View Full Version : Jackal 2 makes its debut

08-05-2009, 02:41 PM
Jackal 2 makes its debut

By Daniel Emery
Technology reporter, BBC News

Daniel Emery takes the MoD's new reconnaissance vehicle for Afghanistan on a test spin.

Deep in the heart of the English countryside, just outside Aldershot in Hampshire, the calm of a hot spring morning is shattered by the roar of a 5.9 litre diesel engine.

The Jackal 2 is the upgraded version of the Army's weapons mounted patrol vehicle and is making its public debut.

Its predecessor - The Jackal - was deployed to Afghanistan in April 2008 to provide British forces with an off-road vehicle that could travel long distances, provide fire support when needed and, importantly, could offer a degree of protection against small arms fire and roadside bombs and so-called improvised explosive devices (IED).

People are defending their country with their lives, they deserve the best equipment money can buy
Quentin Davies MP

While not impervious to all IEDs, they were seen as a safer alternative to the Snatch Land Rover, a vehicle developed for use in Northern Ireland in the early 90s which although providing some protection against small arms fire, came in for criticism from some quarters, saying it did not provide sufficient protection against the range of IEDs found in Afghanistan.

In October 2008, Gordon Brown said £700 million would be spent on new troop vehicles - the Protected Mobility Package - which at the time pledged to buy 100 more Jackal vehicles.

Six months later, the order has increased to 110 and the first vehicles are due to roll off the production line in Honiton, Devon, as part of a £74 million deal with the vehicles manufacturer Supacat.

Of course, what the army is now buying is called Jackal 2, although many of the changes from its predecessor are rather subtle.

The basic armament - a top mounted .50 caliber machine gun - along with a secondary 7.62mm general purpose machine gun is still there, although the .50 cal gun position has been moved forward.

"While firing the gun on the old vehicle was very effective, the noise would give the driver a very hard time," Sean Limbrick, the chief engineer behind Jackal 2 told the BBC.
Jackal 2
The Jackal 2 can travel 1000km on a single tank of fuel

"The new position makes all the difference and it also allows the gun to be depressed [pointed downwards] far more, giving the operator more flexibility."


The engine, transmission and suspension are basically the same, however the chassis has been upgraded allowing the vehicle to carry a greater load and give it greater strength - vital if a vehicle is to survive the blast from a roadside bomb. The majority of casualties linked to the Jackal in Afghanistan were caused by IEDs.

The Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said that amongst the troops in Afghanistan, The Jackal was one of the most popular vehicles after the Mastiff protected patrol vehicle, despite some casualties, and he expected Jackal 2 to be equally well received.

"The object is to continually improve our portfolio of vehicles. We produce a vehicle, it goes to the front line and we take account the experience of the front line including disasters and fatalities.
Jackal in Afghanistan
The Jackal 1 has been in service in Afghanistan since April 2008

"We feed that back to the engineers and see if we can improve the vehicle. And so there is a continual process of improvement," he said.

The new vehicle can now carry four soldiers, one more than the Jackal 1. There are other changes that have been made as a result from feedback from troops in the field.

The armoured door now locks back into the open position, allowing troops travel while looking out the door.

"We found that many soldiers wanted the ability to have a wide field of fire, so the door can now be locked open," said Mr Limbrick.

The rear of the vehicle has also been redesigned, allowing fuel or water cans to be carried on the outside of the vehicle, allowing troops to store their Bergens (backpacks), extra ammunition, or other equipment.

Mr Davies said that although the Jackal 2 was expensive, it was money well spent.

"People are defending their country with their lives, they deserve the best equipment money can buy."

Video of it in action-http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8011315.stm

08-05-2009, 02:48 PM
Britain is part of the general push by western countries to field heavier, mine-protected vehicles, via orders for the Mastiff Cougar variant and its smaller 4×4 Ridgback companion. UK forces are also fielding vehicles like the Land Rover WMIK (Weapons Mounted Installation Kit) that have a very different core concept: firepower and visibility over protection. When deployed in mixed groups with more protected vehicles, and used on open terrain like the plains of southern Afghanistan, ‘the porcupine’ (WMIK) has earned enemy respect and commander requests.

