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Bullish Medium Armoured Vehicles: in the introduction to Armada International's 2006 Medium Armoured Vehicles supplement it was reported that three European members of Nato were set to select wheeled armoured fighting vehicles over the coming months. The honours were evenly divided.

On 27 January 2006 the Belgian government announced it would acquire up to 242 Mowag 8 x 8 Piranha IIIC vehicles in a project worth over 500 million [euro]. Five months later the Czech Minister of Defence signed a 821 million [euro] contract with Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug for 199 8 x 8 Pandur IIs with an option for another 35. In October the Dutch government announced its intention to remain with the Artec Boxer programme and a joint Dutch-German production contract was signed just before Armada went to press. In both Belgium and the Czech Republic the selected wheeled vehicles will form the basis of those countries" armoured fighting vehicle fleets, while in the Netherlands the Boxer will support the army's new BAE Systems Hagglunds tracked CV9035s.

While some armies are switching to all-wheeled fleets for either doctrinal or economic reasons others are electing to maintain a mixed fleet. The Hellenic Army confirmed at Defendory in October its intention to buy up to 291 tracked infantry fighting vehicles worth up to 1.7 billion [euro] to operate in conjunction with its 353 Leopard 2A4 and 2A6 tanks. Competition is certain to be fierce for one of the few tracked vehicle requirements in Europe for the foreseeable future. The BAE Systems Hagglunds CV90, the Kurgan BMP-3, the PSM Puma and the Steyr-Daimler-Puch Ulan are all contenders. However, immediate priority is being given to the acquisition of 84 armoured personnel carriers for peacekeeping operations.

The real news in the field over the past twelve months has not been the long running, often spurious, debate about the relative merits of wheels and tracks, each have their place in modern military operations, but how the US-led 'Global War on Terror' is shaping requirements. Coalition vehicles designed for high intensity combat at long ranges are being attacked at short range, often in crowded urban environments by volleys of cheap rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices (IED). Vehicles which offer protection against such threats are being procured as urgent operational requirements by the British, Canadian, Dutch, US and other armies committed to that battle. The British Ministry of Defence, for example, announced on 24 July a vehicle package to provide better protection for its forces in Afghanistan and Iraq: the acquisition of 86 Force Protection Cougar H 6 x 6 personnel carriers, the purchase of another 66 Pinzgauer Vector 6 x 6 'Protected Patrol Vehicles' and the modernisation of a further 70 tracked FV430-series vehicles with a new powerpack and improved protection. This twin-track approach of providing enhanced protection for in-service vehicles and the acquisition of armoured vehicles built to provide a high level of protection against mines and IEDs is typical of the approach adopted by many countries.

In this supplement Armada will concentrate on both wheeled and tracked vehicles primarily in the 10 to 30-tonne range that have recently been the object of a launch or substantial upgrade. The status of the American Future Combat System, for its part, has been revisited in Armada International's current issue, 1/2007, in the AUSA show report.

Follow-on Piranha Orders

No modern wheeled armoured vehicle is used more extensively or has seen more combat than the Piranha developed by Mowag of Switzerland, now part of General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems.

The Piranha received the LAV name by which it is widely known when the US Marine Corps selected the 8 x 8 Piranha I for its Light Armored Vehicle project in 1981. The now GDLS--Canada factory in London, Ontario produced 758 vehicles from 1983 to 1988. These have seen extensive use most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq and the US Marine Corps is funding a service life extension programme to keep them operating for another 20 years by improving sustainability and reliability. In February 2006 GDLS received orders worth $178.3 million to provide 130 new LAV-A2s in various configurations for the Marine Corps and provide 394 electric turret drives for existing cars. Other improvements to the LAV-A2, besides the turret drive, include an improved suspension, an automatic fire suppression system and fittings for enhanced armour and for crew protection. The vehicles are scheduled for delivery between July 2007 and July 2008.

In October the Marine Corps boosted the contract value to $ 317 million with a production order for a further 151 LAV-A2s to be delivered by December 2008. Separate projects are underway to modernise the earlier LAVs by installing an Improved Thermal Sight System, enhancing the lethality of the M242 25 mm cannon of the LAV-25 variant and upgrading 50 command and control vehicles. The marines are also planning to install the Delco LAV-25 'saddlebag' Tow turret on 95 anti-tank variants and replace the 81 mm mortar in 50 mortar vehicles with the same 120 mm rifled mortars used in the Expeditionary Fire Support System.

The Saudi Arabian National Guard (Sang) received 1117 8 x 8 LAV Is in twelve variants under a US Foreign Military Sales order. These included 73 vehicles mounting the BAE Systems 120 mm Armoured Mortar System and 130 assault guns fitted with the CMI Defence CTS two-person turret armed with the Cockerill Mk 8 90 mm gun. GDLS is poised to repeat this success following a Sang request to purchase 724 LAVs in ten different variants.

GDLS--Canada is in the final stage of a contract to produce 651 LAV IIIs for the Canadian Army. The last of 33 Tow Under Armour vehicles was delivered in May 2006, and by July 2007 deliveries should be complete of 39 engineer vehicles equipped with a remote weapon station, dozer blade, hydraulic tool system and provision for a safe lane marking system. The service cancelled plans to buy 66 Stryker MGS vehicles in favour of retaining the Leopard C2 tank.

In August 2004 the Australian Army received the last of 144 LAV II vehicles ordered under Phase 3 of the Australian LAV (Aslav) project, and under a 2004 contract GDLS--Australia upgraded the 113 Phase 2 Aslavs, delivered between 1995 and 1997, to match Phase 3 vehicles. The upgrades include a new turret electric drive, enhanced thermal sight with laser rangefinder and an improved fire control system for the 25 mm turrets, the integration of a GPS-based navigation system and an enhanced suspension system. The New Zealand Army now operates 105 LAV IIIs, the last delivered in November 2004, allowing the service to deploy and sustain an NZLAV battalion.

On 27 January 2006 the Belgian government announced it would acquire up to 242 Mowag 8 x 8 Piranha IIIC vehicles in seven variants in a project worth over 800 million [euro] including logistics support. These will replace the army's fleets of tracked AIFVs, M113s and Leopard 1A5BE tanks. Delivery of the first 138 vehicles will occur from 2007 to 2012, with additional options for 81 and 23 vehicles for delivery from 2012 to 2015. If all options are exercised the service will receive: 99 APCs with the FN Herstal Arrows 12.7 mm overhead weapon station, 32 APCs armed with the Elbit 30 mm overhead weapon station, 40 direct-fire vehicles fitted with the CMI 90 mm turret, 24 command vehicles, 18 engineer vehicles, 17 recovery and repair vehicles and 12 ambulances. Mowag will supply the initial vehicles and driveline, suspension and other components for vehicle assembly being conducted at the facilities of Jonckheere and CMI in Belgium. The same month the Irish Department of Defence signed a 30 million [euro] contract for 15 Piranha IIIH vehicles to add to 65 already in service. Nine APCs will be equipped with the 12.7 mm Kongsberg Remote Weapon Station and six vehicles will be fitted with an Oto Melara 30 mm gun turret.

