Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 18:03 UK

Latest UK armoured cars unveiled

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Robert Hall reports on a new generation of military vehicles

A fleet of armoured vehicles designed for use in Afghanistan has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence.

The Husky, Wolfhound and Coyote models are being introduced as part of a £350m tactical support vehicles programme.

They are not direct replacements for the lightly-armoured Snatch 2 Land Rover which has been criticised for failing to offer sufficient protection.

However, the MoD says the fleet will give commanders greater ability to choose the best vehicle for the job.

Defence chiefs unveiled the latest equipment at Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire, where they were also showcasing the latest forces' tents, clothing, food and medical supplies.

Defence Equipment Minister Quentin Davies said they would provide troops with high-quality and versatile equipment to give a "battle-winning edge in Afghanistan".

Coyote
The Coyotes are expected to be delivered to troops by the autumn

"We are working tirelessly to ensure they have the right equipment for the right job and ensuring that we respond quickly and innovatively to equipment requests from the frontline," he added.

Alongside the new fleet of vehicles, which are at the advanced prototype stage, the MoD revealed a new lightweight textile-based armour to protect vehicles from rocket-propelled grenades.

More than 20 sets of this Tarian system, developed by Dorset-based Amsafe, are in use in Afghanistan and allow the weight saved on armour to be carried elsewhere on the vehicle.

In April, the MoD ordered 262 machine gun-equipped Husky vehicles from US-based Navistar Defence.

They have been designed for a range of Afghanistan missions, including transporting food, water and ammunition, and acting as a command vehicle at headquarters.

Some will be fitted as protected ambulances.

The 97 Wolfhounds will be used in high-threat areas to carry bulky stores, to help construct forward bases and as gun tractors for light artillery.

Convoy protection

More than 70 high-mobility Coyotes are expected to be operational by the autumn.

They are a six-wheeled version of the existing Jackal, which is used for reconnaissance, rapid assault and convoy protection.

Last week, the BBC revealed that four families of servicemen killed while using Snatch Land Rovers in Iraq and Afghanistan are to sue the MoD for negligence.

They claim the Snatch is insufficiently protected to cope with weapons used against them, such as roadside bombs.

Since 2003, 37 UK personnel have died while using the vehicles.

Ministers say the vehicle's agility makes it essential but that it will be replaced by better-protected Snatch Vixen models.

Coyote armoured vehicle photo and graphic



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