PhotogaleriesKynos ALJABA 8×8 gallery 2020-11-292020-12-20 Javier The Kynos firm was a company specialized in off-road equipment for public works, a subsidiary of the Spanish construction company Agroman. At the beginning of the 80s this firm decided to create a division of military vehicles to enter the “very heavy” market, with the “Kynos Aljaba 8×8” as its first product. The development of this heavy equipment transporter (HET) began in 1982 and by the middle of that year there were already 3 pre-series units being manufactured. The Spanish Army was testing the vehicles during that summer in the vicinity of Toledo using a 49 ton M-48A5 MBT for the test (on the image). The 8×8 Aljaba was first shown publicly during the “1982’s Armed Forces Week”, along with a two-axle semi-trailer carrying an AMX-30E battle tank. Once the project was underway, the Spanish Ministry of Defense collaborated by contributing around 50 million pesetas of that time (300,000 euros), which accounted for around a third of the total investment in R&D. The philosophy of the project was to provide the Spanish Army with a vehicle for heavy transport with excellent off-road mobility for use in harsh climates but keeping costs low, well below other contemporary models such as the German Faun SLT 50-2 or the British Scammell Commander, to name two examples of similar vehicles. (8×8 Aljaba with Olifant MBT image). At that time the inventory of tank transporters within the Spanish Army was quite limited with models clearly inferior to the 8×8 Aljaba. Most were civilian market models, adapted to a greater or lesser extent to military requirements, but which barely met the demanding military life. The vehicle was also developed with the export market in mind, specifically in the Middle Eastern countries, where a vehicle like the 8×8 Aljaba could perform really well. (8×8 Aljaba with M-48A5 MBT image). The 8×8 Aljaba was specially designed from the start to be a suitable medium for rough terrain so it featured a torque converter, a powerful diesel turbo engine and a high chassis-to-ground clearance. The truck was able to overcome slopes of 32% at full load, which meant a weight close to 100 tons, in addition to being able to circulate without excessive problems through sand and snow. It could also wade waterways up to 1.60 meters without preparation and it could operate in climates with temperatures between -40ºC and + 60ºC. (8×8 Aljaba with M-47ER3 ARV image). The trailer was specially designed for the 8×8 Aljaba and featured two axles, with a weight of about 15 tons. This layout was very suitable for off-road use, but 3 and 4 axle trailers had also been designed to reduce ground pressure and comply with civil traffic regulations. (8×8 Aljaba with M-107 SPG). The dimensions of the trailer were: 15.95 meters long, 4.02 meters wide and 3.40 meters high up to the neck mounted on the tractor. The trailer could carry up to 60 tons of cargo, supporting a maximum axle weight of 25 tons. Usually a spare tire was carried over the fifth wheel area. The tractor unit had dimensions of 9.96 meters in length, 3.30 meters in width and 2.98 meters in height to the roof of the cabin, although the maximum height was 3.25 meters until the crest of the exhausts. The weight was 21.1 tons and it had a 19,144 cc Deutz Diesel Turbo V12 engine that developed 525 hp. The engine was cooled by a hydraulically powered blower with thermostat. The maximum speed on the road was 66 km/h and the maximum range was 1,200 km, although at full load and at an average speed of 50 km/h it was 700 km thanks to its two fuel tanks of 500 liters each. The transmission was a ZF 16S-190A and consisted of a semi-automatic gearbox with a reduction of 16 forward gears and 2 reverse. The set acted on 4 axles with pneumatic lock between two axles of each pair to improve traction and facilitate driving and had a torque converter coupled to the motor that carried a highly efficient continuous braking system. The steering acted on the two front axles and was of the mechanical type with hydraulic power steering. The arrangement of the axles facilitated maintenance and tire replacement work. The braking system was of the double circuit pneumatic type that acted on all wheels. The system had a compressor and a regulator for tire inflation and had antifreeze to operate at extreme temperatures. In addition, a braking force regulation system was installed according to the load transported. An auxiliary braking/parking system consisting of preloaded spring chambers completed the set. The tractor’s chassis was rectangular in shape and made of special steel with high torsional resistance, reinforced with bolted crossbeams. It had oscillating suspension with leaf springs and longitudinal bars, although the front axles had transverse stabilizer bars. The cabin was built in steel supported on elastic shock absorbers. It had the capacity to accommodate two crew members plus three other passengers and offered excellent vision to the driver. (8×8 Aljaba with M-48A5 MBT image). Both the tractor truck and the trailer had huge 24-R20.5 5XS PR-16 (614mm wide) type