Mowag had already received Piranha III orders from Denmark (91 8 x 8 vehicles in APC and ambulance configurations), Spain (18 8 x 8 vehicles for the marines including APCs fitted with the Cadillac Gage 40mm/12.7mm turret) and Switzerland (36 radio access point vehicles). The Swiss Army already operates 310 6 x 6 Piranha I Tow-armed antitank vehicles and 515 8 x 8 Piranha II APCs with the Rheinmetall single crew turret armed with an M2 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. Sweden is the only customer for the 10 x 10 Piranha Armoured Combat Vehicle, with six vehicles used in the command post role and seven fitted with an Ericsson mast-mounted air defence radar.

Mowag completed the first prototype of the larger Piranha IV in 2001 and the second in 2004. Described as an IFV rather than an APC, the new vehicle offers greater internal volume, higher payload, better armour protection and improved mobility compared to the Piranha III. The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force could be the launch customer for the Piranha IV as Komatsu, which has a licence to manufacture the vehicle in Japan, is scheduled to complete a prototype modified to the army's specifications in 2007. An IFV variant is expected to be armed with an externally-mounted medium-calibre cannon. Other versions planned include APC, mortar, anti-tank, air defence, command and control, reconnaissance and self-propelled howitzer. BAE Systems has the rights to manufacture the Piranha IV and is looking for customers in the Middle East. Alvis, now part of BAE Systems, produced more than 320 Piranha II and III vehicles for Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

A Piranha V prototype, currently being built at Mowag in Kreuzlingen, will be officially rolled out on 8 September 2007. Preliminary data on this new design can be seen on our three page fold-out table in the centre of this supplement.

Final Stryker Variant

At Fort Lewis, Washington the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, one of seven US Army brigades that are being equipping with the General Dynamics Land Systems 8 x 8 Stryker (LAV III) family, is preparing for another rotation to Iraq in mid-year. Following the delivery of its 27 Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS) vehicles it will be the first Stryker brigade to deploy with its full complement of ten Stryker variants. Armed with a General Dynamics 105 mm cannon in a low-profile, unmanned turret, the MGS carries 18 rounds of 105 mm ammunition, 400 rounds of 12.7 mm ammunition and 3400 7.62 mm rounds. The role of the Stryker MGS is not armoured combat but to provide direct fire support to dismounted infantry, hence each Stryker infantry company includes a platoon of three MGS vehicles. The performance of the MGS in Iraq will be studied closely.

It was at the Association of the US Army convention in 1999 that the then Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki announced his intention to spearhead the army's transformation effort with the acquisition of a medium armoured vehicle for rapid deployment missions. The SBCTs are designed to have more protection and mobility than a light division while being more strategically and tactically deployable than an armoured or mechanised infantry division. Only four years later the first Stryker Brigade Combat Team was in action in Iraq, and some seven years later GDLS has delivered more than 1800 of the 2691 Strykers on order. By any standards it is an impressive programme.

The steel hull of the Stryker will defeat 7.62 mm AP rounds and the ceramic applique armour protects against 14.5 mm rounds and a 152 mm airburst. As an interim solution, Strykers in Iraq are fitted with Mat armour', a wire cage around the vehicle, which is intended to trigger RPGs before they reach the vehicle's armour. The Stryker will be fitted with new reactive armour for improved protection against RPGs.

Two-thirds of the Strykers are built at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama and the remainder at the GDLS--Canada plant in London, Ontario. The US Air Force also received its first Strykers in May 2005, five vehicles transferred from the army, for use by air support operations teams assigned to the SBCTs. It is possible that more vehicles will be ordered for this role.

Cougars Proliferate

Force Protection of Ladson, South Carolina, has expanded its work force from twelve employees at the beginning of 2004 to more than 500, and in November 2006 signed two teaming agreements with two major US defence manufacturers. Its success is based on the Cougar H family of medium mine-protected vehicles designed by South African engineers. Powered by a 300-hp Caterpillar C-7 diesel engine, the 4 x 4 Cougar has a combat weight of 14.5 tonnes, while the 6 x 6 version has a weight of 21.5 tonnes. The Cougar can withstand the detonation of 13.6 kg of a TNT equivalent under each wheel and 6.8 kg under the hull. The company points proudly to the fact that more than 200 Cougar and Buffalo vehicles are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and by July 2006 have withstood more than 1000 mine detonations and IED attacks without a single occupant being killed. Although initially acquired by US forces as an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) vehicle, the Cougar can be configured for a wide range of tasks: including troop transport (up to 14 in the 6 x 6), command and control, artillery prime mover, recovery and ambulance.

The US Marine Corps purchased about 27 Cougars in 2004 for use by its EOD teams in Iraq and this was followed by a $ 45.7 million contract in May 2005 for 122 Cougar Joint Explosive Ordnance Rapid Response Vehicles (JERRV) for use by the US Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Task Force in Iraq. In May 2006 the US placed a $ 50.9 million order for 79 JERRVs and this followed in November with a $ 125 million contract for 100 JERRVs, 44 Buffalos and associated logistics support. In November Force Protection signed one agreement with GDLS covering structure fabrication and the second with Armor Holdings' Aerospace & Defense Group covering automotive integration and vehicle assembly.

In May 2006 Tacom awarded BAE Systems an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity Foreign Military Sales order potentially worth $ 445.4 million to provide up to 1050 Iraqi Light Armored Vehicles (Ilav). The vehicle selected for the Ilav is the 4 x 4 Cougar H. The initial production order for 378 vehicles was followed by an order for a further 20 in October. Deliveries to Iraq under the original production order began only 90 days after contract award and are scheduled for completion by mid-2007.

The British Army has also ordered 86 Cougars, under the local designation Mastiff, under a $ 62.9 million FMS contract to be completed by May 2007. Britain is fitting vertical armour plates over the vehicle's large vision blocks and weapon firing ports.

Despite being partnered with Force Protection for the Ilav project BAE Systems unveiled its own rival to the Cougar, the 6 x 6 RG33L Mine-Protected Vehicle, at the AUSA exhibition between 9 and 11 October 2006. The RG-33L is a further development of BAE Systems OMC's smaller RG-31/32 series. Design and development of the vehicle was a collaborative effort between BAE Systems' facilities in Benoni, South Africa and in Santa Clara, California. The RG-33L is equipped with a hydraulic ramp, a gunner's protection kit and a robotic arm. The RG-33L can be configured for the personnel carrier, ambulance, command and control, convoy escort, EOD and other roles.

