Terrier unleashed as commandos’ new battlefield ‘digger’ is shown off to the world
5 June 2013

The latest weapon in the Royal Marines’ arsenal – capable of clearing minefields, laying temporary roads, smashing road surfaces, tearing up concrete and lifting heavy objects – has been unveiled.

The Terrier armoured digger, demonstrated on the ranges at Bovington, will be used by the Royal Engineers – including the Royal Marines’ own specialist unit, 24 Commando Regiment.

Pictures: Andrew Linnett, DE&S

MEET the latest weapon in the Royal Marines’ arsenal as they return to amphibious operations after a dozen years in the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is the Terrier armoured digger – and it will be used by commando engineers to clear minefields, lay temporary roads, smash road surfaces, tear up concrete and lift heavy objects... just for starters.

Sixty Terriers have been bought for use by the Royal Engineers – and that includes the specialist unit permanently attached to Royal Marines, 24 Commando Regiment RE, based at Chivenor in north Devon.

The 30-tonne vehicle was unveiled yesterday on the ranges at Bovington in Dorset (which are also used by the Royal Marines’ Viking armoured vehicles) as soldiers showed what they could do with the Terrier – from inside and outside the cab.

Because as well as driving and operating the Terrier like any other vehicle, the engineers can control it remotely from distances of over a kilometre away – thanks to five cameras on board, which means dangerous tasks such as mine clearance can be conducted safely.

This Gucci bit of kit is also fitted with thermal imaging technology, providing soldiers with 360˚ awareness of what’s around the Terrier – day or night.

Despite its weight, Terrier is an agile and versatile vehicle which can reach speeds of almost 50 mph and keep up with Warrior armoured vehicles and Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

It’s able to transport up to 5,000kg of material and its quick-hitch mechanism means the bucket at the front can be rapidly dropped and replaced with either a set of forks – rather like a fork lift truck – a ripper for tearing up road surfaces or a device for clearing mines from road surfaces.

Different fittings for its side excavator arm can be used to dig holes, lift objects, drill into the ground or shatter concrete.

And should it come under fire, the Terrier is armoured, armed with a 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun and smoke grenade launchers.

“The Terrier is a world-leading engineer support and combat vehicle, which can dig holes, lift objects and drill into the ground or shatter concrete – all while being controlled remotely and providing armoured protection, top cover and smoke shields to our troops,” said the Royal Engineers’ WO Steve Cahill who’s been testing the vehicle.

As well as shown off to the press, Terrier was also demonstrated for defence equipment minister Philip Dunne and General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff.

“Its versatility will pay huge dividends on the battlefields of the future,” said General Wall. “We could not be happier with this new Armoured Engineer capability.”

The vehicles have been designed and built in the UK by BAE Systems as part of a £360m project. They can be carried on a C17 Globemaster or Airbus A400M transporter, or one of the Royal Marines’ large Landing Craft Utility.