|The 80mph 'Mad Max' monster targeting the Taliban
By CHRISTOPHER LEAKE
23rd June 2007
It looks more like a vehicle from one of Mel Gibson's Mad Max movies.
But this four-ton monster truck is the British Army's new weapon designed to take on insurgents on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan.
British-made, the Supacat Weapons Mounted Installation Kit boasts awesome firepower which will be unleashed early next year. British soldiers are being targeted by roadside bombs and daily firefights.
Infantry soldiers have complained existing Land Rovers provide insufficient protection from the bombers.
Now, the Ministry of Defence is buying 130 of the light-armoured beasts – which can reach a maximum 80mph – and will take delivery of the first early next year.
They will use a grenade machine gun which fires at up to 340 rounds per minute, usually in bursts of three to five rounds, at targets up to a mile away.
The Supacats will also employ a 7.62mm-calibre General Purpose Machine Gun, which fires 750 rounds per minute with a range of nearly a mile.
The vehicles, made at Honiton in Devon, will also have a mounted 0.5in-calibre heavy machine gun, which fires huge rounds more than a mile at a rate of 485 to 635 a minute. They are powered by a 5.9-litre turbo-diesel engine and will carry three or four crew.
One senior Army officer described the new super-truck as a "serious bit of kit", adding it would be a "huge boost to our long-range patrolling capability".
Senior defence sources say the Supacats will particularly come into their own against the Taliban in Afghanistan's Helmand Province, which has no roads.
Defence Minister Lord Drayson said last night: "These vehicles are well armed, swift and agile and will boost our capability with some serious firepower.
"The MoD and the Treasury have worked hard to get them to our troops in quick time, and they start going out to theatre early next year."