It has been common practice for many years for a new British Army vehicle Requirement to be announced at DVD, many of these never see the light of day, but it focuses industry and the media on the need to attend DVD.
This year sees the upcoming British Army Light Utility Vehicle Programme as being centre of attention, in what is a real and urgent requirement to replace a mixed bag of ageing and out of date vehicles. Some of the vehicles will replace the existing Land Rover WMIK and Pinzgauer fleets. The Requirement is believed to be divided into several parts, 1000 Oshkosh JLTV vehicles built in the UK, up to 600 light vehicles to replace the Pinzgauers and WMIKs used by the 16th Air Assault Brigade and the Royal Marines, with a new fleet for the Ranger Battalions, 200 armoured civilian pickups, a number of soft top hybrid pickups for the White Fleet, (with Toyota seen as being the favoured vehicle, with the new Defender making a late run), and a Project to electrify part of the Land Rover Wolf Fleet, with a total of 200 vehicles of various types required in the current financial year. The announcement of an RfP is likely to be made during DVD in September.
The details of the RfP are not known but it is likely to include a replacement vehicle which has a wide range of tasks to fulfil for a wide array of users. Some of those tasks may demand an automotive platform that offers more payload/load space/mobility than what has gone before.
The customer may demand a common chassis to ease and manage all aspects of cost and complexity of sustainment. A key requirement is for CH-47 Internal Transportability and underslung from Merlin, an issue for 4×4 as they get heavier, the 1364Kgs weight limit on each tyre limits All Up Weight to 4500Kgs, one way to increase All Up Weight is add an axle to spread the load. One of the reasons believed to be for the delay in the JLYV programme was the requirement to have it underslung from a Merlin, which in its current configuration with added armour for the proposed UK variant. The requirement is believed to include a 6×6 variant which allows grater payload for such tasks as certain weapons mounts and a gun tactor with a standard NATO pallet. Speed across rough terrain is generally accepted to be faster/more stable in a 3-axle vehicle as compared to 2 axles. Another key requirement is a ‘Built in The UK,’ label to qualify under the new Land Industrial Strategy.
Light Utility Vehicle Background
As many of our readers know, the Editor is a firm supporter of the 6×6 concept having started his working life at SMC Engineering in Bristol which built the prototype 6×6 Land Rover Defender for the Australian Perentie Requirement and the Sandringham 6 125 6×6 vehicle. Hotspur Armoured products purchased the company in 1981 and developed its own range of 6×6 vehicles including the Hussar armoured vehicle range.
In our view the Perentie design, which is just coming out of service in Australia now, should have formed the basis for a fleet of British Army 6×6 vehicles, but, for reasons best known to themselves the Army decided against the SMC product and settled for the 6×6 Pinzgauer in 1993.
There have been many fleets of light utility vehicles that have been used in the armed forces of Europe, Australia and the Middle East that have blended the payload, load space and mobility capabilities of 4×4 and 6×6 vehicles. These fleets have been based on Mercedes Benz G-Wagen, Land Rover and Pinzgauer with the 6×6 building upon and expanding the capability of a 4×4.
Crucially the 2 rear axles spreads the increased load to lower and optimise ground pressure between the 3 axles, thereby boosting vehicle mobility and stability, a benefit for
Within the Light Utility Vehicle application there are many applications
that have used 6×6 Light Utility Vehicles:
- Mobile Command Post
- Surveillance & Recce
- Maintenance Vehicle
- Cable Line Layer
- Special Operations Vehicles
- Special Forces Mothership
- Light Mortar/105mm Light Gun
- Telescopic Mast/Surveillance/Shelter
- Airfield Fire & Rescue
We give below a line-up of the likely contenders for the Light Vehicle Utility Requirement
The Oshkosh joint light tactical vehicle (JLTV) was developed by Oshkosh Defence for the US Army and Marine Corps. It is developed to replace the ageing fleet of High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV/Humvee). The Oshkosh JLTV is being offered in four variants, including a utility vehicle with two doors, a general-purpose vehicle, a weapon carrier for combat requirements, and a heavy gun carrier vehicle.
Jankel Teaming Agreement With Oshkosh
Jankel, the UK vehicle systems specialist, signed a teaming agreement with Oshkosh Defense in June 2022 to harness the joint capabilities and strengths of both companies for the UK defence market. The collaboration has been specifically formed to lead a UK based team of subject matter experts that delivers the Oshkosh JLTV vehicle to meet crucial protected mobility requirements of the British Armed Forces.
Oshkosh and Jankel are ideally suited to work together – bringing the global market presence, extensive portfolio of past performance, and cutting-edge technology of Oshkosh together with the flexibility, pedigree, and UK customer focus of Jankel. This agreement sees the initiation of a dynamic team of Britain’s leading experts in vehicle design, integration, support, and project delivery with significant experience in repeatedly solving UK specific defence vehicle related challenges.
The teaming agreement not only ensures that the UK Armed Forces get access to the world leading Oshkosh Defense JLTV to meet future Protected Mobility requirements, but it also unleashes the potential of UK defence industry and delivers on the recently launched Land Industrial Strategy (LIS). By procuring the JLTV through this newly formed team, the UK MoD maintains the economies of scale offered by the sizeable US JLTV programme whilst also leveraging local manufacture, design, integration, on-shore SME supply chain, and through life support capabilities.
John Lazar, Oshkosh Defense Vice President & General Manager, International Programs said: “We have been providing vehicles and support to the UK MOD for over 20 years. Our collaboration with Jankel leverages the successful innovation of UK industry to provide the UK Armed Forces the enduring capabilities required for the modern battlefield.”
Andrew Jankel, Chairman at Jankel said: “Jankel has been providing protected vehicles to the British Forces for many years and we are extremely excited to be teaming with Oshkosh Defense, working together to provide innovative solutions to meet the UK’s defence equipment challenges. This partnership allows us to deliver an enduring multi-year programme with an agile UK team.” He added, “Looking ahead, this partnership supports our long-term strategy to develop a UK based centre of excellence that integrates the best of British technology and innovation into world-leading vehicle platforms.”
Prospeed Toyota 6×6 HILOAD
The Prospeed Toyota 6×6 HILOAD builds upon the capabilities of the Hilux 4×4 pickup. In many customer applications the 4×4 quickly runs out of payload, load space
and has degraded mobility. The 6×6 HILOAD provides the solution to many of these industrial and light utility vehicle projects by boosting payload to 3,000Kg, load space and mobility.
There have been many fleets of light utility vehicles that have been used in the armed forces of Europe, Australia and the Middle East that have blended the payload, load space and mobility capabilities of 4×4 and 6×6 vehicles.
These fleets have been based on Mercedes Benz G-Wagen, Land Rover and Pinzgauer with the 6×6 building upon and expanding the capability of a 4×4.
The same can be done with Toyota Hilux, with a light utility fleet blending 4×4 and 6×6 capability using the same drive-train and logistics.
A 6×6 vehicle solves this problem by adding an additional axle which increases payload to 3,000Kg, and increasing load bed length by 1230mm.
Crucially the 2 rear axles spreads the increased load to lower and optimise ground pressure between the 3 axles, thereby boosting vehicle mobility.
Supacat Jackal and Coyote
Supacat has produced a number of variants of the Jackal, the HMT 400 series, and the Coyote 6×6 HMT 600 Series can be supplied with an optional mine blast and ballistic protection kit and can be fitted with a variety of mission specific hampers, weapons, communications, ISTAR and force protection equipment to suit a wide range of operational roles. Supacat is developing new variants of HMT family for recovery, logistic support and gun towing roles, in order to bring them into the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Core fleet. Supacat is also adding a 4×4 to 6×6 convertible feature to Jackal, besides launching the Logistic Support and Recovery variants. In May 2022 Supacat, in collaboration with AM General and Mandus Group, launched a 105mm cannon onto the HMT 600 MK2 using Soft Recoil Technology. The HMT family has been supplied all over the world to the UK, Denmark, Norway, Estonia in excess of 700 vehicles; the USA in excess of 50 vehicles and Australasia in excess of 130 vehicles.
Launch Of New-Generation Mercedes-Benz G-Class
September 2021 saw the world premiere of the new-generation Mercedes-Benz G-Class for Rescue and Special Operations, the Model Series 464. Mercedes-Benz is opening a new chapter in the success story of the off-road vehicle with the largest product revision of the G-Class for Rescue and Special Operations in 29 years. As a robust vehicle, the new G-Class for Rescue and Special Operations (Model Series 464) ensures maximum mobility even under the most difficult conditions. Enhanced off-road and on-road performance as well as maximum user-friendliness, combined with new features such as the Emergency Override Switch for emergency situations, characterise the new model. The new G-generation is initially available as a Station Wagon and as a Chassis with Cab. In addition to the standard 2850mm wheelbase B6 model, which has a 1.4 tonne payload but still meets the 3.5 tonne GVW limitation for a car licence, a much higher payload 3650mm long wheelbase B9 version tipping the scales at 4.9 tonnes has also already been developed. A standard wheelbase version of the G-Class 464 with an LAPV (Light Armoured Patrol Vehicle) body by Plasan and portal axles for increased ground clearance has also been developed and we were given a preview of this new baby too.
