The Berkshire-based motorsport company has expressed disappointment that the Supacat SPV400 project it was involved in was spurned by the MoD in favour of the competing Ocelot vehicle.
The news will come as a big blow to at least 30 British companies involved in the Supacat SPV400 project. Many of these, like Xtrac, have a background in motorsports and are members of the Motorsports to Defence Initiative, a programme which seeks to use British motorsport companies’ expertise for military defence projects.
Xtrac’s managing director, Peter Digby, said today:
“This will be a disappointment to all the UK suppliers involved in the SPV400 project. However, there will be opportunities to market the vehicle to other international defence forces with similar requirements and we’re pleased to see that Supacat will continue with its development. Meanwhile, Xtrac has other motorsport-to-defence projects underway where we can transfer our state-of-the-art transmission technology, developed in off-road motorsport events such as the Dakar rally, to meet similar high mobility military vehicle requirements.”
The Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) programme was launched to find a replacement for the Snatch Land Rover, developed for use in Northern Ireland, after it proved excessively vulnerable to Improvised Explosive Device blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan. At least 37 British soldiers are believed to have died whilst travelling in the Snatch Land Rover in Afghanistan, earning the vehicle the nickname “the mobile coffin”.
Nick Ames, managing director of Supacat, said: “We are very disappointed by the decision. The SPV400 is a world class vehicle. Its development in such a short period of time is a huge achievement for the team”,
“In addition to the interest from other armed forces, we perceive that NGOs and other civilian organisations operating in dangerous areas would benefit from the high levels of armour protection and off road mobility offered by the SPV400. Therefore we will be continuing to pursue international commercial opportunities for this world-leading vehicle technology”,
Xtrac specialises in the design and manufacture of gearboxes, differentials and driveline components, which are used throughout motorsport and in particular within F1, IndyCar, Touring Car, Rallying, Rally Raid, GRAND-AM and other forms of sports racing. It is a member of the Motorsport to Defence Initiative.