Restored CAV 100 Defender
FOLLOWING THE main draw down in 2009 of UK Forces deployed to Iraq on Operation Telic, although a small presence would remain in the Basrah area for another couple of years and new operations against the IS/ISIL insurgency would later commence further north, a significant proportion of the UK armoured Land Rover fleet used in the wartorn country was cast.
For a brief period, tired examples of the CAV 100, or Snatch, Land Rover model could be picked up for next to nothing from the government’s official disposal agents, but just a few years later it is hard to find a good condition newly-cast example for less than £25,000.
Robert Hamilton, one of the primarily Nottinghamshire-based Callsign Alpha group of ex-military Land Rover enthusiasts and restorers, runs a nicely-presented Snatch – official designation is TRUCK UTY MED HT W/ VPK Land Rover 110 V8 – which was cast in December 2010 and disposed of the following month.
According to the vehicle’s MERLIN (MultiEchelon Resource & Logistics Information Network) data, obtained under a Freedom of Information request, its ISD (In Service Date) was June 7, 1993, and it was returned to the JSCS (Joint Services Chain Supply) depot at Ashchurch by its last allocated user unit on September 26, 2007.
By this time the re-engined 300Tdi batch of Snatch Land Rovers, complete with uprated chassis, had entered service and the original petrol V8-powered vehicles were mostly being withdrawn from frontline service.
As I most recently covered the Snatch Composite Armour Vehicle, known as the CAV 100 by Courtaulds / NP Aerospace who manufactured it, in the July 2017 issue I don’t plan to talk too much more about the generalities for now, but will concentrate on Rob’s example.
After we took 30KK62 out for the photoshoot over the May Day bank holiday weekend, just ahead of the 2017 show season, Rob told me a little about its history after demob. “I bought it in 2014 from a farmer who was selling them off,” he said.
“He had bought them from Withams as a batch lot of 60 – him and another farmer from down south went halves on them and he was taking out axles and gearboxes. That’s all they wanted them for. They were just sat in a field, obviously the worse for wear and non-runners.”
Rob and his father Nick, who is also an active member of the Callsign Alpha living history group, went down to view one of the complete vehicles up for sale, and obviously liked what they saw.
He recalled: “It took us four and a half months to get it back to the specification I wanted it to be in for shows. When it left the Army it was to Iraq spec but I have put it back to Northern Ireland spec, how it was when it started service life in 1993.
“The engine is a 3.6 V8. It’s a low-compression original Rover unit, so it’s not an