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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor BATTLESPACE

08 Oct 07. The announcenment by the Prime Minister on October 8th announced to Parliament regarding plans to buy 140 (147? Ed)additional Mastiff vehicles to enhance the mobility and protection afforded to troops on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is part of a new initiative to find better ways of protecting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over £100m of funding has been allocated for 140 extra Mastiff.

The MoD intends to finalise the deal for 140 (?7) of these battle-proven and
highly popular vehicles in the next few weeks.

Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne said: “Mastiff has proved its value on operations offering high levels ofprotection against mines and roadside bombs. Today I am pleased to announce our intention to purchase 140 extra Mastiffs.

“It’s my job to make sure we are delivering the best equipment we can for our Armed Forces. The extra Mastiffs will give us a real increase in capability for our troops.”

The MoD is currently in discussions with the US Government to agree the export from Force Protection Inc.

Mastiff is just one of a whole range of protected vehicles being used on operations including Challenger 2, Viking, Bulldog, Warrior, Vector, and Snatch.

In July 2006 the MoD announced it was providing new Mastiff vehicles, more Vector vehicles and upgrading the FV430s, known as Bulldog. The first Bulldog vehicles were delivered to Iraq in November 2006 and the first Mastiff vehicles arrived in Iraq in December 2006. Mastiff is the UK variant of US Force Protection Inc’s Cougar vehicle. NP Aerospace in Coventry integrates and uparmours the Cougars to create the finished Mastiff vehicle.

BATTLESPACE understands that the MoD has launched a comprehensive review of armouring techniques and materials and is carrying out a number of trials on new materials.

Sources suggest that a line will be drawn under the procurement of the Mastiff and new vehicles considered under a possible merger of the MPPV and OUVS Programmes. Sources suggest that this current buy is taken from Cougars used by the U.S. Marine Corps, although this has to be confirmed.

The problem is that the majority of U.S. manufacturers are tied into their undertakings and contracts to supply existing and future MRAP Requirements, thus the MoD is looking for its own Programme and new vehicle which sources suggest that the new vehicle will fall between the SNATCH 2 and MASTIFF in size but wil have common automotive parts to vehicles chosen for OUVS.

SUV supreme Nigel Gilhead rejuvenated OUVS at this year’s DVD and we now understand that the Mine Protection Requirement included in the recent MPPV ITT will be included in a general MPPV/OUVS ITT which will be issued soon. 43 companies expressed interest in MPPV and as many in OUVS. The ITT is reported to have been published in the Contracts Bulletin which will require a choice to be made by, we understand, by a Main Gate of 2009 with vehicles entering service in 2012. Indeed, Katherine Hasse, Head of Lockheed Martin’s Owego vehicle segment told BATTLESPACE at AUSA that the US JLTV and UK OUVS Programmes formed the key areas for development of Lockheed Martin’s land systems strategy.

Thus, as part of this process, the existing Land Rover fleet will be put through a Through Life upgrade process managed by the SUV and ABRO and include such firms as Hobson Industries as sub-contractors.

The usual suspects including Land Rover, Mercedes, International, JCB, GD MOWAG, IVECO, NP, Force Protection, Oshkosh, BAE Systems, Ricardo, Hobsons, Lockheed Martin, McNeillie/Qinetiq and many others will be involved in the process. BATTLESPACE understands that a preliminary Report on a number of vehicles has already been issued by the Millbrook Proving Ground following trials of a number of vehicles.

In a similar vein to that expressed by the FCS Team during AUSA this year, it is assumed t

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