The British Army’s on, off, on again, well maybe off(ish) programme to replace the various UOR and protected mobility vehicles is called the Multi Role Vehicle (Protected).
One of the themes that I have seen mentioned often in online commentary is how Foxhound is too expensive, too well protected and therefore, something cheaper and less well protected must be purchased.
Hang on a cotton pickin’ minute.
Mention Black Swan to anyone in Dark Blue or Super Tucano in Light Blue and they recoil in horror; the very thought of buying something less capable or something cheaper is anathema, after all, Type 45 was forged in the fire of the South Atlantic and Typhoon needs tip top flight performance whilst dropping £100k Brimstone missiles on £10k Toyota’s because one day it might need to go up against an SU-30.
We invest in systems that provide maximum protection and performance, accepting fewer numbers in return.
So why should soldiers, arguably at greater risk and likelihood of being attacked whilst in their medium cost medium protection vehicles not enjoy the best protection our technology can produce?
Why must a sailor or a pilot be so protected but when it comes to a soldier, second best will do?
If Foxhound is so expensive because of its very high protection capabilities, so what, buy them over a longer period, buy fewer, invest in a long production run to build economies of scale, run a production competition, lots of ways of managing the cost.
If we have learned anything from pretty much continuous operations in the last forty years it is that mines and IED’s represent the most serious risk to land personnel and that vehicular protection against even high threat levels, whilst expensive, is possible.
Foxhound proves this.
If it isn’t suitable because of payload, mobility or some other reason, then fair enough.
But there is no good reason that a vehicle with lower levels of protection, because it is cheaper, is acceptable.
No good reason at all.
And frankly, after operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, am amazed to hear it said.