A YORKSHIRE defence manufacturer will soon play a major role in helping to save the lives of soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
The Rotherham-based MTL Group has been awarded a significant contract from Force Protection Europe to supply V-shaped fabricated armoured hulls for the new UK Foxhound military vehicle.
The design work now being carried out on the vehicle by MTL’s staff will help to protect service personnel from landmines.
Dr Henry Shirman, the company’s managing director, said: “This vehicle is a replacement for the Snatch Land Rover which has been criticised because it has been used in circumstances and terrain which it was not designed for.”
Dr Shirman said the new Foxhound was due to enter service within the next year.
He added: “When a mine goes off under a vehicle, the explosive energy hits the hull. Instead of being flat, the Foxhound’s hull is V-shaped which means the blast energy is dissipated up the side of the vehicle.”
As a result, it is hoped that fewer soldiers will be killed if their vehicle hits a landmine.
Dr Shirman said the contract, which is for an undisclosed amount, had created 10 jobs at MTL, bringing the total number of staff employed at the company to around 320. The MTL Group’s annual turnover is around £50m.
The business has more than doubled in size following a management buyout in 2006.
MTL has worked with Force Protection Europe and Ricardo – the companies that secured the Ministry of Defence contract to build the Foxhound – to ensure the vehicle offers the maximum protection to service men and women on the frontline.
The hulls will be made at MTL Group’s 300,000 sq ft manufacturing base in Rotherham, using a range of high-technology equipment including the world’s largest robot press.
MTL Group, which laser cuts, bends, machines and fabricates steel, supplies customers including BAE, Caterpillar and Renault Truck Defence.