The Armoured Dogs of War


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British responses to five years of military fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and future opportunities for military suppliers (March 2007)

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The Armoured Dogs of War

  1. 1. The Armoured Dogs of War British responses to five years of military fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and future opportunities for military suppliers JAMES HASIK Version 1.0 – 4 March 2007
  2. 2. British fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq: a case study British forces have suffered 177 fatalities in five years of fighting. Studying the causes of the losses points to opportunities by which military planners and arms industry strategists can improve performance in the next war. British troops have been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq for just prepare for campaigns that they might consider undertaking or over five years, and in this time, have suffered 177 fatalities. The supporting in the next decade or so. British fatalities are Ministry of Defense has three sound reasons for caring about particularly useful to study for three reasons: the rate and overall size of the loss: ✦ Completeness of information. The Ministry of Defence ✦ Care of the troops. Government ministers care about their maintains excellent websites providing rather complete soldiers, but even if this were not enough, fatalities are details of the causes of and circumstances around each expensive. Every lost soldier entails a real expense to the fatality that British forces have suffered. Even where details government in death benefits, recruiting costs, and training have been omitted for a reason of operational security (e.g., costs for replacements. the dead soldier’s membership in the Special Air Service Regiment), the British media have been particularly adept at ✦ Continuance of the war. While the losses have not terminated uncovering the details. While US forces have suffered many either campaign, they have rallied some opposition to the more fatalities, the US military services have varied in the war effort in Britain, and enough opposition could eventually details they have provided. The US Army has deliberately interfere with Her Majesty’s Government’s pursuit of its (and more successfully) obfuscated the circumstances of political objectives. some fatalities to enhance security, and the US Marine Corps never provides any cause of death more specific than ✦ Operational freedom. If British troops and their commanders “as a result of enemy action.” can be more confident of their security, they can act more boldly in pursuing the enemy. The alacrity of British forces in ✦ Comparative operating environments. British forces have been pursuit of Sadrist militiamen in Basra and Maysan Provinces at war in two rather different countries for several years, in Iraq has been debated recently, but the option for more and the differences in the nature of the fighting provides energy in the pursuit of the enemy is rarely harmful. opportunities to compare threats. Defense ministries and their suppliers around the world might consider the British experience in Afghanistan and Iraq as they ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 2
  3. 3. ✦ World (non-super) power status. Britain is a world power, but Studying British problems thus can provide lessons to military not a superpower. The two campaigns in which British planners in the US and elsewhere, and to armaments industry troops are fighting are challenging tactically and logistically, strategists interested in serving global markets. and indeed, would be a challenging assignment for the armed forces of almost any other country in the world. The As shown in the table on the preceding page, British fatalities British forces waging these campaigns are well-equipped, but over the past five years can be grouped into seven categories: they have significantly greater resource constraints than American forces. ✦ Own goals is possibly a flippant term for non-hostile fatalities, but the moniker defines the problem. These are British fatalities in Iraq, by cause, fatalities in which British forces or their own equipment March 2003 through March 2007 were the cause of the death in question. The group includes aircraft accidents, traffic accidents, a single maintenance accident, accidental weapons discharges, fratricides, suicides, cause Afgh. Iraq total and a single homicide committed by a British solider against Total fatalities 50 127 177 another. Own goals (accidents, fratricides, etc.) 22 45 67 ✦ Hostile gunshots are the next leading problem. Almost all of these fatalities