Babcock has delivered its 500th high mobility transporter vehicle, of which the best known is the Jackal weapons mounted 4x4 patrol vehicle.
The vehicles were first developed under an MoD Urgent Operational Requirement contract for Afghanistan in 2007.
Jackal vehicles are produced by Babcock under an alliance with Supacat, the prime contractor and design authority. Supacat is responsible for design, development, prototyping, integration and programme management, while Babcock takes responsibility for detailed production planning, purchasing and manufacture at its Devonport facility.
The vehicles are built by a dedicated team of up to 130 Babcock employees at Devonport working on a pulse production line, along with a smaller project management team of some 25 people.
The pulse production line involves dividing the total manufacturing activity into a series of 12 equally balanced packages or ‘cells’, and the vehicle is physically moved, or ‘pulsed’ from one area assembly to the next on a daily basis. Application of a ‘lean’ philosophy has identified and eliminated any non value-adding activities, and serves to ensure that the demanding delivery schedules and critical quality and reliability requirements are met.
According to Babcock Land Systems Director, Chris Dunn: “The Jackal vehicle has been a resounding success, having proved its versatility, combining speed and manoeuvrability with unparalleled cross-country performance over Afghanistan’s harsh terrain. We are delighted to be working in alliance with Supacat to deliver these vehicles reliably and consistently within the shortest possible timescales.”