A new BAE Systems all-terrain vehicle which can reach more places and carry more cargo than any other vehicle of its kind has made its debut at DSEi in London.
The new vehicle, called “Beowulf,” is based on the company’s revered Viking BvS10 fighting, troop-carrying, and logistics machine that was initially designed in Sweden for the UK Royal Marines. Beowulf has a payload capacity of 8 tonnes and built-in flexibility with special role cabins in the rear car to carry a combination of personnel and cargo. The vehicle can traverse through water, swamps, snow, and soft sand; and climb 45-degree slopes. Beowulf features increased crew comfort and visibility, and is easy to maintain and support, resulting in reduced operational costs.
“We know from more than 40 years of all-terrain vehicle experience that there is a need for an unarmoured vehicle that can reach places other systems cannot, carry a high payload, and do it around the clock regardless of weather conditions,” said Tore Akser, platform manager at BAE Systems Hägglunds, a subsidiary of BAE Systems, Inc. in the United States.
BAE Systems sees Beowulf as a successor to its Bv206. More than 12,000 of the glass-fibre bodied vehicles were built and a majority is still in service with military and emergency services in more than 40 countries around the world. One possible early customer for Beowulf is the UK Royal Marines, as the UK Ministry of Defence has recently declared a requirement for approximately 230 vehicles in a range of variants to replace the Marines’ 350 Bv206s.
Though aimed primarily at the military market, Beowulf is also expected to attract interest for carrying out civilian missions in areas difficult to access.
The Canadian Department of National Defence had been looking to replace its aging fleet of articulated vehicles, (which includes BAE’s Bv206) but the program was abruptly cancelled. Chances are good, however, that it will be looking again in the not-so-distant future. Whether BAE will throw “Beowulf” into that competition is not known, but chances are good the company would be interested. The Canadian Armed Forces have made good use of the Bv206 both in Afghanistan and the Arctic.