The project is to be delivered between Supacat’s manufacturing facilities at Dunkeswell near Honiton and Babcock’s Devonport site in Plymouth. Named ‘Jackal’ by the British Army, the HMT 400 series is a supremely versatile platform with unparalleled cross-country performance. Originally, developed in the 1990s, the Jackal builds on the success of Supacat’s original All Terrain Mobility Platform (ATMP). Produced in 4×4, 6×6 and convertible ‘Extenda’ configurations, Supacat’s HMT range has a worldwide reputation as formidable off-road vehicles and is in use with specialist and other armed forces worldwide.
The vehicle was brought into service under urgent operational requirements (UOR) to provide British forces in Afghanistan with an off-road patrol and fire-support vehicle with increased performance, replacing variants of Land Rover which previously fulfilled the role. Since then, the British Army’s fleet has fully utilised the HMT 400 platform, becoming integral to its land tactics and operations. Supplied with an optional mine blast and ballistic protection kit, the HMT 400 platform can also be fitted with a variety of mission specific load beds, weapons, communications, ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance) and force protection equipment to suit a wide range of operational roles.
The HMT platform vehicle has also proven itself internationally and is in service in Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and Estonia. Further export opportunities are currently being explored bringing further investment to the South West. The contract itself will create 10 jobs within Supacat itself and 90 at Babcock’s facilities in Devonport.
This contract further builds on Supacat’s well established relationship with Babcock which was initially developed to meet the UOR demand for Afghanistan when over 600 vehicles were assembled through their Devonport facility within a three-year period.
Nick Ames, chief executive for Supacat, said: “This is an enormously important contract win for us. Primarily it further evidences our customer’s confidence in our HMT 400 product after 20 years of service. Furthermore it gives us a platform to secure potential export orders and thereby shows how investment in UK products can provide benefit to the wider UK economy. It also allows us to broaden and deepen our relationship with Babcock as a world class engineering partner.
“Above all, this contract win is the result of the unstinting belief and passion of our staff in the product. It is through their hard work and dedication that the business is here to deliver this contract and take the confidence to continue to develop more battle winning and lifesaving equipment in the future.”
Tom Newman, chief executive of Babcock’s Land Sector, said: “This order is fantastic news for both Babcock and the local community in Plymouth. As a world-class engineering partner, we are delighted to be taking a key role in the production of this new phase of the Jackal platform, a truly British designed and manufactured vehicle. We are proud to be playing our part in supporting the British Army’s Land Industrial Strategy by securing critical industrial skills and capabilities and enhancing social value, including the creation of 90 new jobs.
“This new contract shows how British industry can work collaboratively to rapidly respond to defence requirements and deliver in short timescales. The HMT 400 series is also not only a battle-proven vehicle but a fantastic export asset in its own right, and our chosen build location in the freeport zone of Plymouth will enhance its export prospects.”