A major upgrade to a backbone vehicle of the Army’s logistic operations has reached its milestone target and is rolling out its final batch of new and improved fleet.
The Enhanced Pallet Load System (EPLS MK3) conversion is at the heart of a £72 million contract the MOD awarded to Babcock and MAN Truck and Bus (MTB) to upgrade a number of the Army’s current fleet of 15T Support Vehicle platforms, vital to keeping the Army and its kit on the move.
The conversion took place in Manchester, with technical and engineering expertise being undertaken by a combination of civilian and ex-military personnel who were able to bring their prior knowledge to bear in its development.
With the addition of a hook lift ‘top hamper’ to allow it to transport flatracks (FRs) and related equipment of up to 15 tonnes, EPLS can also be fitted with armour packs to protect crew from ballistic and blast threat and forms the logistic foundation of the British Army.
A load carrier with a 15-tonne payload allowing the rapid loading and unloading of flatracks or 20ft ISO containers, the EPLS (MK3) upgrade was conceived as the most cost effective way to help bridge the capability gap, as DROPS went out of service in 2020, until a replacement capability can be procured in the future.”
The requirement included the need for a versatile medium lift capability to provide the next generation of material distribution across the battlefield, and in multiple operating environments. EPLS is able to lift an ISO container, without being loaded onto a flat rack, and is also compatible with all flat rack types.
The Army will have a total of 559 EPLS vehicles in the UK fleet, including 382 MAN HX77 EPLS MK 3 Conversions.
As part of the Army Command plan and Future Soldier vision, over the next four years the Army will spend over £85bn on equipment and support.
It will invest around an additional £3bn in new Army equipment on top of the more than £20bn planned.