The Ministry of Defence today signed a contract to buy 200 of these state-of-the art ‘bombproof’ armoured vehicles — designed using F1 technology.
The British designed Foxhound will replace the much-criticised lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover – dubbed mobile coffins due to their vulnerability to roadside bombs.
Thirty-seven UK servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan have been killed in the Land Rovers.
MoD chiefs today announced plans to replace them with a £180million fleet of Foxhound vehicles, which offer unprecedented protection to front-line soldiers.
A V-shaped hull helps disperse the force of explosions caused by IED’s and is built to withstand the intense climate of Afghanistan.
Chief of Defence Materiel, General Sir Kevin O’Donoghue, said the new vehicle was ”ideal for current operational needs”.
He said: ”This vehicle was designed specifically to protect against the threats faced by troops in Afghanistan – for example, its V-shaped hull will help it withstand the kinds of explosions caused by Taliban bombs.
”Able to operate in extreme temperatures and navigate difficult terrain whilst also providing high levels of protection, Foxhound is ideal for current operational needs, but is also a valuable addition to our range of vehicles and will serve our Armed Forces for many years to come.
”A lot of hard work has been put into making sure this vehicle is delivered to the front line as quickly as possible and the signing of this contract represents excellent progress.”
Foxhound incorporates Formula One racing technology and was devised by engineers from the World Rally Championship, McLaren F1 and BMW.
Its engine can be removed and replaced in just 30 minutes and it can drive away from an ambush on only three wheels.
Crew and passengers also sit inside a protective pod, which can be quickly adapted to transform the patrol vehicle into an ambulance or supply truck.
The first vehicles are expected to be available to troops for training in 2011, and will add to the wide array of protected vehicles already being used on operations in Afghanistan.
Defence Equipment and Support Minister Peter Luff welcomed the signing of the contract and said it represented ”real progress”.
He said: ”I’m delighted that this important contract has been signed – it shows the real progress that’s being made to ensure our front line troops are able to use these versatile and highly protected vehicles as soon as possible.
”Using state-of-the-art technology from a range of areas including the motorsport industry, this UK-designed vehicle demonstrates the Government’s commitment to providing our troops with the world class equipment they need.
”The jobs created and sustained through the manufacture of the Foxhound will also provide a boost to local economies across the UK.”
FPE – with headquarters in Leamington Spa – was announced as the preferred bidder for the contract in September this year.
All of the British-designed vehicles will be built and supported in the UK creating or sustaining an estimated 750 jobs.