CV12 and CV8 Engines

Contract news

Up to 7 Years Remanufacture of CV8 Engines, CV12 Engines, X300 Transmissions and Ancilliary Items.

Armoured Vehicle Programmes, In Service Platforms (AVPISP), part of the UK Ministry of Defence, intends to award a Contract to Caterpillar Shrewsbury Limited for the remanufacture and outward test of the following items to latest OEM specifications: CV8 Engine, CV12 Engine, X300 Transmission, Pump Fuel Metering, Pump Hydraulic and Ancilliary items. It is considered that this award of Contract can be placed using the negotiated procedure without prior publication pursuant to Article 28(1)(e) of Directive 2009/81/EC and Regulation 16(1)(a)(9ii) of the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011. This is because Caterpillar Shrewsbury Limited own confidential information in the form of Drawings and Test Specifications that are unavailable to any of the supplier but essential to perform the contract. Technical reasons associated with Safety Cases and proving trials also means there is a strict technical impracticality for any other supplier to achieve the required goals.

Cost of the contract is £47.2m

And with this contract award goes any fantasy of a re-engine as in the Challenger or Warrior life extension programmes

Read more about the CV12 here

Here is what they sound like

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October 21, 2014 10:28 am

Its good that a British firm as such has the work and it will be carried out here (Cat have the rights as they own Perkins) . On the potential American buy of the CV12 I would guess the bulk of that manufacture if not all would be in Cat’s home of the good old USA as the article is unclear. Fingers crossed its over here at the Peterborough plant though

October 21, 2014 10:49 am


America is not going to buy the CV12, it was briefly part of the Crusader programme in the 90s but it was dropped in 2000 in favour of a gas turbine to provide a common power-train with the M1. Crusader was itself cancelled in 2002. An enlarged derivative, the CV16, was selected to act as the generator for the THAAD power unit but has also since been replaced by a pair of Caterpillar C32s.

CV12 is an elderly engine design and no longer competitive for new build platforms.

October 21, 2014 11:02 am

Thanks for the update , logical to stick with a GT all ready fitted to 8000+ MBT than start a new support chain. With the FRES UV hopefully we see the same logic and use a variant of the MTU engine class used in the FRES SV series for the same reasons but that ain’t going to happen

Dan R
Dan R
October 21, 2014 11:47 pm

Should point out that MTU is now part of Rolls-Royce so rengining would go to a British company. Just the work would take place mostly not in the UK.

The Ginge
The Ginge
October 22, 2014 10:29 am

The thing to remember is the CV8 & CV12 were designed and built at what I would consider as the peak of Disiel Engine technology if you are looking for
1. A rugged minimal electonicaly controlled engines that are not going to need millions spent hardening the electronic so the damn thing works.
2. An engine designed for power and reliability, not for emisions regulations. Because since the late 1990’s most if not all Diesel Engine development has gone on emmisions reduction, the increase in reliability has been a by product of some very complicated engine management systems, that take engines that should not be very reliable by there inherint designe very reliable by playing about with retarding ignition etc.
So if we need to send Challengers down Horse Guards Boris will not be worrying about sending fines to the MOD for breaching his clear air zone the engine that is in the Challenger is a very fine piece of engineeering. The plus point of the refurb is ;
1. You effectively get a new engine as the piston, oil rings, crank shafts etc will all be worked on and replaced as needed.
2. You benefit from the improvement of manufactoring tolerances that have been created by modern computer controlled milling machines etc to improve the engines. In fact the refurbed engine would probably out perform the original in perfect 1990’s trim by a significant margin in terms of power, economy and reliability.

So in my view it is the best of both worlds the MOD using money wisely rather than throwing it at an uneeded engine replacement. Plus as it’s a refit/refurb the work can all be carried out in the UK, employing UK workers.

October 22, 2014 12:22 pm

Ginge – I tend to agree; the emissions lark forces reliance on software controlled electronics which (as any owner of high-use ageing vehicles will know) are the bits that fail most regularly. One of my cars was built just when ECUs became de rigeur and most of its faults now are duff connections and failed sensors and (curiously) forgotten programs – maybe they just forget volatile input variables but the effect is the same – a trip to the garage to have the diagnostics computer stuff the right data in (again) at £100 a go. One of the ECUs has developed an allergy to mobile phone masts and throws up a system failure warning each time one is driven past. The basic machine is robust but the electronics makes the whole pretty flaky. Its now 25 years old.

