By Daniel Vorster
The first SHERP UTV was produced in 2012, and the SHERP factory opened in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2015. This Ukrainian based company grew to be one of the leaders in amphibious vehicles, and has sold more than a thousand vehicles internationally and most customers are NGOs and mining companies. The bulk of SHERP’s business comes from North America, but SHERP are busy with an aggressive marketing campaign and has representation in Australia, South America, Europe and the Middle East and is currently focusing their attention on Africa, India and Mexico.
SHERP production is ISO 9001:2015 certified, and offers the highest standard of safety for all crew members with roll-over protection and seatbelts included. In 2018 SHERP became an official provider for the UN, and in 2019 SHERP was recognized by the Fleet Awards as the most effective vehicle for the UN. The UN, especially the World Food Programme uses the SHERP with success as it reduce their operation cost with 75% compared to using airdrops to get food to remote and difficult to reach areas.
Efficiency, simple design and phenomenal off-road capability provide SHERP with fantastic financial and operating efficiency compared to any other vehicle, especially with its low diesel consumption. The SHERP is an absolute all-weather transport unit that runs in fog, snow, and other severe weather conditions, which normally prevents the use of helicopters or other (air, land and water) transport. Its light body and tubeless tires ensures that it moves over any loose and unsteady soil and can climb over obstacles as high as 1 meter. It also operates at extreme temperatures that vary from -55 to +47 degrees Celsius.
SHERP offers unique autonomy features, which ensures its use for long-term expeditions, under any operating conditions. With its maximum Off-Road Capability it is suitable for absolutely any surface and climate on planet Earth. By combining off-road capabilities, it surpasses any other all-terrain vehicle. The SHERP is equipped with extra fuel tanks that can be loaded into the into the existing wheel structure, thus enabling super-long runs – about 1,000 km.
The SHERP Moves over sharp obstacles (e.g., pins and sharp stones) without punctures due to redistribution of air in the tires, that can be controlled inside the cab both on the move and when stopped. This function allows moving across rough terrain without stopping at every obstacle to change the tire-pressure, which significantly saves time and adds to the ride comfort. It can move with a punctured or damaged wheel, without slowdown (e.g., at 2 cm cuts in each wheel or 10 cm cut in one wheel). Moreover, it can move without both wheels on the same axle.
The SHERP is ideal for industries such as construction, oil & gas, search & rescue, humanitarian, mining & exploration, powerlines, or for personal recreational use. It is United Kingdom it is used in Morecambe Bay, where the largest expanse of mudflats and sand area are found, by Bay Search and rescue where it has cut down their response time across the bay by half.
In North America the SHERP vehicles are used to inspect powerlines, and it is also making huge steps in the mining industry. Not only can it be used in exploration to work in difficult terrain, but it is being used successfully in South America by Pipehunter.
PIPEHUNTER – pipeline monitoring and maintenance company, based in Chile is a contractor for mining companies for tailing maintenance (leakage prevention, residual mineral analysis) and other engineering solutions. They previously used a rental helicopter to transport people to worksites, but are currently using SHERP vehicles to transport crews and to deliver equipment to hard-to-reach locations with difficult surfaces – pulp, wet soil, sludge etc. They use the SHERP vehicle with success at CODELCO – Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile (the largest copper producing company in the world – 11% of the world’s total), as well as at Collahuasi mine (one of the largest copper reserves in Chile).
For search and rescue missions, the SHERP Pro XT is equipped with signalling and strobe lights, cameras, GPS, searchlights, a winch, additional seats, air band radio stations, a stretcher, rescue rope, fire extinguishers, first aid kit, immersion suits and life vests.
Other configurations include a firefighting module, which allows the fitment of hand and roof-mounted nozzles; a medical module (in the SHERP Ark trailer with up to seven seats); and a loading crane (under development) for the SHERP Ark.
The vehicle comes in several variants. The SHERP UTV was the first model produced, followed by the SHERP Pro in 2017; the SHERP Ark and SHERP Shuttle followed in 2019 and the SHERP Pro XT in 2020. The SHERP Ark adds a 6×6 trailer to the vehicle while the SHERP Shuttle is a boat that can carry and launch two SHERP vehicles.
The SHERP Pro can carry six people or more than 1 000 kg payload. It has a top speed of 40 km/h on land and 6 km/h on water. It can operate in -40 to +40 degree conditions. The SHERP Ark can carry four people in the main vehicle and 18 in the trailer.
The SHERP vehicle sources parts from international manufacturers including Swedish steel (from Docol), Korean engines (from Doosan for the SHERP Pro XT and SHERP Ark), French transmission (Renault gearbox) and Japanese engines (from Kubota for the SHERP Pro).
Its simple design and minimum number of manufactured parts are not the only nature-friendly aspects of SHERP. Its operation is also more nature-friendly compared to any other analogue and the low tire pressure does not harm the soil in direct motion. Its diesel engine DOOSAN meets high environmental standards, and the absence of brakes prevents contamination of the environment with brake chips.
Main value of SHERP is simplicity of design. It is completely devoid of structural excesses, due to multi-functional components and a thoughtful, innovative approach to their use. In practice, this means the ultimate in terms of simple and accessible maintenance, along with phenomenal reliability. Servicing is simple and fast maintenance, due to design solutions of all-terrain vehicles and company service.
SHERP offer its customers 24/7 support anywhere in the world, and a warranty of 2000 machine hours or 1 year. Additional to this is an individual engine warranty of 3000 hours or 3 years. SHERP ensures “flight doctor” support within 48 hours anywhere in the world, in extreme situations, for maintenance purposes. Training program for pilots and mechanics is developed for training the client in safe SHERP operation within the shortest possible time. FST South Africa is a registered agent for SHERP in Southern Africa