Several reports in the media have claimed that UK troops on the front line in Afghanistan should only be deployed in the heavily-armoured Mastiff vehicle, rather than other, more agile and manoeuvrable vehicles.
Although Mastiff has been a huge success, offering superb levels of blast protection, it is not suitable for every role, particularly in the heavily-irrigated green zone where the demanding terrain is characterised by a complex system of waterways, culverts and streams. In such cases, the ability to operate quickly over even the most demanding terrain is key, and better suited to vehicles such as the Jackal.
We are however delivering more Mastiffs to the front line. To date, all 235 of the troop-carrying variants – the priority for commanders – have been delivered to the Army. Minor delays are occurring on the delivery of a further 47 vehicles that will be the ambulance and enhanced communications variants, due to the complex integration process, and deliveries of these vehicles will continue throughout the year.
The MOD is working tirelessly to improve the range of armoured vehicles available to commanders in the field. Since 2006 alone, more than 1,000 new vehicles have been delivered to the front line. New vehicles are being delivered all the time, with 60 new Ridgbacks and more than 60 Panther vehicles delivered in spring this year.