Blackhill Engineering completes heavy engineering project for Hinkley Point C jetty development

The Exeter based heavy engineering subcontractor has a unique 50 tonne lifting capability in the South West of England, which helped secure the contract. This is the company’s largest ever project in terms of tonnage involving over 650 tonnes of steel. Blackhill fabricated the 30 steel caps required for the piles supporting the top of the jetty and the 48 steel bridge beams spanning the piles, some measuring up to 14 metres long.

The temporary jetty, which will extend 500m into the Bristol Channel, is designed to shift freight movement of cement, sand and aggregates away from local roads to more sustainable sea transportation. Some 80 per cent of the aggregates needed to build Hinkley Point C will be delivered to site via the jetty.

Nigel Cann, Hinkley Point C Programme and Construction Delivery Director, said: “The jetty will allow us to bring significant volumes of construction materials to the site by sea as part of our transport strategy of minimising traffic on local roads. The temporary jetty is a vital part of that plan as every shipload will take the equivalent of 250 lorry-loads off the local road network”.

“We’re also pleased that a local Devon company is part of the team of south west firms helping to deliver a vital part of the UK’s infrastructure.”

Nick Ames, Chief Executive of SC Group said: “This project has been a major success for Blackhill Engineering, which has performed superbly in delivering the project. Blackhill is ideally placed in terms of its heavy engineering capacity and location to provide the fabrication services required by HPC’s local supply chain and other major contractors in the nuclear and energy sector. I have also been delighted that SC Innovation, another of our Group companies, has been able to bring its skills to the fore here, with the provision of Engineering Design and Project Management Support.”

The contract represents a further breakthrough into the nuclear sector for Blackhill, which has also completed its first contract with Magnox to manufacture equipment to support nuclear decommissioning work at their Winfrith site in Dorset.

Lord Lieutenant of Devon presents Queen’s Award to Supacat

Export success for world beating special forces vehicles – made in Devon

One of Britain’s few military vehicle designers and manufacturers, Supacat’s special forces vehicles have a reputation for being among the best in the world.  The company’s recent export success has earned it the UK’s most prestigious business award.  A large order from Australia followed by contracts from Norway and New Zealand for its Special Forces HMT Extenda vehicle grew the company’s overseas earnings from £2.5m to over £32m over the last three years.  The vehicle is one of Supacat’s family of military high mobility and protected vehicles, which include the acclaimed `Jackal` and `Coyote` operated by the UK Armed Forces.

“It’s a huge honour to celebrate this award with all our staff, distinguished guests from local government, our customers, supply chain and professional services providers.  The long cycle involved in developing our products means we’re here because of the hard work started 30 years ago by our founder, Nick Jones, and his team; and the dedication of our current staff will no doubt gain similar recognition in the future”, said Nick Ames.

Privately owned, Supacat, part of SC Group, has been trading for over 30 years in the heart of Devon.  Over the last decade has grown its core defence vehicle business and expanded its engineering services into the nuclear, energy and marine sectors.  With offices in the UK and Australia, Supacat and the wider SC Group employ over 200 people and have exported products and services all over the globe.

Please click on images below to enlarge.

Lord Lieutenant of Devon and Nick Ames in a Supacat LRV600 vehicle
Lord Lieutenant of Devon and Nick Ames in a Supacat LRV600 vehicle


Supacat and SC Group staff
Supacat and SC Group staff

Production OXE Diesel Outboard Motor makes DSEi debut

The full production OXE Diesel 200hp high performance outboard diesel engine makes its defence show debut at DSEi demonstrated by UK & Ireland distributor, Proteum Ltd.  The OXE Diesel engine will be powering a JBT Marine 7.8m Ballistic Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) to showcase OXE’s horsepower, range and extreme environment performance for military and security operations.

Since Proteum launched OXE Diesel into the defence market at DSEi 2015 as a pre-production unit, OXE has entered service worldwide in a variety of applications and production is accelerating to meet growing demand.  Future power options from 100hp to 400hp are planned by OXE manufacturer, CIMCO Marine, which will offer further applications.

OXE runs on NATO F75/76 fuels and all other standard EN 590 diesel fuels, providing military operators with a viable diesel outboard as NATO’s single fuel policy to improve safety and interoperability continues to drive the transition away from petrol to diesel.

“OXE is fast establishing itself as the credible production diesel outboard of this horsepower available to military and security operators”, said Jeremy Paul, General Manager of Proteum, a SC Group company, which provides sales, support, spares, maintenance and training for marine products.

Supacat unveils LRV600 at DSEi Demonstrating LRV flexibility and increased capability in 6×6 configuration

Supacat is unveiling LRV600, the 6×6 configuration of its high performance off-road Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (LRV), at DSEi offering users the ability to increase their capability and payload, whilst remaining air portable from inside a CH-47 Chinook.

Developed for rapid intervention operations in harsh environments, the LRV platform has the distinctive design feature of being convertible between 6×6 and 4×4, offering users the flexibility to reconfigure the vehicle to meet different operational requirements within hours by the addition of a 3rd axle module.

