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By Julian Nettlefold, BATTLESPACE Editor

30 Apr 04. As the decision on the winner of the U.K. Support Vehicle requirement reaches fruition with an announcement expected in June, all eyes will now turn to the Operational Utility Vehicle System (OUVs) requirement which will replace the current fleet of TUL/TUM/TUH vehicle which include the current fleet of Land Rovers, Pinzgauers, the RB-44 white elephant and a number of other marques, estimated to be 15000. Since selling 8000 Wolves to the Mod, land Rover has not supplied large quantities due to lack of compliance on the Euro 1 engines. Land Rover has confirmed that Defender will remain in production until 2007, however on current projections for OUVs it looks very much as if a larger family of vehicles, giving a greater breadth of payload is required.

The procurement of OUVs will be handled by the new SUV IPT Team, (See: ‘DVD 2004 – DEMONSTRATING THROUGH LIFE SUPPORT, BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold Meets Colonel Carew Wilks’). The OUVs requirement as it stands is for a fleet requirement of 9000 vehicles to be bought into service between 2009 and 2012. The vehicles payload range will run form 1 to 6 tonnes although exact breakdown of numbers has not been decided. Manufacturers expected to be interested in OUVs include Ford with Ricardo, Land Rover, Daimler Chrysler from Germany with GWagen and Unimog and from the USA with the Dodge range, Automotive Technik and SUPACAT.

However, Colonel Wilks told BATTLESPACE that, “The strategy is to reduce the logistic footprint on operations, and to reduce Whole Life Costs. This is driving us towards fewer variants of vehicles; in other words, as much standardisation in each category as possible. To further drive down Whole Life Costs we are looking for innovative support solutions covering bundles of vehicles, and it is this approach which is leading us to seek to establish long term supply and support contracts with a smaller number of suppliers, especially for the larger fleets.”

This envisages a large multi-national supplier such as Ford or Daimler Chrysler managing OUVs with smaller niche companies such as Automotive Technik, SUPACAT and Ricardo supplying niche requirements and conversions.

BATTLESPACE visited Ricardo Vehicle Engineering at Shoreham to discuss its MoD involvement with Paul Tarry, Operations Director and John Lake. “We are looking very strongly at the OUVs requirement and believe that we have the right solution with the Ford F-350 range. We have already supplied 14 to the Irish Army and they are interested in our Special Operations Vehicle (SOV)version of the F-350,” Tarry told the Editor. “However, OUVs is some way off and we continue to develop our existing relationships with the MoD and vehicle manufacturers, Land Rover and Automotive Technik in particular.”

Ricardo has been established at Shoreham since 1919 and now employs 800 highly qualified ‘degree level’ engineers at its Engine Engineering plant across the airfield and 50 at its Vehicle Engineering plant.

Current projects include the building of 14 SOV vehicles, based on the Pinzgauer 6×6 as part of the New Zealand order. The company has just finished a major UK MoD order for the refurbishment of 295 Ambulances for Iraq converted to trauma units. Since 2003 they have converted over 400 vehicles for military applications including 250 for Special Forces including, UK, Ireland, the Dutch Marines and Italy. The company has also recently obtained the licence to build the Foers IBEX a vehicle developed by John Foers in association with Angus Hamilton, the driving force, with Val Dare Bryan behind the development of the SUPACAT HMT. An interesting project was that to dieselise the CVR(T)range of armoured vehicles for the Nigerian Army. “We were the original bidders against Alvis for the Steyr diesel engine to replace the jaguar in the MoD’s CVR(T) fleet. After extensive trails the MoD chose the Alvis solutio

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