The Army's Latest Tank Is 32 Tonnes of Remote-Control Badassery

By Chris Mills on at

The Royal Engineers, a.k.a. the people who never got over their 4-year-old fascination with JCBs, have just got a new toy to play with. Named Terrier, it's a heavily armed tank/bulldozer combo that can be remotely commanded to smash through things at 45 mph. Lucky gits.

Designed by BAE Systems and built in oh-so-sunny Newcastle, Terrier joins the Titan bridgelayer and Trojan ridiculously-huge-thing in the Engineer's arsenal. Like its stablemates, Terrier has a specific application: route clearance.

With the giant bulldozer bit on the front, it can smash through (or create) roadblocks, and the attachment of the surely-this-can't-be-practical exploding-hosepipe Python mine-clearing system means enemy minefields are equally fair game. Furthermore, given the armour, smoke grenades and 7.62mm Belgian-made General Purpose Machine Guns bolted on, it can do all of the above in the middle of a firefight.

Armoured bulldozers aren't really anything new, though. The standout feature on the Terrier is the remote-control capability. Both the tracks and all the shovels and excavator arms can be remote-controlled from up to 1km away, using a thing that looks suspiciously like an Xbox 360 controller spraypainted war-green. This should allow the Terrier to operate in high-threat areas (like minefields) without endangering the crew.

That said, the government would probably be pretty miffed if a Terrier got destroyed. The MoD's shelled out £360 million for 60 of the things, which works out as £6 million per vehicle (although yes, the £360 mil also includes training, logistical support and simulators).