The first Royal Marines to use the Jackal high mobility vehicles in Afghanistan met recently with the designers and engineers of the vehicle yesterday to give them their feedback. The Jackal is built by Supacat, based at Dunkeswell, Devon, which is where members of the Royal Marines Brigade Reconnaissance Force, who were deployed to Helmand from October 2008 to March 2009, met the vehicle’s engineers and designers yesterday, Tuesday 22 September 2009.The Marines were the first unit to use the Jackals in Afghanistan for a full six-month tour and therefore the feedback that they brought to yesterday’s meeting was invaluable.Jamie Clarke, the Supacat Sales and Marketing Manager, said:
“They came back to report to us and provide direct user feedback to our engineers on how the vehicle performed and how we can improve it.
“The meeting helped our engineers to understand how the vehicle is operating and was a really valuable exercise to them.
On the whole it seems that the Marines were very satisfied with the Jackal 4×4 vehicles which are used for patrols by British troops in Afghanistan.Armed with an array of weapon platforms, it is one of the most agile and versatile vehicles with high levels of off-road mobility enabling troops to avoid well-trodden routes, giving them a degree of unpredictability – an essential tactical asset in itself. The design of the vehicle’s hull incorporates advanced armour protection features and the vehicle is able to operate in open desert and mountainous terrain, taking the fight to the enemy away from ground of their choosing.Sergeant Adrian Foster of 42 Commando said at yesterday’s meeting:
“We’re facing an intelligent and determined enemy and we have to outwit them. This vehicle helps us go places they aren’t expecting us to be.”
The most impressed Marine at yesterday’s meeting was perhaps Sergeant Mark Haig, who was protected from an almost certainly fatal blast by the protection afforded by the Jackal. He was in the front of a Jackal in Helmand earlier this year when an improvised explosive device detonated under the vehicle, badly damaging it, but not seriously injuring any of his crew. He said:
“The seats collapsed and the protection systems worked. It did what it was supposed to do. It could have been fatal if I hadn’t been in the Jackal – no vehicle is invincible but it is a great vehicle and very manoeuvrable. It does what it’s designed to do and it makes a big difference out on operations.”
Yesterday’s meeting was the first of its kind that Supacat have held. Supacat are currently producing the Jackal 2 for the British Armed Forces and Coyote Tactical Support Vehicles.The enhanced Jackal 2 features improved manoeuvrability and reliability, and will be able to carry three crew members - one more than its predecessor. [All Pictures: LA(Phot) Jennie Burn, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]