have been suffered on foot, but a few rounds Hostile gunshots 13 30 43 have penetrated Land Rovers or killed top sentries on armored vehicles. Bombs (mines, IEDs, etc.) 6 33 39 ✦ Bombs (so-called improvised explosive devices, or IEDs) and Hostile anti-aircraft (missile and gun) fire 0 15 15 land mines have been the next leading killer, particularly in Iraq, where building better devices seems to have become a Hostile rocket-propelled grenades 9 0 9 sport amongst the insurgents. Hostile cannon, mortar, and AT missile fire 0 1 1 ✦ Two losses of British aircraft to hostile ground fire contributed Complex attacks 0 3 3 over eight percent of all operational military fatalities in the theater in the past five years. ✦ Rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) have been a significant problem in Afghanistan, though seemingly far less a problem ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 3
  4. 4. in Iraq. This is notable, given the fuss that has been made over the threat from RPGs, and the efforts that have gone into devising defenses against them. ✦ Cannons, mortars, and anti-tank missiles have contributed just a handful of fatalities. This is probably not surprising, since roadside bombs, Kalashnikovs, and RPGs are the favored weapons of insurgents. ✦ Complex attacks are those in which the enemy coordinated the fire of multiple categories of weapons against a single target. The analysis here assumes that RPGs and small arms can be lumped into a single category of infantry weapons. This approach looks for losses in which a bomb attack was followed with mortar fire, or in which an anti-tank missile or mine was used to stop an armored vehicle so that automatic weapons fire could be directed at whomever popped the hatches to shoot it out. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 4
  5. 5. Own Goals Aircraft crashes and traffic accidents have caused almost as many deaths (44) amongst British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq as anti-aircraft fire and roadside bombs (49). Own goals (if one can include the homicide) have accounted for ✦ Fourteen dead in the loss of a Nimrod MR2 of 120 45% of all British fatalities in Afghanistan and almost 36% in Iraq Squadron near Kandahar on 2 September 2006. According The fatalities in this category can be separated into five groups: to the conclusion of the subsequent RAF board of inquiry, the aircraft came down after a massive internal explosion Non-hostile British fatailities in Afghanistan and caused by a combination of a fuel line leak and an electrical Iraq, by cause, March 2003 through March 2007 fault. cause Afgh. Iraq total Three helicopter crashes comprise the other incidents: Own goals 22 45 67 ✦ Eight dead in the crash of a USMC CH-46 Sea Knight on 21 March 2003. Since neither the aircraft nor its crew were Aircraft crashes 14 15 29 British, not much can be said about remedial actions. Ground vehicle crashes 3 12 15 ✦ Six dead (all Royal Navy flight lieutenants) in a collision between two Sea Kings of 849 Squadron the very next day Weapons accidents 0 5 5 ✦ One dead in the crash of a Puma of 33 Squadron at Basra International Airport on 19 March 2004 Other accidents 1 2 3 It is notable that ground vehicle crashes have accounted for Suicides fratricides, homicides 4 11 15 nearly one-tenth of all fatalities of British forces in Iraq. The fatalities do not appear clustered in time. At least, this is true if Aircraft crashes have been by far the leading contributor. Almost the deaths of two SAS men in Baghdad in the early morning of half of these, and more than half of all non-hostile fatalities in New Years’ Day, 2004, are considered an anomaly. Only three Afghanistan, were suffered in a single incident: traffic fatalities have occurred amongst British troops in ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 5
  6. 6. A Royal Air Force Puma helicopter in better times (at the Royal International Air Tattoo in July 2005). Photograph courtesy of Adrian Pingstone. ——————————————————— Afghanistan in the past five years, though this is probably expected, since Afghanistan is a considerably less urbanized country than Iraq. Of the suicides, accidental gunshots, and other unspecified accidents, some details have been published, but the publicly available details do not seem to point to an overarching problem that is easily addressed. Bombs Roadside bombs and landmines have vexed British troops almost as much as they have their American allies. Bomb attacks are another matter: the objects of the assaults Of the 22 killed in bomb attacks on Land Rovers, 13 were from have generally been identified in either the official casualty infantry regiments, 5 from cavalry regiments, 2 from the Royal reports or subsequent newspaper articles. Land Rovers (as has Artillery, and 1 from the intelligence corps. The artillerists were been widely reported in the British press) have taken the brunt from 12 Regiment, Royal Artillery, which had largely been of the attacks, as indicated in the table on the next page. operating in the infantry role in Iraq. The Warrior fighting vehicles in question belonged to the Black Watch, the Light ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 6
