Quantcast

The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Hagglunds BV206

RECOIL Rides Along in the World’s Most Elite and Versatile Tracked Vehicle

Photography by: Scott Majors

This beast can tackle some brutal landscapes. A mountainous plateau bombarded by a relentless blizzard? Check. A backcountry path pockmarked by boulders and felled trees? No biggie. Dirt roads and asphalt make this ride laugh. The Hagglunds Bandvagen 206 — or Bv206, as it is more commonly known — is a multipurpose, tracked small unit support vehicle (SUSV) capable of handling extreme terrain and offering accessibility to some of the world’s most remote locations.

Built as a successor to the Bv202, made by Volvo, the Hagglunds Bv206 met the Swedish government’s need for an all-purpose vehicle with more power and lower maintenance issues than its Volvo counterpart. While the Volvo Bv202 tracks were iron and easily rusted out, the Hagglunds Bv206 features a track made of reinforced nylon, with some of the newer models using Kevlar tracks.

Hagglunds BV206 photo

The Bv206 is suited for a variety of conditions, and spanning harsh winter environments is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for the diverse capabilities of this vehicle. In addition to excelling in extreme snow, the Bv206 can also ford streams, scale rock surfaces, swim deep water, and maneuver through mud, muck, and post-disaster/combat debris. The unit is even fully amphibious without extra preparation. Hydrostatic, articulated steering allows for a surprisingly tight turning radius, and the 2-ton payload makes the vehicle absolutely invaluable during personnel or cargo transport.

That said, the vehicle is easily the most sought after in the world when it comes to the Snowcat/Bearcat market. RECOIL Magazine had the pleasure of receiving an afternoon lecture and ride-along from Art Seely, who is president and CEO of Safety One Training International and a licensed dealer/expert of the Hagglunds Bv206.

One of the first certified rescue paramedics in the United States and a world-renowned trainer with more than 25 years of experience in snow survival and snowcat operations training, Mr. Seely had much to share regarding the development and implementation of this unique vehicle across the world.

“I got called to do some consulting work on the design changes and this led to the production of Bv206 models with six-cylinder petrol and five-cylinder diesel Mercedes engines,” he says. “The first off the lines had a six-cylinder Ford Capri engine, and then production shifted to include the five-cylinder Mercedes, and the final sequence yielded a very nice six-cylinder 3L engine. This is the same engine you’ll find in a 2007 Mercedes 300SD Sedan.”

Hagglunds BV206 photo

Given the vehicle’s rugged construction and speed capabilities, the Bv206 is only on par with itself when it comes to deployment potential and use. “During my time with SWAT, I drove an M114 and there’s just no comparison. These things will go anywhere,” says Art.

Ideal Uses for the Hagglunds Bv206

Transportation

The Hagglunds Bv206 all-terrain vehicle is excellent for transporting personnel or cargo because of its load capacity (up to 4,400 pounds). The six-passenger Bv206 Cargo model can transport bulky, heavy equipment over the toughest terrains. The rear compartment can load up to three European-style wooden pallets.

Search, Rescue, and Recovery

The Hagglunds Bv206 can travel up to 34 mph and can respond immediately from a fixed location, obviating the need for trailer transport. Capable of transporting up to four patients on stretchers, the Bv206 is a serious high-tech emergency response vehicle: It can be equipped with state-of–the-art navigation equipment, including radar, thermal imaging, GPS positioning with satellite photo overlays, night vision, gyro-stabilized optics, and much more.

Touring

The Bv206 can transport up to 17 passengers comfortably. The vehicles are routinely retrofitted with such comforts as bucket seats, onboard DVD player, plasma screen TVs, high-quality audio entertainment systems, refrigerators, microwave ovens, and sleeping facilities, as well as other luxury options.

Hagglunds BV206 photo

Because of the versatility of the Hagglunds and the fact that the parent company has now become a part of BAE Global Combat Systems, these original models are becoming increasingly rare and extremely tough to find. Even more intriguing, the models in production under BAE differ from these original models, making them that much more sought after. “You have to have a State Department permit to purchase or deal them as they are classified as ‘implements of war.’ Then you have to have a ATFE Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 Form 6, and a Special Occupational License,” Art explains. “Then you have to have a license from the government of Norway. On the off chance the cargo docks ship the Hagglunds via Binghamton, England, you also have to have a special permit from them, too!” Consequences of trying to purchase or secure these vehicles without proper authorization make doing so unadvisable. “I know of a guy who spent three years in prison in England, and two former military officers from another country who went to prison, for trying to acquire Hagglunds without all the proper permits,” Art cautions. “It’s a very sensitive item.”

“I know of a guy who spent three years in prison in England, and two former military officers from another country who went to prison, for trying to acquire Hagglunds without all the proper permits”

For reference, the model we rode in was a Mercedes five-cylinder, with cab and rear heaters, a comm system to communicate between the two units, a built-in fire extinguisher system, and a commander’s seat in the cab — allowing one to “pop the top” and ride with a torso out of the roof for maximum visibility. The articulated steering and track system offered a surprisingly nimble ride, given the terrain we scaled and the vehicle’s weight.

Simply put, the Hagglunds Bv206 is unparalleled in its field, and one incredible piece of equipment. It’s definitely worth checking out in person.

Hagglunds BV206 photo

Specs

Make:
Hagglunds
Model:
Bandvagen 206
Engine Options:

  • Industrial Ford V-6 gasoline (136 horsepower)
  • Mercedes-Benz five-cylinder turbo diesel (125 horsepower)
  • Mercedes-Benz six-cylinder turbo diesel (136 horsepower)

Transmission:
Daimler-Benz W 4A 040 (comparable to an Allison 432)
Gear Ratios:
High 1.28:1, Low 2.11:1
Track:
Reinforced nylon (some use Kevlar)
Electrical:
24 volt
Turning Radius:
26 feet
Height:
7 feet 9 inches
Length:
22 feet 6 inches
Width:
6 feet 1 inches
Seating Capacity:
Six in front, 11 in rear car
Payload:
4,400 pounds
Gross:
13,940 pounds
Cargo Space:
283 cubic feet
Maximum Speed:
34 mph (gas); 31 mph (diesel); 2 mph in water
Gradeability:
31 degrees hard surface / 17 degrees deep snow
Fuel Capacity:
Two 20-gallon tanks, which can be shifted automatically or manually
Body Material:
Fiberglass reinforced plastic with PVC foam insulation (can be upgraded)
Original Base Cost During Production:
$388,000
Current Retail Cost:
$900,000-plus
Miscellaneous Parts Costs:

  • Differentials – $28,000
  • Engines – $30,000
  • Transfer Case – $22,000
  • Custom Transmission – Price varies
  • Track Replacement – $16,000 to $20,000

Hagglunds BV206 photo