Marshall Vehicle Engineering, part of Cambridge based Marshall Land Systems, has carried out a successful second round of field assessments of its Equipment Prime Mover (EPM).

The EPM, configured on this occasion as a gun towing vehicle (GTV), was put through its paces on Salisbury Plain towing a BAE Systems M777 155mm Lightweight Field Howitzer together with ammunition and gun crew.

“We were delighted with the performance of the vehicle during the assessment. It met or exceeded our expectations passing all the tests that we set for it including the ease of hitching the gun, self delivery of ammunition and the all important requirement of crew safety and comfort. Of equal importance was the advice and experience we gained as a result of the military user’s input much of it the result of recent operational experience. This will allow us to further refine our offering prior to a further assessment in the spring of 2010,” said Peter Callaghan, Chief Executive of Marshall Land Systems.

The EPM is designed to be used for a variety of tasks where the user requires a vehicle system to tow and provide integral support to equipment such as a gun, a missile launcher, surveillance equipment or even something simple such as defence stores. The vehicle capitalises on Marshall’s knowledge of load beds, chassis dynamics and systems integration and demonstrates how an in-service chassis, such as the MAN 6 tonne HX60, can be put to different uses.

The concept has been developed as a private venture which has been supported by MAN through the provision and maintenance of the chassis. It is based on the six tonne MAN HX60 Support Vehicle, which is entering service with British Forces, though the capability could equally apply to larger vehicles such as the nine and 15 tonne variants as well as other military medium or improved medium mobility vehicles. In the GTV configuration, it carries a detachment of eight together with two 1.5 tonne NATO ammunition pallets giving either 34 ready to fire 155mm rounds or 72 105mm rounds and is fitted with a crane. The load bed over hang has been configured to accommodate the human factor requirements for a prime mover allowing rapid and easy hitching of guns, radars or similar.

The vehicle cab, with space for up to three, is air conditioned, fitted for military radios and can be fitted with appliqué armour; vehicles with integral armoured cabs can also be configured as EPMs. The crew module is designed to offer the same level of blast, ballistic, environmental, CBRN protection and safety characteristics as the driver and commander enjoy. The unit is EMC compatible with the host chassis. It can also be EMI sealed if required for C4ISTAR applications.

Based on a proven chassis design, which can be waterproofed or winterised for cold weather or amphibious operations, this concept offers a low risk and cost effective means of increasing the capabilities of specialist Users whilst minimising the deployed logistic foot print and, in some cases, will lead to an enhanced capability and a reduction in vehicle numbers.