432 has been in service 50 years, CVR(T) 45 years, Warrior 35 years, Challenger 30 years (the Challenger 2 upgrade if I recall correctly did not change engine or transmission?). If they had been reliant on ECUs – or worse still an integrated vehicle control system – none could by now be trusted to behave correctly. I understand the utility of GVA type databus systems for tactical electronics – just* – but cannot see any advantage in replacing battery-switch-load style DC wiring for all things automotive. When push comes to shove and bullets are flying it has to be an advantage for the vehicle crew to be able to fault-find and repair basic automotive issues? Better than waiting for a new software install to fix a blue screen of death (although that name might become all too accurate).

Somewhere along the line the MOD should have kicked back at the Eurocrats on the applicability of emissions law to fighting vehicles. Most will cover much less than 1000 miles a year so even if they pollute 50 times worse than they should, their contribution would be no worse than a modern vehicle covering a normal average mileage commercial vehicle. Witham had a 432 on sale last year that had covered a massive 39 miles since delivery in the 60s. Probably less than a tankful of petrol… It seems barking mad to spend out a fortune on emissions control systems if so little fuel will be consumed.

Most military installations include a ‘battle override’ switch that forces the ECU to continue running when emissions are too high. The normal reason used is that in some parts of the world there is no such thing as low-suphur diesel, so the ECU cannot prevent excess sulphur dioxide in the exhaust. The EU rules say in such situations the ECU must shut down the engine – bad news when the enemy hoards are bearing down on the vehicle – hence the override, to be used as a ‘get out of danger’ measure. Although one of the engine manufacturers we dealt with did mention that use of this facility would wreck the exhaust cat, and might if used too long cause major damage to the engine.

In a sensible world, if the MOD know they will run on fuels not within EU composition rules, and they know the average annual mileage by vehicle type, they should have continued fitting robust (non-computer-control) engines and transmissions to the low mileage fighting vehicle fleet. If any of the vehicle types cover mileage greater than a sensible threshold then those should have the emission control stuff. In a sensible world.

*Ref GVA sense – if the vehicles are in service for 30 years plus, who in their right mind expects GVA(2014) to be valid in 2040? Are we going to see the vehicle fleets in for major refits every 5 years just to replace the obsolete GVA with the new standard? That would make GVA more difficult to deal with than the current non-standardized systems…

October 22, 2014 4:43 pm

Challenger I and II use different transmissions, TN-37 in Chally I and TN-54 in Chally II. CV12 is essentially a 1970s engine (as is CV8); nothing wrong with that, so is the engine in a Leopard. What it does mean though is its big and heavy for its power output, again not really a problem as the vehicles were designed with this in mind in the first place.

Many years ago, before the Europowerpacked Challenger IIE demonstrator, David Brown did offer an updated powerpack for the Chally II featuring an upgraded TN-54 dubbed the DB-1500 and a 1,500hp CV12. Also notable is that prior to the CV12 the Army had been playing (via RR) with wankel engines.

October 22, 2014 8:24 pm

– I quite agree about modern ‘house of cards’ software-driven ECUs. My 7-yr old car wouldn’t allow the electric handbrake to release because the battery voltage was a bit low – even after starting and charging! To clear fault: disconnect battery terminals, clip them together, have a cup of tea, reconnect battery, start. Just the thing for a quick morning getaway… Solution: an otherwise unnecessary battery replacement (big ‘un for a V6 diesel).

Chall 1 had analogue ECUs: Main Engine Control Unit (MECU) and Gearbox controller Automatic (GCA). Chall 2 and variants have a combined Digital Automotive System Control Unit (DASCU) and a MIL STD 1553B databus – properly hardened, of course, and I think with all firmware (but this is getting a bit techie). Might have been one of the MBT80 leftovers.

The original post suggests that this R&O contract kills any possible re-engining for Chall and/or Warrior. Can’t see why. 1. It’s for UP TO 7 years; 2. Even if a re-engining were in the programme now, it would probably take 5 yrs or more from first production fielding to work through the whole fleet at an economical rate. That said, I can’t see it happening: “if it ain’t broke…” More effort into improving assembly life (better filtration?, maybe parallel electric oil pump to pressurise system before starting?, maybe better oils??) might be feasible and cost-effective. Perhaps existing engines could be modified to produce an extra 10-15% power, to counter the additional veh weight – if transmissions can handle it.

Incidentally, Warrior has been in service more like 25 yrs than 35.

