The Snatch Land Rover, a specialist conversion of the Land Rover Defender 110 used by the British Army, is to be replaced after criticism of its performance protecting British armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq where it has been required to operate far beyond its original design criteria. It was originally designed for service in Northern Ireland where requirements were different.
The model chosen to replace the Snatch is the Ocelot light protected patrol vehicle (LPPV) and it has been designed by Force Protection Europe and Ricardo. The vehicle won the Ministry of Defence contract thanks to several of its attributes, including the price and the V-section hull which protects occupants from blasts from under the vehicle often the case with so-called IEDs.
Ocelot has the flexibility to perform a range of roles including patrol, fire support and protected logistics. Innovative features include role-specific pods which can be fitted quickly to the core automotive armoured V-shaped hull in the field. The armoured hull houses the main fuel tank, drive line, batteries and generator as well as the powerpack, which includes the engine, gearbox, auxiliary fuel tank and associated ECUs (electronic control units). The vehicle has been designed from the outset to be easily repaired and maintainable in the austere environment of a forward operating base. Commercial off the shelf (COTS) components have been used to ensure maximum availability of spares worldwide. Ocelot is equally suited to operations in desert, jungle, mountainous or urban environments and meets the needs of military and internal security forces around the world.
The Ocelot is the result of a unique collaboration drawing together the defence vehicle skills and technology of Ricardo and Force Protection Europe. The combination of a skateboard design and pod chosen for this vehicle aims to give increased survivability against blast and mines. In the event of an attack the vehicle is able to keep moving even if it has lost a wheel as the remainder of the automotive parts are protected. The 7.5 tonne vehicle is reputed to accelerate from 0 to 50 mph (80 kph) in 19.75 seconds.
As did the model it will be replacing, the Ocelot comes equipped with technology that will make it a force in off-road. in view of its intended use in war zones, the Ocelot is designed be rebuilt in several hours, with only 30 minutes being required to replace the engine. 'Small, agile but highly protected, the LPPV is at the forefront of technology,' is how it was described by the Minister for Defence Equipment, Peter Luff. He added 'It will offer troops unprecedented levels of blast protection for such a light vehicle, enabling them to carry out a wide range of tasks, whilst moving with ease through narrow alleyways or crossing bridges.'