BAE Systems has been awarded a £38m ($61m) contract to regenerate the Royal Marines’ fleet of BvS10 Viking all-terrain vehicles.
The contract, signed with the UK Ministry of Defence, covers the refurbishment of 99 vehicles and brings them all to a common Mk2 mine-protected amphibious standard.
“The highly versatile Viking is fundamental to the Royal Marines’ ability to carry out littoral operations and this cost-effective programme will sustain this vital capability,” said Alan Lines, support services director at BAE Systems. “Such regeneration and upgrade programmes are a growing part of our work as defence budgets tighten around the world.”
The work on this high-priority programme will be carried out on BAE Systems’ new armoured vehicle production line in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. Restoring the UK armoured amphibious capability will ensure a vital asset is available for disaster relief or military intervention in trouble spots. The regeneration programme is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
The Viking fleet saw heavy use in Afghanistan and is a mix of standards, including earlier versions with limited mine resistance, and the latest Mk2 mine-protected variants.
All but the existing Mk2 Vikings will be rebuilt around completely new front and rear car hulls featuring the latest mine-protected, v-shaped underbodies of the Mk2. The entire fleet will be given a major overhaul, brought to a common standard and certified for a 14 tonne gross weight, with suspension, braking and other modifications carried out as required.
Nineteen rear cars will be converted to a new crew-served weapon variant and nine more will allow the firing of the standard-issue BAE Systems 81mm mortar from the vehicle.
The Viking reset is part of a planned joint MoD/BAE Systems coherent management of the fleet until its current out of service date of 2031. A mid-life improvement towards the end of the decade is expected.
Viking is the UK name for the twin-car BvS10 go-anywhere armoured all-terrain vehicle. Sweden announced an order for 48 BvS10 Mk2s and a support package in January this year. France bought 53 in December 2009. The Netherlands is the fourth customer.
All four nations share operational information and co-operate on support through a BAE Systems co-ordinated, multi-national user group. The UK regeneration vehicles will incorporate upgrades resulting from the group’s operational experience.
Source: BAE Systems PLC (LSE: BAES.L)
Date: Oct 4, 2012