Supacat and Soucy partner on rubber tracks

Harry Lye 22 May 2020 (Last Updated September 8th, 2020 03:18)

High mobility vehicle manufacturer Supacat and composite rubber track (CRT) maker Soucy have partnered to provide rubber tracks for the UK’s fleets of armoured vehicles.

Supacat and Soucy partner on rubber tracks
Soucy’s Composite Rubber Track System. Image: Defence Photography/ Soucy Defence.

Under the partnership, the two companies will supply the ‘high-performance Composite Rubber Track system’ which will be fitted on new and legacy vehicles used by the UK’s Armed Forces.

Under the agreement, Soucy tracks will be made available by Supacat, which can use its existing teams to support the transition from traditional steel track to the composite system.

In a press release, Supacat said: “Supacat’s OEM engineering capability and experienced field support teams would ensure the long-term sustainment of vehicles fitted with Composite Rubber Tracks and a commitment to support troops in peacetime and during operations.”

The two companies estimated that track sales to the UK alone could be worth around £500m over 25 years, and estimated that switching to the rubber tracks could save the MOD at least £330m.

Rubber tracks gaining traction

Rubber track systems have been gaining attention in the defence industry in recent years as a cheaper alternative to the traditional steel track used by most in-service armoured vehicles due to their durability and longevity.

Soucy and Supacat said the CRT system offers up to a 70% reduction in vibration making operating the vehicle more comfortable for its crew. The rubber tracks are also lighter than steel track meaning an armoured vehicle can operate with a much-reduced noise signature.

Using rubber tracks can also reduce vehicle weight by up to 50% in some circumstances, according to Supacat, meaning vehicles can be transported more easily and reductions in fuel consumption.

The tracks also do not require continuous maintenance like a traditional steel system and instead can be replaced when approaching the end of their service life. Another bonus noted by Supacat is that rubber tracks do not damage infrastructure.

Supacat said: “Composite Rubber Tracks reduce the noise and vibration levels generated by steel that impact the health of both vehicle system and user.

“They significantly improve crew safety, durability and system life while lowering fuel and life cycle costs. Rubber tracks also benefit programmes with weight restrictions, such as the Mobile Fires Platform (MFP).”

Executives respond to the partnership

Nick Ames, CEO of Supacat parent SC Group said, “We are delighted to be teamed with the world-leading rubber track manufacturer, Soucy. We have had experience with tracks over the years for both military and civil applications, most notably the RNLI Launch and Recovery System.

“This teaming takes our exposure to rubber tracks to a new level and we look forward to working with Soucy on bringing the undeniable benefits of rubber tracks to the relevant UK and Australian vehicle fleets in the coming months and years ensuring the economic benefits are retained in both countries.”

Normand Lalonde said, “This teaming agreement between Soucy and Supacat is directly linked to the global positioning strategy of Soucy. It will allow us to enhance our value proposition offer of CRT to the UK MOD and to the different European and Australian armies while supporting local employment.

“It will allow the Armies to capitalise greatly on the benefits brought by the CRT helping them to increase their operational capabilities. Soucy is very honoured to work with Supacat; both companies have the same values.”

Soucy and Supacat

Canada-based Soucy Defence has 50 years of experience in rubber tracks, beginning with rubber tracks designed for agricultural equipment before beginning work on similar tracks for the defence market.

UK and Australia based Supacat has delivered over 1,000 specialist vehicles to armed forces. The company manufactured the Jackal and Coyote vehicles used by UK Armed Forces.