Royal Marine Armoured Support Group to Join Cougar 13 - the RM Armoured Support Group have completed their training for the Royal Navy’s key deployment of 2013 with a week of live fire action on the Dorset ranges at Lulworth. Sixteen (16) VIKING BvS10 from the RM Armoured Support Group will join the Cougar 13 Task Group when in deploys in August 2013 and will embark in the Landing Ship RFA MOUNTS BAY.
The VIKING is a tracked all terrain armoured vehicle which gives its two strong crew in the forward compartment and the eight marines in the rear much greater protection than the previous equipment. It is fully amphibious – it crosses rivers, streams, lakes and can power through the sea at up to 5kts; the grooves on its caterpillar tracks act rather like the wheel of a paddle steamer. The Royal Marines have operated the vehicles since 2005 and they have spent four years in Afghanistan supporting the Allied mission there. The RM Armoured Support Group is under the overall control of 539 Assault Squadron RM, and the VIKINGs are based at RNAS Yeovilton.
In total the Royal Marines have 115 VIKING and the 16 being deployed are to Mark One version, and the rest of the fleet – 99 vehicles – are in Sweden undergoing a £ 37m revamp to give them additional firepower, armour and protection.