Newly-upgraded Warrior vehicles have saved the lives of British soldiers within weeks of arriving in Afghanistan.
Warrior is the only British tracked infantry vehicle in theatre, able to get to places that wheeled vehicles cannot. This enables the infantry to engage the enemy more effectively in difficult terrain.
Just a short time after receiving their modified Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, troops from 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (3 MERCIAN), on patrol in the Durai East region of Afghanistan’s Helmand province, survived a serious improvised explosive device (IED) blast, thanks to the vehicle’s improved protection.
Lance Corporal Matt Ryder, from 3 MERCIAN, said:
The patrol started off like any other; with no insurgent radio chatter or anything. About half-an-hour in, an IED was triggered by the Fire Support Team vehicle. The force of the blast knocked the Warrior onto its right-hand side.
When the blast went off, soldiers from the second Warrior confirmed people were OK and talking inside the vehicle. At the same time the dismounted troops made best speed over, using the metal detectors in order to avoid any secondary devices.
As it turned out, all the crew were conscious and not suffering from any serious injury. Whilst this was happening, the Quick Reaction Force was deployed from the patrol base, and assisted in providing protection.
The minor casualties were eventually extracted by Chinook helicopter back to the field hospital to be checked over, and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers recovered the vehicle back to Lash Durai [the patrol base].
The insurgents claimed they had killed seven of us, and that the bodies were extracted by a fast jet - which shows just how inaccurate they are with their reporting, and the propaganda they use to spread misinformation.
Over 70 vehicles have been modified for the British Army by BAE Systems as part of an Urgent Operational Requirement. The tracked vehicles have been given around 30 new improvements under the Warrior Theatre Entry Standard (HERRICK) [TES (H)] programme worth around £40m, including:
- a flexible modular armour system that can be adapted to meet changing threats and reduce vehicle weight
- enhanced seating design and cushioning to further improve mine protection and comfort
- an improved driver vision system with an increase from one to three periscopes, providing a wider field of vision and a night-vision capability
- increased low-speed mobility and climbing performance, enabling the vehicle to tackle tough terrain and get closer to a target or destination
- motorsport-derived carbon fibre brakes, providing significantly reduced stopping distance
- improved air conditioning for troop comfort in hot and harsh environments
- wire cutters to protect the driver, commander and equipment on the vehicle from obstacles.
The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, said:
Warrior vehicles are doing a tremendous job in Afghanistan, and these numerous improvements are already proving their worth in theatre. This vehicle is extremely versatile, packing a punch with firepower, offering good mobility and high levels of protection for its crew. It also allows troops to get out into communities safely, maintain areas, and provide reassurance to the local population.
Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel, said:
This programme reflects the close and effective work between industry and the MOD to improve equipment for the front line at pace. TES (H) has brought significant enhancements to the Warrior capability and troops are now reaping the benefits in theatre.
TES (H) was developed, tested and managed by the Vehicles Readiness and Sustainment Team at BAE Systems’ Telford site.