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The Snatch Land Rover is a protected patrol vehicle, based around the Land Rover Defender 110 chassis, intended for general patrolling in low-threat areas and is the successor to the Truck Utility Medium (TUM) with Vehicle Protection Kit (VPK). The vehicle was developed for use in the Northern Ireland area of operations in 1992, for use in rural patrolling and providing some degree of small arms protection for occupants and a limited level of protection from Improvised Explosive Devices and off-route mines.
Use of the vehicle has been the subject of criticism as a consequence of kinetic attacks which have exceeded the level of protection available, leading to occupant deaths.Officially designated, Truck Utility Medium (TUM) with Vehicle Protection Kit (VPK), the vehicle is more widely known by its informal title, the "Snatch", even in official documentation. It is believed to have acquired the name from its use in the Troubles, when it was the preferred vehicle for snatch squads: soldiers trained to deal with demonstrations by picking out and arresting suspected ringleaders.
The "Snatch" was the first factory modified Land Rover to be used in Northern Ireland, replacing a series of ad hoc conversions including protected Airportable Land Rover (Land Rover 1/2 ton Lightweight) and 109" (known as the "piglet", being a smaller version of the Humber Pig armoured personnel carrier) then widely used by British Forces in Northern Ireland.Six versions have been produced, the first being the original Snatch-1, equipped with a V8 petrol engine. Nearly 1,000 were produced, with 278 being "desertised" and reclassified as the Snatch-1.5. Most were upgraded to a second variant standard, either the Snatch-2 12v, LHD, the basic training variant; the Snatch-2A 24v, RHD, "Rest of World variant"; or the Snatch-2B 24v, RHD - the N. Ireland variant. These later versions were retro-fitted with "300 Tdi" diesel engines and the 2A is also fitted with air conditioning.
Some Snatch 2 are being further upgraded to the Snatch Vixen standard with chassis and drivetrain enhancements for a higher GVW.
When deployed, the vehicles are often fitted with electronic countermeasures electronic suites, which are designed to prevent certain types of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) being triggered, and Bowman radio communications.Later concerns were raised in Parliament, presenting comparison with the U.S. Marine Corps deployment of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Cougar, which appeared to have provided more protection. The conservative peer Lord Astor of Hever raising the comparison and inviting comment. In response the Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Drayson, acknowledged that the Snatch was inappropriate but identified that trade-offs around protection and mobility were required, as well as highlighting previous maintainability issues with an earlier version of the Cougar. The UK MoD is also procuring 420 Panther CLV 4×4 vehicles in the Command and Liaison role. Mine and IED protection are prime features on this vehicle. In September 2010, Force Protection Europe, developer of the Ocelot light armoured vehicle, has been selected as the preferred bidder in U.K. Ministry of Defense (MoD) Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) program. According to FPE, the first Ocelot vehicles are expected to be available for the training of UK forces in 2011. The initial phase will require up to 400 new vehicles to be delivered by 2010-2011. FPE won this competition against the all-British Supacat group, offering the Supacat Protected Vehicle (SPV) SPV-400. The Ocelot has an approximate gross vehicle weight of only 16,500 pounds. Its cabin is made of a protective pod, made of advanced composite materials incorporating Formula One racing technology. Critical components such as the engine, fuel tank and transmission are contained in the V-shaped armoured ‘spine’ that deflects potential blast away from the pod, thus protecting the occupants and critical key components.