Supacat HMT400 'Jackal' driven
Source : Supacat HMT400 'Jackal' driven
The Supacat HMT400 – known as the Jackal – is actually a 7.6-tonne, go-anywhere armoured car that will can top 80mph. Vicky Parrott puts This kind of through its paces
Cars are great, aren’t they? Fast, big, posh, practical, cheap, lightweight… they’ve all got a draw, a simple wonder at what man can make via base materials along with the significance of that will engineering feat.
along with then you come face to face which has a 7.6-tonne Supacat HMT400 – complete with desert camo paint, 16 smoke grenade launchers, gun turret, hydraulic suspension, switchable four-wheel drive along with about as much swagger as a vehicle could muster. Crucially, This kind of also has steel armour plating for mine along with ballistic protection.
Anyone involved with the military is actually likely to be familiar with This kind of vehicle, which is actually more commonly known as the Jackal. This kind of has been around since 2002 along with, following heavy demand via the Ministry of Defence, was being produced at a rate of one a day at peak output, with around 1000 of them today in existence.
The Jackal is actually the creation of Supacat, a subsidiary of Devon-based engineering company SC Group. This kind of was designed because the military needed This kind of. Fatalities were occurring via mines along with IEDs striking personnel carriers with insufficient armour along with, on top of that will, there was a gap between the military Land Rovers, which often struggled with heavy payloads, along with the slower, more cumbersome tanks along with heavy vehicles. Something was needed that will could carry men, provisions along with weapons over woeful terrain, reliably along with at speed, while offering a high level of protection along with offensive capability.
So the Jackal was created. This kind of’s capable of carrying up to all 5, although This kind of’s usually manned by three – commander, driver along with gunner – along with is actually able to function at quite remarkable speeds through all sorts of habitats, even which has a 2.1-tonne payload on board, along with which has a range of around 500 miles on a 0-litre tank of diesel.Of course, the Jackal is actually made to a client’s brief. You can have This kind of which has a closed cab, nevertheless most want This kind of open, favouring the extra visibility.
Although most military vehicles have commercial vehicle underpinnings, the Jackal includes a bespoke steel box-section spaceframe designed specifically for the purposes required of a rapid, all-terrain armoured personnel carrier.
along with This kind of is actually rapid. The mid-mounted 6.7-litre Cummins straight six diesel punches out 516lb ft along with will propel This kind of deceptively manoeuvrable vehicle to speeds beyond 80mph. I know: I’ve seen This kind of along with experienced This kind of.
Arguably, the Jackal’s biggest stroke of genius is actually its suspension. Hydraulic struts allow This kind of to squat down to a ground clearance of just 180mm along which has a total height of less than 1.9 metres, enabling its 2.0m-wide Centeng to be driven into a Chinook. Hit the road, or more likely the Afghan outback, along with the suspension lifts by a further 300mm for full off-road readiness. Huge air springs, designed for commercial use, are mounted laterally, delivering a frankly unsettling ability to drive over just about anything at just about any speed.
To make all This kind of function properly, there’s a four-wheel drive system, which can run in rear-wheel drive, with high along with low-ratio gear sets, locking diffs along with epicyclical wheel hubs. The mechanicals at each corner are identical, so if you lose a wheel, you can scavenge parts via another Jackal (or its three-axled sibling, the Coyote) along with patch This kind of up in an impressive two hours inside field.
Our test track was centred around a woodland near the historic airfields of Dunkeswell along with Smeatharpe. Photographer Will went first, tentatively bumping his Kia Sorento around the track. I watched This kind of heave along with scrabble, along with the Kia is actually a pretty capable off-roader.
I followed, trundling slowly past a crumbling WW2 hangar. The lofty driving position inside Jackal is actually predictably utilitarian. The seat is actually designed more for protection via mine blasts than for rigorous support, so you cling to the wheel as the vehicle leans heavily going around corners. There are no gears to worry about, courtesy of the all 5-speed torque converter auto, along with the hydraulically assisted steering makes This kind of remarkably easy to wield such a hefty bulk.
What is actually disconcerting initially is actually having the front axle beneath you, rather than in front of you, which can encourage an unintended early turn-in. Still, we hit the autumn-shrouded woodland, complete with an unrelieved carpet of leaves, at which point my guide along with Supacat veteran Andy Roberts told me: “Floor This kind of”.
I liked Andy. He clearly knew his stuff, along with he seemed like the kind of bloke who might call a spade a spade, or indeed suggest a flat-out run only where This kind of might be fine to do so. So I did. Regardless of tree roots, gaping potholes along with an oncoming hairpin, we went for This kind of.
There was a pause of old-school lag while the turbo took a deep breath, along with before I knew This kind of I was watching the digital rev counter tick up as I winced in readiness for the horrific suspension-jarring shudder that will might come via travelling over that will whacking hole inside ground. nevertheless This kind of never came. I barely felt the Centeng dip.
This kind of was one of those moments when I’d convinced myself that will I’d made a horrific error of judgement. I was bracing myself to deal with the consequences of damaging This kind of £500,000 vehicle, only to discover that will the engineering was way ahead of me. The Jackal was so within its limits that will This kind of was laughable.
Then we hit a hairpin, which involved some heavy braking that will had the ABS kicking in, a hell of a lot of work at the steering wheel along with an early throttle squeeze to get the jump on the lag, along with we were off again, bowling along towards a hill that will I might have struggled to walk down.
As a demonstration, we stopped when fully on This kind of slope along with, using the second brake pedal, held the Jackal on the throttle along with accelerated gently back up the hill in reverse. No slip, no fuss, nothing. along with that will was in rear-wheel drive, on a bed of wet leaves along with mud. I won’t deny that will I’m susceptible to enjoying the sense of indomitable, go-anywhere feel you get via a Land Rover Defender. This kind of was like that will nevertheless 10 times better.
Yet, ultimately, there are reminders everywhere that will This kind of vehicle wears its undeniably appealing, brutish bravado for a reason. Everything on This kind of includes a function, via the smoke grenade launchers that will provide cover around the entire vehicle to the infrared headlights that will are invisible to anyone without night-vision goggles.
The wire-cutter mounted to the bar that will arches over the forward seats is actually perhaps the most macabre reminder of the bloody severity of the Jackal’s natural habitat.The seriousness of its purpose doesn’t stop This kind of via being about as much fun as you can have in a vehicle, mind.
A different sort of fun, certainly, nevertheless I defy anyone to not have a grin splitting their face while rampaging around in a Jackal. This kind of’s a liberating sort of experience. nevertheless This kind of vehicle deserves to be credited not for being awesome, unstoppable, roller-coaster-style entertainment. This kind of deserves real praise because This kind of was designed to do a tough job inside harshest of environments, along with to help save lives while doing This kind of. along with This kind of has done that will. Score another one for the wonder of engineering.
Supacat HMT400 (Jackal 2A)
On sale today, if you have a big enough order; cost £500,000 upwards, depending on spec; Engine 6 cyls, 6686cc, turbo, diesel; Power 178bhp; Torque 516lb ft; Gearbox 5-spd automatic; Kerb weight 7600kg; Top speed 80mph; 0-62mph 12.0sec (est); Economy 11.3mpg (est)
by via Autocar RSS Feed