Australian army soon to get Nary vehicles

July 21, 2011 at 6:17 AM   |   0 comments

CANBERRA, Australia, July 21 (UPI) -- The Australian army will take delivery of 31 new Nary patrol vehicles this month after a delay of more than three years.

The 6X6 HMT 400s, built by the British firm Supacat, is known as the Jackal in the British army, which started using it in 2009 with particular success in Afghanistan.

For the Australian order, a deal worth around $50 million, the Jackal is called the Nary after Warrant Officer David Nary, 42, in the Special Air Service Regiment. He died in 2005 in when he was accidentally struck by an Australian army vehicle in Kuwait during an SAS training exercise.

One of the Jackal's big selling points is the ability, because of its size, to be loaded inside a Chinook helicopter rather than hanging underneath on a sling. However, the Australian version was said to be too heavily armored to be carried inside a Chinook.

The long delay getting the Nary into service in Australia has focused on the Australian variant's systems integration, news reports said.

Details of the Nary's latest upgrades haven't been confirmed by the Ministry of Defense, which also hasn't confirmed the latest media reports.

But in December, the Defense Department said the Nary's introduction was set for the second half of 2011.

Industry sources said the Defense Materiel Organization has failed to merge the British vehicles with U.S.-designed electronics and communications used by the Australian army. This could allow eavesdropping into military communications.

Supacat advertises the Jackal as a "supremely versatile platform with unparalleled cross-country performance." It has an air suspension system that allows the selection of a variable ride-height to match the terrain.

Supplied with an optional mine blast and ballistic protection kit, the HMT 400 can be fitted with a variety of mission specific hampers, weapons, communications, ISTAR and force protection equipment to suit a wide range of operational roles.

HMT 400's mine blast and ballistic protection system has been developed in conjunction with British firm Jankel Armoring. Jankel was originally a maker of low-volume hand-built sports cars beginning in the 1950s. However, Jankel moved into protective vehicle work by the 1980s and was taking on military vehicle contracts in the 1990s.

The basic 6X6 Jackal has a gross weight of 16,755 pounds with a payload of 4,630 pounds. Curb weight with fuel and armor is 12,125 pounds. Maximum speed is about 80 mph from a Cummins 6.7-liter six-cylinder diesel engine. Basic equipment includes two machine guns and a grenade launcher.

Supacat teamed with a Babcock subsidiary Devonport Management, better known for building submarines, to make the Jackal at Babcock's Devonport dockyard in Plymouth, southern England. Babcock at the time was attempting to diversify away from reliance on dwindling ship-building contracts for the British navy.

Supacat remains the design authority with responsibility for development, prototyping, integration and overall program management. Babcock handles detailed production planning, purchasing and manufacture.

Other partners include Allison for transmissions, Frazer-Nash systems engineering consultancy for testing and trials and Universal Engineering as chassis supplier.

The Nary vehicle remains an emotive purchase for many Australian soldiers. Nary was the first Australian soldier to die in the Middle East since the start of the second Iraqi war in 2003.

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