  7. 7. Infantry, and the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. The relative success of the insurgents against them parallels that against the Americans’ Bradley fighting vehicles. The single Rigid Raiding Craft in question was attacked by a bomb hung from a bridge on the Shatt al Arab; the craft and some of its crew came from 539 Assault Squadron of the Royal Marines. British fatalities due to bomb attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, by vehicle, March 2003 through March 2007 cause Afgh. Iraq total Bombs 6 33 39 A rather large IED found by the Iraqi Police in Baghdad in in Land Rovers 2 20 22 November 2005. Photograph courtesy of the US Army. ———————————————————————— in Warrior fighting vehicles 0 5 5 in Rigid Raiding Craft 0 4 4 The loss of 22 soldiers in Land Rovers to mines and roadside bombs has caught the attention of the Ministry of Defence. As I on foot 4 3 7 will note later, the Land Rovers are being replaced immediately, if in part, by Bulldog and Mastiff armored troop carriers, and in an ambulance 0 1 1 later and more fully by Panther Command and Liaison Vehicles (PCLVs). ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 7
  8. 8. Small arms Hostile gunshots have killed about a quarter of all the British troops lost in the past five years. Hostile gunshots have accounted for 27% of fatalities in British fatalities due to hostile gunshots in Iraq, by Afghanistan, and 23% of all fatalities in Iraq. All of the fatal enemy vehicle, March 2003 through March 2007 gunshots in Afghanistan were suffered by men on foot, as have been two-thirds of those suffered in Iraq. cause Afgh. Iraq Total The three military policemen killed in August 2003 in an Hostile gunshots 13 30 43 unmarked SUV (Major Matthew Titchener, Company Sergeant Major Colin Wall, and Corporal Dewi Pritchard) were run off the on foot 13 20 33 road by militiamen firing automatic weapons and hurling grenades. Since the primary weapon used in the attack seems to in a Land Rover 0 4 4 have been an assault rifles, I have coded the fatalities in question in an unmarked sport utility vehicle 0 3 3 as primarily the result of gunshots. in a Warrior Fighting Vehicle 0 3 3 The three soldiers killed by gunshots in Warriors were hit by sniper fire as they rode part way out of the top hatches. This has been a considerable problem for American troops in Iraq, at least until the wider introduction of remote weapon stations for armored vehicles. Why more British troops have not been killed in this fashion by snipers is not completely clear, though the most recent in question is the last in the database, as of this update (Private Jonathon Wysoczan of the Staffordshire Regiment, killed in Basra on 4 March 2007). As I will describe later, the problem is considerable, but it is also part and parcel of fighting insurgents. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 8
  9. 9. Anti-aircraft fire Two shots have accounted for over 10% of British fatalities in the two campaigns combined. The next category comprises two losses of aircraft to hostile fire thought that many serviceable rounds remain at large from that from the ground, as indicated in the table at right. time frame.* Not counted here is a fratricidal loss of a Tornado fighter jet of IX Squadron RAF, and its two crewmen, on 23 March 2003, to a Patriot missile fired by the US Army. While this incident was listed British fatalities from anti-aircraft missiles over earlier with the other fratricides, its mention here highlights the Iraq, by incident, March 2003 through March 2007 difficulty in avoiding anti-aircraft weapons like the Patriot. An F-18 Hornet jet of then US Navy fell to another missile of the same cause fatalities brigade that same month. Anti-aircraft fire (missiles and guns) 15 While it is difficult to determine exactly what weapon brought down the Sea King and the Hercules, it is clear that just two Ground fire (classified source) vs. Hercules transport, 10 weapons (whether missiles or guns) have accounted for over ten 47 Squadron (30 January 2005) percent of all British fatalities in Iraq so far. Insurgent’s shoulder-fired weapon vs. Lynx helicopter, 5 Note that no British aircraft have been lost to hostile fire