US Guardians and Knights

The US Army has deployed more than 450 M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicles (ASV) and new vehicles are being shipped to Iraq almost as soon as they leave Textron Marine & Land System's New Orleans production facility. The army uses the M1117 as its primary convoy protection platform in Iraq. In mid-2005 Textron Marine & Land Systems received a potential $ 500 million contract to build a further 724 M1117s, increasing the number of production vehicles ordered by the army to 1118, including 43 ASVs for the Iraqi government. The ASV is derived from the Cadillac Gage (bought by Textron) LAV-100/150/200 series of 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 vehicles that entered production in 1963; more than 3000 were built, primarily for the export market. It was selected in 1995 to provide US Army military police units with a better-protected vehicle than the M1114 up-armoured Humvee. With a crew of four the ASV is fitted with a Textron turret armed with a Mk 19 40 mm automatic grenade launcher and an M2 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. Modular ceramic composite applique armour provides all-round protection against 7.62 mm ball ammunition while the crew compartment, weapon station and ammunition storage areas are protected against 12.7 mm armour-piercing rounds. The ASV can withstand a blast of up to five kg of TNT in the wheel wells and an overhead 155 mm blast at 15 metres. Textron offers other turret and weapon fits. Most of the vehicles built for the Iraqi Civil Intervention Force are in a stretched configuration able to accommodate up to ten personnel.

In mid-October the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command awarded Textron a contract to produce 64 ASVs in the new M707 Armored Knight configuration for use by artillery Combat Observation and Lasing Teams (Colt). The total requirement for this programme is 345 vehicles. The ASV will be provided to prime contractor DRS Technologies, which will integrate the mission equipment package consisting of a laser designator/rangefinder, a thermal imager, blended inertial/GPS navigation and targeting and a digital command and control system.

German Pumas on Track

Over the coming months the German Army will receive five pre-production Puma tracked IFVs from Projekt System und Management (PSM), a 50:50-joint venture between Rheinmetall Landsysteme and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. Since May 2006 the army has been conducting trials with the systems demonstrator that was rolled out on 20 December 2005. In late 2007 the German government is expected to authorise the production of 410 Pumas, worth roughly 3.05 billion [euro], for delivery from 2009 to replace approximately 2100 Marder 1s; the type entered service in 1971. The Pumas and 350 KMW Leopard 2A6s will form the army's heavy combat force.

The Puma carries a driver, the commander and gunner (seated side-by-side in the hull), and six soldiers in the rear compartment.A remote controlled turret is armed with the new Mauser Mk 30-2/ABM (Air Burst Munition) 30 mm dual-feed cannon and a 5.56 mm MG coaxial machine gun. Two hundred rounds of 30 mm ammunition, a combination of kinetic energy and ABM rounds, will be carried in the turret bustle along with 1000 5.56 mm rounds.

The Puma is designed to be carried by the Airbus Military A400M strategic transport aircraft. It is claimed to have the highest level of armour protection amongst the new generation of infantry fighting vehicles with a baseline weight of 31.45 tonnes at Protection Level A (Air-transportable). This will protect it against 14.5 mm attack and at least a ten-kg land mine blast. Armour modules can be added to the hull and turret to provide Protection Level C (Combat) to defeat hand-held anti-tank weapons, 30 mm ammunition and top-attack bomblets. In this configuration the Puma will weigh about 41 tonnes. Anticipating future upgrades the vehicle's powerpack and suspension have been designed to accommodate a 30% weight growth without having to be modified.

Wild Dog

While opting for maximum armour protection for high-intensity combat the Bundeswehr is also acquiring lighter wheeled vehicles to protect its forces on overseas missions. Germany's BWB procurement agency is evaluating a demonstrator of the new stretched 4 x 4 Dingo 2 variant, designated the Dingo 2 GFF, that it ordered from KMW in December 2005. The company built 147 Dingo 1 All Protected Vehicles, based on the Mercedes-Benz U-1550L Unimog chassis, for the German Army between 2000 and 2003. Responding to feedback from the army KMW based the Dingo 2 on the longer Mercedes-Benz Unimog U-5000 series chassis; a 3.25-metre wheelbase version carries a 3.5-tonne payload and the 3.85-metre variant carries four tonnes. The Dingo 2 can seat eight, two more than the Dingo 1. The Dingo's slanted blast deflector floor protects passengers against land mines. The Dingo 2 has a top speed of more than 90 km/h, a range of 1000 km and can be carried by a C-130 Hercules aircraft and airlifted by a CH-53 helicopter. The army now operates 55 Dingo 2s ordered in 2004 and KWM is producing a further 149 vehicles ordered in 2006. The Dingo 2 has a small load area at the rear that has the same level of protection as the central crew compartment. On the Dingo 2 GFF configuration, the crew compartment is extended to the rear thus providing greater internal volume and increasing capacity to nine passengers. The German demonstrator is configured as a replacement for the army's tracked M113 series command vehicles. In early 2007 the army is expected to detail its requirement for up to 1500 vehicles in this category. Specialist variants are being considered for missions such as weapons carrier, forward observation, medical evacuation, flatbed logistics carrier and radar surveillance.

The Belgian Army became the launch customer for the stretched Dingo 2 in December 2004 when it placed a 170 million [euro] order for 220 vehicles with an option for another 132. Belgian configurations include command, ambulance and radar command and control vehicles. Deliveries under the initial order will be completed in 2009. KMW has also delivered 20 Dingo 2s to Austria with additional orders expected.

The Dingo 2 is marketed in the US and to selected US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers by Textron Marine & Land Systems. In September 2004 the US Department of Defense notified Congress of the proposed $ 99 million FMS sale of 103 Dingo 2s to Israel, and in mid-2006 the German Security Council finally approved the delivery of a demonstration vehicle.

Boxer Enters Ring

In mid-October the Dutch Council of Ministers approved State Secretary for Defence van der Knaap's recommendation that 200 Boxer Multi-Role Armoured Vehicles, worth approximately 624 million [euro], be bought for the Royal Netherlands Army. A joint production contract for 272 vehicles for Germany and 200 for the Netherlands was announced in mid-December 2006.

The decision ends more than two years of uncertainty that the Dutch might quit the project because of concerns over rising costs following the British Army's withdrawal from the project in 2003. The restructured Artec consortium comprises Kraus-Maffei Wegmann (36%) and Rheinmetall Landsysteme (14%) from Germany and Stork (50%) of the Netherlands. The German Army needs 1000 vehicles to replace its tracked M113 and wheeled Fuchs Tpz 1 vehicles, while the Royal Netherlands Army is seeking 257 vehicles to replace wheeled YPRs and tracked M577s.

