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By Julian Nettlefold

08 Feb 11. Gerald Howarth MP, Minister for International Security Strategy, today had the first viewing of the utility and command variants of Force Protection Europe’s Ocelot, as they were being prepared for transportation to Australia.

The vehicles will arrive in Australia to start Trials for the Land 121 requirement against other contenders including GD’s Eagle and Thales’s Hawkeye for a contract for 1300 vehicles and trailers worth A$1bn. The vehicles required are two Utility, two Command and two WMIK variants, the latter of which will be delivered later. The WMIK pod will be displayed at IDEX.

During a visit to the Ricardo engineering facility in Shoreham, where the two variants have been manufactured, the Minister was given a full briefing on both vehicles’ capabilities. Every Ocelot has a v-shaped spine running the length of the vehicle, which protects the occupants and also its critical components from mine and blast threats. On top of the v-spine is an integrated pod which can be configured for a variety of mission roles such as the utility and command variants (required for the Land 121 programme); protected patrol variant (UK’s Foxhound LPPV); and the special weapons variant (PV funded by FPE).

Martin Fausset, Managing Director of Ricardo UK, said, “I am pleased to welcome Gerald Howarth to Ricardo to preview the two Ocelots shortly to be exported for the Australian Land 121 programme and to meet the teams responsible for the design and development of this highly advanced vehicle concept which offers unparalleled standards of performance, adaptability and crew protection. We are extremely pleased to be working with Force Protection Europe to develop further opportunities for this truly class-leading vehicle on a global basis.”

Michael Moody, Force Protection’s CEO told BATTLESSPACE that Force Protection was being granted a manufacturing facility in South Australia for Final Assembly. “What we are in fact doing is forming a Global Supply Chain to enable the vehicle to be built anywhere in the world to a common basic design.”

Force Protection Europe’s contract winning light protected patrol vehicle, Ocelot, also appeared at the International Armoured Vehicles at ExCeL in London. This will be the first time that the protected patrol vehicle variant has been on public view since Force Protection Europe was awarded a contract last November to supply the UK MoD with 200 of the vehicles.

“Do you expect further Foxhound orders from the MoD?” The Editor asked David Hind, Managing Director of Force Protection Europe.

“We expect the next tranche of 200 protected patrol variants to follow soon as well as further orders for variants such as the Utility Variant seen here today. There is also a Requirement for a Fire Support variant with a .50 calibre machine gun and cupola. We are also looking at the OUVS Requirement when it comes out. We see Foxhound as being well-placed to be selected.”

“How does the relationship with Ricardo work and who owns the IP?”

“Force Protection Europe owns the IP, thus there are no ITAR restrictions. Ricardo is a partner in the Project and can choose either to partner as in the UK or to receive a Royalty or licence fee per vehicle. For the U.K. we placed a £12m order with Ricardo to build the vehicles at their Shoreham facility.”

“The next stage is to facilitate the Supply Chain requirements for the U.K. MoD which will follow four weeks after the first delivery in May. We have three suppliers of the ballistic pod which is built to a strict ‘book’ of specifications. Thus we can build the pod anywhere in the world at an approved composite facility. Thus, Ocelot will be the first Mine protected vehicle with a global footprint.”

“What other customers are you looking to supply?”

“The Middle East is an obvious market and we will be showing the vehicle at IDEX.”

Ocelot ha

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