19 Juli 2011
The powerful Jackals will join the SAS fleet. (photo : Gary Ramage Herald Sun)
THE SAS Regiment will finally take delivery of 31 new $80 million Nary patrol vehicles, known as Jackals, this month - more than three years later than planned.The Nary is based on the Supacat HMT 400 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 vehicles. It can be fitted with an "optional" mine blast and ballistic protection kit, mission hampers, weapons, communications, surveillance and force protection equipment. It has two machineguns and a grenade launcher.
"Army is now considering how to use the vehicles," a well-placed source said.
The world's most expensive four-man army vehicle was named in honour of SAS Warrant Officer and vehicle specialist David Nary, who died in a training accident in Kuwait in 2005.
Built by British firm Supacat, they are known as Jackals in British forces, which have been using them since 2009.
The Australian variant has been dogged by technical problems including systems integration, payload, suspension and armour problems, and will be 42 months behind schedule when it enters service in Afghanistan later this year.
Its weight was boosted by a tonne of steel armour to almost 10 tonnes, making it too heavy to drive into Army Chinook helicopters used to carry patrol vehicles all over Afghanistan and Iraq.
In late 2006, then army chief Lt-Gen Peter Leahy said the vehicles would provide greater payload with a stronger drive-train, transmission and components, and enhanced command, control and communications equipment.
The Government will soon announce the successful bidder for a $1.5 billion contract to provide up to 1200 light protected mobility vehicles for the Army.
Victoria's Thales, builder of the effective Bushmaster vehicle, is a frontrunner.