Mix And Match


Some four years after winning the contest to provide a mobile, agile and protected vehicle for the British Army, General Dynamics (formerly Force Protection) and its subcontractors are in the process of filling a 376-unit order, and the basic version of the type -- named Foxhound by the customer -- was deployed operationally in 2012. Relatively small, with a V-hull, composite armor, four-wheel steering and a sophisticated suspension, the type combines high ballistic and mine protection with both cross-country and urban mobility. 

Now, the company has expanded the family (which it calls Ocelot) to four vehicles, two new members of the family being unveiled at the Defense & Security Equipment International show here.

This is less complicated than it sounds because the basic design places the engine and running gear on a "strongback" assembly, with the crew in a separate pod that is attached by four fasteners, with simple electrical and mechanical connections. In the new family, the Ocelot-S resembles the Foxhound, with an enclosed cab for a driver, commander and four soldiers, but the pod is steel -- less costly than the Foxhound's composite pod, for users facing less severe threats. The Ocelot-U is a logistics vehicle with a protected cab, while Ocelot-O is a classic special-forces "WMIK" (weapons mounted installation kit) vehicle with an open cab, rollover structure and weapons mounts.

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The Ocelot-O at DSEi resembles an enclosed vehicle from a distance, being liberally covered with the Saab Barracuda MCS camouflage system adopted by the British Army for all its new combat vehicles. Its key feature is an infrared barrier that reduces the vehicle's thermal signature significantly, reducing the detection range of infrared sensors. 

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The Foxhound and the Ocelot-U are also on show here. GD is proposing that customers can buy extra mission pods and reconfigure their vehicles according to the requirements of the theater where they are deployed. Swapping out bodies takes about half a day, the company says.

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