LRV600 has a maximum Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 5500kg and offers a maximum payload of 2350kg, over 50% more than the LRV400 Mk2 configuration. LRV400 Mk2’s maximum GVW is 4200kg and maximum payload 1500kg. LRV600 is 1m longer at 5.65m but can be shortened to less than 5.5m if required. Both LRV600 and LRV400 Mk2 carry a crew of 3 or 4 and achieve speeds of up to 100mph/160km.

“The Supacat LRV600 demonstrates the unique flexibility of the LRV platform enabling users to convert between 4×4 and 6×6 depending on their mission. LRV600’s increased capability and air portability also sets it apart as a tactical capability for special operations”, said Phil Applegarth, Head of Supacat, part of the SC Group.

LRV 600 will have a new weapon system fitted at DSEi which is a first for land based, special forces vehicles of this type. Working together with the US company, Arnold Defense, and a team of industry experts, Supacat has integrated the ‘FLETCHER’ 2.75-inch laser guided rocket system in a demonstration of the newly launched FLETCHER concept. The system provides the user with firepower that would otherwise involve calling in air or aviation assets.

In developing LRV Supacat has taken the rolling chassis and automotive systems from the Land Rover Discovery and adapted them for specialist military applications to offer unrivalled performance for a vehicle of its size and weight class.   Using a mass-produced automotive platform delivers reliability, safety and cost efficiencies. In addition, the vehicle is ITAR free and can be supported via the existing globally available spares network enhanced by Supacat’s established military vehicle through life support service. LRV has been developed with a common user interface to its Supacat HMT `Jackal` to maximise inter-operability and minimise training.

LRV has front and rear independent double wishbone air suspension offering variable ride height including bump stops providing a highly stable firing platform.   Powered by a V6 3.0 turbo diesel providing 256 bhp and 600Nm Torque giving a high power to weight ratio, it has an 8 speed automatic transmission and high and low permanent 4WD with centre diff lock.

Supacat launches HMT Light Weight Recovery in defence industry first for Light Weight (Air Portable) Recovery vehicle programme

`Supalift` technology increases lifting weight by over 50%

The global defence industry’s most versatile Light Weight Recovery (LWR) vehicle will be unveiled by UK high mobility vehicle specialist, Supacat, at DSEi in London. The 10.5 tonne HMT Light Weight Recovery (HMT LWR) has been developed by Supacat to fill a capability gap to recover vehicles operating in hard to access urban and rural locations as required by the UK MoD’s Light Weight (Air Portable) Recovery Capability (LW(AP)RC) programme.

The 6×6 HMT LWR offers high levels of agility, off-road performance and protection in common with Supacat’s High Mobility Transporter (HMT) family, which includes `Jackal` and `Coyote` now within UK MoD’s Core Fleet. HMT LWR utilises many HMT design features such as the variable height air suspension system, engine and drive line that have been battle proven in numerous theatres. Blast and ballistic protection has been built into the chassis providing the optimum protection for its weight of 10.5 tonnes.

The vehicle is capable of wading through up to 1.5m of salt water, with an additional 0.5m of wave splash. This enables the vehicle to be deployed from landing craft. It can operate at -30 to +50 degrees.

HMT LWR utilises an innovative new Supacat designed technology, `Supalift` (patent pending), which extends the range of vehicles that can be recovered by a light weight recovery vehicle. HMT LWR’s recovery system can be operated both in conventional mode and by the operator engaging `Supalift`, which increases the maximum lifting weight of the recovery system by over 50%. In conventional mode the HMT LWR recovery system lifts a maximum recovered vehicle axle mass of 3.8 tonnes and in `Supalift` mode rises to 6.1 tonnes (specification based on recovering an HMT 400 `Jackal 2`). `Supalift` technology is based on the principle of distributing the weight of the casualty vehicle more evenly over the recovery vehicle.

Phil Applegarth, Head of Supacat, said, “HMT LWR provides customers with a highly versatile and cost effective light weight recovery capability, with the flexibility to recover a wide range of vehicles. We are very proud of our engineering team in developing `Supalift`, which finally makes a light weight recovery vehicle a reality and is a game-changer in extending the lifting capability of recovery systems for defence and other industry sectors”.

HMT LWR is fitted with a specially designed Boniface and Miller Century 2465 hamper and a Rotzler TR80 main winch. These will be fitted as standard but as with all HMT platforms the modular hamper design can be reconfigured to suit any role.

At last year’s DVD show Supacat revealed the concept demonstrator for the LW(AP)RC programme as one of several new variants of the HMT platform. This has since been developed as HMT LWR to full prototype, which will be displayed on Supacat’s DSEi stand N9-360.

“HMT LWR also demonstrates the flexibility of the HMT platform in being configurable to different roles to meet the needs of current and future programmes”, said Phil Applegarth, Head of Supacat.

Supacat unveils high performance SC12 Rib in DSEi debut

Supacat is unveiling the high performance SC12 Rib (Rigid Inflatable Boat) at DSEi where its capabilities will be demonstrated on the River Thames throughout the show. An established prime contractor to the UK MoD, Supacat has teamed with Norwegian boat builder, Goldfish Boat, to offer into the UK market the 12m SC12 and a 9m variant, SC9, which are developments of craft already proven and in-service with NATO Forces.

