Feeds

No new copters for Afghanistan troops

Needless road-bombing bloodbath set to continue

The Power of One Infographic

The current operational RAF fleet of 40 Chinooks (the eight custom-crippled HC3s have yet to enter service) struggles to deliver anything beyond minimal capability. It is set to increase to 48 once the HC3s are finally sorted out, but there can't be any doubt that the 70-strong fleet foreseen before the election would have meant many lives saved and battles won for our troops, almost regardless of when and if they might withdraw from Afghanistan*.

Against this background the Coalition's decision to keep the RAF's bomber fleet and large numbers of equally outmoded navy frigates and army heavy tanks is looking worse and worse. The cost to those parts of the armed services which are actually useful in real wars looks set to become unacceptable. ®

Bootnote

*British troops have been dying for lack of helicopter lift at least since the 1979 Warrenpoint bombing in Northern Ireland. General Sir Michael Jackson revealed in his autobiography that following the Warrenpoint carnage "more helicopter hours were made available" and troops no longer had to use dangerous road routes in and out of South Armagh's "bandit country".

In Iraq there was the sad case of Major Matthew Bacon, who died in 2005 (two other soldiers merely lost limbs) when a British road convoy was bombed - a road convoy that only set out because the regular helicopter between Basra Palace and Basra airport had been cancelled.

The major's family wrote:

The real tragedy is that he had been booked to go on the regular helicopter flight between those two places...

To us, his parents, his brother and his soul mate he was truly a hero. We cannot imagine how life can go on without him.

Later in Afghanistan Lieutenant-Colonel Rupert Thorneloe was killed alongside one of his men in a roadside bombing. He had previously written:

I have tried to avoid griping about helicopters - we all know we don't have enough.

We cannot not move people, so this month we have conducted a great deal of administrative movement by road. This increases the IED [Improvised Explosive Device] threat and our exposure to it.

There have been many other such incidents, and several admissions from freshly-resigned British commanders that the UK simply doesn't have enough helicopters to support its frontline troops.

But it seems that politicians and the MoD will never learn, and bombers, frigates and tanks - most of which never see any serious combat - will always be seen as more important than a proper, working helicopter fleet; more important than our service people's lives.

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.