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GLOBETROTTING

GLOBETROTTING…
By Shaun Connors

Shaun Connors leapfrogs around the world top provide a snapshot of all things military truck-related…

With this issue of Battlespace due to become available just days before the UK’s annual Defence Vehicles Dynamics (DVD) show, the logical place to start our globetrotting look at all things military truck-related has to be the UK, and our staring point here a recently fulfilled truck-related UOR (Urgent Operational Requirement) that slipped under the radar of most…

This UOR, while not enjoying the highest of profiles, will none-the-less deliver a much-needed capability to soldiers in the field. Sadly it is a UOR that the more astute of commentators anticipated some time ago, in fact foresaw back in 2001, and at the time the MoD announced its selection of a fully legislatively compliant environmentalist-appeasing fleet of multi-axle/wheeled under-width heavy equipment/tank transport trailers. A total miss-match with their 700 hp 8×8 Oshkosh 1070F tractors, these trailers quickly proved themselves wholly unsuited to use on deployed operations. As a direct result of this, in late-2009 Broshuis of Holland was awarded a UOR contract to supply 20 heavy-duty 45-tonne payload two-axle full-width trailers, these capable of operating effectively on surfaces other than metalled roads…

Another reasonably low-profile UK procurement is the ongoing delivery by IVECO of 182 6×6 Trakker range trucks to ALC as part of that company’s 16-year Private Finance Initiate (PFI) undertaking for the MoD’s C-vehicle fleet. The bulk of the fleet will be tippers (63 Medium Dump Truck / 71 Self-Loading Dump Truck), with the remainder split between Truck-Mounted Loader (TML) and small quantities of drilling rigs and flush capping system platforms. Outside of this PFI procurement, IVECO will also supply the MoD direct with 15 (inc. a trials vehicle) 8×8 Trakker SLDTs fitted with a blast protected cab.

The UK’s highest profile truck procurement is probably the £1.3 billion Support Vehicle programme. This continues apace with around 4,200 of the 7,216 trucks ultimately ordered under the original contract and option delivered by mid-June.

Support Vehicle was one of the first global truck contract awards that included an integral protection element, this calling for all but a small number of vehicles dedicated to training to be fitted for but not with an appliqué protection kit, 1,098 of which were ordered. With the situation on deployed operations in Afghanistan and Iraq deteriorating, in 2008 the MoD disclosed a package of measures under a UOR known as Project Fortress to up-armour and further enhance the crew protection capabilities of 280 Support Vehicles for use on deployed operations.

At the same time Project Barricade was disclosed, this the conversion of 90 standard Support Vehicle HX55 8×8 15-tonne cargo trucks into load-handling system (LHS) equipped trucks. These trucks, uparmoured as part of Project Fortress, are known as Enhanced Palletised Load System (EPLS) and were to supplement/replace current Leyland and Foden DROPS vehicles on deployed operations, these unable to accept suitable levels of add-on crew protection.

Most recently the MoD has bought an additional 87 (56 + 31) EPLS trucks outside of the Support Vehicle contract, the 31 vehicles a training fleet. Additionally, in excess of 300 Support Vehicles (including the 56 new-build EPLS) are currently being upgrading to the latest Theatre Entry Standard (TES), with around two-thirds of the required work being carried out in-theatre.

The MoD will also receive an additional 107 HX60 4×4 6-tonne cargo trucks. These are being supplied by MAN under contract with BAE Systems as carrier vehicles for the Falcon Area Communications Systems, the original platform choice (Supacat) unable to accommodate evolving requirements that included a cab armouring solution.

In summary, the total number of Support Vehicles (including trailers) and deriva

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