Terriers for the Royal Engineers
Combat engineering is emerging as an under-appreciated but critical component of counter-insurgency work, with applications that range from restricting the battlefield to building cooperation with civilian populations. Britain is improving its own capabilities, and has just ordered 60 Terrier Armored Engineering Vehicles for the Royal Engineers, under a GBP 300 million ($430 million equivalent) contract with BAE Systems. The vehicles was designed in Leicester and will be assembled in Newcastle, with over 90% of its manufacture supported by companies from across the UK. Terrier will replace the existing Combat Engineer Tractor (CET) beginning in 2011, and will work alongside the Royal Engineers’ heavier Challenger 2 derived TROJAN AEV/AVREs.
The Terrier’s tracked chassis provides both true all-terrain mobility, and the traction required for heavy engineering jobs. A quick-hitch mechanism means that its bucket can be rapidly dropped and replaced with other front-mounted equipment, such as mine-clearing devices. Similarly, the side excavator arm can take a variety of attachments to dig, lift, drill, or hammer. All of this equipment is controlled from the 2-person, climate-controlled crew compartment that lets the Royal Engineers operate the vehicle in any climate. Changes have also been made to the original Terrier design in light of operational experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, adding more protection against mines, and making it easier to add extra armor. For mine-related work, the Terrier can even be operated remotely from over 1,000 meters away, using onboard camera systems for an up-close view.
As heavy engineering vehicles, Terrier can tow an 18-tonne engineer trailer and deploy fascines (pipe bundles for filling ditches) and trackway (rolled metallic sheets to create temporary road surfaces). While the Ministry of Defence describes them as “air portable,” the 30 tonne/ 33-ton Terriers cannot be carried on its C-130 tactical airlifters. Portability will be limited to the future A400M if Britain accepts delivery, or to options like the RAF’s C-17s and NATO’s chartered AN-124s that can carry any vehicle, including 70-ton Challenger 2 tanks. UK MoD | British Army.