in 847 Squadron (6 May 2006) Afghanistan. While Mujahideen Stinger missiles (supplied by the US) were effective against Soviet aircraft in the 1980s, it is not * Examination of Soviet combat records has indicated that the appearance of Stinger missiles in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s did not greatly increase Soviet aircraft losses. Rather, they immediately lead the Soviet 40th Army to severely restrict daylight flying at low altitudes, which itself had an adverse affect on the war effort. See the editors’ note on page 222 in Valentin Runov, The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost, translated by Lester Grau & Michael Gress, The Univer- sity Press of Kansas, 2002. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 9
  10. 10. Rocket-propelled grenades RPGs have become a significant killer of British troops, but only of late and only in Afghanistan. RPGs, while seemingly unthreatening in Iraq, have accounted for two were killed in a Land Rover, which admittedly provides almost one-fifth of British fatalities in Afghanistan. All of these rather little protection against RPGs. Two more soldiers died fatalities have been suffered in Helmand Province since June 2006 when RPGs were used against the field fortification that they (when British and Canadian forces began significant offensives were defending—this tactic is reasonably common, having been against the Taliban in Helmand and Kandahar). used by Hezbollah fighters against Israeli positions in the 2006 Lebanon campaign, and by US Army airmobile troops in their British fatalities due to RPGs in Afghanistan and attack on Saddam Hussein’s sons in August 2003. Iraq, by vehicle, March 2003 through March 2007 cause Afgh. Iraq Total All losses to RPG fire 9 0 9 in a CVR(T) 3 0 3 in a Land Rover 2 0 2 on foot 2 0 2 pending 2 0 2 Canadian soldier fires an RPG back at Taliban fighters during the Three of these fatalities were suffered when a Taliban grenadier first Battle of Panjwaii on 18 June 2006. Image by Scott Kesterson. destroyed a Scorpion CVR(T) light tank in August 2006. Another ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 10
  11. 11. Addressing the causes of fatalities Three courses of actions by the Ministry of Defence are already addressing the causes of almost half of the fatalities suffered by British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. By combining fatalities from related causes, we can theorize that Note that I say potentially. This does not mean, by any means, almost half of British fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq over the that all 63 fatalities could have been avoided. The insurgents in past four years could potentially have been avoided by three sets Afghanistan Iraq are rather more capable than that, and no of actions: amount of bullet-(or blast-) proofing can account for all contingencies. Rather, it merely points the way to three fertile Remedial actions for addressing British fatalities in areas for developing and marketing solutions for lowering Afghanistan and Iraq suffered over the past five fatalities in combat, at least according to recent British years experience in Iraq: Remedial action fatalities Retrofitting better fuel safety systems in fixed- 24 Retrofitting better fuel safety systems in fixed- and and rotary-wing transport aircraft rotary-wing transport aircraft. Fitting better collision avoidance and defensive 11 Two aircraft and 24 men have been lost after fuel vapor aids to rotary wing aircraft explosions, whether caused by internal faults or enemy action: Replacing Land Rovers with more bullet-, blast-, 28 ✦ Fourteen dead in the loss of a Nimrod reconnaissance and crash-resistant vehicles aircraft of 120 Squadron near Kandahar on 2 September 2006. total 63 ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 11
  12. 12. ✦ Ten dead in the loss of a Hercules transport aircraft of 47 Fitting better collision avoidance and defensive aids to Squadron in central Iraq on 30 January 2005 rotary wing aircraft. The loss of the Nimrod was covered earlier. In late February The Lynx helicopter lost over Basra from 847 Naval Air 2007, the RAF grounded its entire Nimrod fleet after a dent was Squadron is known to have carried an infrared jammer, chaff, found in a fuel line during a routine maintenance check. flares, a radar warning receiver, and a laser warning receiver. Safeguarding the Nimrods is of some strategic importance, as the That said, it was not the best defensive aids suite available to RAF has a fleet of only 15 remaining. British aircraft today. Selex’s well-regarded HIDAS (Helicopter Defensive Aid System) has been selected for the 70 Future Lynx While the details are classified, the Hercules