The shambles in Afghanistan resembles the Crimea

The shoddy quality of the hardware our poor troops have to fight with, first in Iraq and now in Helmand is a miserable affair. As the scandal widens and deepens the calibre of successive Labour Defence Secretaries falls and the incompetence of the civilian dominated MoD becomes even more exposed. Over five years a staggering £35billion has been frittered away on failed procurement projects. Tony Blair in his attempt to be seen as a good European and perchance a future President, insisted that the UK buy or commission weaponry from inside the EU. Apart from the blazing act of stupidity in buying American Chinooks without the matching avionics packs (so they can’t fly) most of the years of delay and billions of cost over-runs derive from trying joint ventures with other EU nations. In weapons technology the Americans are a minimum half a generation ahead of the rest of the world. They have weaponry in service in a decade, all teething troubles eradicated, combat- tested and proven winners that are better than EU-sourced prototypes. That goes for fighters, armoured cavalry, e-surveillance planes, unmanned drones, heavy-lift freighters and helicopters. And they are available right off the parking lot. And they are much, much cheaper because a massive cost in modern weaponry is that of research and development, known as R&D. This investment has to be spread out among every unit that enters service. But the US armed forces place orders so huge that the R&D factor per unit can be millions lower than the EU with its minuscule orders. Well, of course they don’t need much since they have no intention of doing much fighting. Meanwhile our lads need more helicopters, UAVs (armed spotter drones) mine detector/eliminators, airborne gun- ships and heavy-lift freight aircraft. And to cap it all many boys have not had letters and gifts from home for weeks because ammunition takes precedence on the limited helicopters available. Could someone please tell the ocupant of The Bunker in Number 10 that this is 2009 and we are not in the Crimea any more?

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