BAE Systems eyes all-terrain tracked vehicle opportunities in Asia Pacific

Beowulf traversing snow

BAE Systems is looking to ride on the momentum on its recent win of the US Army’s Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) programme to push its Beowulf articulated all-terrain tracked vehicle in the Asia Pacific.

The US$278 million contract award in late August represents the company’s first sale of the Beowulf platform and is aimed at replacing the service’s Small Unit Support Vehicles (SUSVs), which are also based on BAE Systems Hägglunds BV206 vehicle.

According to BAE Systems, the Beowulf was tested for amphibious operations, terrain navigation, operations in extreme cold weather, as well as a user assessment by soldiers. The vehicle edged out an Oshkosh Defense/ST Engineering design based on the latter’s Bronco 3 vehicle.

Speaking to AMR at the DX Korea 2022 exhibition in South Korea in late September, Darren Restarick, Business Development Director (Asia Pacific) at BAE Systems said the company is looking into potential license-manufacture of the Beowulf platform in the Asia Pacific region.

“With regional countries shifting to indigenous manufacturing as a priority we are looking at the possibility of enabling local production of Beowulf for customers,” said Restarick, noting that South Korea and India would be potential candidates for such a modality.

Besides South Korea, other past and present operators of the BV206 in the Asia-Pacific region include Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Singapore. While there are no immediate articulated all terrain vehicle programmes being actively pursued in the region at present, Restarick noted that there are advantages with the Beowulf’s ability to traverse challenging terrain and access austere locations where there may be inadequate infrastructure to support heavier vehicles.

Humanitarian assistance and disaster response could also be an emerging driver for future regional sales of the vehicle. The Asia Pacific is a region prone to natural disasters, with recent examples being Typhoon Talas which lashed central Japan and a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in southeastern Taiwan in late September alone.

The company earlier positioned its position its armoured BvS10 vehicle for a potential requirement by the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) for the eventual replacement of its ageing Bv206 platforms. According to reports, the service has acquired at least 390 vehicles over the past two decades although the fleet would likely have been reduced over this time through attrition.

by Jr Ng