The British Royal Marines are to get a mortar-carrying variant of the BAE Systems BvS10 Viking all-terrain vehicle as part of a 37.8 million pound ($61 million) regeneration package deal signed with the Ministry of Defence.
Nine of the 99 twin-cab Vikings being reset by the Swedish arm of BAE at Ornskoldsvik will be configured with a new rear unit carrying the standard British issue 81 mm mortar.
BAE will supply a flatbed rear unit with sides that drop down, although the weapon can also be fired with the armored sides in place.
An additional 19 rear cabs will be converted to carry a new crew-served general purpose machine gun in a similar configuration to the weapon already carried on the forward cab.
More than 120 Vikings of various standards are thought to be in the Royal Marine inventory, but budgetary resources and the condition of some of the vehicles have seen the number of machines earmarked for regeneration limited to 99.
BAE said in a statement that all the vehicles will be brought up to a common Mk2 mine-protected amphibious standard.
“All but the existing Mk2 Vikings will be rebuilt around completely new front and rear car hulls featuring the latest mine-protected v-shaped underbodies of the Mk2,” said BAE.
The entire fleet is to be given a major overhaul, brought to a common standard and certified for a 14-ton gross weight with suspension, braking and other modifications carried out as required, said the company.
The vehicles are being returned to their original amphibious standard after having been up armored and adapted for deployment in Afghanistan for use by the Royal Marines and later the British Army.
The regeneration is expected to be complete by the end of 2014 and will help keep the vehicles in service into the 2030s.
The Vikings were eventually replaced in Afghanistan by the Warthog, a heavier armored all-terrain machine built by Singapore Technologies Kinetics.
An announcement is still awaited from the British Army on whether Warthog and various other bespoke vehicle fleets acquired for action against the Taliban will be taken into the core equipment, sold off, gifted or scrapped.