Armor: Royal Marines Return To The Sea

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October 20, 2012: The British Royal Marine Commandos are refurbishing its BvS10 ("Viking") all terrain combat vehicles so that they are again capable of amphibious operations. For most of the last decade the BvS10s had been modified for use on land, in Afghanistan. As part of the refurbishment the Afghanistan BvS10s will be upgraded to the Mk II standard. The marines plan to keep about a 150 BvS10s in service for another two decades.

Britain took all its BvS10s out of Afghanistan two years ago and replaced them with larger "Warthog" vehicles. The 18 ton Warthog carries a crew of two and 11 passengers. The Warthog is better protected against roadside bombs and gunfire, has greater range, and payload and carrying capacity. Like Viking it is an articulated vehicle (two separate, self-propelled elements that are linked). There are four versions: troop transport, ambulance, command, and recovery (and repair). Warthogs cost about $2 million each and were delivered direct from the factory in Singapore to Afghanistan. A hundred Warthog vehicles replaced 108 Vikings already in service. There was a rush to do this, partly driven by bad publicity back in Britain about troops being injured, by roadside bombs, while travelling in Viking vehicles.

The 14.2 ton Vikings cost $1.5 million each and can haul five tons. The BvS10 is an articulated vehicle, with a tracked trailer connected by a power transfer and steering linkage. The front part weighs 4.9 tons, the rear part 3.1 tons. Because of this trailer arrangement the vehicle has a 15.2 meter (47 foot) turning radius. Four passengers can be carried in the front car and eight on the rear one. The vehicle is built to be amphibious and has a top speed in the water of five kilometers an hour (compared to 65 kilometers an hour on land). The vehicles are Swedish and built to cope with the marshes and mountains the country is full of, as well as deep snow. The light ground pressure created by the wide tracks tend to go over landmines without detonating them. The light ground pressure was designed for allowing the vehicle to move over snow.

 


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