Armor: Swedes Screwed By Chinese


April 15, 2010: The Chinese Army recently showed off what appears to be a copy of the Swedish Bv206 all-terrain vehicle.. The Chinese vehicles were shown equipped as ambulances, but such articulated, all-terrain, vehicles are also excellent for moving supplies over all sorts of nasty terrain. The Chinese vehicle may have been one of the Bv206s China had purchased, but it looked just different enough to be a copy. China is infamous for the boldness with which it copies foreign military equipment designs.

The Bv206 has proved to be a very valuable vehicle. Britain has been using the Bv206 in Afghanistan for several years now. Afghanistan is generally roadless, and contains numerous deserts, hills and mountains. Most of the roads are dirt, often just tracks across plains and hills. This situation is bad for trucks and wheeled armored vehicles. There were problems  moving supplies without vehicles getting stuck or flipping over. The solution, it turned out, was again, tracked vehicles. The British Royal Marines brought with them unarmored Bv206 (which can carry 2.5 tons over any terrain. including snow and most marshland) tracked vehicles. The larger BvS10 can haul five tons.

The Bv206 and BvS10 are actually articulated vehicles, with a tracked trailer connected by a power transfer and steering linkage to a tracked tractor. 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 were originally designed to deal with the marshes and mountains Sweden is full of, as well as deep snow.

The Royal Marines originally got the Swedish vehicles for amphibious operations, as well as logistics and carrying troops in combat zones. The Viking (BvS10) cost $890,000 each. Canadian troops also used Bv206s for moving supplies, and discovered that the light ground pressure created by the wide tracks, tended to go over landmines without detonating them. The light ground pressure was designed for allowing the vehicle to move over snow.

Success of the Bv206 in Afghanistan has led to more sales to the Royal Marines, and interest from several other countries. The Bv206 widely employed for civilian uses, from Antarctica to the tropics. It's not known how the Swedish manufacturer of the Bv206/210 will respond to the Chinese competition.


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