Early combat actions in Afghanistan and Iraq showcased drastic shortcomings in the modern armored force of both the United Kingdom and the United States - particularly in an asymmetric combat environment. As losses of both man and machine began to mount due to enemy use of concealed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPG), both powers sought to modernize their stable of vehicles to counter these battlefield threats. This gave rise to a new generation of armored cars known as "Mine-Resistant, Ambush Protected" (MRAP) vehicles, armored platforms designed with unique angled faces, reinforced understructures and life-saving features.
The British Army went on to accept several MRAP vehicles for formal service and one of these became the "Foxhound" produced by Force Protection Europe based on their "Ocelot" model. Primary design work began in 2009 with production beginning in 2011. For the British, Foxhounds have been selected to directly replace the "Snatch" Land Rover models in inventory - and inventory that already makes use of the Mastiff, Ridgeback and Wolfhound series of MRAPs. However, the smaller Foxhound allows for a compact, lightweight alternative to the heavier armor vehicles and can be transport in the belly of a Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft or under a Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter.
The Foxhound is categorized by the British Army as "Light-Protected Patrol Vehicle" or "LPPV". The vehicle follows tried-and-true MRAP practice in featuring a "V" shaped hull to help deflect mine blasts away from the crew compartment. The compartment and engine housing are all armored and windows are bulletproof. The vehicle sports a noticeably high ground clearance which further distances occupants from a blast while also providing a commanding view of the field ahead and optimal obstacle traversal. The engine is set in a forward compartment in the traditional fashion and is a Steyr M16-Monoblock Diesel 3.2L, six-cylinder turbocharged diesel offering. According to marketing specs, the powerplant features a "quick change" ability in which the entire assembly can be removed in as little as 30 minutes. The engine is mated to a six-speed ZF 6HP28 automatic transmission driving independent locking differential axles atop a fully-suspended 4x4 wheel arrangement with power steering. The wheels operate independently allowing power loss at one to not affect the others. Tire pressure is controlled through the Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) which manages air pressure to each of the four tires. The frontal panel of the vehicle includes a multi-slatted grill arrangement, bumper (with winch system) and embedded headlamps. The passenger cabin is modular and can be replaced with several different types including the general covered form (with hatch for optional machine gun mounting), a flatbed variant (also with cabin hatch for machine gun mounting) and a roll-bar, open-air structure fitting a trainable machine gun pintle. A 7.62mm machine gun is optional across all forms and can be replaced by one of the new generation of remote-controlled turret mountings. Internal space allows for a crew of two and four occupants. Electronics include monitors to provide complete views around the entire vehicle from the safety of the cabin. Thermal imaging is available. Standard automobile-style doors are fitted to the front side walls of the cabin while a twin-door arrangement is fitted at the rear wall. Performance-wise, the Foxhound can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour (80 kmh) with a road range of up to 373 miles (600 kilometers). Its hauling capacity is listed at 2,000 kilograms.
Dimensionally, the Foxhound is compact enough to be transported in the belly of a Lockheed C-130 Hercules. It can also be airlifted via Boeing CH-47 Chinook tandem-rotor helicopter via an underslung method. The vehicle sports a length of 5.3 meters, a width of 2 meters and a height of 2.3 meters while tipping the scales at 7.5 tons (7,500 kilograms / 17,000lbs).
The Foxhound initially debuted in 2009 as the Ocelot by Force Protection Europe during the London Defense Systems and Equipment International show. The Ministry of Defence took particular interest in the design due to ongoing struggles in Afghanistan and commissioned for a pair of test products in April of 2010. The results were positive and adoption of the Ocelot - as the "Foxhound" in keeping with British Army nomenclature regarding its MRAPs - soon followed. Initial production examples arrived in the Afghanistan combat theater for operational evaluation by June of 2012. Results, to date, have been positive as the vehicle has shown good qualities in the face of IEDs and other battlefield threats in the region - ensuring an operational existence in the British Army for several decades.
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