In the eternal debate on the preferred mix of characteristics for the mythical ‘ideal’ armoured fighting vehicle, the triangle of needs revolves around balancing firepower, protection and mobility. For vehicles not destined for actual combat, despite being exposed at the forward edge of the battle area, that mix changes somewhat and ST Engineering would appear to have nailed it with their capability strapline for the BRONCO 3 all terrain vehicle (ATV) on display here at IAV 2019 in Twickenham this week: Payload, Protection, Agility.
“This understanding comes directly from our experience with the BRONCO 1 and 2 (WARTHOG) in Afghanistan,” ST Engineering’s VP & Product Director, Dominic Phoon, told MONCh at the show. “We know that ground pressure is a key requirement for all terrain vehicle mobility and flexibility, so that meant we have paid a lot of attention to reducing weight wherever possible.”
What they have done is significant: reduced the curb weight to 10.2t, with a useful payload of 6.3 – operating weights between 16-18t, depending on whether an amphibious capability is required, according to Phoon. And what that has resulted in is a vehicle that combines the outstanding agility of the BRONCO 1 with the high survivability characteristic of the WARTHOG – a powerful combination for future military and disaster relief requirements.
Considerable improvements have been made inside the vehicle as well – all in line with the dictates of General Vehicle Architecture (GVA) stands, Phoon told MONCh. Leonardo and Ultra Electronics figure high on the list of supplier/partners who have been instrumental in adding capability to the vehicle while significantly improving its ergonomics, crew comfort and utility.
MONCh will be reporting on BRONCO 3 further in coming weeks.