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DSEI 2021: NP Aerospace pushes vehicle integration
NP Aerospace is widely known for its extensive range of protection equipment and armour upgrade packages for a wide range of armoured fighting vehicles.
The company has also moved into providing end-users with a range of options to enhance the mobility and protection of in-service vehicles, with the first customer being the British Army.
To support Operation Newcombe, which is the British Army contribution to the ongoing UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), NP Aerospace carried out a major upgrade to the suspension and drivetrain of Mastiff 6x6 and Ridgeback 4x4 protected mobility vehicles (PMVs).
These vehicles were originally procured under UOR funding for deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq.
For improved cross-country mobility and to allow them to operate in long-range reconnaissance patrols, these vehicles have been enhanced by incorporating an advanced independent suspension system, which also features height adjustment and a central tyre inflation system.
The modifications have significantly improved hill-climbing, gap crossing and wading capabilities. In addition, the steering and braking systems on the Mastiffs and Ridgebacks have been enhanced, leading to reduced noise and vibration.
NP Aerospace performed the UOR upgrade with partners such as HORIBA MIRA, Horstman, Texelis and Tyron.
The work itself took three months with the upgraded vehicles deployed in seven months.
In addition to the vehicles deployed on operations in Mali, there is also a training fleet in the UK. Shephard understands that the MoD could require additional upgraded vehicles to act as a maintenance float to maintain capability, as Operation Newcombe still has some years to run.
Following a competitive tender, NP Aerospace obtained a £63 million ($87 million) five-year Protected Mobility & Engineering and Technical Support (PMETS) contract from the MoD in September 2019.
Work under PMETS covers the whole fleet of 2,200 PMVs including Mastiff, Wolfhound, Ridgeback, Buffalo, Choker, RODET, Foxhound, Jackal, Coyote and Husky wheeled platforms.
NP Aerospace has been part of a group of companies demonstrating hybrid electric-drive systems on Foxhound and Jackal.
The new technology will improve the silent mobility of the fleet, reducing noise and increasing stealth capability while providing sustainability benefits.
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