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Ridgback - ?81m contract for NP Aerospace

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NP Aerospace
: 21 October, 2008  (New Product)

NP Aerospace in Coventry has been awarded an £81M contract, to convert Cougar 4x4s into the awesome Ridgback armoured vehicles for our troops in Afghanistan.
A total of 157 Ridgback vehicles will roll off the production line at NP Aerospace having undergone an integration process that will include additional protection, weapons, communications systems and specialist electronic counter-measures equipment.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies said:

'Ridgback will supplement the excellent work currently carried out by the hugely successful Mastiff. As a smaller version than Mastiff it will offer our forces first-rate protection with greater manoeuvrability and easier access to urban areas.

'NP Aerospace and its workforce are to be congratulated on the support they are providing to our Armed Forces - the equipment they deliver from body Armour plates to helmets is saving lives on a daily basis.'

Robert Hobbs, Specialist and Utility Vehicles Deputy Team Leader, said:

'Due to the hard work of the project team and close liaison with NP Aerospace we can now get on with the integration process which will convert the Cougar base vehicle we see today into Ridgback, an uparmoured and weaponised version ready to get out on operations as a welcome addition to our protected vehicle fleet.'

The vehicle will be produced in four variants - a troop carrier, a protected weapons station, an ambulance or command post vehicle - to enable it to carry out different roles within Afghanistan.

Mastiff, like Ridgback, is manufactured by FPII and is based upon their Cougar 6x6 vehicle. In sharing the same basic platform and major components, Ridgback will benefit from the established support and training regimes already in place and proven for Mastiff.

All the Ridgback vehicles will feature:

* Strong axles and suspension to cope with the harsh terrain
* Weapons systems
* Additional armour
* Communications systems
* Modified seats to offer the crew more protection from bomb blasts

NP Aerospace is a world-leader in the production of personal equipment and armoured vehicles designed to protect military personnel in combat environments. The firm also manufactures state-of-the-art full body Armour suits worn by our bomb disposal operators, complete with integral air conditioning that allows wearers to operate in high temperatures.

Notes to editors:

1. The 81M contract with NP Aerospace will turn the Cougar 4x4 base vehicle from Force Protection Inc into the Ridgback protected patrol vehicle.

2. The procurement of over 150 Ridgback (announced in December 2007) represents a further spend of over 150M on protection for our forces.

3. NP Aerospace was awarded a 61M contract to deliver Mastiff 2, the next generation of Mastiff vehicles, 18 September 2008.

4. For further information please contact Sonia Marshall, MOD Press Office 020 7218 2957.

Top speed: 55mph
Weight: 19.5 tonnes
Weapons: A mixture of weapons systems, including a 7.62 Heavy Machine Gun; General Purpose Machine Gun; Grenade Machine Gun mounted.

Some will also be fitted with a remote weapons system which will allow the user to operate Ridgback's weapons by using a camera and joystick from inside the vehicle
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