The British Army fleet of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear surveillance and reconnaissance vehicles are to be upgraded as part of a £16m contract.

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. say the Ministry of Defence.

Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, said:

“With the military landscape rapidly changing, it has never been more important to develop our capabilities and continue to strive for innovation and adaptability. This impressive contract award is a strong and positive step to evolve our traditional equipment into nimble and ground-breaking technologies.”

The contract, placed with Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), was negotiated by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) – the procurement arm of the MOD – and will protect highly-skilled jobs in engineering and manufacturing.

Dr Simon Dakin, DE&S Director ISTAR, said:

“This important vehicle provides a critical element of the Army’s battlefield reconnaissance and counter-CBRN capability. This significant contract will not only support the platform to the end of its planned service life but will also update the platform’s comprehensive sensor suite, allowing it to detect the full spectrum of hazardous substances that may be encountered on the modern battlefield. This contract award is the result of excellent teamwork between the CBRN delivery team, users, industry and DSTL.”

Work will see RBSL remove obsolescence issues associated with equipment and upgrade it with the latest generation of sensing capabilities to ensure that it is able to continue to perform its role successfully.

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.”

RBSL say they will also make some planned safety modifications and implement a new support contract, which will include technical support, provision of spares and repairs, maintenance, training and design services to the end of the planned service life.

The work will take place at RBSL’s facility in Telford, West Midlands, with the support of the UK supply chain.

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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_524252)
7 months ago

And yet, the clever MoD cut the JCBRN Regiment in 2010 SDSR, shifting what remained to the RAF Reg. Its now reverted again to the army and the RAF Reg Wing cut as they decided that CBRN was rather important after all and the army wanted it back.

28 RE has taken the role, augmented by a squadron from the RTR to operate these Fuchs.

Always liked the look of these myself, though they are Gulf War 1991 vintage.

Pacman27 (@guest_524254)
7 months ago

should we perhaps be planning for their retirement and replacement with a boxer variant, putting this £16m into the design and manufacture of boxer payloads that can carry this work out.

nothing agains this vehicle, but we need to rationalise and standardise across our fleet and sell what we can to partners or put in storage if useful.

Daveyb (@guest_524307)
7 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Doing a variant of the Boxer for CBRN would be the obvious choice. However, whether the MoD will do this is highly debatable.

Jack (@guest_524318)
7 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

That is the plan but right now, whilst this is still in service and supported the priority for Boxer is for the fighting units.

peter wait
peter wait (@guest_524473)
7 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Boxer version would simplify the supply chain and be more cost effective .

Andy (@guest_524702)
7 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

They don’t have too, any of the Boxer partners could make it, so long as it’s cheaper the MoD will go for it.

BB85 (@guest_524375)
7 months ago
Reply to  Pacman27

I think there are only 10 or 11 of these vehicles in service so prob not worth the effort of designing a dedicated module anytime soon. In sure it will eventually replace the Fuchs if they do a joint design with the Germans. They might also opt to replace it with a similar vehicle size when the 6×6 MIV is eventually selected

Joe16 (@guest_524389)
7 months ago
Reply to  BB85

I dunno, I can see some mileage in it; Think Defence has a great updated article on Boxer, and my understanding is that the modularity of the payloads means that any one client can develop one, which is then added to the options list for all the other partners too. CRBN is a common issue for any number of Boxer operators, so they may well get some export orders out of it, offset development costs and all that.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_524418)
7 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Interesting link. Surprised the UK ambulance version includes a machine gun as may prove a legal conundrum if ‘mistakenly’ taken out by an opponent.

Dern (@guest_524580)
7 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Not really all that surprising. FV432 Ambulances in Medical Regiments come equippped with a GPMG for self defence. Hard to provide suppressive fire from a skedaddeling vehicle with just an L85 set to Automatic.

Johnny (@guest_524255)
7 months ago

Are these the same vehicles that were gifted by the German army?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_524265)
7 months ago
Reply to  Johnny

Yes, I believe so.

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_524287)
7 months ago

I was at 37 Rhine Wksp when they arrived, under tarps, in great secrecy. They still had the black and white crosses of the Bundeswehr on them.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_524275)
7 months ago

The original headline was British Army FUCHS fleet. Hope not

Trevor G
Trevor G (@guest_524330)
7 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon