Under the hood – the mighty mechanics at the heart of the Hägglund
Throughout history horses, huskies, tractors and snowmobiles have all been put to use going from A to B in Antarctica. But when you want to move cargo in the most demanding of conditions the most reliable way is in these Swedish-made over-snow vehicles.
Driving out from base in the Antarctic is always carefully managed. In such an extreme environment you need both personal expertise and reliable technology.
The Hägglund is a dual-cab vehicle that travels on four heavy-duty rubber tracks. These incredible pieces of automotive engineering are made to go where others can’t – across ice, up hills, across crevasses and through water.
When using sleds they have a towing capacity of 2 tonnes, which makes these all terrain amphibious vehicles perfect for supply logistics on the ice. Depending on what it is carrying the Hägglund can travel up to 250km and, if it’s more than 50cm thick, it can be driven out across sea ice most times of the year.
As with anything on the ice, keeping your equipment in the best working order is vital. Our expert Hägglund mechanic runs a regular programme of maintenance and safety checks to ensure everything is running as it should.
While there’s a lot to keep an eye on, the clever design and built-tough construction certainly provides peace of mind. Each of the four tracks is individually powered, providing the necessary manoeuvrability and power to traverse the various obstacles in the Antarctic Centre’s outdoor course.
It all adds up to a truly unique driving experience. Terry, our driver, has been behind the wheel for three years now.
“I love providing an exciting, thrilling ride that is also undertaken with complete safety of the passengers,” says Terry. “Very few people ever get the chance to travel on one of these, be it as a driver or passenger, so I feel lucky to be doing it each day.”
“While it’s incredibly different from driving a normal car with the noise of the tracks and the handling it also drives quite naturally,” he says. “And seeing the expressions on each passenger’s face after the ride is always a highlight.”
Top speed: 55kmh
Engine: Mercedes turbo V6 petrol
Passengers: 4 (front cab), 10 (back cab)
Towing capacity: 2 tonnnes