BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the UK MoD to provide a new fleet of tracked armoured earthmoving engineer vehicles, which will give the Royal Engineers a powerful and versatile route-clearing and earthmoving capability.

Under a £300m contract, BAE will provide 60 air-portable Terrier vehicles.

The Terrier will support infantry troops by removing obstacles and opening routes, providing useful assistance on operations including peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies said that the Terrier would provide vital battlefield support.

“Terrier will be a hugely powerful and versatile machine, like a cross between an armoured vehicle, an excavator and a loader,” Davies said.

Weighing in at 30t, the Terrier has a crew of two that sits in a state-of-the-art crew compartment. The vehicle’s armoured chassis will allow it to safely operate in a combat environment and, when required, remote-control operation can be used.

As a powerful tracked vehicle Terrier will be able to negotiate almost any terrain, and its earthmoving bucket and side-mounted excavator arm will make short work of digging and obstacle clearance tasks. The bucket can be quickly replaced with a surface mine clearance device which, combined with a route-marking system, can be used to clear routes of surface-laid munitions

The Terriers will be equipped to fulfil a variety of military tasks. The bucket at the front and the side-mounted excavator arm will enable the two-man crew to carry out a variety of digging and carrying operations, predominantly to clear routes for other vehicles and deny routes to opposition forces.

Its quick-hitch mechanism means the bucket can be rapidly dropped and replaced with other front-mounted equipment including a device for clearing mines from road surfaces. Similarly, the vehicle is designed so that different tools can be fitted to the side excavator arm enabling it to be used to dig holes, lift objects, drill into the ground or shatter concrete.

The vehicle will also be able to tow the 18t fully loaded engineer trailer and deploy fascines (pipe bundles for filling ditches) and trackway (rolled metallic sheets to create temporary road surfaces) to assist other vehicles in moving around the battlefield.

The vehicle’s environmental control system will allow the crew to work comfortably in all conditions from desert to arctic, and thermal imaging cameras permit both day and night operation.

Most tasks can also be conducted by remote-control from over 1km away, with onboard camera systems providing the operator with a close-up view. The vehicle is also equipped with advanced diagnostic analysis software enabling the crew to keep the vehicle working to its optimum capacity.

The combination of transmission, suspension and track provide impressive agility allowing Terrier to keep up with both Warrior and Challenger, whilst the vehicle’s armoured hull and general purpose machine gun provide protection for the crew.

Despite being over 8m long and 30t in weight Terriers can still be transported in either the C17 Globemaster or the future Airbus A400M military transport aircraft.