The vehicles were made by British company Babcock Marine....
British Army unveils all-terrain 'Pitbull'
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
Fast, powerful and with a fearsome array of weaponry, it has already been named "Pitbull" by the soldiers who will drive it deep behind enemy lines.
The Army has unveiled its new £200,000 all-terrain vehicle, tailor-made for the hostile terrain of Helmand in Southern Afghanistan.
Watch: Sean Rayment gets an exclusive preview of the 'Pitbull', which is already on its way to the plains of Afghanistan (external - login to view)
Senior officers say the vehicle will greatly enhance the fighting capability of their soldiers, and will save lives.
Armed with a mix of machine guns and an automatic grenade launcher, and with a range of more than 500 miles, the vehicle will be used to hunt down and destroy the Taliban during long range surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
Its crew of three will be able to call in air strikes using onboard communications equipment. The new all-terrain vehicle has a 5.9 litre engine capable of 80mph on roads and 40mph across the Helmand desert.
It has revolutionary air suspension which allows for a comfortable ride even over the roughest of terrain and helps the gunners to hit their targets while on the move.
Known officially as the M-Wmik - Mobility Weapons Mounted Installation Kit - the vehicle will replace the ageing Land Rover Wmiks, variations of which have been in service since the Fifties.
Click to enlarge: Taking the fight to Taliban
The Sunday Telegraph was given an exclusive preview of the vehicle's capabilities on the Army's training area on Salisbury Plain last week.
After almost 48 hours of rain, the terrain had turned into a quagmire but the M-Wmik cut through the clogging mud with ease and the bumps from the deeply rutted track were almost completely absorbed by the suspension.
The driver, Warrant Officer Nick Hartley, said it was easy to handle, with automatic transmission and power steering.
"It's awesome. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Troops will be able to go deep into Taliban territory and hunt them down. It can go anywhere and it is very stable."
The vehicle and crew are protected against mines by reinforced armour plating but the military says its best defence is its manoeuvrability and speed.
First to use the vehicle on operations will be the Pathfinders, from 16 Air Assault Brigade, due to begin arriving in Helmand soon.
The 202 vehicles purchased were made by Babcock Marine, a British engineering company, which also makes ships. Working with the Army, the company procured the vehicle in seven months.