A new fleet of tracked armoured earthmoving engineer vehicles, which will give the Royal Engineers a powerful and versatile route-clearing and earthmoving capability, are to be built at BAE Systems' Newcastle factory.
Under a £300m contract, the Royal Engineers are getting 60 air-portable Terrier vehicles which will become one of the most important engineering tools in their inventory.
Terrier will support infantry troops by removing obstacles and opening routes, providing useful assistance on operations including peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies said:
"Terrier will be a hugely powerful and versatile machine, like a cross between an armoured vehicle, an excavator and a loader, and I am pleased to confirm this order for our highly skilled Royal Engineers who provide vital battlefield support to the infantry and front line troops.
"Designed in Leicester and integrated by BAE Systems in Newcastle, the order is also good news for British industry as over 90 per cent of the manufacture will be supported by companies from across the country, demonstrating the great level of skills and workmanship we have in the UK."
Terrier, which weighs in at 30 tonnes, has a crew of two who sit in a state-of-the-art crew compartment. The vehicle's armoured chassis will allow it to safely operate in a combat environment and, when required, remote-control operation can be used.
As a powerful tracked vehicle Terrier will be able to negotiate almost any terrain, and its earthmoving bucket and side-mounted excavator arm will make short work of digging and obstacle clearance tasks. The bucket can be quickly replaced with a surface mine clearance device which, combined with a route-marking system, can be used to clear routes of surface-laid munitions
Based on recent operational experience MOD has made changes to the vehicle design to provide additional protection against mine attacks and vehicles will be equipped with extra armour to prepare them for operations when they now enter service in 2013.
Quentin Davies, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support
Construction work will begin on the production line at BAE Systems' Newcastle site in 2010, supported by its sub-contractors who span the breadth of the UK.
The Terriers will be equipped to fulfill a variety of military tasks. The bucket at the front and the side-mounted excavator arm will enable the two-man crew to carry out a variety of digging and carrying operations, predominantly to clear routes for other vehicles and deny routes to opposition forces.
Its quick-hitch mechanism means the bucket can be rapidly dropped and replaced with other front-mounted equipment including a device for clearing mines from road surfaces. Similarly, the vehicle is designed so that different tools can be fitted to the side excavator arm enabling it to be used to dig holes, lift objects, drill into the ground or shatter concrete.
The vehicle will also be able to tow the 18-tonne fully-loaded engineer trailer and deploy fascines (pipe bundles for filling ditches) and trackway (rolled metallic sheets to create temporary road surfaces) to assist other vehicles in moving around the battlefield.
The vehicle's environmental control system will allow the crew to work comfortably in all conditions from desert to arctic, and thermal imaging cameras permit both day and night operation.
Most tasks can also be conducted by remote-control from over one kilometre away, with onboard camera systems providing the operator with a close-up view. The vehicle is also equipped with advanced diagnostic analysis software enabling the crew to keep the vehicle working to its optimum capacity.
The combination of transmission, suspension and track provide impressive agility allowing Terrier to keep up with both Warrior and Challenger, whilst the vehicle's armoured hull and general purpose machine gun provide protection for the crew.
Despite being over eight metres long and 30 tonnes in weight Terriers can still be transported in either the C17 Globemaster or the future Airbus A400M military transport aircraft.
Source: Super digger ordered for Royal Engineers
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