Viking (BvS10) Amphibious Armoured All-Terrain Vehicle, United Kingdom

Viking amphibious all-terrain vehicle

Viking (BvS10) is a fully amphibious armoured all-terrain vehicle, which consists of two tracked vehicle units linked by a steering mechanism. The UK Ministry of Defence ordered 108 Vikings from BAE Systems, Land Systems Hagglunds (formerly Alvis Hagglunds), in three variants – troop carrier (TCV), command vehicle (CV) and repair recovery vehicle (RCV).

The BvS10 vehicle development was based on the operationally proven capability of the Swedish Hagglunds Bv206 and Bv206S vehicles. Over 11,000 vehicles are in service in 40 countries.

The Viking, fitted with a more powerful engine, is larger and faster than the Bv206S and has greater load capacity.

Some of the vehicle bodies were built at the Land Systems manufacturing plant in Telford in the UK and final production and assembly was carried out at Land Systems Hagglunds AB in Ornskolsvik in Sweden. The vehicles will be in service until beyond 2023.

Viking amphibious all-terrain vehicle deployments

The UK's Royal Marine Commandos took delivery of its first batch of production Viking all-terrain vehicle (protected) – ATV(P) – vehicles in July 2003.

"The Viking (BvS10) is a
fully amphibious armoured
all-terrain vehicle."

Initial operating capability (IOC) was achieved in 2005 and final deliveries were in early 2006. The Viking entered service with the UK Army in April 2006.

In October 2006, the Viking was first operationally deployed with Royal Marine Commandos in southern Afghanistan. 33 vehicles took part in the operation.

The UK MoD purchased 166 Vikings BvS10 Viking mkI and about 50 of these are deployed in Afghanistan by the Royal Marines and other units.

Viking ATV orders and deliveries

In May 2007, the UK MoD placed an order for an additional 21 Viking vehicles, to be used for transporting equipment for the Watchkeeper unmanned aerial vehicle, the UK Army's new UAV.

In June 2008, the UK MoD placed an order for a further 14 Viking vehicles, including nine repair recovery vehicles, one command vehicle and four troop carriers, for deployment to Afghanistan. In February 2009, nine more vehicles were ordered to maintain capability in theatre.

In February 2008, an ambulance variant of the Viking was trialled by the British Army on operations in Afghanistan.

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration signed a $100m contract with BAE Systems in January 2012 to buy 48 Viking vehicles. In December 2013, BAE Systems secured an extended order worth $120m to provide an additional 102 Viking vehicles for the Swedish Armed Forces.

The order includes troop carrier, command vehicle, ambulance and logistic carrier variants. The deliveries are expected to commence in 2014 and conclude in 2015.

Warthog ATTC Viking replacement

In December 2008, the UK MoD announced plans to procure 100 new vehicles to replace Viking vehicles operating in Afghanistan. The new vehicle is to be called Warthog. In December 2008, the MoD announced that the Warthog would be based on the Singapore Technologies Kinetics Bronco all-terrain tracked carriers (ATTC). The contract value for the vehicles was £150m ($243m). The delivery of more than 100 Warthog vehicles began in September 2010 and concluded in June 2011.

Warthog has four variants namely: command, troop carrier, repair and recovery and ambulance. UK troops were trained in March 2010 in operation and maintenance for the deployment of Warthog in to service.

BvS10 Viking mkII upgraded ATV

On September 30 2009, the UK ordered 24 improved version of the vehicle known as the BvS10 Viking mkII for £24m. The last vehicle was delivered in March 2010 for deployment in Afghanistan. The contract also include modifications such as fitting urgent operation equipment. Of the total, two are command vehicles and 22 are the troop-carrying variants.

The improvements include a larger and more powerful engine, increased protection levels, a bigger alternator to generate more electrical power, and upgraded brakes, suspension and steering unit. However, the load carrying capacity will be the same.

In December 2009, DGA (French armament procurement agency) placed a contract for 53 BvS10 mkII vehicles.

The Viking vehicle, which can operate in temperatures from –46°C to +46°C, was selected for its multi-role and world-wide operational capability in jungle, desert and Arctic conditions and for rapid deployment.

"Bolt-on armour plates provide protection against 7.62mm armour-piercing rounds."

The first prototype Viking vehicles were delivered in June 2001. The vehicles successfully completed an 18 month series of trials in Norway, UK, Sweden and Oman. In Norway the vehicle successfully completed a winter deployment inside the Arctic Circle.

In September 2001, Vikings were transported to Oman and took part in Exercise Saif Sereea 2, where full operational testing was carried out in the extreme hot and dry desert conditions.