The British sought to build on the WMIK’s strengths, in order to create a comparable vehicle with greater firepower and off-road mobility. Supacat’s HMT was adapted, then adopted, by the British and by Australia’s SAS commandos. Now, Britain has signed contracts for 2 new versions: Jackal 2, and the Coyote cargo vehicle…

* Land Rover WMIK Finds an Afghan Niche
* Supacat’s MWMIK/ “Jackal”: Origins and Program
* Supacat’s HMT: The Vehicles

The British Land Rover WMIK lacks even the protection levels of an armored Hummer. It’s a flat-bottomed vehicle with the troops positioned over the axles, which is where pressure mines will detonate. It has very little armor on the sides, no doors, and lacks a roof to protect its crew from the elements. Its weapons even lack transparent gunshields.

This is sometimes costly, vid. the June 9/07 incident outside of Sangin, Afghanistan. What the WMIK it does have is a pair of weapon mounts for firepower overmatch. The main mount can take a heavy machine gun for accurate ranged fire, or the 40mm grenade machine guns that have been in demand for their devastating area effects, or even a Javelin missile for use as a scouting mechanism and ultra-accurate long range shot. There’s also a lighter 7.62mm machine gun mount next to the “shotgun” front seat.

The “infantry enhancement” effect is similar to adding one of the Royal Marines’ popular BvS-10 Viking tracked vehicles, but with an adjusted set of plusses and minuses. Advantages include:

* Higher top speed
* Better all-round visibility
* Air portability via helicopters smaller than a CH-47 Chinook
* Lower costs

Drawbacks include:

* Cannot traverse some Afghan terrain that would be accessible to BVS10s
* Less armor protection in all dimensions, verging on none
* Less versatility in terms of possible battlefield roles

On balance, however, these trade-offs appear to be acceptable to commanders in theater. The WMIK has become popular, and the Taliban reportedly refer to them as ‘porcupines’ due to their appearance and effect. They work with some reconnaissance and elite elements, act as advance scouts for some supply convoys, and also take up middle and rear positions to provide sudden firepower while the convoys are running.

On May 3/07, the UK MoD responded to press reports by saying:

“A newspaper repeats claims from earlier this week that British commanders in Afghanistan have complained that they do not have enough combat vehicles, especially the heavily-armed Land Rover “wimiks” (Weapons Mounted Installation Kit or WMIK). There are sufficient vehicles in Afghanistan to conduct our extant operations, and further vehicles have been delivered to allow for a planned step-change in the overall campaign. The new armoured Vector vehicles, purchased specifically for operations in Afghanistan, and the new Mastiff vehicles [DID: see DID coverage] have arrived in theatre. We’ve received the first tranches of these so far, with an additional batches coming in regularly and more to follow.”

At the time of the September 2007 MWMIK/Jackal announcement, there were 300 Land Rover WMIKs in the task force. Now they’re adding about 200 more upgraded Supacat/DML MWMIKs to that mix, to be delivered throughout 2008 as an Urgent Operational Requirement.

Supacat’s MWMIK/ Jackal: Origins and Program

The Jackals have a somewhat complicated history. As Battlespace Magazine notes:

“The initial history of the MWMIK was littered with cost overruns, delays and technology changes which resulted in the MoD taking IPR for the top hamper design of the vehicle. The vehicle was developed as a result of an MoD requirement for replacement of the ageing Pink Panther Land Rovers. The previous UOR, issued in 1982, caused the then Technical Director of SMC, Mike Stone, to say, “The only thing this vehicle [specification] can’t do is fly!” SMC declined to bid!

Thus, when the UOR for this replacement vehicle was issued in 1999 it had, once again, a very onerous specification. Many companies bid the UOR including ATK, Ricardo and AutomotiveTechnik, but the contract was won by Supacat which ticked all the capability boxes. It rapidly became apparent that the vehicle offered by Supacat, the HMT, although superior in performance and speed, lacked the engineering and support required for the vehicle.

Thus, after many months of protracted negotiations, the MoD took some IPR over the vehicle which allowed it to purchase further batches, and a deal was hammered out with DML which allowed it to recoup some of the money in establishing the assembly for the initial batch. Supacat had obtained the sales and deign rights for the vehicle from HMT Vehicles Ltd a fledgling Scottish Company owned by the Duke Of Hamilton and the Trustees of the Hamilton Estates along with other investors.”

Jackal family vehicles are designed by Supacat in Honiton, Devon, but manufacturing is done by a company known for ship-building and nuclear submarines. New Babcock subsidiary Devonport Management Ltd (DML) will build it at their Devonport dockyard in Plymouth, as part of a larger diversification effort to reduce dependence on dwindling ship-building contracts for the Royal Navy et. al. Production of the new vehicles is expected to secure about 140 jobs, and the latest order extends production into early 2010.

In April 2009, the 2 firms formalized their alliance. A single project office, located at Dunkeswell in Devon, will provide overall control. Supacat is the design authority, responsible for design, development, prototyping, integration and overall program management. Babcock will take responsibility for detailed production planning, purchasing and manufacture. Other industrial partners include:

* Allison (transmission)
* Cummins (engine)
* Frazer-Nash systems engineering consultancy (assistance during testing and trials)
* Universal Engineering (chassis)

Lockheed Martin’s INSYS land vehicle subsidiary is also involved, thanks to its acquisition of original designer HMT Vehicles Ltd. HMT had originally negotiated a royalty of GBP 4,000 per axle for the vehicle, but the arrival of British contracts has reportedly led INSYS to reduce that royalty.

Supacat has been hoping for follow-on interest from the British government, and/or other governments around the world, in order to keep the ball rolling. Follow-on work has materialized from Britain, Australia has become the vehicle’s second special forces customer, and Canada currently has a special forces vehicle competition underway.

The new Supacat MWMIK/ Jackal has provisions for 2 crew-served weapons, just like the Land Rover WMIK. The other similarity is that it’s an open vehicle, so the crew has a full field of visibility and fire with rifles, light 5.56mm machine guns, or whatever is at hand. The Supacat HMT Jackal is larger at 5.39 m/ 17’8” long, and 6,650 kg/ 14,660 pounds. Key advantages include smoke/specialty grenade launchers as integral fittings, longer driving range, greater carrying capacity (4 tonnes), and far better off-road mobility than its Land Rover counterpart.

The follow-on Jackal 2 adds weight by adding some side armoring as standard equipment, and providing space for an additional crew member, but maintains similar performance. A larger 6.7 liter engine replaces the original vehicle’s 5.9 liter Cummins ISBe Euro3.

An optional “Extenda” module can add a third axle, turning the vehicle from a 4×4 into a 6×4 wheel base, and adding length and storage space. Conversation takes 2 hours, and requires a forklift. The Coyote TSV-Light is built as a 6×6 version from the outset, and will be used to carry supplies alongside its brethren.

The Supacats have very good all-terrain capability. Even so, they aren’t tracked vehicles; as Canada’s experiences alongside the British have shown, this can become an operational limitation. Fortunately, the vehicle’s intended use as a special forces vehicle and long-range reconnaissance platform is likely to keep the Jackal away from most of those situations.

When the terrain is suitable, the Jackal’s engine can push it to a top speed of 130 kmh/ 80 mph. Given convoy operational procedures and the ever-present dangers of mines from the enemy or even from the Soviet era, that mobility isn’t likely to be used very often during convoy operations. It may help get a scout group or special forces team out of the kill zone quickly, however, should they come under fire in ambushes. Absent protection, it does pay to have speed.

Some concerns do remain, however. Battlespace magazine:

“One stumbling block is believed to be the requirement to armour the front cab, an addition which not only adds weight to the front axle but also overall weight which may affect the ability to heli-lift the system. Another area of concern would be mobility in rough terrain with a 6×4 system with weight added. The Carmichael 6×4 Fire Engines purchased by the MoD in the eighties suffered from problems in rough and wet terrain due to the 3rd trailing non-driven axle getting stuck in the mud.”
1st pic Jackel 2nd Jackel 2 3rd Land Rover WMIK, 4th Jackel 5th Jackel 2