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Navy Technicians Get to Grips with the Jackal


War Hero
Book Reviewer
UK Ministry of Defence (Jun 23, 2008)

Royal Navy technicians based at HM Naval Base Devonport have been helping to assemble Jackal armoured vehicles which when complete will be deployed on operations overseas.

Jackal, a four-wheel-drive all-terrain fighting vehicle, is currently being used by UK troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq. It has several weapon mounts and a heavy duty engine/suspension.

The land-based work being carried out by the Royal Navy engineers is unusual for marine engineering sailors, who are more used to working on warship machinery at sea. Eight Navy engineers at any one time have been integrated into the manufacturer's (Babcock Marine) assembly line team, working alongside civilian mechanics and engineers to produce finished Jackals.

One of those is Petty Officer Jess Owen, who is normally found working with the Royal Marines in Chivenor, North Devon, where he has already broadened his engineering experience compared with working on a ship. He is familiarising himself with the Jackal before he is deployed to Afghanistan:

"I will be going out to Afghanistan where we will be working on maintaining the Jackals in the tough desert where they will be worked hard," he explained. "We therefore, need to work out before we go out there, the initial trouble-shooting areas to look for a simple fault before we have to open the handbook and delve deeper."

Petty Officer Chris Peet, 35, of Plymouth, a weapons engineer, added:
"This work has taken me out of my comfort zone and I am enjoying it a lot. I would normally work on a ship on the same systems such as hydraulics and pneumatics, but I have not worked on these on a vehicle.

"It is good experience from a technical point of view and from a working alongside civilians - again a new thing for most of us."

Jackal, along with other vehicles such as Mastiff, Viking, Bulldog, Warrior, Vector, and Snatch (all currently being used on operations) are variously suited to different threats, terrains and tempos of operation. Together, they give UK commanders the ability to choose the best vehicles for each situation.

Jackals are crewed by three personnel and are well armed, swift, and agile also providing serious firepower being armed with a general purpose machine gun for crew protection. They can also carry either a heavy machine gun or grenade machine gun as the main weapon system in the fire support role. The vehicle can operate across a whole range of terrain, something which troops have found useful in Afghanistan where much of the terrain does not have roads.

which is what happens when you privatise a dockyard, guarantee the newly independent company a certain level of work for the next 20 years, and then embark on a festival of defence cuts so that suddenly the work isn't there. At least they might get a bit of a kick out of doing something constructive for the war effort.

When I was working at Fisgard in 2004, a WO MEA joined us who'd been at GUZZ CFM- the lads at the time were given to DML to play with as there weren't any warships to fix so they had them in the railway yards fixing wagons for EWS. When the dockies wanted to go weekenders, they did, and Jack was ROB'd to cover. Ditto when they wanted to save on paying overtime. Apparnetly there was a shed where Jack got to sit all day from turn-to until he was needed for the whole working day, while they thinned the dockies out.

So, genius anyway.


War Hero
FMG Devonport is an integeral part of the Commercial structure of DRDL.. and has been since 1997...

This is not news Guzz FMG have been doing comercial work for ages.

In 1999 the DRDL asked for the 28 staff in unit 10 to help out on some work on the Ocean... DML were told that the 40 staff in unit 10 were gapped billets, they were confused and in the end gave up asking..
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