Also on display at the event, at the Army’s Bulford Camp, was some of the latest protective equipment the Brigade will use in Afghanistan, including FOXHOUND, the Army’s newest vehicle. During the course of the event, Defence Minister Peter Luff MP confirmed the Ministry of Defence’s intention to spend around £30 million on an additional 25 Foxhound.
4th Mechanized Brigade, known as ‘The Black Rats’, is based in Catterick but made up of units from across the UK, including a number of reservist as well as regular military units.
Introduced by the Brigade Commander, Brigadier Bob Bruce, and Mr Luff, today’s events enabled member of the Task Force to show off their skills, from marksmanship and search dog handling, through to the challenges of having to cook for thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen on a daily basis.
Brigadier Bob Bruce, Commander 4th Mechanized Brigade, said:
Today has enabled many of the men and women who will deploy on HERRICK 17 to showcase not only the high quality equipment with which they will deploy but also the result of the extensive pre-deployment training that they have conducted.
4th Mechanized Brigade previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, but a lot has changed since then. Now we are well down the path of Transition – the handover of security responsibilities to our Afghan colleagues - and our strategic outlook is very different to what it was two years ago. Notably, we will be the first Task Force to see our numbers reduce during the course of our tour, a big challenge but one we will embrace.
We are an experienced and well-balanced Task Force, while based on a regular Army formation we also have a number of regular Royal Navy and RAF service personnel in our ranks, as well as a number of reservists who have readily volunteered their time to accompany us to the front line.
The tour will see The Black Rats working in support of the Afghan National Army’s 3/215 Brigade and the Afghan National Police in their mission to bring security and stability to a region that has known years of unrest but has seen steady progress thanks to the efforts of Afghan, British and other international forces..
Approximately 10 per cent of the personnel who deploy on Op HERRICK 17 will be reservists, including elements of 6 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, the 103 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital and 101st (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery.
Minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology, Peter Luff said:
I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet some of the members of 4th Mechanized Brigade who will deploy to Afghanistan in the autumn and will face an entirely new challenge. They continue the work of their predecessor brigades and also oversee the beginning of our drawdown as Afghanistan looks ahead to a future with its own Armed Forces taking the security lead.
I was also very pleased to be able to confirm the purchase of 25 additional new Foxhound vehicles. Foxhound’s cutting edge technology gives our troops the ability to engage with Afghan civilians, as they must, whilst benefitting from a high level of protection. Personnel from 4th Mechanized Brigade will be amongst the first to use this outstanding new vehicle.
“This is another example of how the MOD, having balanced the budget, is now able to confidently spend money on the equipment that our personnel really need.”
Personnel from 4th Mechanized Brigade will be amongst the first to make use of the new FOXHOUND vehicle on operations. For its size and weight, FOXHOUND provides unprecedented levels of blast protection against the threats faced by troops on the front line. Robust enough to withstand the blast from an IED, it has a top speed of 70 mph. The engine can also be removed and replaced in just 30 minutes and it can drive away from an ambush on only three wheels.
Notes to editors
- The planned investment, worth approximately £30 million, means more than £300m has been spent over the last two years on the development of these vehicles.
- Developed with the help of engineers from the World Rally Championship, McLaren F1 and BMW, it incorporates cutting edge Formula One technology.
- Overall, the Army will benefit from more than £5.5bn of investment in armoured vehicles over the next ten years as part of the £160bn that will be spent on equipment and support.
Reserves are currently, and will remain, an essential part of our Armed Forces. Since 2003 there have been over 25,000 reservist mobilisations and 29 reservists have paid the ultimate price for their country. Their dedication, professionalism and contribution has been vital to achieving success on operations.
The MOD is investing £1.8 billion over 10 years to enhance the capability and strength of the Reserve Forces. In autumn a consultation will be carried out that will look at how a new relationship can be created between the Armed Forces, individual Reservists and employers.
Op Herrick 17 will see reservists deploy as part of the following units:
Elements of The Honourable Artillery Company
Elements of The Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry
Elements of 101 Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers)
Elements of 75 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers)
Elements of 32nd Signal Regiment (Volunteers)
Elements of 6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Elements of 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment
Elements of 4th Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment
Elements of 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment
Elements of The London Regiment
Elements of 148 Expeditionary Force Institute Squadron, The Royal Logistic Corps (Volunteers)
Elements of 150 (Yorkshire) Transport Regiment (Volunteers), The Royal Logistic Corps
Elements of 159 Supply Regiment (Volunteers), The Royal Logistic Corps
Elements of 204 (Northern Irish) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
Elements of 243 (Wessex) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
Elements of 102 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Volunteers)
Elements of 103 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Volunteers)
Elements of 5th Regiment Royal Military Police