30 Oct 03. During the DaimlerChrysler Drive Day on October 30th, Ian Jones, managing Director, Commercial Vehicles, DaimlerChrysler UK, outlined details of the final proposal to the U.K. Mod for the Support Vehicle contract, the largest available this decade in Europe over the next decade it is tendering for against MAN of Germany and Oshkosh and Stewart & Stevenson of the USA. The contract requires 8500 vehicles of differing types from 8×8 to 4×4 to be delivered in 2007 and supported for 20 years.
Ian Jones stressed the commercial aspects of the DaimlerChrysler bid stating that the bid would require the support of the DaimlerChrysler network of suppliers in 256 countries, a truly global footprint, which he believed was unique amongst the offerings. He announced that DC is working with several U.K. Regional Development Agencies to identify and select a partner to assemble the S2000 chassis/cabs in the UK. It is anticipated that the supplier, to be selected under competitive tender and in competition with European suppliers, will need to provide factory facilities of circa 6,000 sq. m and employ over 50 people. In addition DC had pinpointed the DaimlerChrysler facility in Burnely and the Mayflower facility in Birmingham for further work. 160 jobs will be created and 1200 sustained in DaimlerChrysler UK and its subcontractors directly involved in the contract. In addition DaimlerChrysler has committed to 100% offset for the contract, one benefit being that Mayflower will manufacture the cab for all overseas S2000 sales. Jones outlined the strength of DaimlerChrysler’s operations in the UK, sating that the company had sold 30,000 vehicles last year, not all the cheapest in the bid, suggesting that the DaimlerChrysler bid was not the cheapest. Another spokesman suggested that they believed the Stewart & Stevenson bid was believed to be lower. Other partners include King Vehicle Engineering, cargo bodies and recovery trailers, EKA, recovery vehicle, Alfons Haar Ltd, tankers, Rotzler (UK) hydraulic winches, Krauss Maffei Wegman, armour kits, Partek Cargotec, cranes, Atlas-Terrex Ltd, recovery vehicle cranes. He outlined the huge strength of the DaimlerChrysler worldwide defence operations; the company is now selling to 57 armies.
Robin Smith of DaimlerChrysler, told BASTTLESPACE that the initial offer stating the S2000 vehicle would be made in Hungary and exported to the UK met with some opposition from the DPA, hence the change in tactic. He said that the combination of the flexible chassis and the armoured floor, which would be standard for all vehicles, gives the vehicle a lead in mobility and protection. He said that DaimlerChrysler had recognized some time ago the need for armouring of truck cabs and the S2000 had been designed with this in mind. The bonneted layout, unusual for a British Army Truck, gave the driver more protection and enabled the armour kit to rest behind the front axle. The Editor drove the S2000, which is in prototype form and although impressed with the general handling, the bulk of the vehicle was noticeable from other vehicles driven such as the Stewart & Stevenson FMTV vehicle. The S&S vehicle was certainly more nimble cross country and gave better visibility being forward control. The S2000 gearbox was sluggish but Smith told BATTLESPACE that the production vehicles would be fitted with the Allison automatic box. Certainly the prototype vehicle looked large for any C-130 application and there was certainly room to hone the design which was fairly basic with the cab and cargo bay sitting high on the chassis. The star of the show was the 8×8 Actros which with a V6 turbocharged OM457LA skipped over the terrain like a centipede. The combination of the flexible chassis and suspension system gave the vehicle incredible cross-country mobility. The editor also drove the ubiquitous Unimog vehicle which showed impressive cross-country ability and is now being trailed by the British Army for a number of ro