By Shaun Connors
Shaun Connors’ brings us our regular global overview of current happenings truck related
Given this edition of BATTLESPACE will publish to coincide with the UK MoD’s Defence Vehicles Dynamics 2013 show, the logical place to start this overview of some of the more recent and significant truck-related developments would be with UK MoD’s Support Vehicle requirement. As this piece was being written, MAN Truck and Bus UK Ltd was awaiting arrival in the UK of the last of 7,285 Support Vehicles for delivery to the UK MoD. The truck, an HX60 (4×4) 6-tonne cargo, left the Vienna production line on May 17th, and via Marshall Land Systems’ facility in Mildenhall where the cargo body will be fitted, the vehicle is scheduled for display at DVD, and prior to final acceptance into service.
Total Support Vehicle contract deliveries to the UK MoD totalled 7,415 + 69 trailers (7,484), this figure including a contract option, plus some delivery revisions and additional orders that included 107 HX60 under contract to BAE Systems for the Falcon Area Communications Systems, and 181 HX77 in Enhanced Palletised Load System (EPLS). It remains a possibility that additional EPLS trucks will be ordered by the UK MoD, there remaining a requirement to replace the aging Leyland and Foden DROPS (Demountable Rack Off-loading and Pick-up System) fleets. From this total four HX77 EPLS have been sold on to the New Zealand Defence Forces to carry their Rapid Emplacement Bridging System [REBS] capability.
MAN Truck and Bus UK Ltd will also be displaying a prototype light recovery vehicle at the show. Based on an HX60, the vehicle is clearly targeted at an identified UK MoD requirement for a small number (thought to be eight) of vehicles of this type to replace the remaining Bedford MJ-based light recovery vehicles currently used by deployable forces. The prototype is fitted with a recovery hamper provided by EKA, the main winch being the Support Vehicle SX45 self-recovery winch. To further increase overall capabilities, the vehicle is also fitted with a Hiab materials handling crane, this is common with Support Vehicle HX60 cargo with crane vehicles.
Other vehicle-specific features include an air-suspended rear axle with a rated load of around 13-tonnes. Cab armouring packages will be available, with unarmoured examples having an operating weight of <13-tonnes complete with CES, with 11.8-tonnes possible when a lighter crane is fitted to meet C-130 air-transportability requirements. The vehicle will be capable, depending on weight distribution and balance, of recovering vehicles weighing up to 18-tonnes. The recovery package used by MAN on this vehicle has previously been fitted to light recovery prototypes on MOWAG DURO III (6x6) and ACMAT VLRA 2 (6x6) chassis, the latter shown publically at Eurosatory 2012 for the first time, and on the first VLRA 2 (6x6) chassis. Beyond the UK, RMMV sees an increasing global market for a vehicle of this size/weight. Traditionally, many NATO-grade armed forces have operated a single wrecker across the core tactical fleet, an example here being the British Army which until the introduction of Support Vehicle used a Foden (6x6). While not necessarily ideal, something the size/weight of a (6x6) wrecker was not complete overkill for the recovery of vehicles such as a Land Rover or Pinzgauer. However, as highlighted by Support Vehicle, which included a requirement for an (8x8) wrecker, there is now a clear trend away from three- to bigger and heavier four-axle heavy wreckers, these are in no way suited to the recovery of Land Rover-sized vehicles… Examples highlighting this trend might include five Mercedes-Benz Actros 4151AK delivered to Canada as part of the 97-vehcile Armoured Heavy Support Vehicle System (AHSVS), these followed by a >€10 million UOR-type order by Germany’s Bundeswehr for 12 examples to near-identical spec. The wrecker segment of Canada’s ongoing Logistic Vehi