Viking is a fully amphibious armoured all-terrain vehicle, which consists of two tracked vehicle units linked by a steering mechanism. The UK's Royal Marine Commandos took delivery of its first batch of production Viking All-Terrain Vehicle (Protected), ATV(P), vehicles in July 2003. Initial operating capability (IOC) is planned for May 2005 and final deliveries for September 2005. The UK Ministry of Defence has ordered 108 Vikings from BAE Systems, Land Systems Hagglunds (formerly Alvis Hagglunds). The Royal Marines will deploy three variants of the vehicle, the troop carrier (TCV), the command vehicle (CV) and the repair recovery vehicle (RCV).
The Viking vehicle, which can operate in temperatures from -46°C to +46°C, was selected for its multi-role and worldwide operational capability in jungle, desert and Arctic conditions and for rapid deployment.
Some of the vehicle bodies will be built at the Land Systems manufacturing plant in Telford in the UK and final production and assembly will be carried out at Land Systems Hagglunds AB in Ornskolsvik in Sweden. The vehicles will be in service until beyond 2023.
The vehicle development was based on the operationally proven capability of the Swedish Hagglunds Bv206 and Bv206S vehicles. Over 11,000 vehicles are in service in 40 countries. The Viking, fitted with a more powerful engine, is larger and faster than the Bv206S and has greater load capacity.
The capability and configuration of the vehicle has evolved and been refined through co-operation between Hagglunds, the Combat Vehicles Support Light Project Team at the MOD and the Royal Marines' Trials and Training Unit, Joint Air Transport Evaluation Unit and Infantry Trials and Training Unit.
The first prototype Viking vehicles were delivered in June 2001. The vehicles successfully completed an 18-month series of trials in Norway, UK, Sweden and Oman. In Norway the vehicle successfully completed a winter deployment inside the Arctic Circle. In September 2001 Vikings were transported to Oman and took part in Exercise Saif Sereea 2 where full operational testing was carried out in the extreme hot and dry desert conditions.
VIKING VEHICLE DESIGN
The Viking vehicle consists of two linked tracked units. The units are articulated vertically and horizontally for steering and for manoeuvring over rough terrain. All four tracks are driving continuously giving maximum tractive effort in all conditions. The rubber tracks systems are supplied by Soucy International of Quebec, Canada.
The body is of armoured steel construction. The rounded edges and smooth contours of the profile assist in minimising the radar cross-section.
The vehicle design allows for upgrades and for the installation of modular subsystems to suit specific operational requirements, including add-on armour, a range of weapon mounts and load changers and standard cargo platforms. Future systems such as the Bowman radio can be installed.
Bolt-on armour plates provide protection against 7.62mm armour piercing rounds and 152mm artillery shell fragments from a range of more than 10m. The vehicle is rated to protect against 0.5kg charge anti-personnel mines.
CUMMINS TURBO DIESEL ENGINE
The vehicle is equipped with a 5.9 litre in-line six-cylinder turbo diesel engine designed by Cummins and producing 250bhp (183kW at 2,600rpm), more than twice the power of the Bv206. The maximum torque is 840Nm at 1,600rpm. The Allison MD3560 six forward plus one reverse speed automatic transmission has differentials and final drives on both the rear and front cabins. Hagglunds produced new designs of drive sprockets, tracks, road wheels, chassis and suspension for the Viking.
Steering is by hydraulic rams that articulate the front and rear cabs in response to the driver's inputs. Steering does not require one track to be braked as in other tracked vehicles. This gives great advantage in increasing the vehicle's over-snow, over-sand and over-soft ground capabilities.
VIKING'S ALL TERRAIN MOBILITY
The fully laden weight is 10t but the Viking maintains good mobility on soft terrain such as snow, mud or sand because the ground pressure is minimised by the even load distribution over the four tracks. The tracks are 620mm wide moulded rubber with chord. The mean maximum ground pressure is about the same as that of the Bv206 vehicle, which is 4t lighter. The vehicle retains mobility even if a track is damaged by a mine.
The ground clearance of the Viking has been greatly increased over that of the Bv206 family of vehicles, to enhance the cross-country capabilities. The turning circle is 14m diameter.
The Viking can ford through water up to a depth of 1.5m without preparation. The vehicle is fully amphibious, being able to swim in deeper water with less than two minutes preparation including closing holes and fitting a front vane to prevent a bow wave washing over the front windows. The water speed is 5km/h.
The vehicle can be deployed from all Royal Marines landing craft and transported to the area of operations by C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster. The unladen Viking can be underslung and airlifted by an RAF Chinook helicopter. The Viking can be split into two sections in just 20 minutes to be carried by the Merlin helicopter.
The Viking's speed on flat terrain is comparable to that of a modern infantry fighting vehicle. The speed requirement specifications of 50km/h on level class A roads, 35km/h on tracks and 15km/h cross country have been exceeded in vehicle trials: for example, the Viking achieved road speeds of over 80km/h. The range on metalled roads is 300km.
VIKING'S FRONT AND REAR CABINS
The front cabin of the Viking accommodates the driver at the front left, plus three fully equipped marines.
The rear and forward cabins are linked by a two-way voice communications unit. The rear cabin can carry eight fully equipped marines. Alternatively, the rear cabin can carry a mortar section, a heavy machine gun section or a fully equipped anti-tank detachment with Milan anti-armour missiles and firing posts. Both cabins are fully air-conditioned.
The vehicles are fitted with the General Dynamics UK Bowman digital communications system.
VIKING (BVS10) - WEAPON AND SELF DEFENCE SYSTEMS
In its normal deployment the vehicle remains out of contact with hostile troops but if attacked or ambushed the vehicle's self defence systems can be deployed. The roof of the forward cabin is fitted with a ring mount for a 12.7mm Browning heavy machine gun or a 7.62 general purpose machine gun. The driver or vehicle commander can operate smoke dischargers on the front of the vehicle which can fire smoke or white phosphorous grenades.