A snowboarder’s fantasy becomes a military vehicle

Possibly the strangest looking vehicle at the Milipol state security show held in Paris last week was on Canada’s Streit Group stand. Designed in 2004 by former Swiss professional snowboarder Urs Eiselin and his brother Andreas as a snowmobile for the desert that they sold for €27,000 apiece, the Sand-X T-ATV 1200 has now become a military vehicle designed and engineered in Switzerland but manufactured by the company at its headquarters in Dubai.


In March this year Sand-X Motors announced a strategic partnership with the Streit Group to distribute the Sand-X T-ATV 1200 across the Middle East and Africa and to produce a fully armoured version of the product in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


The Sand-X T-ATV 1200 looks like something that might have been bred by a three-wheeled motorbike and a small tank: the front has two wheels and the back has a light track. The idea behind this unconventional means of transport is that it should be able to cover all sorts of off-road terrain from sand to snow through marshes and ice, mud and gravel, shallow water and swamps whether the ambient temperature is 60°C or -50°C.


The Sand-X T-ATV 1200 in desert camouflage colours

The Sand-X T-ATV 1200 in desert camouflage colours


Equipped with a 1200cc, 4-stroke, 130hp engine, its 40 litre tanks gives a fuel range of 325km and, unarmoured, the vehicle has a top speed of 180kph; it can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in less than three seconds. The beast is 2.9m long, 1.57m wide and 1.22m high and, despite its size, it has a turning radius of 6m.


Sand-X Motors designed this version for military special operations and medical evacuations and claims it is “the fastest and safest off-road vehicle.” It adds that “the point of gravity is exceptionally low” so that the “risk of vehicle roll-over or directional instability is reduced to a minimum.”


It can be optionally equipped with a rear machine gun tripod and a front light machine gun rack.


The Streit Group was founded in Canada in 1992 with overextended credit by its current chairman, Guerman Goutorov, in a rented garage with a handful of tools. Today it employs more than 2,000 people in 25 offices around the world and can produce over 500 armoured vehicles per month in its 12 production plants. All its military tactical vehicles are STANAG 3 certified.


The Group opened its first overseas manufacturing facility in 2005 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and another in Dubai in 2007, the same year in which it established a factory in the United States (Charleston, S.Carolina). In 2009 the Group opened a Specialised Protective Vehicles manufacturing facility in Sharjah, UAE. It inaugurated the world’s largest privately owned armoured vehicles’ manufacturing facility at Ras Al-Khaimah (UAE) in 2012 where it makes armoured glass protection. That year it also opened a manufacturing facility in Pakistan. A year earlier the group had opened manufacturing facilities in India and Jordan, and in 2013 it opened one in Turkey, one in Iraq and another in Thailand.