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.
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:
“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 equipment package for operations and pre-deployment training includes the following:
1. Base equipment (£158m) including:
- secure communications systems;
- ground-based ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) systems to protect bases.
2. 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.
3. 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.