Enhanced Protection Systems Ltd. (EPS) from the U.K. has been awarded a £7m contract (about $10.3 million) to fit, deliver and support 75 Springer type all-terrain light load carriers (also known as MULEs). These vehicles are based on the Israeli designed, U.S. built Tomcar all-terrain vehicle (ATV) platform. All vehicles are expected to be delivered by mid-summer and be refitted to support British troops operating in Afghanistan. According to the Ministry of Defence, the Springers will support airborne and light infantry units in landing zones, moving combat supplies from helicopter landing sites into British forward operating bases.
The vehicle can accommodate a crew of two has a load capacity of about one ton (2,200 pounds), far exceeding similar ATVs currently operational. One of the main advantages of this vehicle is the ability to operate it with basic armor protection, maintaining adequate payload capacity. The British vehicle shown above is the two-seater version.
The Tomcar was originally designed as a recreational vehicle but in past years was thoroughly modified to meet tough military requirements of the hot, high deserts of the Middle east, Asia and Africa. Every vehicle is fitted with a roll cage and cargo flatbed, and is configured for two or four seats. The Tomcar also comes with a choice of petrol or diesel engines. Israel is utilizing Tomcars modified into unmanned patrol vehicles, employed as unmanned and autonomous border patrols. The Israeli company that developed the autonomous vehicle control system is offering the system as a modification kit that could convert the Springer into an optionally driven/autonomous vehicle.