Since June 2003 twelve Boxer prototypes, four for each of the three nations in the original development programme, have been involved in the trials and qualification programme scheduled to run until mid-2006. The four Dutch and four German prototypes are in five mission configurations--APC, command post, ambulance, repair and cargo vehicles. Under the initial contract Germany will receive 125 APCs, 65 command vehicles, 72 ambulances and 10 driver training vehicles and the Dutch will receive 55 command vehicles, 58 ambulances, 41 engineers vehicles and 46 cargo vehicles in two configurations. Artec has carried out feasibility studies for other versions including infantry fighting, rocket launcher, mortar carrier, ordnance disposal and engineer vehicles.

The Boxer was designed to provide a high level of protection against direct fire weapons, land mines and artillery fragments. The vehicle's hull is of steel with an applique layer of passive armour. With a maximum weight of 33 tonnes the Boxer was designed to be carried by the A400M. This influenced the British decision to quit the project as the army shifted its requirement towards the lighter Future Rapid Effects System family of vehicles. Artec notes that the eight variants now planned for the two partner nations weigh less than 33 tonnes.

Ascod Aims for Export

Steyr-Daimler-Puch and Santa Barbara Sistemas, both now members of General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems, developed the tracked Austrian-Spanish Co-operative Development (Ascod) infantry fighting vehicle to meet the needs of the Austrian and Spanish armies.

Deliveries of Spain's initial 123 Pizarros (the Spanish designation) and 21 command vehicles were completed in 2002. Deliveries of a follow-on contract for 170 IFVs, five command vehicles, 28 forward observer vehicles, eight recovery vehicles and one combat engineer vehicle began in 2005. The service is also seeking mortar carriers, anti-tank missile carriers and 105 mm gun-armed tank destroyers.

In the IFV configuration the Ascod has a crew of three and carries seven in the troop compartment. The two-man turret is armed with a 30 mm dual-feed, gas-operated Mauser Mk 30-2 automatic cannon and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. The hull and turret are constructed from all-welded steel armour that defeats 14.5 mm AP rounds over the frontal arc and 7.62 mm all around. Additional ballistic protection can be fitted to defeat up to 30 mm APFDS rounds over the frontal arc and 14.5 mm AP ammunition all around.

The Austrian Army received the last of 112 Ascods, known locally as the Ulan, in 2005 and although it has a requirement for additional vehicles no funding has yet been allocated. Steyr-Daimler-Puch has developed a proposed Ulan upgrade that features additional side and body armour, and for export customers in Eastern Europe and the Middle East is suggesting fitting the Russian BMP-3 turret on the Ulan 2 chassis.

Pandur II Strikes Again

In September 2006 Steyr-Daimler-Puch began deliveries of the 260 8 x 8 Pandur II ordered in 2005 for the Portuguese Army and Marine Corps. The army will receive 105 infantry carrier vehicles with 12.7 mm pintle-mounted machine guns and seven with a 12.7 mm remote controlled weapon station, 30 IFVs armed with a 30 mm gun, 31 120 mm mortar carriers (MC), 16 command post vehicles (CPV), 15 anti-tank guided missile vehicles, ten ambulances, nine engineer vehicles, seven repair and recovery vehicles, six signal variants and four reconnaissance vehicles. The marines will receive 13 ICVs, two IFVs armed with 40 mm automatic grenade launchers, three CPVs and two MCs.

Following the Portuguese launch order for the Pandur II the Austrian company scored another success in June 2006 when the Czech Republic placed an 821 million [euro] order for 199 8 x 8s with an option for another 35. These will equip one of the army's two manoeuvre brigades leaving the other operating Warsaw Pact legacy tracked vehicles. No fewer than 18 variants will be delivered, with the most numerous being 63 IFVs fitted with a Rafael RCWS 30 armed with an ATK 30 mm Mk 44 cannon, 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun and a launcher for the Spike-LR anti-tank guided weapon missile system. The first batch of 17 vehicles will be delivered by the end of 2007.

The Pandur II's all-welded steel hull protects against 7.62 mm AP ammunition through a full 360[degrees] and can be increased to withstand attack from 14.5 mm AP ammunition by the addition of passive applique armour. The 6 x 6 Pandur II is offered with a range of turrets that can be armed with weapons as large as a 90 mm gun while the 8 x 8 vehicle can carry a 105 mm gun turret. The Austrian Army has a requirement for 129 8 x 8 Pandur II vehicles to equip two infantry battalions and 6 x 6 vehicles in specialist configurations, but no funding has yet been announced.

Six armies operate the original 6 x 6 Pandur: Austria (68), Belgium (54), Gabon (1 with up to 20 expected), Kuwait (70), Slovenia (72) and the US Army (50). Kuwaiti variants include an assault gun fitted with a two-person Cockerill 90 mm turret.

Patria AMV on a Roll

The Armoured Modular Vehicle from Finland's Patria Vehicles continued to gain momentum in 2006 with an order from Slovenia for 136 8 x 8 vehicles in four versions for delivery between 2007 and 2011. Patria and Slovenian companies Gorenje and Rotis have formed a new joint-venture company for the project.

The first of two Amos-AMV systems for the Finnish Defence Force were rolled out at the Vammala plant in March (the Amos is a twin-barrel 120 mm mortar turret). The remaining 22 vehicles covered by the 100 million [euro] contract will be delivered by 2009. The AMV's high payload enables 84 120 mm rounds and six guided projectiles to be carried. The army has also received its first XC-360 8 x 8 AMVs configured as APCs fitted with the Kongsberg-supplied Protector 12.7 mm remotely operated weapon station. These are part of a December 2004 96 million [euro] order for 62 AMVs to equip the rapid reaction Pori Brigade and it is planned to be followed by additional AMVs.

Poland became the launch customer for the AMV in 2002 when it ordered 690 vehicles. These included 313 IFVs, 125 APCs, 81 command and control vehicles, engineer, ambulance and recovery variants in the 8 x 8 configuration and 32 6 x 6 vehicles. More than 160 Rosomaks (Wolverine) have been delivered since the first was handed over on 8 January 2005. Initial production vehicles were built in Finland but production shifted in 2005 to Poland's Wojskowe Zaklady Mechaniczne (Military Mechanical Works) plant.

The Polish IFVs are fitted with an Oto Melara two-person Hitfist turret armed with an ATK Gun Systems Mk 44 30/40 mm Bushmaster II cannon and coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. At 7.1 metres long the 6 x 6 vehicle is six cm shorter than the 8 x 8 variant but with a maximum combat weight of 19.5 tonnes it can still carry up to ten personnel.

