The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded BAE Systems a contract for an additional 21 BvS10 Viking armoured all-terrain vehicles. The UK’s Royal Marine Commandos took delivery of an earlier batch of 108 in July 2003.
The BAE Systems Hägglunds armoured all-terrain vehicles will be used for transporting equipment for the Watchkeeper unmanned aerial vehicle. Production deliveries will commence second half of 2008 with prototype vehicles being delivered at the end of 2007.
According to BAE Systems, the Viking was selected due to its high load capacity, protection and mobility.The BvS10 vehicle is fully amphibious and, with its operating range of -46°C to +49°C, it has the ability to operate in jungle, desert and arctic conditions. Each Viking consists of two tracked vehicle units linked by a steering unit. All four tracks are driven and the vehicle retains mobility even if a track is damaged by a mine.
Its relatively lightweight of around 10 tonnes means it can be transported to the area of operations by C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster. The unladen Viking can be airlifted by an RAF Chinook helicopter and, when split into front and rear sections, it can be carried by the Merlin helicopter.