It's truly mind-boggling what humans will create to protect / hurt (take your pick) other humans - whatever the reason may be. What looks like a vehicle that came straight from a Hollywood blockbuster sci-fi film, is in fact the new "Water Cannon 10000" or as it will most likely be known, the WaWe 10, and it will be used by both the federal and state police forces in Germany to "water-down" violent riots breaking out at demonstrations and large events.
You'll find it hard to believe, but under all that Transformers-like armor is a Mercedes-Benz Actros 3341 featuring all-wheel drive and something that global warming protesters will surely appreciate -no pun intended- an eco-friendly Euro5 V6 turbo diesel engine producing 408HP.
The almost 10 metres-long (about 32-feet) and 3.70 metres-high (12-feet) WaWe 10 has a technically permissible gross vehicle weight of 33 tonnes.
However, Mercedes claims that even when fully kitted out and manned, the WaWe 10 does not quite reach this weight level as its actual operational weight is around 31 tonnes.
The WaWe 9's replacement has been designed to host a crew of five, comprising driver, commander, observer, and two cannon operators.
The riot-fighting truck comes equipped with a massive 10,000-litre water tank that is housed in the centre of the aluminium body and a Rosenbauer N 35 centrifugal pump with a rated output of 3,500 litres per minute at 10 bar that is accommodated in the rear of vehicle.
The three pumps, two on the front corners of the cab, each with a flow rate of 1200 lt/min, and one on the rear of the vehicle with a flow rate of 900 lt/min, are driven by a separate diesel engine meaning they be operated totally independently from the vehicle.
Other "highlights" include floor spray nozzles beneath the vehicle, designed to protect the chassis against fire, while the cab and body roofs are also fitted with an automatic protection system.
"As far as we are aware this is the most modern vehicle of its kind in the world", said Achim Friedl, Divisional Head at the Federal Ministry of the -we're just dying to crack a joke here but we'll let it pass...- Interior for Federal Police and State Riot Police Technology and Logistics.
The official handover of the keys for the special vehicle, which is worth almost one million euros or close to US$1.45 million at today's exchange rates, was made today at the federal police headquarters in Sankt Augustin.
All in all, the German government is planning to buy 78 identical WaWe 10s and bring them into service by 2019 as part of a total order volume worth 75 million euros or about US$ 110 millio.
Mercedes-Benz said that delivery of the first three series-produced vehicles is scheduled for 2010 following assessment of the prototype model.