Alcon announced as bespoke braking system supplier to UTAC Special Vehicles for their armoured Škoda Superb

Alcon has been announced as the supplier of a bespoke braking system to UTAC Special Vehicles (UTAC SV) for use on their armoured Ŝkoda Superb. Alcon designed and supplied a bespoke braking system comprising upgraded front calipers, rotors and pads.

The upgraded Alcon braking system was required due to the increased vehicle weight with added armour, meaning that the disc temperatures and pad work rates for the standard brakes would be too high causing brake fade, fluid vaporisation and accelerated disc and pad wear. The armoured Škoda also needed to pass the 30-stop National Association of Police Fleet Managers (NAPFM) test. The bespoke designed brakes have reduced pad work rate by around 30%, disc temperature rise by around 14% and increased available brake torque by up to 24%. The calipers are zinc plated to look like normal OEM brakes in order that vehicles can be discrete and not look uprated. As with all of Alcon’s armoured brake designs, the calipers include special features such as having the bleed screws on the inboard half only, to make them tamper-proof. Finally, the original calipers were single-sided, requiring less space outboard in the wheel than opposed piston calipers. Therefore, Alcon had the challenge of packaging an opposing piston system that would give the required improvements yet fit within a very challenging installation space.

Recently revealed to the motoring press, UTAC SV’s armoured Ŝkoda Superb was developed as a joint project between Ŝkoda UK and UTAC SV, who developed the concept largely using their facilities at the former Millbrook (now UTAC Millbrook) proving ground. The first vehicle entered service in 2018, and almost 500 have since been built – deploying to both UK right-hand-drive markets and in left-hand drive elsewhere. The armoured Superb is certified to PAS 300 and tested to PAS 301 Civilian Armoured Vehicle levels. The PAS 301 standard also sets acceleration, maximum speed, handling, braking and payload criteria – all part of the design brief against which Alcon delivered the braking system. In addition to the Škoda Superb system, Alcon also supply braking systems for other armoured vehicle types manufactured by UTAC SV.

Kirsty Andrew, Managing Director at UTAC Special Vehicles said: “Our armoured Ŝkoda programme presented some challenging braking requirements that we knew could be addressed by working with Alcon – a long time and trusted supplier of ours. The engineering solution is simply first class and helps make our vehicle compliant with the challenging requirements of our customers and most importantly, safe. Alcon have worked closely with us across a demanding production programme, to help us deliver a first-class product to our customers. Thank you”.

Alistair Fergusson, Group Managing Director at Alcon said: “We were delighted when UTAC SV turned to us for help on their armoured Škoda Superb programme. We have a successful history of working together on multiple projects and we were able to, yet again, deliver a bespoke braking system that exceeded their requirements”. He added: “We have worked extremely hard to develop the defence and security side of our business in order to meet the requirements of armoured OEMs and vehicle modification companies, across the globe.  The continuing strength of our worldwide sales confirms that Alcon brakes meet the necessarily demanding requirements of the defence and security armoured vehicle sector as well as other specialist users, such as the emergency services”.