The Patria AMV is the only candidate being evaluated for the South African Army's Project Hoefyster (horseshoe) to acquire 264 new 8 x 8 IFVs, but the project is stalled over funding. Patria is part of a consortium that includes Denel, Eads, Land Mobility Technologies and BAE Systems South Africa-OMC that is pro posing the Modular Combat Vehicle, an AMV with the LCT-30/35 turret developed by Denel. The two-person hunter-killer turret is armed with a Mk 44 Bushmaster 30 mm chain gun and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. As an interim measure two firms are proposing upgrades to the army's 6 x 6 Ratel AFVs. Mechanology is teamed with the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau to offer the Ratel Mk IV, which was unveiled at Jordan's Sofex in June 2006. BAE Systems Land Systems OMC has developed the iKlwa upgrade first shown at Africa Aerospace and Defence 2006 in September.

Out of Africa

South Africa's Industrial and Automotive Design (IAD) used the AAD 2006 exhibition as a platform to unveil its FV4 290 mine-protected vehicle, a variant of the Belgian Sabiex Iguana 4 x 4 vehicle. IAD has stretched the Belgian vehicle to 5.05 metres and increased its combat weight to 9.5 tonnes, including a two-tonne payload capacity, enabling the FV4 290 to carry eight people. The vehicles incorporate flat honeycomb protection on the floor, which is able to withstand a six-kg mine while the occupants will survive an under-vehicle eight-kg blast.

Ivema, a sister company of IAD, displayed its new 4 x 4 Gila mine-protected APC at AAD 2006. The standard Gila has a maximum combat weight of 13,600 kg with a payload capacity of 3200 kg, enabling it to carry a crew of two plus nine troops. To satisfy the requirements of export customers the Gila is available in either left- or right-handed power-assisted steering versions and although the prototype is powered by a Euro III Mercedes-Benz engine, several other engine types could be fitted. To ease maintenance and repair the design relies heavily on cots components and the engine, gearbox and cooling system are mounted on a rail for easy access. According to Ivema the vehicle's V-shaped hull allows it to exceed Nato basic specifications for mine protection levels while the ballistic protection meets Nato Level 1 specifications, but can be upgraded to Level 3. Both the FV4 290 and the Gila are likely to be offered for the South African Army's Project Sepula to provide protected mobility for roles that do not require the more sophisticated IFVs being acquired under Project Hoefyster.

Centauro VBC Imminent

The Italian Army was poised to award a production contract for a first batch of about 50 8 x 8 Centauro Veicoli Blindati da Combattimento (VBC) armoured combat vehicles as Armada went to press. The VBC will join the 400 105 mm armed Centauro tank destroyers that the Consortium Iveco-Oto Melara (CIO) built for the army between 1991 and 1996. A further 88 vehicles were built for the Spanish Army. In standard configuration the 25-tonne vehicle is protected against a 20 mm attack over the frontal arc and against 12.7 mm attack all around and up to three tonnes of additional passive or reactive armour can be fitted. Oto Melara has developed a turret armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun to make the Centauro the first wheeled AFV to offer the same firepower as the latest generation MBTs. Other proposed variants include an air-defence vehicle, an NBC reconnaissance vehicle, armoured vehicle-launched bridge layer and a 155 mm self-propelled gun.

To equip two medium brigades the army has a requirement for 249 Centauro VBCs in six variants: the baseline VBC IFV fitted with an Oto Melara Hitfist Plus two-person turret armed with a 25 mm KBA cannon, a 120 mm mortar carrier, an anti-tank vehicle armed with the Rafael Spike long-range missile, a command post, a recovery vehicle and an ambulance. In September 2006 approval was given for an initial order of 45 IFVs, two CP vehicles, a mortar carrier and an anti-tank vehicle. The VBC features a slightly longer and narrower hull than the tank destroyer and is powered by the same 550-hp engine as the tracked Dardo IFV. The Centauro IFV's crew consists of a commander, gunner and driver with room for seven in the rear troop compartment. The vehicle is able to withstand a six-kg mine blast under any wheel and protection can be increased to withstand an eight-kg blast.

The Centauro was developed in parallel with the Ariete main battle tank and the Dardo IFV to equip the army's heavy combat forces and the Puma Veicolo Blindato Leggero (light armoured vehicle) family for its rapid deployment forces. Between 2002 and 2005 196 Dardo IFVs equipped with the Hitfist turret were built as well as single prototypes of four specialised variants: anti-tank, 120 mm mortar, command post and ambulance. To complete the equipping of three heavy brigades, additional orders for 300 Dardos, including specialist variants, are expected.

The standard 23 tonne Dardo IFV carries a commander, driver, gunner and six troops in the rear. The Hitfist turret is armed with an Oerlikon KBA 25 mm dual-feed automatic cannon and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. All Hitfist turrets can be fitted on each side with a single launcher for the Raytheon Tow 3750-metre range, wire-guided anti-tank missile. The vehicle's hull and turret are of all-welded aluminium armour to which an additional layer of ballistic steel is fitted. The Dardo is fitted with the same Iveco 8260 V-6 4-stroke turbocharged diesel engine as the Centauro family.

Oto Melara has developed a Hitfist turret armed with the ATK Gun Systems Mk 44 30/40 mm Bushmaster II cannon. This is the turret selected by Poland for the IFV variants of its Patria Armoured Modular Vehicles. As a private venture Oto Melara has also developed the T60/70A turret armed with the Oto 60/70 60 mm rifled gun that is capable of defeating any AFV short of a tank.

Iveco is building 320 6 x 6 Puma APCs able to carry seven personnel and 220 4 x 4 Puma reconnaissance vehicles which carry a four-strong crew. Both variants can be fitted with a range of cupolas and turrets. Specialised variants of the Puma include 81 mm mortar carrier, command post, air defence vehicle, anti-tank vehicle and ambulance.

From Tracks to Wheels

The French Army will begin the transition from wheeled to tracked IFVs with the introduction of the Nexter (formerly Giat Industries) 8 x 8 Vehicule Blinde de Combat d'Infanterie (VBCI) from 2008 to replace its 30-year-old fleet of AMX-10s. Nexter delivered the first prototype to the service in mid-2005 for technical trials and is now developing a prototype for the export market that will be unveiled in 2007. Nexter believes the VBCI is ideally suited for the British Army's Fres requirement.

The army intends to order a total of 700 VBCIs--550 IFVs (designated Vehicule de Combat d'Infanterie) and 150 command vehicles (Vehicule de Poste de Commandement)--to operate alongside its 406 Nexter Leclerc tanks. The initial 2003 production contact covers 54 IFVs and eleven command vehicles. Six further production contracts are planned under the 3 billion [euro] project, with the second scheduled to be awarded in November 2007. The army is also planning to field specialist variants including anti-tank, mortar, engineer and mobile gun systems. The gun system is likely to be armed with a large-calibre cannon red by a bustle-mounted automatic loader.

