By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
19 Mar 08. In preparation for a feature on OUVS for our DVD issue, the Editor came across an article by the late great Ian Hogg in Defence Magazine, (FC 82 – a six-wheeled Bristol Rover) written in 1982.
Our readers sharpening their pencils for the upcoming OUVS bids will see similarities between then and now when the MoD and the DoD was looking for a replacement for its 1 tonne Land Rovers.
We quote: ‘In recent years a number of vehicle companies have seen that there is a gap in the market for a 2-tonne vehicle to fit into the slot between the Land-Rover/Jeep type of vehicle and the 4-tonne cargo truck. This has resulted in several offerings, among them the Pinzgauer, the ACMAT VLRA, the UNIMOG, the Fiat 75PM, the Renault 2000, the Reynolds Boughton RB44, the Stonefield, the Sandringham and the Townley to name but a handful of West European types. Some makers have tried to adapt the existing 1-tonne vehicle by uprating it, either by using a larger chassis or by uprating the engine, but in every case the object in view has been to utilise as many parts common with the 1-tonne predecessor as possible so that maintenance load is not unduly increased. In the case of the Pinzgauer, Sandringham and Townley, the aim was achieved by adding an additional axle; with the RB44 and Stonefield the vehicles had to be re-engined with the Rover V8 to achieve commonality.
(The Australians got it right with the 6×6 JRA/Land Rover Perentie but the MoD failed miserably with the terrible and costly RB44 purchase!)
At this point the British Army came up with a General Staff Requirement for a 2.5 tonne vehicle to act as a tractor for Rapier and the 105mm Light Gun, and the various manufacturers began thinking about how to make the modifications so as to meet it. This requirement has now been cancelled, the options now being to use the Land Rover or a Bedford 4-tonne as the towing vehicle. Neither of these, of course, is really the answer, so that the 2-tonne idea has begun to sound attractive again. Whatever is chosen needs to be heli-portable and must have the necessary cargo space for the ancillary equipment which needs to be carried around with the Light Gun and with rapier, and of course, not forgetting the bedrolls and cooking pots of the detachment. So far, no vehicle has proved suitable, on a variety of counts, and the feeling in the UK Ministry of Defence is that the 4-tonne is going to have to be used for the job.’
Looks familiar?! Sadly Ian Hogg died some years ago so he will not be around to write about Round 2 some 26 years later! This time around we will watch the Programme with interest!