DURO II – A QUANATUM LEAP
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor BATTLESPACE
On June 30th BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold was challenged by Christian Ziegler and Chris Dunne of Mowag to drive the Duro II vehicle round the DVD off-road track. As our readers know I made scathing comments about the Duro I during DVD 02 and Mowag were keen to pout the record straight.
I chose the DURO II troop carrier and we set out onto the test track. It was immediately clear by the handling and performance that the advent of Mowag engineering to the Duro project that this was a completely different vehicle with handling characteristics which clearly were a quantum leap to the sluggish unwieldy Duro I.
A new Cummins engine giving torque in all the right places coupled to a Allison T100 gearbox replaces the low-powered Italian engine and Mercedes f=gearbox. Gone is the diff lock system which had to be engaged by pressing the brake pedal. This is replaced ABS controlled traction control system, similar to that on the new Discovery.
Unlike the drive at Chertsey when the Editor had to be hauled out of a ditch, we drove effortlessly round the test track using all the hill facilities without engaging low range. A unique central tyre inflation system that can be engaged on the move enables tyre pressures to be changed to meet demanding terrains.
Quite clearly with the Mowag/General Dynamics engineering capability input, the Duro II and the higher payload Duro III is quite clearly a leap ahead in technology from previous models and a clear contender for the role envisaged for the Gatekeeper requirements.
The compact design of the DURO results in low vehicle width and height which makes it C-130 aircraft transportable and the very high payload is unique in its class.
The vehicle is composed of the following three main elements:
* The highly mobile chassis, developed and manufactured by MOWAG
* The driver’s cabin
* The superstructure which is built to suit the mission role requirements of the customer
The DURO III is a three-axle, multi-purpose vehicle, powered by a six-cylinder diesel engine. The permanent all-wheel drive is controlled by a 5-speed automatic gearbox as well as by a two-range transfer case. All axle and inter-axle differential are of TORSEN self-locking type.
The DE-DION type of front and rear axle(s) are suspended with coil springs. A patented stabilizer system allows axle twisting in off-road situations and prevents body rolling on road. The stabilizer system and the self-locking TORSEN differentials together with the long wheel travel results in outstanding mobility on- and off-road.
The upper side of the chassis is free-standing and allows the installation of different superstructures while maintaining a low centre of gravity.
Heinz Konig of Mowag showed the Editor the Duro III with its new on-board computer that can manage the vehicle systems, track and trace diagnostics, show any servicing requirements and manage the vehicle systems and fuel. The system can be connected to the Bowman radio system to download any breakdown of servicing requirements back to base depots. Existing Duro II vehicles will be retrofitted wit this system in due course.
Asked whether Mowag would be converting the Duro III to an airbag system similar to that on the HMT, Konig told us that he did not consider that the system offered that many benefits and was more expensive and harder to maintain than the existing system. “However we will be offering the system to our customers as an alternative in 5-7 years time, it offers advantages in certain situations such as loading high sided shelters onto aircraft.”
The Duro chassis was chosen by Mowag as it offered considerable enhancements for armored vehicles as shown on the Eagle IV a clear contender to the Iveco range and the BAE Panther a notable absentee form DVD 06.
The engineering enhancements introduced by Mowag, the world leaders in wheeled vehicle technolog