There are times when I start believing the conspiracy theorists who speak of the military-industrial complex as pulling the strings on politicians. Then my alarm goes off, reminding me to take my happy pills. This article is discussing the British Forces, and their “efforts” to improve force protection, but the heart of the matter goes to the delays in implementing a technology that has apparently been around since before I was born. Why not just screen-print the flag on the uniforms, as it will save money on coffins?
This is disgraceful, but not (unfortunately) surprising.
The tragedy, says Cavanagh, is that it has come five years too late. But the even greater tragedy is that the Army had recognised the need for mine protected vehicles in Bosnia in 1996 when it had bought six vehicles for the NATO implementation force mission, only to dispose of them in 2004.Even more ironically, the Army had pioneered mine protected vehicles in Aden in 1966, which were then used in Omanbetween 1970 and 1973, making the British world leaders in the field. The technology was copied by the Rhodesians, then the South Africans, re-acquired by the British and then exported to the United States.Forty-six years later, mine-protected vehicles are back on the British Army inventory in force. With their arrival, defence secretary Philip Hammond said: “this Government has spent £270m on 300 of these hi-tech, British-built vehicles to help keep our troops properly protected. Our servicemen and women deserve the best protection we can get them”.