crashed after taking helicopters that the British Army (40) and the Royal Navy (30) fire, while flying at low altitude, from either a shoulder-fired are planning to receive from Agustawestland starting in 2011. missile or a minor caliber cannon burst. The right wing tank The HIDAS has already been installed on the British Army’s exploded after the hit, and the aircraft almost immediately WAH-64 Apaches, the RAF’s EH101 Mark 3 Merlins, and the plunged into the ground. Since then, the RAF has made plans to Royal Navy’s Sea King Mark 4 support helicopters. While the retrofit all 44 of its remaining Hercules aircraft with explosion- details are not clear, each HIDAS installation will cost several suppressing foam in the fuel tanks by the end of this year. hundred thousand pounds. However, it is only strongly suspected that the aircraft was brought down by a missile—it was flying so low that a good shot from a rocket propelled grenade or even a machinegun may have done the trick. Against such basic threats to low-flying aircraft, there are no overwhelming material solutions. As with the Lynx that was lost over Basra, there is only so much that can be done against minor caliber cannons at low altitude. Fortunately, the Ministry seems to be doing much of what can be done. A Nimrod MR2 (XV254) taxis for takeoff at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford in July 2006. Photograph by Adrian Pingstone ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 12
  13. 13. Replacing Land Rovers with more bullet-, blast-, and the new production of 100 blast-resistant Mastiff Protected crash-resistant vehicles. Patrol Vehicles (PPVs) from Force Protection Industries.The PPV is a version of the 6x6 Cougar troop carrier already in service Armoring the troops is an appropriately pressing priority for the with the US Army and Marine Corps. Ministry of Defense. Under new management—specifically, Lord Drayson, the rather energetic new procurement minister—the That said, the ministry considers these armored dogs of war an ministry recently contracted for the remanufacturing of 100 up- interim step in advance of the Army’s pending Future Rapid armored FV430 Bulldog troop carriers from BAE Systems, and Effects System (FRES). FRES’s development had suffered from slow-going akin to that of the US Army’s Future Combat System (FCS). To wit, the Defence Committee of the House of Commons recently criticized the Ministry of Defence for what it called years of indecision in first the Tactical Reconnaissance Armoured Combat Equipment (TRACER) program, then the Multi Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV) program, and now the FRES: Nine years on from the Strategic Defence Review, the Army's re- quirement for a medium-weight vehicle remains unmet. Despite having spent £188 million on the TRACER and MRAV programmes and at least £120 million so far on FRES, the solution is nothing more tangible than a concept. The trouble is the laws of physics have intruded on what both the British Army and the US Army can hope to accomplish with a new vehicle. Devising a vehicle that is fast, survivable, fuel efficient, voluminous, and still light enough to be carried on a transport aircraft has proven elusive. In short, the services want a pony, but they are not likely to get one. The new Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicle being demonstrated on the Still the Committee’s criticism is rather backward-looking. Lord Salisbury Plain. Photograph by Andrew Linett, courtesy of the MoD. Drayson has also determined that the first phase of the FRES program would not be yet another attempt to develop a vehicle ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 13
  14. 14. from scratch, but would rather be a standing-start competition with whatever ready vehicle interested parties could bring by 2008. Likely contenders for the contract include ✦ General Dynamics, which will probably bring a Piranha IV or V extension of the ubiquitous line of MOWAG Light Armored Vehicles (LAV). The largest customer to date has been the US Army, has been buying a version of the LAV (Piranha)-III as the Stryker. ✦ Patria Vehicles, which will bring its Armored Modular Vehicle, or Xa-360, which has recently gained large orders in Finland, Poland, Slovenia, and South Africa. ✦ Nexter, which will offer its Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie. The company has just begun serial production of a 700-unit order of VBCIs for the French Army. A VBCI undergoing trials in July 2005. Photograph by Daniel Steger ✦ FIAT-Iveco, which will offer a troop carrier version of the 8x8 ————————————————————————— Centauro assault gun, which is basically a wheeled tank with a 105 mm cannon. At this stage, the