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Used extensively by the Royal Marines, the 99 Viking vehicles, which can be launched straight from the back of a ship and propelled through water before landing for a beach assault, are in line for a major overhaul by BAE Systems.
They were deployed to Afghanistan in 2006 for their versatility across tough terrains before they were later replaced by Warthog. Viking will now be fitted with new mine blast protection bodywork and brought back to their original amphibious standard, having been adapted for the rigours of land operations.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, 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.
Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Ed Davis said:
We are delighted that the contract for the regeneration of our Viking amphibious vehicles has been announced.
Viking is an essential asset for the Royal Marines in conducting short notice crisis response operations around the world and any modifications which enhances operational effectiveness and makes life that bit safer for our personnel is always welcomed.
Of the 99 Viking vehicles, 19 are set to be fitted with top-mounted guns and nine more will allow the firing of an 81mm mortar from the vehicle. All will have improvements made to their braking and suspension systems. As well as new front and rear car hulls the Vikings will have the latest mine-protected v-shaped underbody which is designed to protect the occupants should it drive over an explosive device.
The regeneration programme is expected to be completed by the end of 2014 and will secure the vehicle’s service life until its expected out of service date of 2031.