Members of No 5 RAF Force Protection Wing based at Camp Bastion in Helmand province, Afghanistan, have become amongst the very first Service personnel in the region to operate Foxhound, the MOD's latest protected patrol vehicle.
Personnel from No 5 RAF Force Protection Wing, which includes 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, form part of the Bastion Force Protection Wing with No 2 (Tactical) Police Squadron, working alongside members of the Tonga Defence Services and the Royal Artillery in order to keep the camp and its 28,000 personnel safe.
Members of the Bastion Force Protection Wing have been some of the first within the defence community to use the Foxhound protected patrol vehicle in an operational environment and are extremely impressed with the results.
Foxhound is a British-built, purpose-designed vehicle which makes use of the very latest advanced technology. For a means of transport of its size the Foxhound offers superior levels of blast protection for the RAF Police and RAF Regiment using the vehicle around Camp Bastion where the threat of improvised explosive devices is always present.
Being lighter and smaller than other protected vehicles such as Mastiff and Ridgback, Foxhound brings a whole new capability to the Force Protection Wing and is ideal for personnel operating in partnering roles and engaging with local communities.
The Foxhound's innovative design features mean that the whole engine can be removed in just 30 minutes and it can still be driven with just three wheels, allowing it to be driven away in an emergency situation.
Corporal Fraser Bruce is an RAF policeman working in the Bastion Security Squadron. He said:
"Along with members of my section, a few weeks ago we undertook local training on how to drive and operate Foxhound. Now that the first vehicles have been released to us, we're keen to make the very best use of it. This is a cracking bit of kit."
Foxhound armoured vehicles out on patrol around Camp Bastion – Picture MOD 2012
Squadron Leader Rich Curzon is the Officer Commanding the Bastion Security Squadron. He said:
"Foxhound's arrival provides my troops with first-rate protective equipment, the very best they can get."
"We are simply pleased to be able to put Foxhound straight into operational use," he added.
Squadron Leader Jim Stewart, Chief of Staff for the Bastion Force Protection Wing, said:
"The arrival of Foxhound onto the Force Protection Wing is an enormous leap forward in capability; the off-road mobility, enhanced protection and night-vision systems that it offers to the troops on the ground are unmatched in a vehicle of this size.
"From a logistics perspective, it will offer significant benefits to the mechanics in terms of reliability over Vixen."
"It is the ideal platform for the operations being conducted by the RAF Regiment and RAF Police around Camp Bastion," he concluded.
A total of 325 new vehicles will eventually be delivered to the MOD under a contract worth £430m that is providing around 750 highly-skilled jobs across the UK.