Supacat launches Snatch substitute

Armoured-vehicle manufacturer, Supacat, has unveiled its contender to replace the controversial Snatch Land Rover for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Developed in 1992 as patrol vehicles for use in Northern Ireland, Snatch Land Rovers have since been used in Afghanistan.
However, they were subject to criticism when a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) exceeded the level of protection offered, leading to soldier fatalities.

Supacat’s SPV400 has been designed in response to these concerns. Jim McKechnie, project engineer for the SPV400, said that building the 7.5-tonne vehicle from scratch allowed a higher level of mobility and protection.

’In the past there had been a tendency to start with a fast vehicle and then clad armour on. In the SPV400 we’re using the automotive chassis as the armour, so you don’t have to carry the extra weight penalty.’

The SPV400 has a V-shaped hull to provide mine-blast protection, with a separate composite crew pod. Additional protection is provided by the front and rear axles, which are mounted on detachable sub-frames to absorb and deflect a blast away from the crew pod.

Nick Ames, managing director of Supacat, said: ’With this design, what you’re going to avoid is the vehicle being picked up, flipped and turned. In the event of a blast, you’re actually going to see the front section come off. For me that is a relatively simple but, nevertheless, key advantage of this vehicle.’

The SPV400 will go up against the Ocelot, built by Force Protection and Ricardo, in the MoD’s Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) programme to replace the Snatch Land Rover. A decision is expected to be announced by the end of the summer.