TRB DESPOT: Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Vehicle from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Author: Eric Sof

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The TRB DESPOT is a versatile and heavily-armored vehicle with a 4×4 drive system. It serves as a mine-resistant and ambush-protected vehicle, currently used by the Republic of Srpska’s entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its armored personnel carrier configuration makes it a powerful tool for various tasks within the purview of police and military units.

Introduction

The TRB DESPOT was crafted by Tehnicki Remont Bratunac (TRB), a Bosnian and Herzegovinian company established in 1955. As a state-owned enterprise, TRB boasts two workshops dedicated to maintaining, repairing, and overhauling vehicular systems. With a proven track record spanning decades, TRB guarantees the quality and durability of the DESPOT through its expertise and experience.

The TRB company also manufactures a lightweight tactical vehicle known as the VIHOR and pistol TBR RS9 Vampir. Smaller than the DESPOT, the TRB VIHOR was also developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior of the Republika Srpska.

Concept

The TRB DESPOT is a highly capable vehicle built on a cutting-edge multipurpose chassis. It is powered by state-of-the-art drivetrain and transmission systems and features an independent suspension system that enables superior mobility in various terrains and weather conditions. The DESPOT is designed to fulfill a wide range of duties: patrolling, reconnaissance, command and control, transportation, special operations support, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, anti-coup operations, border security, surveillance, and as a medical vehicle.

DESPOT 4x4 APC was designed and manufactured in TRB, Bosnia and Herzegovina
DESPOT 4×4 APC was designed and manufactured in TRB, Bosnia, and Herzegovina (Photo: TRB)

Design

The TRB DESPOT was developed in partnership with the Republika Srpska entity, with the initial production units delivered in late 2018. It was unveiled to the public during the National Day of Republika Srpska in January 2019, where it was deployed by the Ministry of the Interior’s special anti-terrorist unit (SAJ).

The TRB DESPOT is an advanced 4×4 APC featuring a monocoque all-welded steel armor hull that meets NATO STANAG 4569 Level 2 standards, with higher levels of protection available upon request. According to Waldhauser, a senior consultant at TRB, the vehicle is powered by a Mercedes-Benz OM 926 LA 7.2 liter diesel engine which generates 322 horsepower and is coupled to an Allison 3000 SP automatic transmission with six forward and one reverse gears, a two-speed transfer box, and differential locks. These features allow it to reach a top road speed of more than 120 km/h, and with a typical gross vehicle weight of 14 tonnes, it offers a power-to-weight ratio of 23hp/tonne.

APC Despot - 4x4 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle
DESPOT 4×4 APC mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle (Photo: XY)

The vehicle is equipped with power-assisted steering on the front two wheels and fitted with 395×85 R20 tires with run-flat inserts. According to Waldhauser, it also boasts an independent suspension system and a central tire inflation system.

Equipment

The crew compartment of the TRB DESPOT provides 12 cubic meters of internal space, accommodating positions for a driver, commander, gunner, and six dismounts. The vehicle is in a left-hand drive configuration, and both the driver and commander have a door that opens forward. The dismounts are seated in three on each side, facing outwards, and placed on seats that reduce the impact of blasts. According to Waldhauser, dismounts can enter and exit the vehicle via a power-operated ramp at the rear.

Multiple weapon stations can be integrated into the DESPOT. The options range from manually operated ring-mount systems to advanced remotely controlled weapon stations.

Technical specifications

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