Afghanistan/UK — £189m for new equipment in Afghanistan announced

The Gov­ern­ment is pro­vid­ing £189m from the Trea­sury Reserve for new equip­ment for UK troops in sup­port of oper­a­tions in Afghanistan, Defence Sec­re­tary Dr Liam Fox has announced today.

new combat shotgun
A sol­dier dis­plays the new com­bat shot­gun which was brought into ser­vice for use in close quar­ters bat­tle in south­ern Afghanistan
Source: Cor­po­ral Russ Nolan RLC, Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

This addi­tion­al fund­ing will be used to buy a range of base pro­tec­tion equip­ment, includ­ing sur­veil­lance equip­ment, com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment and logis­tics equip­ment.

It will enable UK forces to con­tin­ue to increase the num­ber of bases in the­atre as the force thick­ens in cen­tral Hel­mand, and to part­ner the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces more effec­tive­ly.

Togeth­er with the £67m for the counter-impro­vised explo­sive device (C-IED) cam­paign announced by the Prime Min­is­ter on 10 June 2010, this totals £256m (£189m and £67m) of Reserve fund­ing allo­cat­ed to equip­ment since the begin­ning of June 2010.

This extra fund­ing will allow the Min­istry of Defence to equip an increase in the num­ber of spe­cial­ist C-IED teams and reflects the con­tin­u­ing move towards part­ner­ing the Afghan Nation­al Army and Police and the thick­en­ing of our force across the area of oper­a­tions.

As the Sec­re­tary of State for Defence has made clear, coun­ter­ing the IED threat faced by our forces in Afghanistan is a top pri­or­i­ty for the new Gov­ern­ment. He said:

grenade machine gun
The grenade machine gun has proven to be effec­tive in extreme con­di­tions, per­fom­ing well across the range of oper­a­tional envi­ron­ments
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

“There are real chal­lenges; the threat does not stand still and nor does our response.

“I will make sure that every­thing pos­si­ble is done to ensure that our forces have what they need to deal with this indis­crim­i­nate threat.

“They deserve noth­ing less. As I have seen dur­ing my vis­its they are doing fan­tas­tic work in Afghanistan in sup­port of the UK’s nation­al secu­ri­ty.”

The Sec­re­tary of State has also made it clear when look­ing to the future that when the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces have been suf­fi­cient­ly trained to take con­trol, our troops can with­draw:

“…our forces are mak­ing progress. In Hel­mand, the heart­land of the insur­gency, six dis­tricts were under gov­ern­ment con­trol in 2008 — now 11 out of 14 are.

“We are also ahead of tar­get in train­ing the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces. As soon as they are able to keep their coun­try secure our forces can come home.”

The Ridgback armoured personnel carrier
The Ridg­back armoured per­son­nel car­ri­er
Source: Cor­po­ral Ian Forsyth RLC, Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The equip­ment pack­age for oper­a­tions and pre-deploy­ment train­ing includes the fol­low­ing:

  • Base equip­ment (£158m) includ­ing:
    • secure com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems;
    • ground-based ISTAR (Intel­li­gence, Sur­veil­lance, Tar­get Acqui­si­tion and Recon­nais­sance) sys­tems to pro­tect bases.
  • Dis­mount­ed Close Com­bat equip­ment (£19m) includ­ing:
    • Osprey body armour and hel­mets;
    • weapons sys­tems includ­ing light and heavy machine guns and com­bat shot­guns;
    • weapon sights and night vision equip­ment.
  • Oth­er (£12m) includ­ing:
    • addi­tion­al MAN logis­tics sup­port vehi­cles mod­i­fied for use in Afghanistan (equip­ping exist­ing vehi­cles to The­atre Entry Stan­dard to allow them to deploy).

The C-IED equip­ment pack­age announced by the Prime Min­is­ter on 10 June 2010 (£67m) includes:

  • Mas­tiff pro­tect­ed mobil­i­ty vehi­cles;
  • remote-con­trolled vehi­cles;
  • spe­cial­ist IED dis­rup­tive and exploita­tion equip­ment;
  • high­ly trained mil­i­tary work­ing dogs.

These addi­tion­al resources are aimed at deal­ing both with the IED threat of today whilst look­ing to the future by part­ner­ing with the Afghans, to whom respon­si­bil­i­ty for secu­ri­ty will be trans­ferred.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK