U.K. firms Development Engineering and Enterprise Ltd (DEE-Ltd) and Enhanced Protection Systems Ltd. (EPS) Nov. 5 said they have formed a new joint venture, Ascender Vehicles Limited.

The new organization is expected to bring together the design engineering, development, manufacture and marketing for the current and future planned range of specialist light military vehicles, including the Weevil, Whippet and Dingo. 

The initial program for the joint venture is a new light, two-seater all-terrain platform, Whippet 2, the pre-production version of which will soon begin trials ahead of a planned demonstration tour of key export and emerging markets overseas.  

Powered by a supercharged Lombardini diesel engine, driving through automatic transmission, the multi-role vehicle is designed for air or heli-borne insertion directly into military theaters. Lombardini is part of the privately owned American Kohler Group

Ascender Co-director Neil McAdam said, “DEE and EPS formed a strategic alliance some time ago, which has proved highly successful both for the respective companies and for their customers and their users. There is now a compelling business case to establish a more formal commercial entity to support our future plans and particularly to provide an appropriate umbrella as we expand our activities in both established export and emerging markets.”

Co-director Terry Carpenter said, “Ascender Vehicles consolidates the strength and experience of both DEE-Ltd and EPS–and builds on the success that we have achieved already as strategic partners.  The formation of the new cohesive organization will also allow us to build further alliances with third-parties in global markets, including opportunities for local assembly and manufacture under license.”