The UK defense ministry announced it would loan four Jackal armored vehicles to Estonian Special Forces deploying to Mali.
The loan, which includes a three-week training package, will equip Estonian troops as they join the international fight against Islamic terrorism in the Sahel region of Africa.
“Having served with the Estonians in Afghanistan, I’ve seen first-hand the excellence of their armed forces and the depth of the friendship between our two nations,” UK armed forces minister James Heappey said.
The Jackals will help the Estonians navigate unpredictable terrain in the Sahel, where their presence will add to the UK’s impact on the international effort to fight the illegal migration routes into Europe, and terrorist groups that operate in the region.
British Army experts will this week finish providing drivers and crew from the EDF with a three-week training course on operating the Jackal 2 at Robertson Barracks in Norfolk.
The UK is loaning the Jackal 2 vehicles to the EDF while they await the delivery of their Coyote armoured reconnaissance vehicles. The Jackals will be loaned until March 2021 or earlier if the Coyotes are delivered before then.
Featuring an air-bag suspension system allowing rapid movement across the roughest terrain, the Jackal has been extensively used by British forces in Afghanistan.
Designated as a “high mobility weapons system”, it is designed to protect personnel against roadside explosions and mine attacks but also has an “open” crew compartment and a gun-ring with 360-degree sweep for observation and agility.
Armed with a general purpose machine gun for crew protection, it can also carry either a heavy machine gun or a grenade machine gun as the main weapons system in the fire support role.
The vehicles are made by Devon-based company Supacat. They have manufactured 72 Jackals with the support of defense company Babcock since MOD placed a £74m contract in 2008 and now provides in-service support for the armored vehicle.