Devonport Dockyard gets £45m contract to build 140 improved 'Jackals'
DEFENCE chiefs have confirmed a £45million order for a further 140 armoured patrol vehicles to be built at Devonport Dockyard.
The contract for the latest improved version of the 4x4 Jackal vehicle announced by defence minister Peter Luff brings the number for use by the military to more than 500.
The upgraded Jackal 2a is an enhanced version of the successful Jackal 2 with the design changes driven by feedback from frontline troops.
The main change is the introduction of a new cab design with integrated mine blast protection which simplifies production and improves the performance.
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Dubbed 'Jackal' by the UK Armed Forces, it has proved its versatility as a weapons-mounted light patrol vehicle in Afghanistan.
It combines speed and manoeuvrability with cross-country performance over the region's harsh terrain.
Devon-based Supacat is prime contractor and as the design authority is responsible for design, development, prototyping, integration and overall programme management.
Babcock is responsible for detailed production planning, purchasing and manufacture at its Devonport base.
Supacat managing director Nick Ames said: "This order is a further endorsement of the performance of Jackal on operations in Afghanistan and of the agility of the Supacat-Babcock alliance to deliver against demanding timescales."
Roger Gillespie, Babcock's equipment solutions managing director, said: "The Jackal vehicle has been a resounding success and these additional Jackals will further enhance the operational capabilities of our troops in theatre.
"The ability of the Supacat-Babcock Alliance to consistently deliver these vehicles also provides military planners with assurance of our continued support."
Mr Luff, who was viewing some of the latest equipment in the fight against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), said: "Tackling the IED threat is vital for us to make military progress.
"Countermeasures for IEDs are not just about the bomb disposal expert defusing a bomb, vital and dangerous though that role is. It is about making sure that our soldiers have a range of tools, tactics and techniques available to them.
"The Prime Minister recently announced an extra £67million in counter-IED funding, which will be put towards more armoured vehicles, counter-IED teams and search dogs in Afghanistan."