Aug 02. The end of the year should see the selection of a preferred bidder for the MoDs FCLV programme as the DMS phase ITT submissions have been made by the three teams, Alvis, UDLP and Vickers. A number of developments have focused attention on the project one being the take-over by Alvis of Vickers. Some observers see FCLV as being a big potential for the merged entity.
Insys, which had previously led the ACMAT based bid, failed to qualify for the final DM&S phase ITT, due to financial guarantee requirements. Their role is now undertaken by UDLP from USA but project management/integration being retained by Insys (partnered with Marshals) and the vehicle being soured from Acmat. This extra layer of management and cost may prove to be the undoing of the bid, however sources close to BATTLESPACE indicate that the vehicle has met with a favourable response during trials.
BATTLESPACE drove the Alvis IVECO MLV vehicle at DVD and it was sluggish and had little room for equipment, the vehicle has already been re-engined to offer better power performance. The Alvis Scarab, which although favoured during the Belgian trials is considered too small and difficult to access in some quarters. The Vickers vehicles are based on their South African production range and the demo vehicle offered at various exhibitions is still in prototype stage.
With the battle hotting up and the combined might of Alvis and Vickers competing against the ACMAT vehicle observations have been made regarding the cost, speed, size and weight of the ACMAT vehicle and the lack of a crew citadel or V-shaped hull for mine protection. However the vehicle has been the choice of a number of overseas armed forces for many years including our own Special Forces and with the inclusion of UDLP the final choice for FCLV may go down to the wire.