The Ministry of Defence has announced that it is handing BAE Systems a £37 million contract to upgrade 99 Viking vehicles for use by the Royal Marines.
BAE lost out to ST Kinetics in 2008 for the £150 million order of 100 all-terrain vehicles after a requirement for land operations was identified in Afghanistan. At the time it came as a shock for the UK defence giant to be overlooked in place of Singapore’s Warthog – indigenously known as the Broncho – vehicle. The Viking fleet will now be retrofitted to meet its original amphibious configuration.
“Viking is an essential asset for the Royal Marines in conducting short notice crisis response operations around the world and any modification which enhances operational effectiveness and makes life that bit safer for our personnel is always welcomed,” said Commandant General Royal Marines Major General Ed Davis.
New defence procurement minister Philip Dunne said: “The £37 million mid-life upgrade to the Viking fleet of amphibious vehicles will keep these highly capable vehicles in service with the Royal Marines into the 2030s.With a balanced defence budget, for the first time in a generation, we are able to deliver with confidence the equipment our Armed Forces require.”
A number of Viking’s will be fitted with an 81mm mortar system while all will have improved brakes, suspension and v-shaped hulls to mitigate the threat from IED blasts.