ST Kinetics Awarded £150m for Delivery of over 1000 Bronco Armored All Terrain Tracked Carriers to Replace the British Forces’ Viking All-Terrain Vehicles in Afghanistan
Earlier this month (December 08) the British MoD selected the Bronco for its ‘Warthog’ all terrain vehicle, replacing 108 Swedish made BvS10 Viking currently in service with the Royal Marines and British Army. The vehicles are fulfilling a capability gap addressed by Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) stated by the units in Afghanistan.
Singapore Technologies Engineering provided the first view of the new Warthog on September 28, 2009. The new vehicles are expected in Afghanistan by year’s end. Photo: ST Engineering.
The Viking, a 14.2 ton gross vehicle weight (GVW) troop carrier is configured to carry a payload of 6 tons or 12 soldiers. It was originally selected for the Royal Marines for its multi-role, all terrain, rapid deployment operational capability as a lightly armored vehicle capable of operating in jungle, desert and arctic conditions.
Despite their versatility, the Afghan arena proved too tough for the Vikings. While the vehicles effectively negotiated the terrain and provided limited protection against light threats, additional armor protection required to protect from the heavier threats typical to the Afghan conditions severely limited their operational capability and necessitated rapid replacement. Consequently, MoD was seeking a heavier, better protected vehicle to maintain the high level of mobility and operational flexibility without compromising protection. The British configuratio will include a remotely controlled weapon station, additional armor, specialist electronic counter-measure equipment and communications systems.
Bronco with 18 ton GVW was selected for this role, not only for the added payload capability (which translates to capability to carry heavier armor) but also since its the curb already includes integral armor. Bronco’s Warthog derivative will be powered by a 7.2 litre engine producing 350 bhp and will be able to move through water – all while carrying up to 11 troops. When not in the water, the highly agile, all-terrain vehicle will be able to climb steep gradients, cling to severe side slopes, tackle vertical obstacles and roll across trenches.
Warthog will come in four variants – a troop carrier, an ambulance, a command vehicle and a repair and recovery vehicle. The ambulance variant will be capable of carrying casualties, medics and kit. Warthog’s repair and recovery variant will be fitted with a crane and winch, and will have the capability of towing another 18-tonne Warthog vehicle back from the front line.
Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd (ST Kinetics) was awarded a contract of about £150m (about S$330m) for the acquisition. The vehicle deliveries will commence in third quarter 2009, with the majority to be delivered in 2010. Four Warthog variants will be built under the contract – Troop Carrier, Ambulance, Command, and Repair & Recovery. ST Kinetics is Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) land systems arm.
In August 2009 Thales was awarded a £20m UK MOD contract to modify the Bronco into the Warthog. As part of its role in the program, Thales will equip the vehicles with mission systems under the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) program, including additional armor, specialist electronic counter-measure equipment and communication tools. Warthog will be deployed in Afghanistan as part of the new package of protected patrol vehicles announced by the MoD in October 2008.
Some 600 Bronco ATTCs are already operational with the Singapore Army. The Bronco’s articulated design delivers exceptional mobility across a wide range of terrain and climate. The basic vehicle is delivered with an armor protection which could be augmented to meet MoD requirements, primarily to increase protection against roadside bombs. Bronco will also deliver considerable increases in range, payload and internal capacity over incumbent vehicles currently being used in Afghanistan.