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UK MoD - New tougher vehicles in use in Afghanistan

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: 10 June, 2009  (Application Story)
Tougher vehicles to deal with the harsh Afghanistan terrain have been put to work on frontline operations.
The first batch of more than 300 new Mastiff 2 and Ridgback armoured vehicles are now in Afghanistan and operational with trained crews, giving troop commanders better capability for battlefield tasks.

The vehicles have been given a number of upgrades including:
* explosive attenuating seats to provide better protection to the soldier on impact;
* improved armour;
* improved axles and suspension to cope with the difficult terrain;
* better thermal imaging for the drivers;
* greater crew capacity.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies said:
'The Mastiff is already giving troops a battle-winning edge in Afghanistan and Mastiff 2 is even better as we have improved the vehicle in line with comments from personnel on the frontline.

'Ridgback will supplement the excellent work currently carried out by its bigger brother Mastiff and offer our forces first-rate protection with greater manoeuvrability and easier access to urban areas.'

With a maximum speed of 90 kph for Mastiff 2 and 40mph for Ridgback, both vehicles will be armed with the latest weapon systems, including a 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun, 12.7 mm heavy machine gun or 40 mm automatic grenade launcher. Both vehicles have a redesigned interior makes it the vehicle of choice for protected mobility troops in Afghanistan.

The vehicles are based on the US Cougar made by Force Protection with the UK integration work carried out by NP Aerospace, based in Coventry.
All training on the vehicles has been carried out at the Defence School of Transport (DST), based near Hull which is the largest driver training school in Europe.
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