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By Julian Nettlefold

29 Oct 08. The U.K. Defence Secretary John Hutton announced today an order for 700 vehicles of various types to provide enhanced protection and safety for the troops in Afghanistan. This follows criticism of the MoD by members of the public for the perceived failure to protect servicemen in the SNATCH vehicle in particular.

“Today’s multi-million pound package shows that we are responding to new and changing threats on the ground and will provide our serving personnel with the highest levels of protection and mobility that technology will allow,” said John Hutton.

“This announcement is the culmination of a capability review of equipment in Afghanistan that began in the summer with HQ Land. We looked at equipment in theatre, in the pipeline and current force structure. We also looked at the new threats and challenges our forces face and what the enemy was throwing at us. The terrain in the British Sector of Afghanistan varies from riverine green zone to complex terrain with villages and compounds to the desert itself.” said Colonel Charlie Clee, from the DEC-GM, where he is responsible for the Close Battlespace and Ours in particular. He currently has at least 100 active Programmes.

“A number of factions caused the requirement for Tactical Support Vehicles in particular, one being the need to supply troops on long-duration missions which now stretch, in many cases over 24 hours. We cannot defeat this threat by using armour alone, more armour solves some of the problem, a change of tactics is also required.”

The majority of the package, initially £500m, is being funded by the Treasury via Urgent Operational requirements (UORs). The MoD will itself fund around £120m worth of the package in acknowledgement of the longer-term benefit these vehicles will offer to Britain’s core defence capability.

The overall package is split into different parts, with £350m being spent on over 400 new tactical support vehicles to accompany existing patrols. The MoD said it had identified preferred contractors to manufacture the vehicles and expected to sign agreements by Christmas. The plan is to deliver the new vehicles into training next summer and deploy them at the end of next year. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.10 ISSUE 37, 19 Sep 2008, Tactical Support Vehicle requirement)

The Tactical Support Vehicle requirement, worth £400m for over 400 vehicles will provide a fleet of vehicles to supply existing fleets of Mastiff (Heavy), Medium and Light (Jackal).

The Requirement is for over 400 vehicles, the numbers we believe are, but not confirmed as contractural negotiations are ongoing: 100 TSV Heavy, Wolfhound; 150 Medium, Husky; 50 to 68 Light, Coyote. An announcement will be made next month and the vehicles will be deployed for training by the middle of next year and into theatre by the end of the year.

Wolfhound will come in two variants, an Engineer Support Vehicle and an ammunition limber for the Royal Artillery.

Husky, which is likely to be based on the International MXT, subject to contract and confirmation, supported by MAN and Finnings is to be procured in three variants, flatbed, ambulance and Command Vehicle. It is likely, but not confirmed that Dytcena will handle the installations and bodies. Colonel Clee confirmed that his Department had liaised with the OUVS team as to the understanding of the Requirement but these vehicles will be theatre-specific.

Coyote will support the in-service Jackals. The MoD would not confirm whether Babcock at Devonport or Supacat at Dunkenswell would build the vehicles. BATTLESPACE understands that since Paul Parnell and some of his team left Babcock that both Babcock and Supacat are locked in discussions as to who has the rights to build the next tranche. The initial agreement is believed to be a verbal agreement to build a certain amount of vehicles. Whilst the MoD owns some of the IP, Supacat is the D

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