real question is how FRES could improve on the capabilities being procured in the Bulldog and Mastiff ✦ ARTEC, a consortium of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), purchases. There are a few Rheinmetall Landsysteme, and Stork PWV; which will offer the Boxer—the result of the MRAV program from which the ✦ Maintainability. The Bulldogs will be thoroughly reset, but British MoD withdrew in 2003 they remain forty-year-old vehicles, so the Army may not get another forty years from them. ✦ BAE Systems, which will offer an 8x8 version of the Spitterkyddad Enhets Platform (SEP), which is being developed ✦ Firepower. the FRES utility vehicles may only carry overhead by its subsidiary Hägglunds in Sweden. This vehicle is arguably remote-controlled machineguns. which the Bulldogs and the least mature, as it was only shown for the first time in Mastiffs are entirely capable of mounting. Only later Britain in February 2007. reconnaissance and fighting vehicle types (which may be of a ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 14
  15. 15. different design) will carry cannons and anti-tank missile That said, if RPGs continue their relative resurgence as a launchers. problem, as they seemingly have in Afghanistan, interest may grow in protecting vehicles against them. As seen on the front ✦ Mobility. As 8x8s, they will probably prove more agile off-road cover, the Bulldogs are already sporting explosive-reactive tiles than the commercially-derived Mastiffs, and more efficient and and slat armor to deflect RPGs. comfortable than the tracked Bulldogs. This suggests a potentially important middle space in the ✦ Protection. Here the answer is not obvious. The FRES utility armored vehicles market: a vehicle with the blast-protection vehicles may offer more armor, but ballistic protection beyond and commercial maintainability of the Cougar or RG-33, but the that required to stop a 14.5 mm machinegun round at close off-road mobility and shaped-charge-protection of a purpose- range may be overkill. Insurgents don’t carry 25 mm cannons built 8x8. Given the tension amongst all the competing in their backpacks, and the fighting vehicles that do are better engineering factors in ground vehicle design, that may yet prove engaged at long range with anti-tank missiles. to be a pony. The obvious lacuna Doing something about the quarter of British fatalities caused by small arms fire is proving difficult. The Ministry is indeed trying, and to considerable extent, it is Afghanistsan and Iraq had totaled 120. Thus, given the following now spending money on the logical priorities. In July 2006, Lord broad estimates: Drayson remarked that spending on ‘urgent operational requirements’ related to combat in Afghanistan and Iraq had thus far totaled £527 million. * This has included £181 million on aircraft protection, £199 million on electronic countermeasures (ECM), and £147 million for new armored vehicles and body armor. Through the end of that month, British fatalities in * Ministry of Defence press release, New Protected Patrol Vehicles for Iraq and Afghanistan put through their paces, 14 September 2006 ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 15
  16. 16. ✦ Each fatality costs £0.5 in death benefits, recruiting costs, and Indeed, it can be argued that some of the investment is found in retraining costs, areas that seemingly have nothing to do with small arms. In January 2007, two Royal Marines were killed in Helmand ✦ Each fatality is accompanied by 3.4 severe traumas,each Province in circumstances that, by the official Ministry of costing roughly £1.5 million in insurance payouts, net present Defence announcements, may be considered a bit old-fashioned: lifetime healthcare costs, recruiting costs, and retraining costs * ✦ Lance Corporal Matthew Ford, 45 Commando, on 15 We can suggest that the Ministry has invested January 2007, while “assaulting a walled compound” £1.4 in serious casualty avoidance for every £1 that it has ✦ Marine Thomas Curry, 42 Commando, on 13 January 2007, incurred in the taking those casualties in the war (not while “in the process of clearing an enemy compound” counting aircraft replacement costs), or Whilst the details of the battles are not apparent from the £4.4 million per fatality already suffered announcements, two things can be observed: walled compounds are excellent candidates for destruction with precision-guided If fatalities are not expected to rise significantly in the future, this bombs, and the RAF’s Harrier force has been criticized for seems neither financially imprudent nor particularly shortcomings in its close air support capability. This is nothing parsimonious. new: one Harriers have twice been lost in part because