The first of 100 new Warthog vehicles, bought by the MOD to be used by British troops in Afghanistan’s Green Zone, arrived in the UK yesterday to be prepared for operations.
Powered by a 7.2-litre engine that produces 350 brake horse power, the Warthog can wade through water while carrying up to 12 troops and offers improved levels of protection.
The highly agile, all-terrain vehicle will be able to climb steep gradients, cling to severe slopes, tackle vertical obstacles and cross wide trenches.
The MOD has bought more than 100 Warthog amphibious vehicles from Singapore Technologies Kinetics.
The first was unveiled yesterday, Thursday 19 November 2009, at Thales UK’s new vehicle integration facility in West Wales as the company will be installing UK-specific kit to the vehicles.
This will include additional armour, specialist electronic countermeasures equipment and communication tools, before the vehicle is deployed to Afghanistan early next year.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
“Warthog is an armoured beast of a vehicle that will carry troops to the heart of operations in the difficult terrain of Afghanistan’s Green Zone. It can work in terrain where other vehicles find it difficult to operate.
“Warthog will provide improved protection to our troops on the front line and this marks a significant step forward in preparing this vehicle for our troops.
“I am delighted that Thales UK is able to contribute to that process here in the UK.”
After the integration work the vehicles will undergo demanding trials to ensure Warthog is ready for the front line.
Head of Combat Wheels Group at Defence Equipment and Support, Brigadier Ian Simpson, said:
“Warthog has proven itself to be a very capable vehicle in its preliminary tests and trials.
“I am impressed by the high standards of engineering applied to this vehicle and the quality of the support package offered by Singapore Technologies Kinetics, which will give our troops higher levels of protection and mobility.
“This vehicle has been manufactured and shipped to the UK for radios and armaments to be fitted and integrated into the vehicle.
“The vehicle will then have to be fully tested and certified as safe to use before being issued to troops for pre-deployment training. Once these tests have been completed the vehicle will be given to our troops.”
Warthog will come in four variants – a troop carrier, an ambulance, a command vehicle and a repair and recovery vehicle.
The ambulance variant will be capable of carrying casualties, medics and kit. Warthog’s repair and recovery variant will be fitted with a crane and winch, and will have the capability of towing another Warthog vehicle back from the front line.
Warthog will succeed the Viking tracked amphibious troop carrier currently in service in Afghanistan. Viking will return to the UK to be refurbished but will remain in service with the Royal Marines.
The Warthog is a variant of the Bronco vehicles made by Singapore Technologies Kinetics and is just one of a fleet of protected patrol vehicles that were bought as part of a £700m package of Urgent Operational Requirements announced by the MOD in October 2008.
The Bronco vehicle is currently in service with the Singapore Armed Forces.