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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Getting Priorities Right in Equipping Our Brave Armed Forces

22 October, 2008
Last week coroner Mr Andrew Walker launched a blistering attack on the British Ministry of Defence, blaming the death of Corporal Mark Wright two years ago in northern Helmand province, Afghanistan, on a lack of proper equipment owing to economy measures.
Trapped with a group of injured troops in an unmarked minefield, the courageous young paratrooper was killed by an exploding landmine thought to have been triggered by the powerful downdraught of a hovering, twin-rotor, RAF Chinook helicopter, which was not fitted with a costly rescue winch and so had to attempt a landing.

Corporal Wright was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his exceptional bravery. Although fatally injured, he continued to issue orders and direct the rescue effort. So a properly equipped US Blackhawk helicopter then had to be called in: however, the Briton tragically died on his way to hospital.

This is just one of a growing number of instances where under-resourcing appears to have cost lives in the fight against the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents. It is not surprising that bereaved relatives and fiancees back home kick up a stink about it. They read that the comprehensive technological solutions placed at our MoD’s disposal by defense suppliers are the envy of the world. So for heaven’s sake let this technology be procured and deployed wherever possible in battle zones.

In the final analysis, whilst our governments are now pouring in money as if there were no tomorrow to prop up the Western banking system, their priorities on saving money elsewhere have seemed misguided if not heartless in the extreme.
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