they have long lacked good targeting systems: That said, losses to small arms fire may prove the most difficult to prevent. Forty-three deaths in the first five years of fighting have ✦ Squadron Leader Bob Iveson of 1 Squadron was shot down been caused by small arms, but to some degree, this may be a by an Argentine anti-aircraft cannon on his third pass over a regrettable part of the business of being a foot soldier. Bullets fly target at Goose Green on 27 May 1982 on battlefields, and no amount of body armor will stop every round. Indeed, the new Osprey and Kestrel body armor sets that ✦ Lieutenant Nick Richardson of 801 Squadron was shot the Ministry has ordered to improve soldiers’ chances of down by Serbian heat-seeking missile on 16 April 1994 on surviving bullets and blasts have been criticized as being too bulky his fifth pass at a T-55 tank that he couldn’t quite line up in and heavy to effectively use in combat. his sights. * See James Hasik, Professional Grade: a working paper on recent fatalities in military vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan (rev. 3.1), 31 October 2006; Scott Wallsten & Katrina Kosec, The Economic Costs of the War, American Enterprise Institute, September 2005; Joseph Stiglitz & Linda Bilmes, The Economic Costs of the Iraq War: an Appraisal Three Years after the Beginning of the Conflict, January 2006 ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 16
  17. 17. Both pilots survived and avoided capture, but that’s insufficient consolation alone: the aircraft were lost, and their targets survived. Twenty-four years is a long time to wait to correct a problem, particularly as US aircraft had LITENING targeting pods in time for the 1991 campaign in Iraq. Here again, though, the Ministry has taken action. In response to a UOR request from front-line RAF commanders in late 2006, the MoD contracted quickly with Lockheed Martin for its new Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod. The first flight with a Sniper ATP on a new Harrier GR9 took just sixty days; the first operational deployment is scheduled for July 2007. An RAF Harrier GR7 hovers at the 2006 Farnborough Air Show. Photograph courtesy of John Mullen So, while it’s unlikely that every walled compound can be blasted ————————————————————————— by a waiting Harrier jet, the Ministry is taking action. The British experience and future material solutions The operational demands of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq point towards two obvious markets—armored vehicles and transport rotorcraft—and both are showing vigorous growth. While the demands of the counterinsurgencies and peace operational challenges of companies from Bell Helicopter to Force enforcement operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere have Protection Industries indicate, the biggest problem in the opened a host of markets for military suppliers—from catamaran helicopter and armored vehicle industries today is figuring out naval transports to drone attack aircraft—two stand out as how to build all the stuff that has been ordered. This is a high-class particularly relevant to limiting fatalities on the battlefield. As the problem to have, but it also points to the the opportunities for any ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 17
  18. 18. company—whether in the business currently or not—that can deliver a better and cheaper blast-protected vehicle or rotorcraft defensive suite. Armored vehicles: it’s all about blast. Money is flowing into blast-protection, and not just in Britain. The just-starting Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle program of the US Marine Corps is planned to encompass over 4,000 vehicles at roughly $500,000 each—a $2 billion program. Just as significant, five different initial awards have already been made in the program: $55.4 MM for 90 RG-33s from BAE Systems $67.4 MM for 125 Cougars from Force Dynamics, the joint venture of Force Protection and General Dynamics A convoy of American blast-protected vehicles—RG-31, Buffalo, and $37.4 MM for 60 Golans from Protected Vehicles, the start-up by Cougar—sorties from its base. Photograph by Lieutenant Colonel Force Protection founder Colonel Garth Barrett Erik Peterson, 12th Marine Regiment ————————————————————————— $30.6 MM for 100 Bushmasters from Oshkosh, which is licensing the design from Thales-Australia RG-31s from BAE Systems and General Dynamics (its North $11.0 MM for 20 RG-31s from General Dynamics, or BAE American licensee). indirectly (GD holds the license in North America) While MRAP is the largest program to date, it doesn’t begin to These awards, of course, come in addition to the more than 300 cover the full scope of purchasing worldwide. The Swedish Army is Cougar and Buffalo armored vehicles that the US Army and Marine buying RG-31s; the Bundeswehr Dingos; the Swiss Army Eagles; Corps have purchased from Force Protection, and theand 200 or so and the list goes on. Even still, blast-protected vehicle purchases ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 18
