MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS
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Millbrook, based in Bedfordshire, UK, makes a significant contribution to the quality and performance of military vehicles worldwide. Its specialist expertise is focussed in two distinct areas: test programmes to help armed services and their suppliers ensure that their vehicles and systems work as the specification requires; and design and build work to upgrade new or existing vehicles, evaluate vehicle capability and investigate in-service failures. Complementing these is driver and service training and a hospitality business that allows customers to use selected areas of Millbrook’s remarkable facilities for demonstrations and exhibitions.
12 May 09. The first batch of a fleet of versatile, protected vehicles has been delivered to troops on operations, complete with the latest battle-ready upgrades. Weighing over 7 tonnes, the Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle (PCLV) is fitted with the latest high-tech developments, including a remote-controlled weapon system that allows the user to operate a machine gun with a camera and joystick from inside its turret. It can operate in all weather conditions, day and night using thermal imaging equipment that “sees” in the dark and the vehicles are protected against a range of threats including small arms, blast and anti-personnel mines. Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
“Panther is an extremely tough, air-transportable and agile vehicle which will provide commanders on the ground with a vital asset suited to a variety of roles and operational environments.
“We have made a number of essential modifications since its entry into service which have been key to ensuring we deliver on our commitment to provide a vehicle which is fit for our frontline troops.
“I am confident that through our work with industry we have a vehicle which will be very effective in all sorts of situations.”
Panther, which was delivered to 1 Mechanised Brigade for training last summer, has undergone design adjustments following a series of hot weather trials to make them ready for operations in Afghanistan. These include:
* rear view camera for improved situational awareness;
* protected engine compartment;
* the addition of a fourth crew member;
* theatre-specific Electronic Counter Measures (ECM).
The vehicles will be first used by both the RAF Regiment and the Army’s Close Support Logistics Regiment. More vehicles are en route to theatre later this month for deployment on the frontline. The modifications to Panther were carried out at BAE Systems Global Combat Systems’ Newcastle production plant. Over 60 Panthers have received the Theatre Entry Standard (TES) modifications. A number of these vehicles will be delivered to theatre, with the remainder being made available for training.
14 May 09. The Ministry of Defence is withdrawing an entire line of armoured vehicles from Afghanistan because they failed to protect troops from roadside bombs and were plagued by technical snags. The Vector, designed by Armor Holdings, now a unit of BAE Systems, was intended
to give British troops a safer and more manoeuvrable patrol vehicle after
concerns emerged about the safety of lightly armoured Snatch Land Rovers.
But they have fallen out of favour with troops. A National Audit Office report on Wednesday said commanders were reluctant to use the armoured trucks after losing confidence in their security. At least two soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan after their Vectors were hit by explosions, according to the MoD website. The MoD said the Vector was a “versatile and agile vehicle”, but noted that an evolving threat from larger roadside bombs had “led to a requirement for more medium and heavy capability vehicles to withst