GM Defense ISV
GM Defense LLC, a subsidiary of General Motors, celebrated the first delivery of the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) – a light and agile all-terrain troop carrier intended to transport a nine-Soldier infantry squad and their equipment – to the U.S. Army as part of a $214.3 million contract awarded in June 2020. GM Defense will manufacture 649 ISVs and will support the production of up to 2,065 vehicles with additional authorization over eight years. This is the first major award and delivery for GM Defense since the subsidiary was reestablished by its parent company in 2017. The ISV is based off the award-winning Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize truck architecture and leverages 90 percent proven commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) parts, including Chevrolet Performance race components. The 5,000-pound ISV was uniquely engineered to fulfill military requirements and designed to provide rapid ground mobility. The expeditionary ISV is light enough to be sling loaded from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and compact enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for air transportability. The COTS parts, combined with the ISV’s innovative Rollover Protection System, will provide agile transportability on the battlefield to support mission success. GM Defense has a teaming agreement with Ricardo Defense, which leads the Integrated Product Support for the ISV, including technical manual development, new equipment training, provisioning, total package fielding and field service support.
Hobson Industries Gunship
Hobson Industries is launching a gunship based on a reworked Land Rover WMIK chassis at DVD with the new lightweight THEMIS armour system developed by Hobsons. The armament will be the new FN .50 calibre machine gun. The FN® M3P is a .50-caliber (12.7x99mm) single-barrel high rate-of-fire machine gun optimized for remote firing from aircraft, ground vehicles and naval craft and provides both offensive and defensive firepower ranging out to nearly 1,850 meters. This will be the first time that the FN® M3P has been seen vehicle mounted. The re-purposed and upgraded and ballistically protected CAV 100 SNATCH and Land Rover WMIK Gunship platforms fitted with the THEMIS armour system© will be on display on Hobson Industries stand OR-35 on the Off Road Centre at DVD
Peter Hobson, Managing Director of Hobson Industries said, “Protection of light 4×4 vehicles on the battlefield has often been hampered by payload issues, thus armour and protection is limited to providing a vehicle with the protection and mobility within these parameters. Wars and conflicts show that cunning adversaries use overmatch techniques to defeat these protection systems to destroy these vehicles and their occupants on the battlefield. The harrowing photographs of soldiers and their vehicles being decimated by IEDS in Iraq and Afghanistan created a rush by the Allied Forces to produce a range of light vehicles with adequate protection for their occupants. The development of the THEMIS Armour System© can be traced back to the Northern Ireland conflict of the early 1990s.”
Hawkei Light Protected Vehicle
The Australian government in association with Thales Australia is offering the Hawkei and Bushmaster vehicles using the leverage of a ‘made in UK,’ sticker and also the requirement for the UK to make use of Offset requirements mandated under the Hunter-Class frigate deal.
Hawkei is a lightweight protected vehicle designed and developed to meet the requirements of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). It is manufactured by Thales Australia for the Department of Defence’s Land 121 phase 4 programme that aims to replace the Australian Army’s Land Rovers. The Hawkei vehicle is powered by a 200Kw engine supplied by Steyr Motors.
The Hawkei protected vehicle is offered in four-door and two-door variants. The Hawkei vehicle is powered by a 200Kw (268hp) Steyr V6 diesel engine manufactured by Austrian firm Steyr Motors. The inline starter or generator offers sufficient level of electrical power to drive the C4I and mission equipment. The twin-turbo engine is fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission system. The vehicle features a four-wheel drive and a an independent coil-type suspension. It has a central tyre inflation system with exceptional on and off-road performance in all types of road conditions.
Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle
The Bushmaster 4×4 armoured vehicle has been deployed in Afghanistan with the Australian Army. The Bushmaster provides high-level protection against anti-tank mines, improvised explosive devices, mortar fragments and small arms fire. The Bushmaster armoured vehicle, developed by Thales Australia (formerly ADI Limited) is in full production at ADI’s engineering and manufacturing facility at Bendigo, Victoria. The first of 300 Bushmaster vehicles was delivered to the Australian Army in August 2004. With a road cruise speed of 100km/h, the Bushmaster transports up to ten troops, quickly and comfortably. The Bushmaster provides high-level protection against anti-tank mines, improvised explosive devices, mortar fragments and small arms fire. The Bushmaster armoured vehicle, developed by Thales Australia (formerly ADI Limited) is in full production at ADI’s engineering and manufacturing facility at Bendigo, Victoria. The first of 300 Bushmaster vehicles was delivered to the Australian Army in August 2004 and the vehicle was operationally deployed to Iraq in April 2005 and Afghanistan in September 2005. Deliveries completed in 2008. The 500th Bushmaster vehicle was completed in October 2008. Other customers include, the Netherlands 86, UK 24, Jamaica 12, Japan 4.
Bushmaster was shortlisted for the UK MoD MRV(P) Group 2 Requirement, now shelved.
AM General HUMVEE NXT 360
It is likely that AM General, will offer the revolutionary HUMVEE NXT 360 light tactical vehicle with an option to having the vehicle built in the UK. The NXT 360 leverages the existing HUMVEE platform and includes additional enhancements like a long travel suspension, a more powerful engine, and higher foot pounds of torque that make this vehicle rugged and nimble at the same time. Similar to the iconic HUMVEE vehicles, the NXT 360 will have the same versatility to accommodate multiple mission requirements: from 2-, 4- and 6-passenger seating with room for personnel and mission equipment. Additionally, the HUMVEE NXT 360 on display at DSEI will feature the Kongsberg Remote Weapons Station (RWS) and Raytheon BBN’s Boomerang Gunshot Detection System as an example of the vehicle’s ability to integrate various types of weapon and protection systems. The concept integration provides an increased level of protection by offering Boomerang’s best-in-class shooter detection capability and the NXT 360’s superior handling to avoid harm and respond to hostile fire
General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) Range Of Vehicles
General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) presented the new Airborne 4×4 Light Tactical MERLIN at EUROSATORY 2022. The vehicle, designed by GDELS, is based upon the same engineering principles as the EAGLE, which sets the standard in its class. The LTV MERLIN is an extremely durable, compact, light and robust vehicle platform, which provides superior multi-role, payload potential and protection for its military users. The MERLIN provides unmatched payload range and user space in its 4×4 wheeled vehicle configuration. The compact 4×4 vehicle fits inside CH-47 or CH-53 transport helicopters and can accommodate up to 10 soldiers. The unique driveline and suspension technology of the vehicle is a derivate of GDELS` proven and in-service DURO / EAGLE 4×4 chassis. Powered by a modern diesel engine, MERLIN provides superior agility, maneuverability and cross-country mobility. Due to the flexibility and versatility of the vehicle body design, the MERLIN can be configured in different variants for personnel transport, ambulance, logistic and combat missions.
The combat proven EAGLE Family of Vehicles is NATO interoperable and in service with various armed forces. It offers a high payload and a large protected interior in addition to a flexible load space at the rear of the vehicle. Depending on the mission role, 4×4 or 6×6 versions are available. The EAGLE survivability standards provide proven mine, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and ballistic protection that was previously achieved only in vehicles twice its weight. These advances in survivability and capability have been achieved without compromising mobility or reliability. The vehicle allows for a flexible internal layout to accommodate a large number of staff or mission systems and material. The EAGLE 4×4 and 6×6 family uses the same chassis and drive train components, offering unmatched payload/gross vehicle weight ratio and a flexible internal layout to support various mission roles. Unique De-Dion suspension with large axle articulation and high wheel travel; Roll stabilizer system allows axle twisting and restricts body rolling; High power-to-weight ratio; High torque CUMMINS diesel engine, with Allison automatic transmission; Safe on-road handling with exceptional performance; Proven in all climate zones. Mission Roles include,
Eagle was shortlisted for the UK MoD MRV(P) Group 2 Requirement, now shelved.
