Marines: December 26, 2004

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The Royal Marines are, for the first time in half a century, own armored vehicles. For the last fifty years, the Royal Marine Commandoes (as they are officially known) have operated exclusively as light infantry. Descended from the original World War II commandoes (which began as special army units, but the idea quickly spread to the Royal Marines), several battalions of Royal Marine Commandoes have existed since the end of World War II, serving a similar role as the U.S. Army Ranger Regiment. But the Royal Marines go the rangers one better, and can come ashore in boats as well as via helicopter (the rangers are also trained to use parachutes.) The 108 armored, "Viking" (BvS10) all terrain combat vehicles cost $890,000 each. The Royal Marines already have over 300 of the similar, but smaller and unarmored, Bv206 (which can carry 2.5 tons over any terrain. including snow and most marshland). The larger BvS10 can haul five tons. The BvS10 is actually an articulated vehicle, with a tracked trailer connected by a power transfer and steering linkage. The front part weighs 4.9 tons, the rear part 3.1 tons. Because of this trailer arrangement, the vehicle has a 47 foot turning radius. Four passengers can be carried in the front car, and eight on the rear one. The vehicle is amphibious and has a top speed in the water of five kilometers an hour (compared to 65 kilometers an hour on land.) The vehicle was designed in Finland. The Royal Marines will use the Viking for amphibious operations, as well as logistics and carrying troops in combat zones. The Viking is also able to move through swampy terrain, as well as snow. 

 


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