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Belgium to receive armoured combat engineer vehicles in 2022

Belgian army engineers are to receive four ACEVs in 2022. (Belgian MoD)

Belgian army engineers will receive four armoured combat engineer vehicles (ACEVs) during the first half of 2022, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 9 December.

The ministry said the new vehicles would perform mobility and countermobility support missions and support the survival of deployed troops. To support mobility, it can clear debris from roads and create bypasses. For countermobility, it can erect obstacles and dig anti-tank ditches. To support the survival and security of a detachment, it can conduct cantonment work such as filling bastion walls. It will also provide general support for engineers.

With a protection level similar to Belgium's Piranha, Dingo, and future Griffon armoured vehicles, the ACEV will accompany manoeuvre units deployed abroad, according to the MoD.

The ACEV has a speed of at least 60 km/h and is air-transportable by Antonov An-124, C-130, C-17, and A400M, the latter of which is entering service with the Belgian air force.

It is produced by JCB, which has a concession in Limburg, Belgium, that the MoD said would facilitate logistic support. The company will provide some of the maintenance, with the ministry retaining responsibility for operational and intermediate-level maintenance. JCB provides ACEV maintenance and operator training in customer countries, which is also planned.

The ACEV will partially replace Belgium's six armoured engineer vehicles, which are based on the Leopard 1 chassis. The rest will be replaced by Moyen d'appui au Contact combat engineer vehicles around 2027, which is currently being studied.

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