Terrier, Renown Engineering and D Day

Three seemingly unconnected things came together today.

First was me finishing updating the post about Sir Percy Hobart, the 79th Armoured Division and the armoured engineering ‘funnies’ of D Day. As we get closer to the anniversary it is always good to write a history piece, in general, I want to do more..

Second was the news release from the Army and BAE about the Terrier Armoured Engineering Vehicle coming into service (at long last) and replacing the old Combat Engineering Tractor (CET), or Frog, that went out of service several years ago.

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”https://www.gov.uk/government/news/army-receives-new-terrier-vehicle”]

One notable omission from the Terrier compared to the CET is the, arguably mental, rocket powered earth anchor for self recovery.

Royal Engineers Combat Engineer Tractor (CET)
Royal Engineers Combat Engineer Tractor (CET)
Royal Engineers Combat Engineer Tractor (CET)
Royal Engineers Combat Engineer Tractor (CET)

I don’t suppose anyone will miss it!

Combat Engineer Tractor at Mutla Pass, Kuwait City

CET with Oil Cloud Skyline

I have written about Terrier a few times in the past but there is an obvious lineage going back to the Churchill (largely) based Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers.

The Terrier is not designed to operate in the same direct fire zone as the Challenger based Trojan and Titan vehicles but has a high level of protection in comparison with protected plant. It is also late (order placed in 2002) and more costly than envisaged, of course.

The drivetrain and suspension are state of the art and trials are said to have shown it is a very good vehicle.

The UK’s A400M Atlas aircraft will be fitted with a specially designed and strengthened floor exactly so it can carry the Terrier, the normal floor loading density being too small to carry it safely. It can also be operated remotely, how cool is that!

Royal Engineers Terrier MSV Remote Control
Royal Engineers Terrier MSV Remote Control
Royal Engineers Terrier MSV Remote Control
Royal Engineers Terrier MSV Remote Control

Royal Engineers Terrier MSV Remote Control 03

Player 2 Has Entered the Game

A soldier uses a games consol style controller to control a Terrier armoured digger, which is controlled by remote control during an unveilling at the Defence Armoured Vehicle Centre, Bovington, Dorset.
A soldier uses a games consol style controller to control a Terrier armoured digger, which is controlled by remote control during an unveilling at the Defence Armoured Vehicle Centre, Bovington, Dorset.

Read more about the specs of the Terrier, here, here and here

Finally, a contact from a North East engineering company called Renown Engineering.

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://renown-engineering.co.uk/defence/”]

Renown have produced many of the components for Terrier, sub contracting to BAE Systems in Newcastle. We had a chat about things and they highlighted how the defence industry in the UK is shrinking but that does not necessarily mean the end because smart companies can adapt, find new markets, diversify skill sets and create other products to make.

It is not all doom and gloom but they remain hopeful;

It has been a time for change for much of the UK following government cuts, we hope that like us, many UK manufacturing companies can adapt their skills to suit alternative industries in these times of uncertainty

Lets hope they can, I have always thought the UK defence manufacturers beyond the big boys have a great story to tell, whether it is sub component manufacturers like Renown or creators of innovative products like Mabey, Supacat, Marshalls, Ricardo, Pearson Engineering and Chemring.

Rumours of the demise of British defence engineering innovation and quality are greatly exaggerated.

We need to support these smaller organisations more and I hope that any future defence industrial strategy continues the good work the MoD have done on SME engagement.

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El Sid
El Sid
June 5, 2013 9:04 pm

Just the thing for filling Hesco when there’s some unfriendlies around, such as building bases as you build up troop numbers somewhere dusty in Asia. Oh, hold on….

David Niven
David Niven
June 5, 2013 9:47 pm

The rocket powered anchor was used for pulling the CET up the enemy side bank after swimming across to prepare the bank for either a bridge, boat or M3 Rig, I used to love operating the frog, a very useful bit of kit but had an undeserving reputation for bad reliability.

David Niven
David Niven
June 5, 2013 10:11 pm

Yeah used it a couple of times, mostly in Poland it was pretty good and the self right bit on the anchor worked every time. Never lost one, but was told about a few instances when the rockets weren’t properly secured to the anchor and decided to find their own path to the far bank. was told they were the same rockets used in the ones fired by the Harriers in their rocket pods, couldn’t say whether that was true or not but they were powerful and required two per anchor.

I think that’s a tall tale, the anchor was attached to the winch which was fully played out and weaved between rods that slotted into the rear engine deck in a circular fashion like basket weaving.

The CET itself was a brilliant design for it’s time but fell down in ergonomics, it’s usefulness to the Engineers and the battle group were missed after it’s withdrawal.

