Part of the BV 206 D6 and VIKING fleets used by the Dutch Marines will be replaced from 2024, State Secretary Barbara Visser of the Dutch Ministry of Defence reported to Parliament on 24 September 2020. This comes after Germany and the United Kingdom had agreed to jointly procure a successor for the BV 206 in 2019 under the name Collaborative All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV), following which the Netherlands and Sweden joined the programme.
The BV 206, produced from the 1980s onwards, is widely used in 38 countries with over 11,000 vehicles. A special feature of the articulated vehicle with its front and rear cab is its extreme off-road capability. Even after increasing the protection and installing air conditioning in addition to ABS protection (BV 206 S), the vehicle remained amphibious. With a weight of around seven tons, the BV 206 is air transportable (as external load on the CH-53). The BvS10 VIKING is the bigger brother of the BV 206, heavier (8.5 tons), better protected and armed. It has been in service since 2005 in UK and the Netherlands, among others.
Sweden is the home of manufacturer Hägglunds (a company belonging to BAE Systems), which produced the BV 206 and BvS 10, with this country coordinating the procurement. Details of the successor are not yet known, but the basic requirement is at least equal off-road capability, especially in snow and difficult terrain. The Netherlands intends to procure a total of 124 vehicles over the period 2024 to 2027 with between €100 and €250m earmarked for this purpose, with the option for further vehicles (though more than €250m would be needed).
In Germany, the BV 206 will reach the end of its life span from 2027. Of the 370 BV 206 D and BV 206 S vehicles procured, 290 vehicles are still in use today by mountain troops, paratroopers and ambulance services. From 2024 onwards, the replacement of the vehicles will be initiated with an initial 140 vehicles.
The UK’s Royal Marines are the main users of the approximately 300 BV 206 and BvS 10 this customer nation while in Sweden, more than 4,500 BV 206 D, BV 206 S and BvS 10 are in service in all services of the armed forces. BV 206s have recently been converted for use as IRIS-T SLS launchers in the Swedish air defence system. Another potential candidate for cooperation is Norway, which is the second largest user of this vehicle category with just over 4,000 BV 206s procured.
The U.S. Army procured 1,100 BV 206s in the 1980s, which are used under the designation Small Unit Support Vehicle (SUSV), deployed with infantry forces in Alaska and Europe among others. Under the name Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle – also with the abbreviation CATV – the U.S. Army wants to replace the vehicles and is looking for a light vehicle with extreme off-road characteristics. In July 2020, BAE Systems offered the unarmoured BEOWULF, whose design is based on the BvS10, which has been in production since 2005.
The result of these requirements is that an unusual alliance has been formed in Europe to procure a modern vehicle that continues to provide the unusual characteristics of the BV 206. The aim is to improve the operational readiness of ground forces and increase interoperability.