The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. John Hutton): Before I begin my statement (yesterday about Ministers lying about rendition - he said ) , "I should like to pay tribute to the three soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles who died on operations in Afghanistan yesterday, and to the Royal Marine from 45 Commando who died yesterday from wounds received earlier this month."
Three soldiers, from 1st Battalion The Rifles, were on a routine escort operation in Gereshk district in Helmand Province on Wednesday in their weapon-mounted "WMIK" Land Rover which was blown up by either a landmine or a wire-triggered improvised explosive device.
Earlier the Defence Select Committee thrid report had been published s the hambles over the plans for equipping the army with troop moving land vehicles - the - Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) ...
The MoD's attempts to meet its medium-weight vehicle requirement have been a sorry story of indecision, changing requirements and delay. It is high time the MoD decided where its priorities lay
At our evidence session on 25 November 2008, we asked how the announcement at the end of October 2008 that 700 new armoured vehicles were to be procured impacted upon the FRES programme. CDM said that "there will still be a requirement for FRES; I am quite clear about that".We asked if the MoD knew what its requirement for FRES was. CDM told us that "I think we are pretty clear we know what it is"
92. Given the number of different armoured vehicles which have been procured for current operations and the different FRES vehicles which the MoD plans to procure, we asked about the MoD's strategy relating to armoured vehicles and, specifically, about the issue of coherency. To our astonishment, the Minister told us that "the coherence lies in having the widest possible suite of weapons for commanders in the field to choose from".
They concluded (bold type theirs)..
95. The FRES programme has been a fiasco. In February 2007 we concluded that the MoD's attempts to meet its medium-weight vehicle requirement had been a sorry story of indecision, changing requirements and delay. Two years later the story is, incredibly, even worse.
Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey said: "This report shows that the MoD is riddled with incompetence.(BBC)
"The government must make sure our troops have the equipment they need to do their job today and in the future."
Your Defence News a PR sheet from the MOD says today ...
The MoD today welcomed the House of Commons Defence Select Committee's report into Defence Equipment 2009. The report praises the impressive performance of DE&S (Defence Equipment and Support) in delivering equipment and supplies to two theatres in 'very challenging environments' and commends the UOR (Urgent Operational Requirement System) as 'highly effective' in meeting rapidly changing threats.