October 22, 2014 10:08 pm

Oldreem – I will admit to considering firmware (of that age) to be almost as robust as hardware, as for the most part the hardcoded program ran in an ordered and unchanging sequence, meaning it could be very well tested and debugged. Its the modern fetish for unstructured object oriented software blobs running in whatever order they want that I have no confidence in; that and the fact that far too many sensors and actuators are involved for little gain. Modern example of too much control: apparently the 3 litre BMW diesel engine has Gucci little servo controlled paddles in the inlet manifold to do – um – something to airflow at low revs. (I think the Audi V6 has the same.) The problem is that the plastic paddles fatigue and break off, thereafter making a journey through the engine with possible nasties resulting. A kit is available to remove these servo-gizmos, cover up the holes, and fool the ECU everything is still working right. Removal of these devices is reported to have no apparent effect on the engine characteristics other than to remove the possibility of failure. Less is more…

My error on Warrior ISD – MCV80, designed in the 70s, production contract awarded 1980 – obviously its a 1980 vehicle right? Wrong. Not in service until 1988. So slow.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
October 24, 2014 11:59 am

After a ride-along with an RAC recovery vehicle after my council supplied van developed and ECU fault, we got into convrsation about vehicle electronics. It turns out that the CANBUS in most modern vehicles is being used for powerplant/transmission control, general signalling (lights, parking sensors, ABS etc.) and the non-essential electronic gizmo;s (iPod dock, GPS, DAB radio).

No problem, I said, there’d be protocols separating out the traffic for the different levels of equipment, with a firewall stopping user data (malware on the iPod or transmitted via Bluetooth) polluting the engine management and braking systems.

He just looked at me and laughed. Apparently there is *no* separation. Now, imagine such a dysfunctional system on an AFV – a tank-hunting team creep up on a future AFV, perform a dictionary attack on the password-protected/dormant Bluetooth system (only used by REME for fault finding), activate it and inject malicious code that floors the throttle, revs the engine to the red line, and locks the steering. All while sounding the horn, blinking the lights and activating the crew compartment fire extinguishers . . . .

Who needs ATGWs ??????

October 24, 2014 12:22 pm

@Dangerous Dave
Now there’s an idea ….
Just how clever are the systems on Russian and Chinese vehicles? I bet they are some where in between the tech on a T55 and the FRES SV (which obviously is invulnerable to such attacks

October 24, 2014 1:47 pm

@Monkey: I would suggest that the systems on Russian and Chinese AFVs would be slightly more vulnerable as they seem to rush electronic devices into production without all the QA and testing being done. A consequence of wanting to be “first” and “best” all the time.

Of course, *we* would *never* do that . . .

October 24, 2014 1:54 pm

if the vehicles are in service for 30 years plus, who in their right mind expects GVA(2014) to be valid in 2040?

POSIX is 30ish and still going (and that was a DoD initiative originally)

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
October 24, 2014 3:10 pm

: Ethernet is 41 years old as a standard. Given modern connectors, the protocol is still basically the same (actually a superset of the original standard). As a result, you could connect an original device and it will still work.

It’s getting the adaptors that’ll be a problem!

Backwards compatibility takes an effort of will, not to reinvent the wheel.

October 24, 2014 4:59 pm

@Dangerous Dave: I guess we’re getting commercial-type CANBUS on support vehicles, but hopefully not on proper new AFVs. 1553 is now pretty old and works at only 1Mb/s – although used on Apache and Tornado, so may well still be sufficient for many AFV needs. New aircraft such as F-35, A400M and A380 use Avionic Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX or ARINC664; Airbus patent), which works at 100 Mb/s, so I’d guess any clean sheet design AFV might go that way. GD UK seems to have scored with its Core Infrastructure Distribution System (CIDS) – see – but whether that extends to automotive ECUs I’ve no idea.

That said, just because different functional levels aren’t separated out on CANBUS in cars, doesn’t mean they can’t be for military vehicles if so specified (I don’t know). There’s also DEF STAN 59-41 for EMC to be satisfied, and various other DEF STANs & MIL STDs.

(Couldn’t see any comment by Chris referring to Ethernet)

October 24, 2014 5:25 pm

: suggest you look at the archives for GVA :-)

Comment 1 is me giving my “expert” opinion. Ish.

October 25, 2014 3:00 pm

: thank you. I am now better informed (altho’ not necessarily wiser).

Given the publication date of Def Stan 23-09, presumably the GD UK CIDS will have been designed to be compliant with it. And I should have said Def Stan 59-411 not 59-41 for EMC, which presumably stands alongside 23-09.

One point in the Sep 2011 article on GVA that brings us back round to earlier posts on this one is No.5 of the 9 basic principles: “Not needlessly implement in hardware any functionality that can be implemented in software”. Does this strengthen Dangerous Dave’s hypothesis of tank-hunting parties with laptops?? (Define “needlessly”)

We seem to have got a long way from CV12 engines. Think I might stick to buses of the large red variety and leave this 21st century geekery to the young ‘uns.