29 Jun 06. As part of the OUVs Requirement to Support the Land Rover fleet into the next decade and beyond the DPA has embarked on a number of upgrade contracts to the existing fleet. This puts on the back-burner any suggestion that the current fleet will be replaced with new vehicles; there simply isn’t the budget available and as most Land Rovers ever built are still around and in service with 48 Armed Forces, in some form, upgrade would seem the way forward for this robust vehicle.
Approximately 15,000 Land Rovers are in service with the British Army worldwide. Army Land Rovers are militarised Defender 90s and 110s, and the high performance Wolf. Designated the Trucks Utility Light (TUL) and Medium (TUM), Army Land Rovers carry reconnaissance and fire control teams, support weapons with their crews and ammunition, and communication and information systems for commanders.
Some Wolf Land Rovers TUM(HS) are winterised and waterproofed: a snorkel allows the vehicle to wade through water up to windscreen level and an engine fluids heater is fitted to pre-warm the engine – along with the other modifications to enable the vehicle and crew to operate in extreme conditions. Other vehicles are stripped down and fitted with roll cages and weapons mounts – the Weapons Mount Installation Kit (or ‘Wimik’) – for use as reconnaissance and close fire support vehicles. Typically the vehicle will carry one 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun and a 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun.
An announcement was expected that ABRO was to be awarded a major refurbishment contract supported by the likes of Hobson Industries who would supply chassis and spares, but this may be made at Farnborough? BATTLESPACE understands that ABRO will refurbish any wrecked or damaged Land Rovers up to spec using spares or cannibalising those vehicles thought to be beyond repair.
DVD showed a number of Land Rover and other armoured conversions from NP Aerospace, Hobsons, PGAM and Optomise which showed its Ford F350 whilst PGAM showed its armoured Volkswagen. Hobson’s new armoured patrol vehicle has evolved from the work undertaken by for the Police Service of Northern Ireland to protect those who keep the peace. The vehicle is protected against a range of ballistic threats and improvised weapons which come from the civil disobedience and anti terrorist environment. This armoured patrol Land Rover differs from the traditional protected vehicle family in that it meets Stanag Level 1 threat levels whilst retaining significant payload within the Land Rover 110 4 tonne rated chassis configuration. (See: BATTLESPACE MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS Vol. 5 Issue 3, 28 June 2006, DVD 2006 NEWS, DAY 1, HOBSON INDUSTRIES LAUNCH THE HOBSON RANGER AT DVD)
NP showed versions of its battle proven CAV100 SNATCH vehicle. The CAV100 offers ballistic protection levels up to CEN Level B6 coupled with a payload of over half a tonne, within the original Land Rover design weight of 3,500 Kg. A wide range of optional extras is available to allow the unit to be tailored to precise customer specifications. NP is celebrating its 80th Anniversary; BATTLESPACE will be running a feature on this event in our October issue.
The problems of mounting the Bowman system in existing Land Rovers has been overcome through two parallel DPA contracts, Hermes and Shoehorn. Project Shoehorn will fit 3500 Wolf Land Rovers with an anti-roll bar as fitted to early range Rovers to bring the payload up 150kg from 3350 – 3500kgs, whilst Project Hermes will refit 1079 soft top Wolfs with hard tops and upgrade them to FFR specification. In addition 18 ‘Wimiks’ will be rebuilt from damaged vehicles.