29 Jun 04. Major Duncan Bedding gave a brief to industry with regard to developments in the Operational Utility Vehicle (OUVs) requirement for the replacement of the current fleet of Land Rover, Pinzgauer and RB 44 vehicles, for 9000 vehicles with a proposed ISD of 2009 purchased over a 4-5 year period. This will mean that the current fleet including the RB-44 White Elephant could be kept in service until 2012.
The requirement is currently undergoing evaluation with an endorsed solution expected in the Feb-April 05 timeframe. The current Supacat ATMP 6×6 vehicle replacement would be kept outside OUVs and a separate procurement Ultra Light Utility System (ULUS) initiated for the procurement of ATVs and motorbikes to replace the current Harley Davidson fleet. Duncan Williamson, of the ULUS team said that it was likely that more ATVs than motorbikes would be procured and the IPT was looking favourably on the Prowler RTV, two of which would be going on trial with the MoD. “The benefit of the Prowler is that its wheeled steering and configuration makes training easier than the handle barred ATVs in service. In addition safety is a prime consideration given the complexity of riding current ATVs on slopes and rough terrain.”
Bedding admitted that OUVs had become a greater challenge than anticipated and also pointed out that 6 tonnes was the top weight requirement, which would appear to impinge on the SV contract which also requires 6 tonnes. Has the Mod done its sums and decided that to cut costs that the 4000 4×4 6 tonnes required for SV, which would come at the bottom of the cycle could now be procured under OUVs taking some £500m off the SV requirement at a time of budget strain. (See OSHKOSH POISED FOR SUPPORT VEHICLE REQUIREMENT?)
He told BATTLESPACE that the current Land Rover was too small with the BOWMAN fit of 500kgs and two men with 140kg of equipment. He suggested the need for a larger vehicle such as a 6×6 Land Rover, which the Editor pointed out had been offered to the MoD by SMC in 1982 and turned down in favour of the RB-44, repaired and refurbished over the years costing an extra £15m+ whilst the Australians purchased 560 Perentie Land Rovers which are still in service! (See AUSTRALIA LAND 121 – PROJECT OVERLANDER).
Other projects discussed were the £500m Heavy Load Distribution Capability (HLDC) to replace DTROPS in 2010, with a procurement of 1300 units. The current DROPS fleet can be carried on until then. HLDC will also have a container handling requirement and the ability to operate on UK roads. The LET, Light Equipment Transporter programme, for which an interim trailer has just been procured, will provide a fleet of 100+ units in a contract worth £30m to transport vehicles with a potential payload of up to 44 tonnes.