Home > Features > Grenadier Quartermaster ~ A Potential UK GSUP Contender – Part 2

Grenadier Quartermaster ~ A Potential UK GSUP Contender – Part 2

The INEOS Grenadier Quartermaster DCPU has four doors, seating for five and a sizeable rear cargo loadbed [© INEOS]

Now that INEOS has unveiled its Grenadier Quartermaster variant could it be a potential UK GSUP (General Service Utility Platform) contender, ponders Bob Morrison.

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First, a brief catch-up: Around this time last year the UK MoD issued a Request For Information (RFI) for a General Support Utility Platform (GSUP) for the British Army as part of an initial scoping of options to replace Land Rover and other similar vehicles. The GSUP category is/was* one part of the Protected Mobility Pipeline, which has a programme timeframe running from 2023 onwards to allow replacement of several vehicle types with projected Out of Service Dates (OSD) generally around 2030.

A standard Euro Pallet will easily fit in the INEOS Grenadier Quartermaster DCPU loadbed [© INEOS]

Outline specifications for the last British Army Land Rover replacement fleet requirement were announced on 08 January 1992 and the contract award (for the TUL/TUM HS or Wolf) was announced on 18 January 1996, with first vehicles expected to be operational that summer. UK defence procurement does not appear to have speeded up to any great extent over the last three decades, so it is possible that defence manufacturers might still have at least a couple of years to fine tune designs and produce militarised variants before MoD issues tender invitations with full requirements and then down-selects proposed vehicle types to proceed to a field evaluation trials stage. Now that INEOS has introduced the new long wheelbase Grenadier Quartermaster DCPU (double cab pick-up) to complement the Grenadier Station Wagon and Utility Wagon versions, it might well be possible for the company to produce dedicated militarised variants in time for comparative testing.

INEOS Grenadier Quartermaster DCPU with canopy / tilt over the rear cargo loadbed [© INEOS]

We do not yet know precisely what UK MoD will specify for the vehicles to replace its current and ageing military Land Rover fleet, but it is likely the new vehicle (in unarmoured utility / cargo version at least) could be expected to match the TUM HS (Wolf 110) requirements set in 1992 because the basic roles have probably not significantly changed. The TUM HS requirement (during the course of its originally projected 15-year lifespan the short wheelbase TUL HS or Wolf 90 was proved to be too small, so can probably be ignored this time round) called for a 1200kg payload plus a 3500kg GVW, or gross vehicle weight, was presumed as this is the maximum allowable weight for a B1 category driving licence. In 1992 it was also stipulated that the vehicle, which should be in the Improved Medium Mobility Load Carrier or IMMLC class, would also need to be able to withstand a 10G landing force on an energy absorbing platform, but as the British Army no longer appears to have the capability to mass parachute drop Land Rover type vehicles in the way which it could at the start of the 1990s, airdrop ability probably won’t come into the equation this time around.

The Grenadier Quartermaster DCPU version, which with its 3227mm wheelbase is the equivalent of the extended wheelbase Defender / Pulse 130 model, offers a usable loadbed floor (between wheel boxes) of 1564x1137mm. This, with the wide drop tailgate, allows it to easily carry a standard 1200x800mm Euro Pallet, though the wider 1200x1000mm standard NATO Pallet would probably be a tight fit. However a kerb weight (i.e. unladen and without driver) is given as 2740kg, which leaves just 760kg for payload (including driver and passenger weights) within the stated 3500kg GVW. The Grenadier is most likely capable of carrying higher payload, especially if uprated brakes and suspension were fitted, but we suspect UK MoD will still require that the vehicle can be driven on a standard licence.

The current in-service TUM HS / Wolf 110 was originally configured with two seats in the cab and inward-facing bench seating for up to eight troops (not much fun for the 95 percentile male, but just about comfortable for Gurkhas) with minimal equipment. However subsequent changes in road safety regulations caused UK MoD to prohibit anyone from sitting on bench seats in the rear compartment of softskin medium utility vehicles and as DE&S never did get around to ordering individual rear seats which would offer the required protection in the event of a crash, it is unlikely a composite cargo / troop carrying utility vehicle like the Wolf will be specified this time around. This is where the DCPU Quartermaster version of the Grenadier, with five forward-facing troops and a workable loadbed, might prove to be attractive. Although no double cab pick-up versions of the Wolf were ordered in 1996, the British Army does have a small fleet Project HEBE conversions which follow this format.

While small batches of five-door Defender Station Wagons were procured until the early 1990s, this body configuration was not ordered on the uprated TUL/TUM or Wolf chassis, but a small number of earlier vehicles continue in service with specialist units to this day; indeed I came across one of these on Operation KEVADTORM 2023 in Estonia in May. The standard Grenadier Station Wagon, built on the 2992mm (115”) chassis, carries five on forward-facing seats with a little bit more leg and elbow room than the Defender 110, and it also has a very reasonable sized 1268mm long x1064mm wide x1047mm high rear cargo compartment. The 5-seat Utility Wagon version of Grenadier, which is pretty much just a Station Wagon with no rear body side windows is dimensionally similar. There is also 2-seat Utility Wagon version which internally has an even longer rear loadbed and, because all five doors are retained, it offers the option of unloading cargo through the second pair of side doors as well as through the rear.

There are not yet enough of the new INEOS Grenadiers around for a dedicated press loan fleet to be available, so I have not been able to take one off on assignment for a week or two to properly assess its performance like I used to do with Land Rovers in the old days, therefore I am afraid I cannot yet comment on the capabilities of the new kid on the block. However if the Grenadier is as capable and reliable on-road and off-road as the Defender Wolf is, and if the manufacturer invests in militarising it or teams up with one of the UK companies with a proven track record in this field, this Land Rover clone might just end up being a credible Military Land Rover replacement for the 2030s and beyond.

*One source (BATTLESPACE Update) reported 10 July 2023 that GSUP “has been renamed and expanded to include the procurement of over 50% of the British Army light and wheeled vehicle fleet” including pretty much everything from quad bikes (ATVs) through to near 30 tonnes MASTIFF Protected Patrol Vehicles.

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