CBRN / HazMat Training Blog

British Army Fuchs 1 Returns to Frontline Service

Written by Steven Pike on 02 May 2024


The UK fleet of TPz Fuchs 1 vehicles procured hastily for CBRN reconnaissance duty in the first Gulf War has survived a number of defence cuts and has returned to service following an extensive capability regeneration and enhancement programme.

UK TPz Fuchs 1

The Fuchs 6-wheel armoured CBRN vehicle is a beast by any standards. As an all-wheel drive platform, it is packed with advanced sensors and represents the Area Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AS&R) capability that forms a cornerstone of the UK’s Defence C-CBRN policy.

The Fuchs platform is a highly adaptable vehicle, produced in various variants. It was already widely used by the German Bundeswehr and several other militaries when it was incorporated into UK service with the outbreak of the First Gulf War. The hastily assembled UK contribution to the operation to retake Kuwait from invading Iraqi forces faced a dilemma. Iraq was believed to possess a significant chemical weapons stockpile, posing a horrifying threat to British and allied forces. The UK's CBRN capability was oriented towards defensive operations on the central front in Germany, protecting against a potential Warsaw Pact invasion and lacked CBRN support for offensive operations.

Enter the TPz Fuchs 1.

Hastily acquired by the UK MOD, the Fuchs and their rapidly trained crews found themselves at the forefront of the advance by the 1 (UK) Armoured Division as they charged into the Kuwaiti desert toward the Iraqi border.

Post-Gulf War

The Fuchs was an operational success and highly valued. However, successive defence cuts to UK forces in the first decade of the 21st century led to the Fuchs being removed from frontline service and placed into reserve. As competition for resources increased, its future in UK service was in doubt. It was only the spread of chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons skills, and the plundering of deadly stockpiles in countries such as Syria by the Islamic State, which raised the likelihood of British troops facing CBRN threats on future battlefields, that resulted in a comeback for this remarkable vehicle variant with its mobility, sensor, and data capabilities.

The UK has recently completed a major upgrade to its modest but highly capable fleet of nine vehicles. The £16m enhancement and return-to-service programme has once again placed the Fuchs 1 at very high readiness with the UK armed forces.

Operational Capability

The Fuchs vehicles are operated by Falcon Squadron of the Royal Tank Regiment, with their operational affiliation being part of 22 Regiment, Royal Engineers. In this configuration, they are the UK’s key assets for carrying out chemical, radiological, and nuclear survey and reconnaissance missions during land manoeuvre operations.

The vehicles are now equipped with the latest generation of sensors and automatic systems for detecting nuclear radiation, CBRN agents, and other toxic substances. They also include real-time data links that allow battlefield-collected data to be returned for immediate analysis and assessment at the UK’s Porton Down CBRN centre. The agile vehicle, capable of traveling at speeds of up to 100 kph, is operated by a four-strong team who are sealed in against hazardous environments and can establish the severity and location of any chemical or radiological threat.

The Training Requirement

Maintaining the level of training and operational preparedness for such a sophisticated capability is a considerable task. Crew training, sensor integration, and survey and analysis techniques must be incorporated into a broader battlefield or operational environment that takes account of threats, terrain, logistics, and command and control factors, all of which commanders and their soldiers must consider during operations.

There are sophisticated simulator facilities to support scarce field exercise opportunities, and the more that simulation capability can be incorporated into regular training programmes, the better. This is particularly true for units such as Falcon Squadron, which must be held at very high readiness, placing restrictions on the ability to reduce operational availability in order to conduct training.

Argon is proud of its support for the UK CBRN capability by offering a range of sensor simulators that allow commanders and training staff to prepare challenging and realistic training at short notice and in a local environment so that readiness is not compromised. Not only do Argon’s simulators allow vehicle operator systems to be practised, but products such as PlumeSIM also enhance both military and civil reconnaissance and survey exercises, allowing local field exercises and command post training for commanders and their staffs to take place under controlled safe conditions.


The TPz Fuchs is a remarkable vehicle providing a unique state-of-the-art capability, and it is gratifying that its value has been recognized with a return to service and a major upgrade. Keeping the capability current in a world of evolving CBRN threats is a challenge. The recognition and support of adaptable simulation training will enable that capability to maintain its edge and meet those challenges.

Featured image attribution: Fuchs Armoured Vehicle, defenceimagery.mod.uk, OGL v1.0OGL v1.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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Topics: CBRN Training

Steven Pike

Written by Steven Pike

Steven Pike is the Founder and Managing Director of Argon Electronics (UK) Ltd. A graduate of the University of Hertfordshire, Steven has been awarded a number of international patents relating to the field of hazardous material training systems and technology.