Monday, 10 August 2009

Ridgbacks: no strangers to Gloucestershire

After an week in which four British soldiers have been killed by IEDs, it is now reported that, not only are badly needed heavily armoured Ridgbacks held up in Dubai, there's also a field full of them parked up in Gloucestershire!

A total of 157 Ridgback armoured vehicles have been ordered from the US but only 20 have so far reached the frontline. The rest, along with a whole managerie of Panthers, Huskies, Coyotes, Bulldogs and Mastiffs, are waiting shipment at the MoD's Defence Storage and Distribution Agency's (DSDA) vehicle store in Ashchurch, in the badlands of deepest Gloucestershire.

Secrecy surrounding the armour on the new vehicles has been suggested as one reason why their deployment is held up; their "UK eyes only" classification means they have to wait for scarce transport from the RAF.

The MoD argues that it's a question of phasing of phasing: "It is imperative that if the mission is to be sustainable, we need to have a fleet in theatre and in the UK for training, maintenance and upgrades."

Whatever the reason, the soldiers on the frontline urgently need the added protection provided by these latest armoured vehicles.

So, MoD, get those doggies (and Ridgbacks) rollin' !

News of the World: ..trucks for our Boys...parked up by the M5
The Mail: 1,000 Army vehicles standing idle in a Gloucestershire warehouse
MoD: From car park to the frontline

The Independent: New armoured trucks 'for use in autumn'
The Times: Ridgback armour secrecy deprives British troops of vehicles