OUVS NUMBERS LOOK TO DROP
By Julian Nettlefold
23 Mar 09. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the U.K. OUVS Requirement, which started off as a complete replacement for all British Army light vehicles totalling 17,000 is now just 1200 vehicles with both the Land Rover and Pinzgauer fleets being kept in service until at least 2020. The bulk of OUVS, as we suggested some time ago, will be slated at replacing the RB44 fleet of 954 vehicles in particular. RB44, a vehicle based on a Commer Van with 4×4 from Reynolds Boughton, was a vehicle plagued with problems since it came into service in 1982 at huge cost to the Taxpayer including a £15m contract to fix braking problems with Qinetiq which was only partially successful and now being taken out of service. It was more of a political rather than engineering-led decision to buy the RB44 as Renault promised that its Dunstable Plant would stay open saving jobs. As soon as the contract was placed Renault closed the plant. The alternative vehicle the SMC Land Rover Sandringham 6 138” was not chosen but went on to win the Australian Perentie Requirement against Mercedes Benz UNIMOG. These vehicles are still in service and being reliffed to continue until 2020. We understand the RB-44 will be taken out of service at the end of 2009.
This drop in numbers will concern some OUVS bidders which include Renault/Land Rover, NAVISTAR, IVECO, KMW, Lockheed Martin, Babcock and GDUK as a figure of 3000 was slated to enable the manufacturers to break even, this is why Mercedes is believed to have pulled out of the Programme. BATTLESPACE also understands that the MD has increased the Threat Level requirements, which has caused some of the manufacturers to redesign their existing vehicles being built under the original Requirement. This will raise the weight levels to the edge on a number of the vehicles.
With the LPPV project progressing with a different spec, this will also bring OUVS number down even further? Could the OUVS programme become uneconomic with the UK joining the US and Australia in the JLTV Program? If this could be negotiated it would allow such companies as Lockheed Martin Owego to transfer JLTV technology to the U.K. Lockheed’s US JLTV and UK OUVS suspension technology is based on the British design from HMT purchased by Lockheed in 1999. LPPV, whilst based on STANAG 2 Protection alos looks like to raise its threat profile putting it closer to the U.S. MAT-V level.
NP Aerospace and Force Protection have announced a new Alliance to meet these Requirements.