FRIDAY FOTO (March 19, 2010)
Preparing for Afghanistan
British soldiers in Jackal 2 vehicles prepare for deployment to Afghanistan during a mobility training exercise in the desert of southern Jordan. More than 120 troops from the 4th Mechanized Brigade’s Brigade Reconnaissance Force spent four weeks on mines awareness, reconnaissance, signals and infantry training during Exercise Jordan Express. The 4th Mechanized Brigade, based in Catterick, North Yorkshire, is slated to replace the 11th (Light) Brigade as the lead British unit in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in April. This will be the first deployment to Afghanistan, for the 4th Brigade, nicknamed “The Black Rats.”
The Jackal 2, a 4×4 tactical patrol vehicle, debuted less than a year ago. It provides better armor protection against some roadside bombs than Land Rovers and the earlier version of the Jackal but it is faster and more maneuverable than U.S.-made Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPs) trucks. The three-man Jackal 2 can travel 80 mph on roads and between 40 and 55 mph off them. It is armed with a top-mounted .50 caliber machine gun and a 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun operated by the vehicle commander.