It consists of two units, with all four tracks powered. It can carry up to 17 people (6 in the front compartment, 11 in the rear), and the trailer unit can be adapted for different application.
Development of the Bv 206 all-terrain articulated tracked carrier began in 1974. Three batches of trial vehicles were delivered between 1976 and 1978 and the first production examples were delivered to the Swedish Defense Administration in 1980.
The Bv 206 is designed to carry troops and equipment through snow and bog-lands in northern Sweden. The low ground pressure enables the Bv 206 to cope with a wide range of difficult conditions. It is also fully amphibious, with a speed in water of up to 4.7 km/h. Over 11,000 have been produced and they are used in more than 37 countries worldwide.
The total load capacity is 2,250 kg and a trailer of up to 2,500 kg gross weight can also be towed behind the second compartment.
The Bv 206 is referred to as a Small Unit Support Vehicle (SUSV) pronounced "susvee" in United States service. U.S. military variants include the ambulance variant, the flat-bed cargo carrier, tactical operations center variant, and the standard model. U.S. military models are fitted with a 6-cylinder Mercedesdiesel engine and a non-halonfire suppression system since 1997 due to several cases where the front car caught fire and burned to the frame.
Additional users include the American and Australian Antarctic research organizations and Icelandic and Canadian search and rescue services. They are also used for search and rescue services in the Australian alpine region. As well, the Bv 206 was used in combat by the Canadian Forces during Operation Anaconda. The Singapore Armed Forces also uses the Bv 206 and recently transferred several of them to the Singapore Civil Defense Force to be used as a firefighting platform.
Decommissioned models have been purchased by private owners and rented as transports, particularly in Alberta, Canada, in order to access remote oil wells, as well as cut blocks which need to be reforested by treeplanting.
The Bv 206 is used in Antarctica, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Bv206S is an armoured personnel carrier variant of the Bv 206, which provides protection from small arms fire for the occupants. It is in service with the armed forces of France, Germany (379 Bv 206D/S ordered), Spain, Netherlands, Italy (189 units), Sweden (50 units) and Singapore (300 units) which is replaced with the Bronco All Terrain Tracked Carrier.
Using a Steyr M1-"Monoblock" engine (6-cylinder, 130 kW), the vehicle can carry the driver and 12 combat equipped troops — four in the front compartment and eight in the rear. The Bv 206S can be under slung and air lifted by Boeing CH-47 Chinook and Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters or carried in the C130 Hercules airplane, amongst others.
Canadian troops taking part in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan made good use of this vehicle, riding over rough mountainous terrain with full combat gear, allowing the men to avoid the exhaustion they would have felt moving on foot at such high altitudes and in such conditions.
Numerous variants exist including mortar launcher, cargo carrier, fuel carrier, radar, command post and radio relay. The units can easily be customized to meet the specific needs of a customer.