A £16-million contract has been placed to upgrade and sustain the British Army’s critical fleet of specialist CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) surveillance and reconnaissance vehicles.
FUCHS are six-wheeled, all-wheel drive, armoured vehicles which have been adapted into a protected platform to carry out chemical, radiological and nuclear survey and reconnaissance missions.
The vehicles are equipped with automatic systems and sensors for detecting nuclear radiation as well as CBRN agents and other toxic substances.
The importance of the UK’s counter-CBRN capabilities have been highlighted both in the conflict in Syria and the response to the Salisbury nerve agent incident in 2018.
The nine-strong fleet of FUCHS are complemented by a training simulator lso to be updated and sustained under the contract, which ensures the specialist operators within the Warminster-based Falcon Squadron can undergo regular training on site.
The contract, placed with Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), was negotiated by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) – the procurement arm of the MOD. The work will take place at RBSL’s facility in Telford, West Midlands, with the support of the UK supply chain.
Col Tim Chapman, Assistant Head Counter-CBRN Army HQ, said: “The Army, on behalf of Defence, are pleased to welcome RBSL as industry partners to sustain our specialist FUCHS vehicles into the future. The provision of world class Area Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AS&R) capability is a cornerstone of the UK’s Defence C-CBRN policy, which seeks to avoid the hazard, protect the force and preserve fighting power in order to maintain operational freedom of action post a CBRN incident. The contract will ensure this vital capability is updated and maintained, providing reassurance to allies and partners whilst bolstering our deterrence to would-be aggressors.”
Caption: The British Army’s Fuchs CBRN surveillance vehicle. (Crown Copyright)