Bae Systems has completed a £37m upgrade of the UK Royal Marine’s ‘Viking’ amphibious all-terrain vehicles.
The Viking vehicles can be launched straight from a ship and propelled through water before landing for a beach assault. They have reached full operational capability after 3.5 years.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded a contract to BAE Systems in 2012 to upgrade 99 Viking vehicles. The project was managed by the MoD’s Bristol-based Defence Equipment and Support organisation.
The upgrades include improvements made to their braking and suspension systems, as well as fitting the vehicles with new mine blast protected hulls, designed to offer additional defence.
Enhancements to the vehicle fleet include the installation of a protected weapon mount (PWM), which pivots 360°, in the forward cabins of all 99 vehicles.
The PWM can be used with either a 12.7mm Browning heavy machine gun, or 7.62 general purpose machine gun.
Nine vehicles have also been upgraded to support the firing of an 81mm mortar.
Navy Command Land and Littoral Manoeuvre assistant chief of staff brigadier Richard Spencer said: "The Viking vehicles and their crews operated with great distinction and bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, enabling a high degree of tactical manoeuvre and saving many lives.
"The vehicles’ subsequent Regeneration Programme has been delivered at best value for Defence, with considerable support from a wide range of stakeholders, including Army Command, Defence Equipment & Support, and our industry partners in BAE Systems."
Under the Regeneration Programme, the vehicles’ service life will be secured until 2024, with an option to further extend until 2034.