December 28, 2009:
France is buying 53 BvS10 Mk11 all-terrain vehicles for use in Afghanistan. This 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 Sweden. The British Royal Marines can also 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. It's well suited for Afghanistan, where they can be lifted by a CH-47 helicopter, or a C-130 transport.
French mountain infantry use 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. France is getting the Mk11 version, which has more armor, a more powerful engine and higher electricity production than the BvS10 version the British and Dutch are using. The French will pay about $2.5 million for each of their BvS10 Mk11s.