The 28-tonne IFV, designed to be carried by the A400M aircraft, has a crew of three--commander, driver and gunner--and carries eight soldiers. It is fitted with the company's Dragar one-man turret armed with a stabilised M811 25 mm dual-feed cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. Command variants will be armed with an FN Herstal remote weapon station mounting a 12,7-mm heavy machine gun. The VBCI's all-welded aluminium hull is fitted with a layer of titanium armour to protect against medium-calibre threats: under contract to the DGA Nexter is developing an add-on armour package that will be ready in early 2008 to protect against RPG-7s and similar threats.

The Turkish Land Force Command operates 2249 Armoured Combat Vehicles (ACV), a derivative of the BAE Systems M113 APC, delivered between 1992 and 2005. These were produced by Turkey's FNSS Savunma Sistemleri, which is a joint venture between BAE Systems (49%) and the Turkish Nurol Group (51%). The company is waiting for the Turkish command to solidify its requirements for wheeled and tracked vehicles.

FNSS produced a further 136 ACVs for the United Arab Emirates and 211 for Malaysia. While the majority of Turkish IFV variants are fitted with a Nexter Dragar turret armed with an M811 25 mm cannon the Malaysian IFVs mount an FNSS one-man Sharpshooter turret armed with the ATK M242 25 mm Chain Gun.

FNSS has developed the ACV-Stretched, which is similar to the BAE Systems Mobile Tactical Vehicle Light, a stretched M113. The seven prototypes built to date include vehicles fitted with an M2 Bradley turret modified to carry a 30 mm cannon, an anti-tank turret with four Hellfire missiles and the Thales Swarm (Stabilised Weapon And Reconnaissance Mount) armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun. The ACV-SW model is fitted with a Russian BMP-3 turret and is able to carry seven troops in the rear compartment besides a crew of three; commander, gunner and driver.

The 8 x 8 Pars, which is aimed at Turkish requirements and the export market, was unveiled at Idex 2005 by FNSS, who is developing it in co-operation with General Purpose Vehicles (GPV) of New Haven, Michigan.

Depending on the vehicle, two to four personnel, including the driver and commander, are seated in a front cockpit while ten or twelve troops are seated in the rear. The GPV Pars family can be configured to accommodate one- and two-person turrets and remote weapon stations.

The vehicle's deep V-shaped hull deflects mine blasts and individual suspension components are mounted to break free in a blast. The GPV's all-welded steel hull will defeat 7.62 mm AP ammunition and higher levels of protection can be provided. Gross vehicle weight ranges from 16.28 tonnes for the Sentry to 37 tonnes for the General, depending upon the level of protection. The vehicles are powered by a 350-hp Caterpillar C7 diesel engine with a five-speed automatic electronically-shifting transmission. With a top road speed of 101 km/h the series can achieve a range of over 1449 km. The vehicles are also amphibious with a maximum swim speed of 5.6 km/h.

FNSS has signed other teaming arrangements in anticipation of TLFC requirements. In 2001 FNSS signed an agreement with the then Alvis Vehicles (now BAE Systems Land Systems) to cooperate in the production of the 8 x 8 Piranha II and, in September 2005, signed an agreement with Oerlikon Contraves to fit the latter's Skyranger Gun System on either the Pars or ACV-S chassis.

CV90 Completes Nordic Conquest

BAE Systems Hagglunds will begin deliveries of its tracked Combat Vehicle 90 (CV90) to the Netherlands and Denmark in mid-2007. The Royal Netherlands Army became the fifth customer for the Swedish-designed vehicle when it signed a 749 million [euro] order on 13 December 2004 for 184 CV9035s and Denmark became the sixth customer the following December when it ordered 45 CV9035s.

Development of the CV90 began in 1984 to meet the needs of the Swedish Army--the service has since ordered 549 vehicles in several variants of which the most common is the CV9040 IFV equipped with the Bofors 40 mm L/70 gun. With a crew of three the 22,800-kg vehicle carries an eight-strong infantry squad in the troop compartment. The other Swedish versions are the 40 mm-armed TriAD (Autonomous Armoured Air Defence) System, the CV90 Forward Observation Vehicle, the CV90 Forward Command Vehicle and the CV90 Armoured Recovery Vehicle. On 28 June 2006 BAE Systems Hagglunds received a SEK 380 million contract to build two prototypes equipped with the Patria Hagglunds twin 120 mm Amos (Advanced MOrtar System) by 2011. The army has 40 chassis in storage for this application. Swedish Amos turrets will have a higher level of ballistic protection, a bustle-mounted automatic loader and a more advanced tire control system than Finnish systems. The CV90/Amos is expected to weigh 27.6 tonnes. Since 2001 the army has acquired 55 passive armour kits which are fitted to CV90s on international operations.

The CV9030, armed with an ATK Gun Systems 30 mm Bushmaster II Chain Gun, was developed for the export market. Norway became the launch customer when it ordered 104 CV9030Ns in 1994 and the army is seeking a further 20 to 30 vehicles. Switzerland followed with an order in 2000 for 186 CV9030CH vehicles, armed with the ATK Mk 44 30/40 mm cannon. Finland ordered 57 vehicles in 2000 (designated the CV9030Fin) also armed with the Mk 44 cannon and the company is now delivering a further 45 vehicles which were ordered in December 2004.

The CV9035 selected by the Netherlands is the latest development of the CV90. Armed with a Bushmaster III 35/50 mm cannon it offers enhanced firepower, survivability, mobility, ergonomics and an advanced electronic architecture with implemented C4I systems. The commander has a rotating cupola for maximum visibility and both the commander and gunner have fully stabilised day and night sights with third-generation thermal cameras.

To meet the requirements of the Swedish Army and other customers seeking the firepower of a main battle tank on a smaller platform, Hagglunds developed the CV90120-T armed with a Swiss Ruag Land Systems 120 mm smoothbore gun on a CV90 chassis. With a combat weight of about 26 tonnes the vehicle could be carried by the Airbus Military A400M transport aircraft. The Swedish Army has yet to place an order.

Low-risk Fres Demonstrator

The Newcastle-upon-Tyne facilities of BAE Systems Land Systems was integrating mission modules into two 8 x 8 chassis built by BAE Systems Hagglunds as Armada went to press. The platforms leverage work done by BAE Systems for the Swedish Army's Splitterskyddad EnhetsPlaftorm (Sep--or Modular Armoured Tactical System) project. The move is intended to provide a vehicle that can be ready this year if the British Ministry of Defence decides to undertake mobility trials to meet the requirement for a 'utility vehicle' within the British Army's Future Rapid Effects Systems (Fres) project.

