The 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment has today officially changed from an air to a ground assault focussed organisation - taking delivery of five new types of light-armoured vehicles.
Up until now the regiment has mainly roped or dropped into action from helicopters, but as from today it will officially change its designation to a light-armoured vehicle based group.
The changes are a part of the ongoing UK-wide restructuring plan known as Army 2020.
Formerly classed as an Air Assault Infantry Battalion, the regiment will now be known as a Light Protected Mobility Battalion operating from a range of new vehicles, including Foxhound, RWimik, Wolfhound, Husky and Ridgeback.
The first of the new Foxhound vehicles have arrived at the Battalion’s base at Terne Hill near Shrewsbury and a heavy training programme for soldiers is already underway.
An Ministry of Defence spokesman said the Foxhound is at “the cutting edge” of protected patrol vehicle technology and provides “unprecedented levels of blast protection for its size and weight”.
The vehicles underwent final testing in the dusty and hot conditions of the Helmand desert before being deployed on operations.
RWMIK (Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit) is a lightly-armoured, highly-mobile fire support and force protection Land Rover to be manned by a commander, driver and gunner. It can carry a range of weapons including the General Purpose Machine Gun, Heavy Machine Gun and Grenade Machine Gun.
The Wolfhound is a six-wheeled variant of the acclaimed Mastiff, which provides troops with increased protection as they support missions in high-threat areas, the MoD spokesman said.
The heavy-armoured truck is part of the Tactical Support Vehicles (TSV) group along with the Husky (medium-armoured) and the Coyote (lightly-armoured).
The TSV fleet is used to accompany front line patrols and carry essential combat supplies such as water and ammunition.
And finally, the Ridgeback belongs to the family of mine-protected, multi-role and medium vehicles intended to suit a wide range of operations.