"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Sunday, June 29, 2008

With a Snatch in mind ... a message for the servicemen in Helmand from Gemma the TESCO Party Girl

It is now two and a half years ago when we posted ... Friday, January 27, 2006 Reid sends ill equipped troops to certain deaths in S Afghanistan - reinforced again recently as little has changed since by a post Friday, April 11, 2008 - Don't worry about faulty equipment, shortages, make do and mend ... shore up the breach with our English dead

With the 13th death of UK troops reported in Afghanistan today the situation gets worse daily, as the attrition rate on equipment gets worse. This has been the second bloodiest month (so far) since the US-led invasion of the country six-and-a-half years ago.

From the Army friendly Daily Telegraph on 20th June 2008

In November 2007, only 38 per cent of the MoD's Armed Forces front-line helicopter fleet of 538 was found to be "fit for purpose". It was also 141 crews
short of the required 1,611.

Now the "filling up the breach with our English dead", has become an embarassment and the Sunday Telegraph report today that belatedly the Army is to "review" (whetever the fuck that means) the use of the "Snatch" Land Rovers in which 30 soldiers have been killed while patrolling in them in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.

Patrick Mercer, Tory MP and former infantry commander, has recently , speaking from experience described the vehicle as a “death trap”, during a debate in the House of Commons.

Brig Mark Carleton-Smith, the commander of British forces in Helmand, told The Sunday Telegraph that Snatch Land Rovers were not safe for use in high-risk areas.

Ah! But they, like the lives of our soldiers are cheap.

Of course this is merely PR bullshit . The weaknesses are fundamentally the result of wasted years and the diversion squandering of money on pet projects (see FRES below) . The clear and simple tasks of feeding soldiers and moving them around the battlefield has been overlooked, forgotten , dismissed, sidelined .. as has providing decent living accomodation whilst resting, recuperating and also for their families.

It is interesting to note that Gemma Garretts outburst at the stupid fucking Desert Rat General Cordingley's guffaws about the uneatable rations troops are consinged to eat for months on end featured on BBC 4 Feedback in a complaint from a lady listener this week.

Gemma , our TESCO party girl and the rest of the team do not support the continuation of occupying Iraq and Afghanistan another minute longer .. but whilst we are sending our soldiers to fight, we owe it to them to feed them adequately and correctly, to protect them as best as possible and to have concern for their families back home.

The Sunday Telegraph says Des Browne the intellectually challenged Scottish part time defence Secreary met last Wednesday with Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Lt Gen Andrew Figgures (Ex Officio RUSI council) , the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (equipment capability), and Lt Gen Nick Houghton, Chief of Joint Operations, all agreed that the vehicle’s suitability should be reassessed.

Well that must send a warm glow through the hearts of the lads setting out on patrol in Helmand today... as the 38 year old Nimrods circle overhead, unable to be re-fuelled from a 40 year old Tri-star tanker because it is too dangerous. As the lads count off the days to be carried back to blighty in a 40 year old VC -1- or Tri - star troop carrier to damp cockroach infested barracks. .. or try to communicate using the over weight Bowman comms.

They might however peruse the National Audit Office report on defence procurement in 2006 Page 161 which outlined the fantastic sounding FUTURE RAPID EFFECT SYSTEM whilst bumping around in their spartan , lightly protected Snatches.

FRES will deliver a new, medium weight armoured vehicle fleet with higher levels of deployability and survivability than the current fleet, with the potential to grow its capability as new technology becomes available. The current planning assumption is to deliver 3,775 vehicles. The original requirement was for 1,757 vehicles but this was increased in 2004 under an equipment programme option when the Total Fleet Requirement had been established.

FRES will be part of a balanced force consisting of heavy, medium and light brigades giving the ability to deploy forces rapidly with higher levels of firepower, protection and mobility than Light Forces can achieve, but with deployability and agility that cannot be achieved by Heavy Forces. The current threat on operations, particularly from rocket propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and mines/improvised explosive devices, has reinforced the need for adequately protected armoured vehicles. FRES will replace the Army’s obsolescent Saxon, FV 430 and CVR(T) vehicles.

This project, conceived in the 80's originally developed in conjunction with the German forces in 1999 (stopped in 2003) haas not yet produced even a prototype vehicle. A written statement (ie in the House of Lords and not subject to questioning) from the UK Defence Equipment and Support Minister Baroness Taylor on May 9th this year described the Piranha V an off the shelf vehicle from General Dynamics of the USA as the "preferred design" but only a "provisional selection".

As the MoD's announcement stopped short of a production order, industry executives and UK MoD sources told Jane's they feared that the FRES programme had fallen victim to the UK defence "budget crunch".

So the lads will be riding shotgun on Snatches for a long time yet ... at least they can think of Gemma think of them.

Feel any better now Corporal ?

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