September 13, 2011 Tony Skinner, SHEPARD GROUP
London - General Dynamics UK has unveiled a representative prototype of the UK's Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV) platform for the first time at the DSEi exhibition in London as the project continues apace.
GD UK is working under a £500 million Scout SV contract that was awarded in July 2010 and, briefing reporters at the exhibition, company officials were bullish about the progress that had been made since then.
The prototype unveiled at the exhibition is one of two test bed vehicles and features the Lockheed Martin UK Experimental Demonstration Unit (EDU) turret fitted with the CTAI Cased Telescoped (CT40) 40mm cannon.
A company spokesman said that as well as developing seven prototype vehicles, GD UK has carried out a range of SV subsystem tests in an attempt to derisk the programme before the prototypes are completed.
In May 2011 the industry team conducted the first live-fire tests of the CT40 system integrated with the Scout SV turret. In addition, a Mobility Test Rig (MTR) is expected to be completed by the end of 2011 for tests on the powerpack, suspension and automotive features.
The first of seven prototypes under Recce Block 1 will be delivered in 15 months' time and will include three Scout vehicles, one each of the repair, recovery and PMRS troop carrier variants and a Common Base Platform.
The British Army's Maj James Cripps told reporters that the current CVR(T) Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle had reached the end of its growth potential, following its introduction into service into 1974. Since then there have been a number of false starts in its replacement.
‘Where we are today is that there is a real awareness that we need ground mounted armed reconnaissance. Scout gives us a significant growth potential with the ability to fit modern sensors systems and modern weapons systems,' Cripps said.
‘It is not just an armoured vehicle, it is an ISTAR platform and meets the requirement that we may need to fight for information.'
The vehicle will be powered by an MTU V8 199 series engine, a more powerful version of that installed in the Boxer 8x8 armoured vehicle. While the target weight of the Scout variant is around 34 tonnes, the vehicle will have a load carrying potential of up to 42 tonnes, which proponents argue allows the platform to be adapted to future threats over its 30 year life cycle.
In three years' time the project will reach the Main Gate 2 point, presenting the MoD a decision to go ahead with the manufacture of between 400 to 589 vehicles. A further contract option provides for the manufacture of more than 200 CBP.
Meanwhile, Cripps confirmed to Shephard that deliveries of rebuilt ‘Scimitar 2' vehicles to Afghanistan were currently ongoing under an urgent operational requirement. The vehicles feature a new-build hull based on the Spartan APC, providing improved protection against mines and IEDs, as well as more headroom allowing for the fitment of blast attenuation seats.
In addition to some 30 Scimitars the project involves the upgrade of some 30 other CVR(T) support vehicles.