Supacat will provide the UK based engineering support, project management and through life support functions for SC12 and SC9, marking a further expansion by Supacat into the maritime defence sector. Supacat is able to draw on the marine capabilities of its parent SC Group’s sister businesses, marine engineer Proteum and specialist engineer SC Innovation responsible for the SMV24 multi-role support vessel.

Goldfish has a 24 year history in designing high performance RIBs renowned for high speed, agility and durability to meet the demanding military applications and are backed with an international racing pedigree. The innovative hull design and power integration of SC12 and SC9 create a responsive, manoeuvrable and powerful platform for the user and achieve speeds in excess of 50 knots.

The fully integrated C4ISR system enables rapid decision making and response times providing the user with tactical options through configurable, easily accessible and shareable C4ISR feeds. Human machine interface (HMI) and power delivery enable intuitive and precise boat handling in the most demanding operational conditions.

In-service with NATO Forces Goldfish Boat’s RIBs have proven aerial dispatch and air delivery capabilities, capable of being deployed by CH47, A400M and C17 aircraft, enabling a flexible response and ease of recovery. The platform is adaptable and can be re-configured for mission specific requirements. Deck space can also be reconfigured with the position of equipment and personnel optimised for each mission. SC12 meets the most demanding payload requirements and the design has provision for future growth.

Ben Gaffney, Supacat’s Deputy Head of New Programmes, said, “The SC12 and SC9 represent a step change in maritime capability. The platforms are supremely responsive, deployable and reconfigurable with intuitive, bespoke HMI. The C4ISR system provides the end user with superior situational awareness and the sophisticated craft design will ensure the end user is delivered to target without the high levels of fatigue induced by some inferior designs and in a much better condition to conduct operations”.

SC Group’s Innovative Engineering Skills Showcased in Vehicle Technology Magazine

A recent article in SAE-A VTE Magazine showcased SC Group’s innovative engineering skills.

Please click here to read the full article, which features a case study of the REDFIN  and SMV projects


Our grateful thanks to the Society of Automotive Engineers – Australia for permission to add this article.

For more information on the SAE-A, please click here.


SC Group directors attend Buckingham Palace reception for Queen’s Award winners

SC Group directors, Lizzie Jones (pictured) and Nick Ames, represented the SC Group, the holding company for Supacat Ltd at a reception hosted by HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace on 11 July honouring the winners of the 2017 Queen’s Enterprise Awards, the UK’s most prestigious business awards.   The innovative design and engineering company, which provides products and services globally, including specialist off-road wheeled and tracked vehicles, was awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth.

Nick Ames, Chief Executive of SC Group, said, “It was proud day for SC Group.  My abiding memory will be the immaculate nature of the event from the organisation, to the staff, to the buildings and the performance of the Royal Family.  A truly inspiring event!”

Over the last three years the overseas earnings of Supacat, the military division of SC Group, grew from £2.5m to over £32m buoyed by a large Australian contract for its Special Forces HMT Extenda vehicle.  The vehicle is operated by the world’s elite Special Forces and is part of Supacat’s family of military high mobility and protected vehicles, which includes the acclaimed `Jackal` and `Coyote` operated by the UK Armed Forces.

The Queen’s Award will be formally presented to SC Group by the Lord Lieutenant of Devon on 18 September at the company’s headquarters in Dunkeswell, Devon.



Two More Business Awards for SC Group!

The National Award for Defence and Aerospace was awarded to the company deemed by the judges to have made the most exciting impact on exports from the South West, either in terms of international presence, export growth, or exports as a proportion of sales.

The Medium-sized Company of the Year award was awarded based on our success in international markets. Specifically, the judges were looking for businesses that have continued to innovate, faced down challenges, and developed opportunities that have delivered sustainable growth to the business.

Nick Ames, Chief Executive of SC Group said “we are delighted to be in receipt of yet more awards, these ones coming straight after our recent Queen’s Award for Export. At SC Group, we’re all very proud of what we do on a global scale but also how we achieve that whilst headquartered in the South West of the UK”.  Nick added: “Engineering capability in the South West is growing and we’re glad to be a part of that particularly with major projects such as Hinkley Point C nearby.  Many thanks to all who have supported us in winning these awards.”

Insider Made in the South West Medium Sized Company of the Year 2017 – SC Group



Proteum displays expanded product range at Seawork

At Seawork Proteum will have a demo boat available for trials, a JBT Ballistic 7.8 metre Rib, fitted with an OXE diesel outboard, on berth number VB06, as well as displaying the Cimco produced 200hp OXE on the stand.   Proteum will also be showing its range of Baudouin industrial engines together with the Marine Diesel compact 500hp engines, Konrad stern drives, BUKH Solas engines and ZF transmissions.   

Proteum has also built a strong reputation for high quality marine engineering services, spanning repair, spares and development, which it provides from the company’s dedicated facility in Southampton, UK.

Seawork: Stand A-55 Atlantic Hall

13-15 June, Southampton, UK


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