tires in simple mounts. These tires were highly buoyant and could be fitted with chains for riding on snowy terrain. The 8×8 Aljaba had two 20-ton capacity hydraulic winches installed behind the cab, fitted with 24mm thick steel cable. The maximum towing capacity was 10 meters per minute. After demanding tests, the 8×8 Aljaba entered service in 1987. Unfortunately, the order from the Spanish Army and the Naval Infantry was ridiculously short with only 10 transporters ordered !!. In addition to this absurd amount, the speed of deliveries was even worse, because in 1993 only 6 trucks had been delivered to the Army and 2 were delivered to the Naval Infantry (on the image), at a rate of 1 truck per year! Kynos company had scheduled a large number of uses for the 8×8 Aljaba chassis, such as recovery vehicle, bridge launcher (on the image), engineer/sapper vehicle, heavy crane, or airport applications, but with the ridiculous amount acquired by the Spanish Army, none of these variants was even studied for its development. The ten 8×8 Aljaba tank transporters ordered by the Spanish Armed Forces were distributed as follows: 2 for the Naval Infantry (on the image), 2 for the San Gregorio training center and the other 6 were distributed between the Transport Group No.1 and the Logistics Groups of the 10th “Guzman el Bueno”, 11th “Extremadura” and 12th “Guadarrama” Mechanized Brigades, all belonging at that time to the “Brunete” Armored Division. Unlike Spain, South Africa did appreciate the excellent capabilities of the 8×8 Aljaba and ordered 72 heavy transporters in different variants. The South African Army generically designated the vehicles as “S.H.E. Cavallo” although each variant has its corresponding name. The tank transporter variant is the “Cavallo” (on the image), the heavy recovery variant is designated “Skimmel“, the variant for maintenance and repairs is designated “Zebra” and the radar/command post of the Umkhonto air defense missile batteries is named “Kameelperd“. Although the engine and mechanical components were the same installed in the 8×8 Aljaba, the South African vehicles had a different cabin. This was armored and protected from small arms fire and splinters, it also had the ground specially reinforced against mines. This image shows the tank transporter called “Cavallo” carrying a 155mm G-6 SPH, this tractor has similar capacities to those of the Spanish vehicle. The South African “Zebra” variant (on the image) is intended for maintenance and repair of vehicles on the battlefield. For this task, it has 2 removable containers equipped with tools and spare parts, in addition to a crane. All this equipment is installed directly at the rear part of the chassis, behind the cabin. Another South African variant is the “Skimmel“, which is a heavy recovery vehicle (HRV) capable of towing vehicles up to 48 tons. Like the “Zebra” it has various equipment installed on the 8×8 chassis. Among them are two 20-ton winches with 100 meters of cable each, a 12.5-ton capacity crane and a hydraulic lift to tow vehicles up to 15 tons. It also carries a tow bar, welding and cutting equipment, and an air compressor among other tools. One of the most striking variants is the one designated as “Kameelperd” (on the image). This vehicle has installed a ESR220 Thutlwa aerial exploration radar with a range of 120 km. In addition, this vehicle acts as a command post for the Umkhonto surface air missile batteries. The radar is installed on a 13-meter high retractable assembly that is covered during movements. The missile launcher of the Denel Umkhonto system (on the image) has also been installed on the Cavallo chassis. This missile is IR guided and has a range of 20 km and a ceiling of 8,000 meters. The warhead weighs 23 kg and the system can engage up to 4 different targets covering 360º if launched vertically. The radar sends constant information to the missile so that it continues to track targets by performing evasive maneuvers. On the Cavallo chassis a prototype bridge launch vehicle (on the image) has been built. The height of the cabin has been lowered and a 22 meter long Leguan MLC-70 type horizontal launching bridge has been installed. This bridge allows the passage of vehicles weighing up to 70 tons. Currently the vehicle is not in service and it is unknown if it is in the manufacturing process. There was at least one 8×8 Aljaba in the hands of a company dedicated to special transport, that is, super-heavy or gigantic loads. The truck on the image belonged to the firm “Transmosa (Transportes Modernos S.A.)” based in Madrid, Spain. It is quite probable that this truck was destined to tow loads up to 250 tons. Despite not having had sufficient presence in the Spanish Army, the 8×8 Aljaba continues in service in the South African Army after almost 20 years, which shows the success and quality of its design. The perpetual lack of budget in the Spanish Armed Forces, sometimes causes high quality national equipment to go practically unnoticed. This situation also prevents companies in the sector from advancing in developing their own technology due to lack of support.