The multi-billion Euro Fres project is aimed at the production of 3775 vehicles to equip the army's medium brigades and replace older vehicles within the heavy brigades, although this number is almost certain to be cut. Under the present plan three vehicle families, with commonality at the systems level, will be fielded. With a combat weight of between 25 and 30 tonnes the 8 x 8 utility variant will be the most numerous Fres vehicle. A tracked platform of between 20 and 25 tonnes could be selected for the reconnaissance role and a 30 to 40-tonne tracked chassis will be used for direct fire, indirect fire, engineer and other roles.

Unlike the hybrid-electric drive system fitted to the 6 x 6 and tracked Sep demonstrators, the two 8 x 8 chassis are fitted with a conventional mechanical drive line to reduce risk, as Ministry officials have indicated that the first Fres 'utility vehicles' could be fielded as early as 2010. The design has a baseline weight of 14 tonnes and a combat weight of about 24 tonnes.

In 2006 BAE Systems Hagglunds received a contract from the Swedish FMV defence materiel administration to build two additional tracked and two wheeled Sep demonstrators to add to the one 6 x 6 and two tracked demonstrators already running m the development programme.

Wildcat for Urban Operations

The 4 x 4 Wildcat APC was developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI) and American Truck Company, a subsidiary of Terex Corporation. to meet the need for a vehicle that combines high levels of protection and manoeuvrability yet appears less menacing than other AFV designs now being used in urban operations. IMI believes the vehicle could meet Israel Defence Force needs following the decision not to acquire the Stryker.

Based on a new 4 x 4 chassis developed by Tatra, the Czech subsidiary of Terex. the Wildcat has three levels of protection: the basic level protects against 7.62 mm AP attack, Level 2 protects against 14.5 mm AP and Level 3 is intended to defeat RPGs and <<other equivalent shoulder-launched missiles>>. The crew hull is one meter above ground level, providing additional protection against mines and IEDs. IMI claims the Wildcat provides better ballistic protection than the Stryker and equal protection to the M113 APCs that IMI is upgrading for the IDE The vehicle weighs 15 tonnes with Level 3 protection and is able to carry twelve personnel. The prototype is equipped with IMI's Wave stabilised remotely operated weapon station and firing ports.

More Bushmasters

On 7 December the Australian government announced the launch of the first stage of the Enhanced Land Force project, which will see the formation of two additional infantry battalions. For Thales Australia this will mean an order for a further 100 4 x 4 Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicles (IMV) which are designed to fill the gap between light infantry units equipped with soft-skin vehicles and mechanised battalions equipped with modernised M113s.

ADI is already building 288 Bushmasters for the army and twelve for the Royal Australian Air Force in six variants: 158 Infantry Mobility Troop Vehicles (IMTV), 73 Infantry Mobility Command Vehicles, 20 Infantry Mobility Direct Fire Weapons Vehicles, 20 Infantry Mobility Mortar Vehicles, 18 Infantry Mobility Assault Pioneer Vehicles and eleven Infantry Mobility Ambulance Vehicles. Impressed by the performance of the Bushmaster in Afghanistan and Iraq the Netherlands selected the Bushmaster to meet an urgent operational requirement to equip its contingent in Afghanistan and 25 vehicles were diverted from the Australian order.

The Bushmaster was designed to transport troops and their equipment at speed over long distances to an area out of direct contact with the enemy where troops will dismount for combat operations. The IMTV carries up to ten, together with rations, ammunition, water and other stores for three days of operations, as well as sufficient fuel for 1000 km. In its baseline configuration the Bushmaster has a high level of protection which can be further upgraded with a Survivability Enhancement Kit. Feedback from crews of the 26 Bushmasters deployed in the War on Terror has resulted in a number of improvements, including the installation of the Kongsberg 7.62 mm remote controlled weapon station and the development of a new prototype cooling system for the on-board potable water tank.

Thales Australia is considering developing other variants, including dedicated weapons carriers, mine-clearance vehicles and engineer vehicles. In October 2005 ADI unveiled the company-funded Copperhead Armoured Combat Support Vehicle, which combines the Bushmaster's front cab section and mechanicals, including the Caterpillar/ZF powerpack and independent suspension system, with a flatbed rear cargo area. The Copperhead is capable of carrying up to five tonnes of cargo and towing a 15-tonne trailer. A 6 x 6 variant is under development that will be able to carry up to eleven tonnes. As with the standard IMV a remote or manned machine gun can be fitted at the ring mount on the roof of the cab.

Oshkosh Truck has signed an agreement with Thales Australia to allow the American company to market and manufacture the Bushmaster in the United States (including for its foreign customers). At the request of the United Arab Emirates a Bushmaster was shipped to the country in mid-2004 for field trials over a 60-day period. The United Arab Emirates is believed to require about 50 vehicles in this category.

Singapore's New Bionix II

On 23 October 2006 Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics) unveiled the tracked Bionix Mk II (BXII) developed to meet the needs of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The vehicle is configured in two variants: an IFV with a two-person turret armed with an ATK Mk 44 30 mm Bushmaster cannon and a command version. Developed in a tripartite effort between ST Engineering, the Defence Science and Technology Agency and the Singapore Army, the BXII is described as a key component in the networking of the SAE Singapore Technologies Electronics will integrate the Battlefield Management System developed for the BXII into earlier vehicles and other platforms. Survivability of the BXII is enhanced through a modular armour design that allows additional protection to be fitted when required.

The original Bionix was developed to meet the Singaporean Army requirement for an IEV to operate in conjunction with its fleet of M113 APCs. The first production vehicle, a Bionix 25 IFV, was completed in 1997. This version has a two-person turret armed with an ATK M242 25 mm cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. A seven-strong infantry squad is carried in the rear compartment. This was followed into production by the Bionix 40/50 APC, which has a cupola armed with a CIS 40 mm Grenade Launcher and a CIS 50 MG 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. The Bionix 40/50 has a crew of three and is able to carry nine in the troop compartment. The Bionix 40/50 has a combat weight of 21,500 kg compared to the 23,000 kg of the Bionix 25. According to The Military Balance the SAF acquired 250 of each model. ST Kinetics also built the Bionix Recovery Vehicle, fitted with a 25-tonne winch and a 30-tonne crane, and the Bionix Advanced Vehicle Launched Bridge fitted with an MLC30 bridge that can be launched under complete armour protection.

ST Kinetics developed its 8 x 8 Terrex AV81 as a private venture in collaboration with Timoney Technology of Ireland. The prototype first displayed in 2001 has since been joined by two others, including one developed in conjunction with Otokar and which was exhibited at Idef 2005. Neither the Turkish Land Forces Command nor the Singapore Armed Forces have released their requirements for vehicles of this type.

