Monday, 5 October 2009

No inquiry into Snatch Land Rovers

The government has rejected the petition calling for a public inquiry into the use of Snatch Land Rovers.

The detail of the online petition read: “Families of those killed in Snatch Land Rovers, as well as injured soldiers, wish to call upon Defence Secretary John Hutton to instigate an independent public inquiry into the use of the Snatch Land Rover in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Since 2003 there have been complaints that Snatch are too lightly armoured to provide adequate protection, however the MOD continues to send soldiers out in them. 38 soldiers have lost their lives in them, with many more injured."

In rejecting the request the government said:
The Government takes very seriously its responsibility to protect our Armed Forces serving on operations around the world. That is why we are doing everything we can to improve the levels of vehicle protection. Since summer 2006, we have approved over £1.3Bn from the Reserve – which is on top of the standard defence budget. This money has gone towards improving existing vehicles, such as upgrading Bulldog (£180M), and on introducing new vehicles, such as the world-leading Mastiff (£260M) and Ridgback (£188M). All of these vehicles have very impressive levels of protection. Furthermore, we are procuring a new, better-armoured tracked vehicle to replace Viking in Afghanistan (£137M). The Ministry of Defence is working hard to get all these out to where they’re needed as quickly as possible.

While we will continue to do our utmost to improve vehicle protection, the military advice is that there continues to be an important role for more mobile vehicles such as Jackal, WMIK – and Snatch. However, as the better-protected Snatch Vixen Plus is introduced we will be able to limit use of the current Snatch Land Rover to duties within our camps.

We do not believe that a public inquiry into the use of Snatch Land Rovers is needed or would be likely to save lives in future. However, the Independent Iraq Inquiry announced by the Prime Minister on 15 June will be able to look into issues on equipment as well as all other issues relating to UK involvement in Iraq.

E-Petitions: Snatch Land Rover