Brit firm: Ranger better vehicle than Ridgback

New troop carrier featuring interior "survivability" capsule does the work of three vehicles, says British company.

Universal Engineering

The British Army is currently considering a new vehicle that features an interior "survivability" capsule strung from the ceiling and "tunable" armor, both designed to cushion soldiers against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other blasts.

In addition to the cushy interior, the Ranger sports the now-popular boat-shaped hull, armored belly plates, floating floor, and energy-absorbing suspended seats, providing soldiers with an unprecedented level of protection, according to the producer Universal Engineering.

Hoping to land a sale, Universal is pitching the Ranger as a solution to other problems, which it identifies as redundancy and over-specialization.

"Currently, coalition forces operate over 30 different vehicle types in Afghanistan, each with more or less a single role each," project director John Scott told Jane's, a British defense journal. "Ranger would reduce the need for those."

The Ranger can haul up to a six-ton payload like a support vehicle, scoots around with the mobility of a Supacat 4X4 Jackal, and is as tough as Force Protection's 6X6 Mastiff, so the army would be getting an all-in-one, according to the British company.

"At the moment you can either have a vehicle that will protect you or a vehicle that is maneuverable," Jeff Little, Universal Engineering business development manager, toldthe DailyDorset. "This is a vehicle that serves both requirements." But the key feature remains the "floating" armored capsule.

"Currently vehicles are built by basically taking a truck chassis and bolting armour on to that," said Little, a retired brigadier who was previously in charge of buying vehicles destined for Afghanistan. "We started with the armored capsule."

This and the fact at the vehicle's armor can be precisely tuned to match specific threats makes it three times more blast resistance the comparable rides, the company claims.

Industry speculation is that the Ranger could provide a domestic alternative to the American-made Ridgback, which the British Army turned to after the top brass was accused of failing to provide adequately equipped vehicles for their troops in Afghanistan.

"Ranger has protection beyond the range offered by any other vehicle. It's a lifesaver," Scott said. And it's definitely "a better vehicle than Ridgback--no doubt about it."

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