In June 2005, the Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation placed a contract with Land Systems Hagglunds, for 74 BvS10 all terrain vehicles for the Royal Netherlands Marines. The vehicle is being procured in four variants; troop carrier (46 vehicles), command (20), repair and recovery (four) and ambulance (four). They will supplement the Bv206 vehicles in service with the Marines since the early 1990s. Deliveries began in January 2006 and by 2008, the Netherlands had 66 vehicles.

In October 2012, the UK Ministry of Defence placed a $61m contract to refurbish 99 Viking vehicles and bring to a common MkII mine-protected amphibious capability. The work is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Viking vehicle design

The Viking vehicle consists of two linked tracked units. The units are articulated vertically and horizontally for steering and for manoeuvring over rough terrain. All four tracks are driving continuously giving maximum tractive effort in all conditions. The rubber tracks systems are supplied by Soucy International of Quebec, Canada.

The body is of armoured steel construction. The rounded edges and smooth contours of the profile assist in minimising the radar cross-section.

The vehicle design allows for upgrades and for the installation of modular subsystems to suit specific operational requirements, including add-on armour, a range of weapon mounts and load changers and standard cargo platforms.

BVS10 armour

Bolt-on armour plates provide protection against 7.62mm armour-piercing rounds and 152mm artillery shell fragments from a range of more than 10m. The vehicle is rated to protect against 0.5kg charge anti-personnel mines.

BAE Systems Hägglunds is supplying the UK MoD with an initial 17 mine protection kits for the Viking.

Cummins turbo diesel engine

The vehicle is equipped with a 5.9l in-line six-cylinder turbo diesel engine designed by Cummins and producing 250bhp (183kW at 2,600rpm), more than twice the power of the Bv206. The maximum torque is 840Nm at 1,600rpm. The Allison MD3560 six forward plus one reverse speed automatic transmission has differentials and final drives on both the rear and front cabins. Hagglunds produced new designs of drive sprockets, tracks, road wheels, chassis and suspension for the Viking.

"The Viking can ford through water up to a depth of 1.5m."

Steering is by hydraulic rams that articulate the front and rear cabs in response to the driver's inputs.

Steering does not require one track to be braked as in other tracked vehicles. This gives great advantage in increasing the vehicle's over-snow, over-sand and over-soft ground capabilities.

All-terrain mobility

The fully laden weight is 10t but the Viking maintains good mobility on soft terrain such as snow, mud or sand because the ground pressure is minimised by the even load distribution over the four tracks. The tracks are 620mm wide moulded rubber with chord. The mean maximum ground pressure is about the same as that of the Bv206 vehicle, which is 4t lighter. The vehicle retains mobility even if a track is damaged by a mine.

The ground clearance of the Viking has been greatly increased over that of the Bv206 family of vehicles, to enhance the cross-country capabilities. The turning circle is 14m in diameter.

The Viking can ford through water up to a depth of 1.5m without preparation. The vehicle is fully amphibious, being able to swim in deeper water with less than two minutes preparation including closing holes and fitting a front vane to prevent a bow wave washing over the front windows. The water speed is 5km/h.

The vehicle can be deployed from all Royal Marines landing craft and transported to the area of operations by C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster. The unladen Viking can be underslung and airlifted by an RAF Chinook helicopter. The Viking can be split into two sections in just 20 minutes to be carried by the Merlin helicopter.

The Viking's speed on flat terrain is comparable to that of a modern infantry fighting vehicle. The speed requirement specifications of 50km/h on level class A roads, 35km/h on tracks and 15km/h cross country have been exceeded in vehicle trials: for example, the Viking achieved road speeds of over 80km/h. The range on metalled roads is 300km.

"The Viking's speed on flat terrain is comparable to that of a modern infantry fighting vehicle."

Front and rear cabins

The front cabin of the Viking accommodates the driver at the front left, plus three fully equipped marines.

The rear and forward cabins are linked by a two-way voice communications unit. The rear cabin can carry eight fully equipped marines. Alternatively, the rear cabin can carry a mortar section, a heavy machine gun section or a fully equipped anti-tank detachment with Milan anti-armour missiles and firing posts. Both cabins are fully air-conditioned.

The vehicles are fitted with the General Dynamics UK Bowman digital communications system.

Viking weapon and self-defence systems

In its normal deployment the vehicle remains out of contact with hostile troops but if attacked or ambushed the vehicle's self defence systems can be deployed.

The roof of the forward cabin is fitted with a ring mount for a 12.7mm Browning heavy machine gun or a 7.62 general purpose machine gun. The driver or vehicle commander can operate smoke dischargers on the front of the vehicle which can fire smoke or white phosphorous grenades.

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