Vikings head for Afghanistan

UK armed forces in Afghanistan are to have 14 additional Viking amphibious armoured all-terrain vehicles, with the first going into service next month.

BAE Systems Hägglunds will build, assemble and complete the vehicles in Sweden under a £14m contract from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). This order is for nine repair recovery vehicles, one command vehicle and four troop carriers. An ambulance variant is also available.

"The BvS10 Viking has proven its worth while being used by British troops in Afghanistan," said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, marketing and sales director for BAE Systems Hägglunds. "The Afghan terrain can be quite varied, and our armoured, all-terrain, quick-to-deploy vehicles provide troops with protection and the ability to move wherever and whenever they are required."

The Viking consists of two tracked vehicle units linked by a steering mechanism. It can operate in temperatures from -46°C to +49°C, making it suitable for multi-role worldwide rapid deployment in jungle, desert and arctic conditions.

The UK Royal Marines received the first delivery of the vehicles in July 2003. This order brings the total number produced for the UK MoD to 143.

BAE Systems has also carried out modifications to the Afghan fleet under an 'Urgent Operational Requirement' order. The changes include additional armour and other protection against damage, wire cutters, infra-red headlamps, driver's night vision system and a modified weapons mount system.


Image: Viking on display at the DVD2008 trade show

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