Mike W
June 6, 2013 8:56 am

TD

“Rumours of the demise of British defence engineering innovation and quality are greatly exaggerated.”

I agree. You mention Pearson Engineering among other firms. On their website (News section) they mention that: “The Reece Group is pleased to announce that it has completed the purchase of the BAE Systems, Scotswood Road manufacturing facility.” The Reece Group apparently includes Pearson Engineering.

As one of their representatives says, “This is also good news for North East manufacturing.”

It appears that the factory (which produced many armoured vehicles for the British Army. Was the Terrier produced there?) will be fully used as a manufacturing facility and for research and development. Those in charge of the group obviously believe that “engineering and manufacturing still has a valid and prosperous future in the North East.”

Brian Black
Brian Black
June 6, 2013 9:36 am

You could take the building site gubbins off, add a MG turret and a boot for sandwiches, socks and stuff…

Will Sheward
Will Sheward
June 6, 2013 12:08 pm

“Rumours of the demise of British defence engineering innovation and quality are greatly exaggerated.

We need to support these smaller organisations more and I hope that any future defence industrial strategy continues the good work the MoD have done on SME engagement.”

Couldn’t agree more. Perhaps you should consider inviting them (us, actually) to contribute articles, edited to make sure they aren’t just marketing crap, telling your audience what they are doing?

One of the big problems that small companies in the UK have is making contacts within the big systems integrators who, more often than not, deliver the projects to MoD. Many of the larger companies are so heavily siloed that even if you make a few contacts, they’ll never tell other project teams about your technology. But I bet quite a few of them read this blog.

Ace Rimmer
June 7, 2013 10:18 am

If the remote technology can control a Terrier, is there a reason you can’t control a Warrior or Chally 2 in the same way when you’re knocking on doors of your chosen enemy? Albeit from a ‘safe’ distance.

IXION
June 9, 2013 11:23 am

Since I heard about this Vehicle I have been thinking. 40 mm cannon, couple of missiles,€ reckie gear. And then stop f##king arround with FRES. Clear out the back and then an Fv replacement?? Etc etc

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
June 9, 2013 12:43 pm

@ Will Sheward,

you may already be aware, but if not, one of the best things your company can do is to get in touch with UKTI http://www.ukti.gov.uk/defencesecurity/supportforsmes.html (the old Defence Export Support Organisation). One of their roles is to introduce SMEs to big UK Defence Primes.

I was in UKTI a couple of weeks ago. They really are keen to help. I will email to TD the contact details of the lady who runs the SME / big Defence Prime introduction service: he may well be able to pass them on to your email address. I’m not comfortable with publishing the details direct onto the TD blog.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
June 9, 2013 12:53 pm

Ace Rimmer,

there’s probably no reason you could not upgrade the wagons to remote control, but it is going to be expensive and could result in there being less room inside. You’d need to automate the whole driving bit, and then have some form of auto-loader for the main armament. A Warrior that has got no one in it is also going to be unable to fulfil the main purpose of a Warrior, that of delivering infantrymen to the objective.

Jeremy Retford
Jeremy Retford
September 11, 2013 10:28 pm

Ref making cr2 remote controlled like terrier. It is comparatively simple on terrier as the whole vehicle is controlled electronically via a canbus system so the remote control input just taps into it. With cr2 etc. The technology is older and you would have to fit actuators to bowden cables etc to steer and change gear. Very messy and complex. What started out as an unregarded not very sexy ( compared to FRES ) digger for the sappers has emerged as the highest tech and orobably most reliable(it is late in service because MOD held the contactor to the contract and made him prove its reliability) tracked vehicle in service.

Chris
Chris
September 11, 2013 10:48 pm

Looking at Terrier from the outside, it seems to use a lot of bits from the Warrior parts catalogue, so it ought to be a tough little thing. The parts commonality (if they really are common) should help reduce the cost of support too.

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 12, 2013 7:05 am

Chris,

Looks like, but doesn’t. The hull is different, the tracks are different, the suspension is different and the rest of the running gear is probably different as well.

Jeremy Retford
Jeremy Retford
September 12, 2013 9:45 am

Terrier has little or nothing of significance in common with Warrior apart from the gearbox, which is a modified and beefed up version of the Allison-designed X300. The reason Terrier has not got the spectacular rocket anchor is that it does not swim, so does not need it to pull itself up a river bank. Some of the unreliability issues that dogged CET were caused by the need to carefully arrange its internals to make it stable when afloat, and the need to keep the weight down to ensure that it did indeed float. The Sappers were adamant that the reliability of Terrier was a key requirement, along with digging performance (which needs weight behind it) and so were happy to abandon any thoughts of making it amphibious.