The prototype has been displayed configured as an APC with an overhead remote weapon station armed with a CIS 40 mm grenade launcher and 7.62 mm machine gun. The Terrex can be integrated with a range of turrets such as the two-person, 25 mm cannon turret fitted to its tracked Bionix 25 IFV and a turret armed with a 105 mm low-recoil gun. In addition to use as an APC and IFV, ST Kinetics has suggested that specialist variants such as command, 120 mm mortar carrier, air-defence and anti-tank missile carriers and 155 mm/52-calibre self-propelled gun can be developed to meet user demands.

In the APC configuration the AV81 would carry a commander, driver and a ten-strong infantry section. With a maximum combat weight of 24 tonnes, depending upon the turret and the level of armour protection, the vehicle is designed to be carried by a C-130. The vehicle's hull is of all-welded steel construction to which additional passive armour can be added.

South Korea Evaluates NIFV

The Republic of Korea Army is evaluating three prototypes of the Next Infantry Fighting Vehicle (NIFV) that were rolled out on 17 May 2005 at the Changwon plant of Doosan Infracore Defense Products (previously know as Daewoo Heavy Industries & Machinery). The NIFV is intended to replace the Daewoo Korean Infantry Fighting Vehicle, some 2000 of which were built for the home and export market since 1985. The NIFV mounts a stabilised 40 mm L/70 Bofors cannon, a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun and twin-launchers for third-generation anti-tank guided missiles are fitted on either side of the turret.

The 26-tonne NIFV carries a three-strong crew and a squad of nine soldiers. An applique layer of passive armour over the vehicle's aluminium hull is claimed to provide protection against 30 mm AP projectiles over the frontal are, 14.5 mm AP ammunition over the sides and 155 mm shell fragments on the top. The 40 mm cannon has the capability to engage slow-moving helicopters and aircraft. Powered by a 750-hp, V-8 diesel the NIFV is reported to have a top road speed of 70 km/h.

Taiwan is expected to begin production in 2007 of up to 1400 8 x 8 CM-32 Yunpao (Cloud Leopard) IFVs. This is being developed locally by a team led by the Combined Logistics Ordnance Research and Development Centre and is based on the earlier 6 x 6 CM-31 prototype. The first CM-32 prototypes were unveiled on 11 January 2005. The 22-tonne vehicle is powered by a 450-hp diesel engine, which gives a maximum speed of 100 kph and a range of 800 km. Three of the first four prototypes are armed with a 25 mm M242 Bushmaster cannon. In addition to the IFV the army is planning to acquire an assault gun armed with either a 90 mm or 105 mm gun, an APC, a command vehicle, a 120 mm mortar carrier, a missile carrier, an engineer vehicle and an ambulance.


Following on the sale of more than 11,000 articulated tracked Bv 206 all terrain vehicles for some 40 customers, BAE Systems Hagglunds has received orders for 465 armoured Bv 206 S (combat weight 7000 kg) ATVs.

Configured as a personnel carrier the Bv 206 S can carry four in the front unit and eight in the rear, all protected against 7.62 mm ball ammunition and shell splinters by all-welded steel armour.

Since 2002 the German Army has placed three orders for a total of 192 vehicles to equip mountain troops and rapid reaction forces and the service has indicated a total requirement of about 500 vehicles. In June 2006 the Swedish FMV ordered a further 52 vehicles, worth SEK 260 million, with an option for additional vehicles to add to the 31 already in service. These vehicles will equip the Swedish-led Nordic Battle Group, which is to ready for EU service from 1 January 2008. The Bv 206 S has also been bought by the armed forces of France (12), Italy (60) and Spain (50) with more orders anticipated.

The larger BvS 10 (combat weight up to 11,500 kg) was developed to meet the UK Royal Marines' requirement for an amphibious All-Terrain Vehicle (Protected). It made its operational debut in Afghanistan in October 2006. The service received 108 Vikings in three variants--the basic troop-carrying vehicle, a command vehicle and a repair and recovery vehicle--and further orders from the marines and the British Army are possible. The BvS 10 is similar in layout to the Bv 206 S with two articulated units but offers much improved load capacity. The company expects to complete deliveries of 74 vehicles--46 personnel carries, 20 command vehicles, four recovery vehicles and four ambulances--to the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps in April 2007.

The BvS 10 is in competition with Singapore Technologies Kinetics' Bronco All-Terrain Tracked Carrier (ATTC) for a French Army contract for 191 vehicles, plus options, which is scheduled to be decided in mid-2007.

The Singapore Armed Forces has fielded an unspecified number of ATTCs in recent years. The Bronco has a conventional layout of two tracked units--the front accommodates six personnel and the rear up to ten--coupled by an articulated hydraulic joint. STK has demonstrated ambulance, engineer and resupply variants and is proposing further models for such roles as command and control. It has also developed a unique demonstrator that enables the two units to be decoupled for independent operation with the rear unit powered by a hybrid engine-battery.

Stryker Variants

There are two main Stryker variants--the M1126 Infantry Carrier Vehicle and the M1128 Mobile Gun System. The carrier vehicle has eight sub-configurations:

* M1130 Command Vehicle

* M1127 Reconnaissance Vehicle

* M1131 Fire Support Vehicle

* M1129 Mortar Carrier

* M1134 Anti-tank guided missile vehicle

* M1132 Engineer Squad Vehicle

* M1133 Medical Evacuation Vehicle

* M1135 NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle

French Electric Drive Demonstrator

Nexter will deliver its 6 x 6 Demonstrateur Propulsion Electrique (DPE) electric drive demonstrator to France's DGA procurement agency in January 2007 to begin twelve months of extensive testing. The DPE is powered by an MTU V6 100 TWE 20 450-kW diesel engine coupled to a Magnet Motor 450 kW generator and a 120-kW battery, which provides power to the motors in each wheel. In the conventional drive mode the DPE is expected to have a top road speed of 105 kph and a range of 750 km, while in the all-electric stealth mode it should have a range of 15 km. The results of the evaluation will inform the French Army's EB2X wheeled AFV programme. Nexter and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann are co-operating on the development of a 20-tonne 6 x 6 demonstrator to meet the EB2X requirement and fill the gap between the German Army's 4 x 4 Dingo 2 and 8 x 8 Boxer vehicles. Some EB2X variants will be armed with the 40 mm Case Telescoped Weapon System (CTWS) developed by CTA International, a 50:50 joint venture between Nexter and BAE Systems Land Systems.


In a rather strange twist of events, the Singapore Technologies Kinetics Bronco (alias ATTC) has recently been put through its paces in Finland, a nation whose local programme (lead by Sisu at the time) for a similar but smaller design was stopped dead in its tracks. France could very well be the Bronco's export launch customer, hence the French paint job on the one that is featured here.
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Title Annotation:Complete Guide
Author:Kemp, Ian
Publication:Armada International
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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