The British Army's latest armoured vehicle design has rolled off a military transport aircraft onto the sands of Afghanistan.
Tests involving Force Protection Europe's and Ricardo's Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) design will now take place there, before the type makes its operational debut before the end of 2012.
While optimised to serve in Afghanistan and, so, meet the British armed forces' immediate needs, the Foxhound LPPV is ultimately envisaged as a long-term replacement for the Snatch Land Rover.
British Army Foxhound LPPV
According to a press release issued by the MoD on 17 June 2012, the Foxhound LPPV brings to the British Army an entirely new capability. It's not as large and heavy as the Ridgback, Mastiff and other protected vehicle designs and it's the perfect choice for warfighters engaged in mentoring Afghan military colleagues.
Produced by a team of developers, it incorporated features more often found in Formula One cars and, with a 70 mile per hour top speed, is extremely fast. Crucially, it also boasts a V-shaped hull design to protect armed forces personnel on the inside as much as possible against bomb explosions.
Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicle
If the Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicle comes under attack and one wheel's put out of action, it can still actually drive away on the remaining wheels, while a total engine change can be achieved in a mere 30 minutes.
The British Army was set to take delivery of 200 Foxhounds but, thanks to a new order announced today, it'll actually now get 100 more.
"Foxhound gives the British Army the very latest level of protection on operations", General Sir Peter Well - Chief of the General Staff - explained in the release. "This has been a well-run programme that will play a key role in equipping the Army of 2020."
"Foxhound's arrival in Afghanistan is great news for our soldiers", Philip Hammond, Defence Secretary, added. "This Government has spent £270m on 300 of these hi-tech, British-built vehicles to help keep our troops properly protected. Our servicemen and women deserve the best protection we can get them."
Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicle image copyright Ricardo