One vehicle type we left out from our previous post of light vehicles was the light strike vehicle, there are somewhat niche but in the press today was news that BMNT are going to be trialling their Phobos LSV at Bovington, after a series of successful hot weather trials in Morocco.
Phobos, based on the filthyboy buggy, has been designed in 2, 3 and 4 seat versions for utility, fire support, casualty evacuation and reconnaissance missions, with a top speed of 6okph and a payload of 1,600kg.
The MoD has previously used LSV, the DML manufactured Wessex Saker was trialled about 15 years ago but didn’t enter service in any numbers beyond those used by ‘those with a big tache’ and had a payload of 700kg including mounted weapons. There was also a similar vehicle called the Longline Light Strike Vehicle.
The Phobos does not have the market to itself, a quick cast around the internet reveals many competitors including the General Dynamics Growler, Polaris Ultra Light Tactical Vehicle, BAe SRATS, Raytheon HyDRA and the rather impressive hybrid powered ST Kinetics Spider Light Strike Vehicle.
Recently, the TomCar derived Springer has entered service in Afghanistan, obtained as an urgent operational requirement (UOR) to move supplies between Helicopter Landing Sites (HLS) and Patrol or Forward Operating Bases. Existing quads were proving dangerously inadequate and the Springer was specifically obtained to make sure helicopters spend as little time as possible on the ground whilst unloading. At £70k each (including initial logistics package etc) the Springer is not a cheap option, even though the manufacturers web site states the TMV5 starts at $19,700. The deal was £10.3million for 75.
The Springer has a payload of about 1,000kg even taking into account the extra weight of armour and other equipment and can self load a standard pallet by hauling it onto the cargo bed over its integral ramps.
Designed to be carried internally in a Chinook they fill a gap between quad bikes and Land Rover size vehicles, with the Light Protected Patrol Vehicle starting at 7.5 tonnes the need for this type of vehicle may be opening up.
Apart from the obvious cargo carrying capacity this type of vehicle can be armed with GPMG, HMG, GMG or even lightweight automatic cannons like the Rheinmetall RMK30 Recoilless or even the ATK M230LF, a derivative of the M230 weapon carried by Apache helicopters that is claimed can be mounted in any mount that can take an M2 HMG
I am not yet convinced but can see a few niche missions where their light weight and mobility may be ideal., if we do need them then perhaps just using Springers might be the most sensible option