Back in 2010 Britain has selected an American firm (General Dynamics, or GD) to develop a replacement for their 7.8 ton Scimitar tracked armored reconnaissance vehicle and now that order is official. The new vehicle, the Scout SV, will cost nearly a million dollars each for 589 of them in several different versions (scout, command post, Forward Reconnaissance and recovery vehicle.) The first Scout SV will be delivered in 2015. Most will be the 34 ton recon vehicle, armed with a 40mm autocannon and carrying a crew of three.
Aside from weight and resistance to roadside bombs, the main difference with the Scimitar is that Scout is fully digitized, much like the American Stryker wheeled armored vehicle. Being a digital vehicle means the crew is connected to a battlefield Internet, able to quickly exchange data (voice, text, images) with other vehicles and aircraft. The thermal sensors on the Scout and several vidcams give the crew unprecedented (especially for an armored vehicle crew) situational awareness (sense of where they, other friendly vehicles and the enemy are). Stryker found that being a “digital vehicle” provided a tremendous battlefield advantage. GD was responsible for developing Stryker and this was a major reason for Britain selecting Scout. That plus the fact that most of the manufacturing will be done in Britain. Thanks to the Internet other soldiers worldwide found out how well the digital Stryker worked in combat and now it’s new features (computers, networking and sensors) are what armor vehicle crews want.
The Scout SV was based on the GD ASCOD2 infantry fighting vehicle. Spanish and Austrian armies have been using ASCOD since 2002. This is a 28 ton, tracked vehicle that is 6.8 meters long, 3.1 wide and 1.8 high. In addition to the crew of three, the vehicle can carry seven passengers. Armament for the Scout SV version is a 40mm cannon similar to the 30mm one in Scimitar. The increased heft and size of the ASCOD provides better protection against mines and roadside bombs, as well as the ability to carry more electronics, ammo, fuel and so on. The British SV version ended up weighing 34 tons although the ASCOD design can handle up to 45 tons and most current models are about 30 tons.
Scimitar is 4.9 meters long, 2.2 wide and 2.1 high. It has a three man crew and is armed with a 30mm autocannon and a 7.62mm machine-gun. The 30mm weapon can fire up to 90 rounds a minute. Scimitar first entered service in the early 1970s and despite many upgrades it was showing its age.