  19. 19. Past and Projected Sales of Blast-Protected Military Vehicles Worldwide, 2002–2012 $2,000 MM $1,500 MM $1,000 MM $500 MM $0 MM 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 should continue to rise over the next five years worldwide, as more military land forces supplement their tracked vehicle fleets with ve- This also means that the long list of eager suppliers to the market hicles more suitable for counterinsurgency and constabulary work. will not quickly shorten. The market for blast-protection is still be- My forecast (compiled from press releases, contract announce- ing contested by at least two competing concepts: steel, v-shaped ments, and probably emergent requirements, and shown in the ad- hulls (the approach taken by most firms) and flexible composite joining chart) suggests a market worth nearly $2 billion annually by floors (KMW’s approach with the Dingo). While Force Protection’s 2012. The surge in 2008 represents emergency purchases in the US Cougar and BAE’s RG-series are the leading products, the market and the UK, but this spending will not consume future market op- has only recent surged again after the flurry of activity in South portunities. Peace-enforcement and counter-insurgency campaigns Africa tapered off with the change of government in the late are, after all, the more likely types of contingency in which Western 1980s. This means that technological advances may yet shift the and allied military forces may find themselves embroiled in the near industry’s design paradigm, and that, in turn, should continue to future. If preparations for the big war in the Fulda Gap were once attract investment from interested suppliers and defense minis- the dominant considerations in NATOn defense ministries, this time tries. is probably passing. The British (and allied) experience in Afghanistan and Iraq indicate how and why. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 19
  20. 20. Rotorcraft: high, hot, heavy-lift—and hardened. sweep up what remainders it can—even amongst the armed forces of friendly states like Nicaragua—indicate how seriously the Waging war in the Hindu Kush has required big, multi-engined air- problem is being taken. craft that can lift entire platoons at a time to nauseating heights. This has thus meant a bonanza for Boeing, through its H-47 Chinook If we accept as roughly accurate program, and Sikorsky, with the continuation of its Super Stallion program with the fully redesigned CH-53K. Across Europe, smaller, ✦ the most recent annual estimate by Rols-Royce and the Teal shorter-ranged machines are being replaced with NH-90s, Agustaw- Group: 600 new military helicopters annually, worldwide, for estland EH-101s, and Eurocopter Cougars. the near future, and However, if RPGs and roadside bombs can kill soldiers one or two ✦ the assumption that most of those helicopters will be or a few more at a time, shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles can kill equipped with relatively sophisticated defensive aides, costing them by the dozen or more. Indeed, as the average size of battlefield roughly one million dollars each helicopter is growing larger to accommodate larger loads to greater distances, the potential for larger loss of life increases. Concentra- the annual worldwide market is seen to comprise several hundred tion of more soldiers on single aircraft thus increases the attractive- million dollars. ness of equipping the fleets with more robust missile defenses. While many of the stocks liberally scattered around the world by the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980s are no longer serviceable, the continuing efforts by the US federal government to ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 20
  21. 21. About the Author James Hasik holds an MBA from the University of Chicago in finance and business economics, and a BA from Duke University in history and physics. He is a member of the Institute of Navigation, a member of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs, and Senior Defense Consultant to CRA International. On the cover An up-armored FV432 Bulldog from BAE Systems undergoes trials with the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in Iraq in December 2006. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— JAMES HASIK The Armoured Dogs of War: British responses to fatalities in Iraq • March 2007 page 21