The US Army has selected vehicles from BAE Systems Hägglunds for its Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) Programme. The CATV is a new program for a tracked vehicle that operates in extreme cold weather or arctic conditions and is designed to replace the Small Unit Support Vehicles (SUSVs) that have been in service since the early 1980s. BAE Systems Hägglunds has supplied Beowulf, a vehicle based on the BvS10 used by the UK’s Royal Marines. The CATV are set to undergo testing and soldier evaluation in the third quarter of 2021 with a decision due in 2022, after which the selected vehicle will go straight into production.
Beowulf’s front cabin has a different look than the BvS10 as it applies more of a commercial standard of a cabin design, so its appearance is different but functionally remains the same. The requirement for an unarmoured vehicle opens it up to provide more volume and payload and better ergonomics than in an armoured vehicle. It does not have to use small, armoured glass windows, meaning operators can see out more easily, allowing for better situational awareness, which is important for the CATV mission of supporting homeland defence, defence support for civil authorities, and search and rescue. BAE Systems Hägglunds are contracted to provide two vehicles, a General Purpose and a Cargo vehicle.
Having the production facility in northern Sweden where Arctic conditions prevail allows us to test in that environment right outside the factory as we engineered the Beowulf and previous all-terrain vehicles. The close contact with our customer base with thousands of Bv206s out there over decades provides us with a continuous flow of valuable experience applied to our development of these vehicles. Another key aspect is designing a vehicle like Beowulf for low ground pressure. Beowulf’s ground pressure per square inch or meter is less than that of a human foot, allowing it to largely stay on the surface of deep snow whereas a walking human would tend to sink into it. The human foot is about 11 pounds per square inch, depending on foot size; Beowulf is four pounds per square inch.
The CATV programme is largely focused on operations in the Arctic or in Arctic conditions, which is exactly what Beowulf is designed and suited for. Additionally, Beowulf is truly an all-terrain vehicle capable of operating just about anywhere, whether it’s snow, ice, rock, sand, mud, swamp, or on steep mountains. In addition, its amphibious capability means it can swim in flooded areas or coastal waters. Its design is based on decades of BAE Systems experience. The Bv206, which is the vehicle the US Army is replacing, and our armoured BvS10, currently operating with five European nations, have logged millions of miles in Arctic conditions, and all of that experience plays into Beowulf’s design and capabilities.