During his "morale-boosting" visit to British Forces in Helmand, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth had again to defend the continued use of Vector Light Protected Patrol vehicles in Afghanistan.
The Vectors, brought in to replace the discredited Snatch Land Rovers, have been condemned by commanders on the ground as providing inadequate blast protection and being unreliable, a view supported by the National Audit Office back in London ("Support to High Intensity Operations", May 2009).
Although Ainsworth's predecessor had agreed to their withdrawal, it was in a Vector that Britain's latest casualty, Senior Aircraftsman Marcin Wojtak of the RAF Regiment, was tragically killed last Thursday.
In defence of their continued use, Bob Ainsworth maintains that the Vector is one of a number of vehicle types which commanders can call on to meet the needs of a particular operational situation. Unfortunately, lack of confidence in the Vector is forcing commanders to call on Snatch once again, though admittedly in their upgraded Vixen variant.
The UK has recently allocated £1.3billion for improved armoured vehicles - I suppose being the MoD you can expect a 10% wastage.
Again unsurprisingly the UK also spends by far the least on equipment for her soldiers in Afghanistan than our major allies.........
equipment spend per soldier :