Now that our temperatures are getting colder and the sea ice is stretched out as far as the eye can see it is time to bring out the wintering expeditioner's 'secret weapon': the Hägglunds Bv 206!
The Bv 206 Hägglunds was originally built for the Swedish Army to carry troops and their equipment through the snow of Northern Sweden. The Hägglunds with both passenger compartments is totally amphibious and when in the water can move at nearly 5 km/h (or should that be 2.5 knots!?). Inch for inch the ground pressure under a Hägglunds track is roughly equal to half a human’s footprint!
Over the years the Hägglunds have been steadily modified to suit the conditions it's working in, and Antarctica is no exception. The Australian Antarctic Division's 'Häggs' used to be powered by 5 or 6 cylinder Mercedes-Benz Turbo Diesels but are now going through refits in-house at Kingston to be re-powered with state-of-the-art Cummins Turbo Diesels and electrical systems.
The 'Häggs' are also used on our stations for SAR (Search and Rescue) and ERT (Emergency Response or 'Fire' Team) and are well suited for these roles considering their reliability and off-road capabilities.
Of course driving a 'Hägg' with its articulated steering and four 'track' drive can take some getting used to. This is why all wintering expeditioners have recently been getting familiarised in Hägg operations and recovery, so all our future field trips can be as safe and comfortable as possible for all involved.