Babcock International Group (Babcock), the defence company and Supacat, a defence vehicle engineering company have officially launched production of 70 High Mobility Transporter (HMT) Jackal 3s for the British Army.
An innovative manufacturing facility at Babcock’s Devonport site has been specially developed for this purpose and will produce 62 of the vehicles, with the remaining eight to be built at Supacat's manufacturing facilities in Dunkeswell. Production of the new vehicles is planned to be completed by the summer of 2024.
The project is one of the first contracts to deliver on the UK’s Land Industrial Strategy. Close working relationships between Babcock, Supacat the British Army and the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD), Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Team have ensured that the operational and safety requirements of the vehicle are fully met.
In tribute to both the British Army and the Royal Navy, the new South West production facility has been named ‘The Raglan Building’ in recognition of the nearby Raglan Barracks which supported British soldiers on their way to overseas operations in the 1800s.
The facility is future-proofed and is ready for subsequent build programmes. Transformational innovation and technology have been optimised throughout the production line and includes the use of bespoke ‘Pulse’ software which maximises efficiency during vehicle assembly. It is anticipated that the advantages of being located in the South Devon Freeport will benefit the future through-put of this production facility for years to come.
The Jackal 3 benefits from over a decade of development by Supacat for the UK and overseas customers since the last iteration of Jackal was delivered to the British Army. It has a number of enhancements to support operational requirements, including improved protection for the crew and an increased Gross Vehicle Mass for greater load carrying.
The Jackal 2 was a class-leader off-road, however the new suspension in the Jackal 3 will deliver even better off-road performance. Whilst being procured as a 4x4 vehicle, the Jackal 3 can be readily transformed into a 6-wheel drive vehicle which more than doubles its load carrying capacity.
This programme is directly contributing to the economic potential of the South West with nearly all of the programme’s supply chain sourced in the UK and 50 percent specifically from the region. Through a dedicated social value plan, the contract has already created over 100 new jobs across both Babcock and Supacat’s respective sites. Part of this programme also includes an ongoing focus on skills development and enhancing the capability of the workforce, supporting the development of transferable skill sets.
Major General Darren Crook CBE, Director for the Land Equipment Operating Centre at DE&S said:
“This Supacat and Babcock collaboration will deliver modern fighting vehicles for the British Armed Forces and our allies, whilst developing and maintaining key land defence engineering skills in a much valued part of the South West of England. It is tangible evidence of the British Army’s Land Industrial Strategy and our purpose for Defence: ‘to protect the nation and help it prosper.”
David Lockwood, CEO Babcock said:
“At this time of global instability, the significance to the British Army of delivering the HMT Jackal 3 vehicle should not be understated. These Jackals will help keep the UK safe, whilst our technologically advanced production facility will support social value and economic prosperity in the region for years to come.”
Nick Ames, CEO Supacat said:
“As an SME based in South West England, it is an enormous privilege to have our product selected yet again by the British Army. The Jackal 3 is the product of 25 years of specific development and 45 years of corporate development. Every member of our staff takes enormous pride in the quality of the product that provides our soldiers with a leading-edge
battle proven platform that they can rely on. That pride in quality also led us to our production partner for this project, Babcock. Our teams have worked, together with the MoD, tirelessly to a challenging timescale and with enabling technology, to support this procurement and we will continue to do so into the future to provide world class product to the British Army.”