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On The Road Again With 3 RIFLES

One rifleman from 3 RIFLES has only recently bought his first car, but that hasn't stopped the Army from putting him behind the wheel of a...

One rifleman from 3 RIFLES has only recently bought his first car, but that hasn't stopped the Army from putting him behind the wheel of a £900,000 Foxhound. 
 
That's because 3 RIFLES have just had three weeks of driver training in Edinburgh, Garelochhead and Cambusbarron.
 
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3 RIFLES drive a 'WMIK' vehicle
 
They've been doing the training because 3rd Battalion The Rifles have become the latest British Army unit to convert to light mechanised infantry.
 
That means they've had to get to grips with Foxhound and RWMIK vehicles.
 
A GUIDE TO BRITISH ARMY VEHICLES
 
The Army uses a range of vehicles with different armour, armaments, and mobility.
 
The WMIK, pronounced 'wimmick' is a modified Landrover, standing for Weapons Mount Installation Kit.
 
WMIKs are used for close fire support and recon and weigh over 2,000kg (4,400lb).
 
RWMIK (Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit) vehicles, pronounced R-wimmick, are a variant of the WMIK. Lightly-armoured, they're used for fire support and force protection, and carry a crew of three armed with a general purpose machine gun (GPMG), a heavy machine gun (HMG), and a grenade machine gun (GMG).
 
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WMIKs in Iraq
 
The Jackal, or MWMIK (Mobility Weapon-Mounted Installation Kit) weighs 6,650kg (14,660lb), and is now in its second edition, the Jackal 2.
 
It's armed with a GMPG and either an HMG or GMG, has a gun ring for 360-degree fire, and a top speed of 80mph.
 
It has a robust airbag suspension system to permit swift movement over different terrains, and is used for recon, fire support, rapid assault and convoy protection purposes. It's designed to protect those riding from mines and roadside bombs.
 
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A Jackal at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan
 
The Foxhound, also called the Force Protection Ocelot, weighs 7,500kg (16,500lb) and has a maximum speed of 70mph.
 
Foxhounds were given a thorough testing in Afghanistan before being deployed more widely.
 
They have a v-shaped hull that protects against IED blasts. The Army, meanwhile, views the Foxhound as a versatile vehicle which will serve for years to come.
 
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A Foxhound at Patrol Base Wahid, Helmand Afghanistan
 
Four-wheeled Ridgebacks are one of two heavier vehicles used by the Army, and are designed for either troop conveyance, mobile command centres, or as battlefield ambulances.
 
They carry BOWMAN communications equipment and can be fitted with either a 7,62mm GPMG, 12.7mm HMG, or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.
 
Ridgebacks weigh around 15,000kg (33,000lb).
 
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A Ridgeback being used as a mobile ambulance (image: rctankwarefare)
 
Six-wheeled Mastiffs are currently on their third variation, weight around 17,300kg (38,000lb) and have a top speed of 90 mph.
 
Like the Ridgebacks, Mastiffs carry BOWMAN equipment for communications and are armed with the same GPMGs, HMGs, and grenade launchers. They are used for patrols and convoys.
 
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A Mastiff with a machine gun mounted to the roof (image: rctankwarefare)
 
3 RIFLES VEHICLE TRAINING
 
It's been quite an adjustment for 3 RIFLES, because while some in the battalion last used vehicles in Afghanistan, they've mainly been fighting their enemy on foot for more than two decades.
 
To start with, drivers and commanders have learnt about the parts of each vehicle and how to spot faults. 
 
After that, it's become all about testing their control of the new vehicles. 
 
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A Foxhound navigates difficult terrain  
 
This initial bit of driving training is the start of a 10-month process as the whole battalion first learns to drive, and will then learn to tactically use their new bits of kit. 
 
It's all building up to a huge exercise in Salisbury Plain next summer.