As the face of modern warfare changes, so do expectations for military vehicles. General-purpose models like the Jeep and the early Land Rover, as well as their evolutionary counterparts, the Humvee and the Snatch Land Rover, were based on old-school warfare, with an established front line.
Recent combat has shown that unarmored but highly-mobile vehicles like the Humvee and Snatch aren’t well suited to urban warfare, with its constant threat of insurgent and roadside bomb attacks. Big, explosion-resistant vehicles like the U.S. military’s MRAP trucks are safe, but expensive, heavy and impractical for many applications.
Photos: What will be the next Humvee?
Enter the Foxhound (oddly, also called the Ocelot), the latest multi-role military vehicle to enter service in the British army. Already deployed to Afghanistan, Inside Line says the Foxhound was developed with input from World Rally Championship and Formula 1 engineers, including a group from McLaren.
As you’d expect, the resulting vehicle has been called “quick” and “nimble.” Despite its eight-ton bulk, the tall and narrow Foxhound can hit speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, comparable to a six-ton U.S. military Humvee.
Compared to the Humvee, the Foxhound is taller but boasts a narrower track, making it better suited for urban combat on narrow back streets. It also offers “unprecedented levels of blast protection for its size and weight,” which make it better suited for modern combat than earlier general purpose vehicles.
It’s rugged, too, and remains operational on just three wheels. It’s engine can be swapped out with a replacement in just 30 minutes, a critical consideration to ensure ease of servicing in combat zones.
The U.S. military will soon be replacing the Humvee with a vehicle better suited towards modern combat operations, too. Several manufacturers are in the running, and this much is clear: the next U.S. military vehicle will likely be closer in design to the Foxhound than it is to the Hummer.