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Spanish Army buys Husky mine detection vehicles

altThe Spanish Army has purchased the Husky Mounted Detection System to detect landmines and improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan.

Critical Solutions International (CSI) was awarded the contract and has already delivered six Husky vehicle systems as well as spares and training support for fielding this year. The contract was awarded to CSI and its supply chain partners DCD Protected Mobility, NIITEK (Non-Intrusive Inspection Technologies) and Eleycon 21.

CSI on Monday said that the program is valued at more than $20 million and will support Spanish combat engineers as well as NATO soldiers deployed to Afghanistan. Improvised explosive devices are the main cause of death of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The Spanish Army will receive the Husky 2G, a two-seat variant which is able to conduct longer operations than the single seater. The addition of a second on-board operator allows the Husky driver to focus on vehicle control and situational awareness, while the second operator monitors and analyses the advanced sensor systems and the operational environment.

“By choosing the Husky Mounted Detection System, the Spanish Government has made a significant investment in saving lives and enhancing the capability of the Spanish Army,” said Mike McCormack, CEO of CSI.

“With two operators, increased mission capability, and the most advanced sensors available today, the Husky platform equipped with NIITEK's ground penetrating radar provides the essential technology for route clearance and helps protect the lives of service members and civilians who live in combat environments. We are honoured to have been awarded this contract and are looking forward to working with the Government of Spain and the Spanish Army.”

NIITEK president Juan Navarro said that, “The HMDS system has proven to be a useful technology against the threat of buried explosive hazards and IEDs that Spanish soldiers and NATO Coalition partners face in the current theatre of operations.”

The Husky VMMD (Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector), previously known as the Chubby system, was developed in the 1970s for the South African Defence Force to clear roads of mines in Namibia and Angola. The system comprises of two Husky vehicles: the first acts as a Mine Detection Vehicle (MDV) (previously a Meerkat). The second vehicle (a Husky) tows a mine-detonating trailer.

The South African Army uses the Meerkat. However, some have been sold to France, Australia and the United States. More than 400 Huskies have been sold and as of January 2012, the Husky system had taken 7 000 hits in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, with no mine or improvised explosive device fatalities.

The US Army recognised the Husky vehicle design with an Innovation of the Year Award for 2010.
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