Snatch Land Rover

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colspan="2" Template:WPMILHIST Infobox style | Land Rover Snatch
colspan="2" Template:WPMILHIST Infobox style | 300px
Land Rover Snatch conversion used by British Army on Operation Telic, Iraq
Place of origin Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
colspan="2" Template:WPMILHIST Infobox style | Production history
Number built approx 1000
Variants Snatch-1.5
Snatch-2 12v, LHD
Snatch-2A 24v, RHD
Snatch-2B 24v, RHD
colspan="2" Template:WPMILHIST Infobox style | Specifications
Weight 3,050 kilograms (6,700 lb)
Length 4.55 metres (Template:Convert/And0)
Width 1.79 metres (Template:Convert/And0)
Height 2.03 metres (Template:Convert/And0)

none - personal weapons carried by "top cover"
Engine Land Rover 300 Tdi engine
111 horsepower (83 kW)
Power/weight 37 hp/tonne
Suspension Wheel 4×4
510 kilometres (320 mi)
Speed 160 kilometres per hour (99 mph)
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Template:Military navigation

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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 formally described as 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.

The Snatch is one of a range of vehicles which remains in use in Northern Ireland as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan operational areas.

Use of the vehicle has been the subject of criticism as a consequence of a number of kinetic attacks which have exceeded the level of protection available, leading to occupant deaths.


The Snatch is based on the Land Rover Heavy Duty Chassis, a militarised version of the Defender 110 (similar to the Land Rover Wolf). It was originally procured for use in Northern Ireland by the British Army.[1] and was first introduced in 1992.[2]

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" used in raids to capture suspects.[who?]

The "Snatch" was the first factory modified Land Rover to be used in Northern Ireland, replacing a series of ad hoc conversions including a protected Airportable Land Rover (Land Rover 1/2 ton Lightweight), known as the "piglet", being a smaller version of the Humber "Pig" APC then widely used by British Forces in Northern Ireland [3].

Manufactured as the CAMAC CAV 100 by NP Aerospace[4], the "Snatch" conversion was developed with the aid of Ricardo, and is fitted with CAMAC composite armour to offer the crew protection against kinetic energy projectiles and, to a very limited degree, against explosive devices. Its rated "combat weight" (without crew and weapons) is 3,050 kg [5].

Five versions have been produced, the first being the original Snatch-1, equipped with a V8 petrol engine. Nearly 1000 were produced, with 278 being "desertised" and reclassified as the Snatch-1.5. Many are now being (or have been) upgraded to current 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 have been retro-fitted with diesel engines and the 2A is also fitted with air conditioning.

When deployed, the vehicles are often fitted with electronic counter-measures (ECM) suites, which are designed to prevent certain types of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) being triggered, and Bowman radios.

Criticism of vehicle use

Use of the vehicle has been the subject of criticism by the media, politicians and the families of some casualities in both areas of operations. This criticism was visible in the public domain from around 2005[6] with media claims that civil servants of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development should not use the vehicles.[7]

Later concerns were raised in Parliament, presenting comparison with the United States 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,[8] as well as highlighting previous maintainability issues with an earlier version of the Cougar.[9] Similar issues were then reported in a Sunday Telegraph opinion piece[10] and other news outlets.[11][12][13] These also recognised the need for trade-off decisions to be made around posture and mobility.[14]

Media reporting continued to escalate the topic whilst parliamentary dialogue continued.[15][16][17]

Procurement of additional vehicles

The MoD is currently procuring a number of vehicles with increased levels of protection, although reduced mobility, to supplement the vehicle fleets in Afghanistan and Iraq. Existing orders for the Pinzgauer Vector and the Bulldog, based on the FV432, were increased.[18] New vehicles, the Mastiff (4*4) and Ridgback (6*6), based on the Cougar, which is produced by the US firm Force Protection Inc, are under procurement.[19] Some of these vehicles have been delivered and deployed to theatre.


  1. MoD - Army equipment
  2. Hansard, 20 July 2006, Column 593W online version
  4. The Defense Supplier's Directory,, accessed 28 July 2007
  5. MoD - Army equipment op cit
  6. The Sunday Mirror, 9 November 2008 online edition
  7. The Sunday Mirror, 9 November 2008 online edition
  8. Hansard 12 June 2006, Column 2 online edition
  9. Hansard, 29 Jun 2006, Column 1356 [1]
  10. The Sunday Telegraph, 18 Jun 2006 online edition
  11. The Sunday Telegraph, 25 June 2006 online edition
  12. Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Michael Smith, Focus: Is the army putting money before lives?, The Sunday Times, June 25, 2006 online edition
  13. The Sunday Times, 25 June 2006 leader
  14. Too Big for Basra, Times Online, 25 June Mick Smith blog
  15. Hansard 26 June 2006, Column 4 et seq online edition
  16. BBC, 27 June 2006, Bombs spark Iraq Land Rover probe online edition
  17. BBC, 27 June 2006, Q&A: Army Land Rover row BBC website
  18. BBC News More armoured vehicles for troops
  19. Defence News Defence Secretary orders new vehicles for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan