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UK MoD Unveils New Protected Vehicles

Credit: UK MoD
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Jul 02, 2008
In addition to the 150 RIDGBACK vehicles on order, the MoD is purchasing more than 85 new VIKING and JACKAL protected vehicles for troops in Afghanistan and has unveiled two new vehicle types, RIDGBACK and PANTHER, Baroness Taylor has said.

Fourteen extra VIKING - tracked, amphibious vehicles, which are capable of swimming in deep water while fully laden with Marines and equipment - have been ordered from BAE Systems in a pound14M contract.

In addition, the awesome firepower of the Army's all terrain JACKAL received a boost with the news that a further 72 have been ordered from Babcock Marine. The JACKAL is already demonstrating its worth in Afghanistan with its ability to tackle the harsh terrain at speeds of 80mph due to its adjustable suspension system.

Making the announcement at DVD, Baroness Taylor also unveiled the Army's new RIDGBACK urban patrol vehicle, little brother to the hugely popular Mastiff which has already proved its worth in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The MoD has bought 150 of the vehicles which will undergo an integration programme that will see additional protection, weapons, communications systems and specialist electronic counter-measures equipment added to turn the Cougar 4x4s into RIDGBACK.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Baroness Taylor said:

"Getting the right equipment to the Armed Forces is my priority. I am always looking for the newest technology to address the ever-changing threats, and offer the greatest protection, mobility and firepower while giving our Commanders the choice of vehicles they need to carry out the tasks they face.

"I am pleased to unveil the new RIDGBACK protected patrol vehicle, brother to the hugely popular Mastiff, and announce we have ordered a further 72 JACKAL and 14 more VIKING combat vehicles to support our operations and maintain the strength of our Armed Forces.

"Together with industry we are turning around new technology and upgrades to existing kit under the UOR scheme, delivering core equipment projects like PANTHER and ensuring our forces are well-equipped and battle ready. JACKAL is a very good example of how we procure kit quickly under Urgent Operational Requirement procedures. The prototype was on display here last year at DVD - now it is on operations proving its worth in Afghanistan."

Also on full display at DVD was the new command and liaison vehicle, PANTHER. With its ability to operate in all weathers, day and night using thermal imaging equipment that "sees" in the dark PANTHER will be a valuable addition to the Army's vehicle stock.

The vehicles are protected against a range of threats and the majority are fitted with a sophisticated weapon system that allows the user to operate the machine guns with a camera and joystick from inside the vehicle

Chief of Defence Materiel and the head of MoD DE and S General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue said at the show:

"This event is an excellent example of how we work closely with industry and the Armed Forces to deliver and support the equipment the front line needs. The variety of vehicles available to UK forces on operations gives commanders the ability to choose the best suited vehicle for the terrain, the threat and the agility required for an operations"

"Support to operations is an essential part of our business and involves more than just armoured vehicles. Other examples of the support we provide include increased capability for our medical teams and improvements to clothing and food on operations."

RIDGBACK is just one of a whole range of protected vehicles being used on operations including MASTIFF, VIKING, BULLDOG, WARRIOR, VECTOR, and SNATCH.

The variety of vehicles available to UK forces on operations gives commanders the ability to choose the best suited vehicle for the terrain, the threat and the agility required for an operation. The total number of new protected vehicles we are delivering to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq now stands at almost 600.

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