The National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) selected U.S. company Oshkosh Defense and Singaporean firm ST Engineering team to participate in the prototype phase for the U.S. Army’s Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV). The goal of the CATV program is to acquire new tracked vehicles specifically for operations in and around the increasingly strategic Arctic region or extreme cold weather to replace the service’s aging Cold War-era Small Unit Support Vehicles, or SUSVs that have been in service since the early 1980s.
The U.S. Army acquired its fleet of SUSVs, which are versions of the Swedish Hägglunds BvS-206D articulated carrier, in the 1980s. These vehicles, which are amphibious, as well as capable of being air-dropped or carried slung underneath a helicopter, have received various upgrades over the years and remain in limited service. Though the BvS-206 series is out of production, Hägglunds, which is now a BAE Systems subsidiary, does still make articulated carriers, with its latest offering being the Beowulf. The company had submitted its Beowulf design for consideration last year.
The Oshkosh CATV is derived from the Bronco 3, a member of the Bronco family of vehicles (FoV) by ST Engineering. The Bronco FoV has undergone more than 1,860 miles of performance testing in arctic conditions as well as over 200,000 miles in a theatre of operations on harsh desert terrain. The Oshkosh CATV prototypes will offer built-in mission modularity to accommodate a variety of configurations. The original Bronco was developed in the 1990s and entered Singaporean military service in 2001. It was followed by the improved Bronco 2 variant and the U.K. armed forces also operated a version known as the Warthog.
Oshkosh Defense and ST Engineering will deliver two prototypes – one General Purpose and one Cargo vehicle for testing and Soldier evaluation in Q3FY21. The prototypes will be evaluated on payload, mobility, crush resistance, swimming, and transportability. The U.S. Army has announced plans to issue a follow-on production contract for up to 200 CATVs in FY22. A General Purpose vehicle, for example, can be used as a troop carrier, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) or Command and Control vehicle and can be swapped from one configuration to another in the field within 30 minutes by a two-person crew.