Talisman on Operations

In our earlier posts on the subject we have lamented the timeliness of the Counter IED programme called Talisman and and asked if it is too little too late.

The MoD has now released some more information on the work it is supporting in Afghanistan.

Scattered throughout Helmand province, these indiscriminate weapons kill and maim both ISAF and Afghan forces as well as innocent Afghan civilians.

However, the British Armed Forces now have a revolutionary new capability called Talisman which is being used to counter the threat.

I don’t mind the occasional bit of bully but come on MoD, revolutionary, you have to be joking.

This life-saving equipment is being used to support combat logistic patrols which can be up to several hundred vehicles in total and trek through the country delivering vital supplies to bases for the troops on the front line. Talisman is also starting to be used in combat infantry roles, such as for deliberate route clearances.

Major Thomas Donohoe, Officer Commanding 15 Field Support Squadron, explained:

“What Talisman brings is a remote capability. It keeps soldiers out of the contact zone of the IED, massively reducing the danger.

“The optics and the unmanned aerial vehicle lower the threat to the team on the ground. It will save lives.”

The vehicles and equipment used by the Talisman Troop include a specially equipped Mastiff vehicle, known as ‘Protected Eyes’, and a Buffalo – the most highly protected vehicle on operations. There is also a small robot on caterpillar tracks known as a Talon. It is armed with high tech optical equipment which can be operated from the safety of the armoured vehicles. Talon is used to detect and defeat the IED on the ground. Once the IED threat has been dealt with, the high mobility engineer excavator (HMEE) is brought into play.

One of the key differences between the HMEE and the other armoured plant in theatre, the armoured Light and Medium Wheeled Tractors, is that it can move at the same speed as the convoy without additional low loaders being needed to carry it.

JCB High Mobility Engineering Excavator HMEE Talisman Royal Engineers
JCB High Mobility Engineering Excavator HMEE Talisman Royal Engineers

It really is great news that we finally have some decent equipment out in Afghanistan but please MoD, lets stop saying it is revolutionary and lets not be slapping ourselves on the back for the time it has taken. Other forces have had this for years.