and other countries. In addition it can also protect against 155mm artillery High Explosive rounds at 30 meters.
The hull is angled, but with the addition of spaced layers of armor that crumple when the vehicle is hit by an IED. The vehicles large front windows are constructed of high quality bullet proof glass and the vehicle can be fitted with run flat tyres. The 3 man crew have mine blast seats designed to abosrb the energy of an explosion and avoid injury to the crew.
The Panhard Technology
Panhard have been working with Thales on developing the CRAB’s networking and battlefield management system to meet future Scorpion requirements. This will be done via the Systronique vetronic network system and will allow the CRAB to relay in real time digital mapping enemy locations and equipment that can be observed by other vehicle commanders.
The vehicle has the latest in Situational Awareness equipment such as multiple cameras mounted across the vehicle providing a full 360 degree view. The crew have full digital coloured screen displays for viewing network information and viewing the cameras as well as other vehicle systems such as the remote turret.
Other optional equipment includes an Air-Conditioning System for the crew.
Panhard CRAB Mobility
The vehicles suspension is hydropneumatic, which not only gives a more comfortable ride for the crew allowing it travel at higher speeds off-road, but allows it to elevate the vehicle allowing it to navigate obsticals. The tyres pressure can be regulated via a central system also adding off road mobility.
The vehicle is powered by a 320hp Austrian Steyr M16 turbocharged diesel engine coupled with a Mercedes 6 automatic gearbox.
The CRAB can move laterally by turning both its axles towards the same side (which accounts for its name, CRAB) and make a U-turn within a diameter of ten metres! An electric generator/starter motor gives it a boost function and the ability to move silently, with its engine turned off, on battery power.
The vehicles low weight of 8 to 10 tonnes provides excellent logistical mobility allowing 3 to be transported in an A400M aircraft.
Panhard CRAB Specifications
Height: 1.8 m (Hull)
Width: 2.5 m
Length (Hull): 5 m
Gun Elevation: -10 to +60
Top Road Speed: 110 km/h
Panhard CRAB Status
Panhard are still marketing the vehicle with various intress from a number of countries. It is hoped that the French Army will buy the vehicle under its current Scorpion Project as a replacement for other 4×4 vehicles in service.
The Panhard CRAB Picture Gallery