Defenture ATTV (Air Transportable Tactical Vehicle)
Launched in 2014, the ATTV light tactical vehicle is being built by Defenture BV. The ATTV lightweight tactical vehicle is based on a centre tubular chassis platform, which allows for quick reconfiguration of the vehicle to meet various mission needs. It offers rugged reliability and superior agility. The vehicle can be air transportable internally by medium helicopters such as CH-53 Sea Stallion and CH-47 Chinook. Length of the ATTV is 4.95m long, whilst the height is 1.84m. It also has a wheelbase of 3.1m, whilst the overall width of the vehicle without mirrors is 1.8m. The kerb weight and maximum payload weights are 2,250kg each, while the gross vehicle weight (GVW) is approximately 4,500kg. Up to four troops and a gunner can be accommodated by the vehicle, Its lightweight, unique design allows for the installation of optional equipment, including a self-recovery winch, latest communications, jammers, additional radios and other soldier equipment. The ATTV military tactical vehicle features a foldable ring-mount on the roof to carry a 50 calibre machine gun. Both the front and rear sections can be fitted with swing mounts to hold machine guns. The vehicle can also be equipped with one ammo box and smoke grenade launchers. Ballistic and anti-mine kits can be integrated into the vehicle to provide all-round protection up to STANAG 4569 level 1. It can be additionally installed with armour products developed by TenCate Advanced Armour. The ATTV 4×4 wheeled vehicle is powered by a four-stroke, M160053-B diesel engine developed by Steyr. The engine generates a power output of 160Kw and a torque of 500Nm. It is coupled to ZF 6HP280 six-speed, automatic transmission.
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Netherland-based DEFENTURE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase their cooperation for LuLa, a new airborne platform, during Eurosatory 2022. The airborne platform is part of the German Parliament-approved €100bn special fund to modernise the country’s military. Being developed under a German-Dutch procurement project, the LuLa system will replace the airborne forces’ existing vehicles. The new system will be developed along the lines of Defenture’s Groundforce (GRF) system, which is already in service with the Netherlands’ military. Verified by the Netherlands Army, the GRF is a military off-the-shelf platform. Weighing 5t and having a payload of 2t, the air-transportable system is designed to fit in a CH-47F Chinook helicopter. With integrated and modular ballistic protection, the platform also offers complete configuration freedom. As per the agreement, KMW will be responsible for the equipment kits that can be changed without the need for special tools.
Plasan Sasa Ltd. Wilder
Wilder provides Stanag 4569 Level 2 protection for 4 people in a compact package weighing just 3.7t and offering a full 800kg of payload. With a huge 370mm of wheel travel due to a unique patented suspension system, a reliable 420Nm engine driving all 4 wheels through an 8-speed automatic gearbox, and a central driving position with panoramic view, the Wilder has the mobility and off-road capability of a racing buggy, combined with the protection and remotely operated firepower normally only seen on vehicles weighing twice as much. Situational awareness is excellent for all 4 occupants in the comfortable air-conditioned monocoque Kitted Hull™, and the rear cargo bed can accommodate a NATO pallet packed with equipment and supplies for a long mission with ease. Light and compact, Wilder is internally transportable by CH47 making it deployable wherever your forces need to be, and allowing it to take on multiple missions including reconnaissance and raids over the roughest terrains and in the harshest of conditions. Options available include 4-wheel steering and remote control of the entire vehicle. The crew can dismount and remotely drive the vehicle and its weapon to a vantage point without putting themselves in danger. With this fully integrated drive-by-wire capability and associated cameras and sensors, the Wilder is also ready for fully autonomous operation.
INEOS see the forthcoming Light Vehicle Requirement as an opportunity to offer a number of variants of its Grenadier vehicle in armoured and non-armoured configurations.
The Grenadier is powered by a choice of BMW six-cylinder engines; the 3.0L B58 inline 6 petrol engine and the 3.0L B57 inline 6 diesel engine. In the Grenadier, B57 diesel engine makes 183kW of power (3250-4200rpm) and 550Nm of torque (1250-3000rpm). The B58 petrol engine makes 210kW of power (4750rpm) and 450Nm of torque (1750-4000rpm).
Both engines come mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission (codenamed 8HP51 for the petrol, 8HP76 for the diesel), with what INEOS calls a new ‘heavy duty’ torque converter.
All Grenadiers come standard with permanent four-wheel drive (4WD), with low-range accessed through a 2.5:1 Tremec two-speed transfer case.
The Grenadier is built on a box-section ladder frame chassis. There are heavy duty Carraro beam axles at each end, paired to five-link coil suspension supplied by Eibach offering nine degrees of front axle articulation and 12 degrees at the rear, and anti-roll bars for road handling.
The Light Vehicle Utility Requirement is the first major UK light vehicle programme since the Land Rover/Pinzgauer TUL/TUM Requirement in the late eighties, with the Afghan UORs in the intervening years which resulted in the Mastiff family and the Navistar Husky. Work on the Requirement is likely to kick off in earnest post-DVD, with the MoD pencilling in an early buy of 200 assorted vehicles late in 2022.