The first batch of over 100 enhanced light scouting tanks, has been delivered to training units in the British Army.

The upgrade contract, worth £19m was undertaken with BAE Systems to boost the performance and reliability of the British Army’s combat vehicle reconnaissance CVR(T) vehicles to better cope with the demanding conditions in Afghanistan.

The CVR(T) vehicles, which include the Spartan, Sultan, Sampson and Samaritan received a new up-powered engine, gearbox and final drives as well as a new high-efficiency radiator and charge air cooler, which was based on designs from the motorsport world and has been hailed as a major improvement on earlier systems.

Environmental mitigation urgent operational requirement team leader Lt Col. Martin Fenn said that he was overjoyed that the enhanced vehicles where now available.

“This package of enhancements to CVR(T)’s capability is urgently required and eagerly awaited by troops in Afghanistan,” said Fenn.

BAE Systems, prime contractor for the project, Jim Graham said the performance and reliability adjustments had been achieved in record time.

“We received a post-design service contract in December last year and have effectively condensed a three-year development programme into one year, partly by beginning work in advance of contract, taking business risks with the MOD and consulting the key stakeholder,” Graham said.

The UK based Light Dragoons, will be the first unit to begin training on the vehicles in early 2009.

By Daniel Garrun.