U.K. SUPPORT VEHICLE POWERS AHEAD
BATTLESPACE Editor meets Ed Simpson, Head of Government Sales, MAN ERF UK Ltd
“The U.K. Support Vehicle requirement was, in our view, a model procurement that relied on the assessment of the capabilities and performance of the world’s leading military truck makers. To achieve our win for this large £1.2bn contract, our biggest to date, in what was a complex requirement, with a lot of up-front risk for our MAN parent, we had to have the full support of the MAN Main Board. Having achieved this support through a number of in-depth briefings, the next phase was to present our bid with the best possible benefit for U.K. industry, as required by the contract. In achieving this, we at MAN ERF, also had to ensure that the sub-contractors we chose had to supply goods and services within the onus price and delivery conditions required by the contract. Thus we have achieved a good basis of U.K. content but for product, delivery and risk reduction reasons, we have added some European sub-contractors to our list. One of the biggest risk factors was that the winning bidder would need to build a large number of trucks during the assessment phase, prior to System Acceptance and payment. We have achieved this on time and trials are now progressing to plan,” Simpson told BATTLESPACE
Main U.K. participants in the contract are:
Marshall Specialist Vehicles, cargo bodies
Fluid Transfer International, fuel tanks and systems
EKA, Recovery Vehicle
Andover Trailers, Recovery Trailers (x 69)
Over the summer of 2006 MAN ERF will be undertaking a number of trials to verify that the vehicles meet the requirement, before the MoD validate that the vehicles can operate in their intended environments. Following that vehicles will be built for delivery to the British Army, starting in the spring of 2007. As part of the verification trials QinetiQ will undertake climatic trails at Boscombe Down; ATTURM at Fremington will conduct waterproofing trials, and Millbrook will host the Battlefield Mission trials.
The Battlefield Mission Trials are seen as one of the most crucial for acceptance. They consist of 500-750km of road trails, followed by further trials on various terrains and load states and then the Mission Elements of loading, unloading, fuelling and defuelling. There will be two different sessions at Millbrook utilising a number of vehicles representing the full range of vehicle types and variants to be delivered.
“What types of vehicle and numbers have you been contracted to supply?” the Editor asked
“The current requirement as contracted is for 5481 Cargo Vehicles including 311 Unit Support Tankers with 7000 litre capacity, 314 Recovery Vehicles from EKA. We are currently negotiating to supply up to a further 2077 4×4 6 tonne cargo vehicles as part of an option in the original contract. We also hope to attract the interest of other vehicle based procurement programmes that can benefit from the scale of support issues such as Special Tools, spare parts supply and training that could enhance operational capability and save significant sums for the taxpayer.”
The vast majority of the Requirement is for more than 3000 4×4 6 tonne cargo Medium Mobility vehicles. This vehicle is based on the MAN HX 60 truck with a strengthened commercial chassis. There is also a 6×6 HX 58 9 tonne variant and and the HX 77 8×8 15 tonne variant. In addition to these vehicles, MAN ERF is also supplying a number of SX Improved Medium Mobility (IMM) Vehicles in 6x6x and 8×8 configurations. These vehicles are based around a closed box frame with welded tubular cross-members, thus giving a rigid load carrying capability with the coiled suspension and chassis taking the shock of cross-country operations.
In engines, the 4×4 has the MAN DO8 326hp with a ZF Astronic automated gearbox whilst the 6x6x and 8×8 Medium Mobility vehicles and the IMM vehicles have the MAN 460 hp D20 engine with a ZF Astronic automated gearbox