UK forces in Afghanistan can look forward to receiving much-needed versatile route-clearing capability, following the start of construction on the first tracked, armoured, earthmoving Terrier vehicle at the BAE Systems facility in Newcastle.
The Terrier is a tracked, armoured combat engineer vehicle for the Royal Engineers, which is designed to replace the British Army's FV180 combat engineer tractor and features a earthmoving bucket and side-mounted excavator arm for digging and obstacle clearance.
The vehicle is the first of a new fleet of 60 armoured earthmoving vehicles that will be used in mine blast trials to demonstrate improved protection levels.
In addition to the upcoming mine tests, a series of comprehensive trials have also been completed on two demonstrator vehicles.
During the trials, the vehicles excavated 135 pits for Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, 39 pits for AS90 self-propelled howitzers, and completed a range of route clearance and denial operations.
The Terrier's bucket can be rapidly removed and replaced with a surface mine-clearance device that can be used to clear routes through surface-laid munitions especially when combined with a route-marking system.
The 8m-long, 30t Terrier vehicle can be transported in either the C17 Globemaster or Airbus A400M military transport aircraft.
Based on the tests, the UK MoD has decided to take the programme to the next phase of reliability growth, which will demonstrate compliance with the full contractual reliability requirement.