US Army to test Beowulf arctic amphibious all-terrain vehicle
BAE Systems has been engaged by the US Army to deliver two evaluation prototype arctic field vehicles by June 14, 2021. Called Beowulf, it's BAE's candidate for the Army's Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) program to replace the aging Small Unit Support Vehicle (SUSV).
The new CATV program comes on the heels of the Army's Arctic strategy review, which outlines the US needs to modernize and expand its presence in the Arctic to counter Russia and China's attempts to become the region's dominant powers. As part of the modernization, the Army wants the Beowulf prototypes available to the Cold Regions Test Center in Alaska beginning in August for extreme cold-weather testing.
The goal is to produce an all-terrain, amphibious light vehicle for moving soldiers and supplies to remote areas that can operate in a wide variety of conditions from swamps to the frozen arctic.
Beowulf is based on the BvS 10 that was developed and built by BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, for Britain's Royal Marines, which they took delivery of in 2005 and designated as the Viking All-Terrain Vehicle (Protected) (ATV(P)). It is also in service with the Netherlands Marine Corps as well as with the armed forces of Sweden, Austria, and France. The latter is significant because it is the first defense purchase that France has made from Britain in decades.
Beowulf is a rubber-tracked, unarmored vehicle that consists of two articulated compartments with rounded edges and smooth contours for radar stealth. These units can move vertically and horizontally in relation to one another for easy steering over very rough terrain. Also, it has a modular design for easy modification and upgrading and allows for several variants for different missions. This modularity also makes Beowulf efficient to maintain.
Though the full details of Beowulf haven't been released, if it is similar to Viking, it will weigh about 8.5 tonnes, and carry a driver plus 12 passengers. If powered by the Viking's Cummins 5.9 liter diesel engine cranking out 275 bhp (202 kW), it could reach a maximum road speed of 40 mph (65 km/h) and a water speed of 3.1 mph (5 km/h).
"Beowulf is an optimal and mature solution for the CATV program, and we look forward to submitting our prototypes with the goal of meeting the Army and Army National Guard’s mission," says Mark Signorelli, vice president of business development at BAE Systems. "Beowulf, and its armored sister vehicle, the BvS 10, represent the most advanced vehicles in the world when it comes to operating anywhere, whether it’s snow, ice, rock, sand, mud, swamp, or steep mountainous environments. And its amphibious capability allows it to swim in flooded areas or coastal waters."
Source: BAE Systems