The Ministry of Defence is to spend £30 million on 25 additional Foxhound vehicles, the Army’s newest operational vehicle, it has been announced today.
Minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology, Peter Luff MP, confirmed the purchase at the 4th Mechanized Brigade Media Day at Bulford Camp in Wiltshire, as the soldiers demonstrated their skills on their final training package before deploying to Afghanistan in October on Operation HERRICK 17.
The Brigade, known as 'The Black Rats', will be the first to oversee a drawdown of British troops from Helmand Province as the UK’s military commitment in the country reduces by 500 soldiers by the end of this year.
The path of Transition
Speaking about the deployment, Brigadier Bob Bruce, Commander 4th Mechanized Brigade, said:
"We will be the first Task Force to see our numbers reduce during the course of our tour, which is one of our biggest challenges, but one we will embrace with the continued handover of security responsibility to our Afghan colleagues. We are well down the path of Transition in Afghanistan and I will consider this tour successful if we can reduce our profile in Helmand in a way that the local Afghan population can notice, so that when my successor takes over they too can continue that drawdown seamlessly as the Afghan authorities fully take over security responsibility."
The tour will see The Black Rats working in support of the Afghan National Army's 3/215 Brigade and the Afghan National Police.
Formula One technology
The Brigade, who are primarily based in Catterick and last deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, will also be the first to fully utilise the Foxhound vehicle in theatre. To date, Foxhound has only been trialled in Afghanistan following an investment of over £300 million in the vehicle, which was developed with the help of engineers from McLaren F1 and BMW to incorporate cutting-edge Formula One technology.
For its size and weight, Foxhound provides unprecedented levels of blast protection to withstand the blast from an improvised explosive device, with a top speed of 70 mph. The engine can also be removed and replaced in just 30 minutes, and it can drive away from an ambush on only three wheels.
Minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology, Peter Luff said:
"I am very pleased to be able to confirm the purchase of 25 additional new Foxhound vehicles. Foxhound’s cutting-edge technology gives our troops the ability to engage with Afghan civilians, as they must, whilst benefitting from a high level of protection.
"I was also delighted to have the opportunity to meet some of the members of 4th Mechanized Brigade who will deploy to Afghanistan in the autumn and will face an entirely new challenge. They continue the work of their predecessor brigades and also oversee the beginning of our drawdown as Afghanistan looks ahead to a future, with its own Armed Forces taking the security lead."
4 Mechanized Brigade deploy in October for six months, and will be based around Helmand Province.
Approximately 10 percent of the personnel who will deploy on Operation HERRICK 17 will be Reservists, including elements of 6 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, 103 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital and 101 (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery.